It's a good idea to negotiate with a taxi driver to take you around Nevis. The distance is only 58km (36 miles), but you may find yourself taking a long time if you stop to see specific sights and talk to all the people who will want to chat with you. A 3-hour sightseeing tour around the island will cost $65; the average taxi holds up to four people. No sightseeing bus companies operate on Nevis, but a number of individuals own buses that they use for taxi service. Their names are known to the reception staff at every hotel on Nevis, so if you're interested, make the proper enquiries. You can also call Nevis Taxi Service (tel. 869/469-5621) for information.
The major attraction is the Museum of Nevis History, in the simple but gracefully proportioned stone house where Alexander Hamilton was born, on Main Street in Charlestown (tel. 869/469-5786; www.nevis-nhcs.org), overlooking the bay. The lava-stone house by the shore has been restored. The museum, dedicated to the history and culture of Nevis, houses the island's archives. Hours are year-round Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, and also on Saturday mid-December to mid-April from 9am to noon. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 5 to 12.
Eden Brown Estate, East Coast Road, about 2km (1 1/4 miles) from New River, is said to be haunted. It was once the home of a wealthy planter whose daughter was to be married, but her husband-to-be was killed in a duel at the prenuptial feast. The mansion was then closed forever and left to the ravages of nature. Today it's a rather spooky-looking ruin. Only the most adventurous ever come here on a moonlit night.
At one time, Sephardic Jews from Brazil made up a quarter of the island's population, and it's believed that Jews introduced sugar production to the Leeward Islands. Outside the center of Charlestown, at the lower end of Government Road, the Jewish Cemetery has been partially restored and is the resting place of many of the early shopkeepers of Nevis. Most of the tombstones date from 1690 to 1710. There's no attendant on duty, and few local residents seem to know a lot about this place. Unless you look very carefully, its location isn't immediately obvious.
One of the island's best attractions is the 4-hectare (10-acre) Botanical Garden of Nevis (tel. 869/469-3509; www.botanicalgardennevis.com), 5km (3 miles) south of Charlestown on the Montpelier Estate. Rainforest plants grow in re-created Mayan ruins on a hillside site overlooking the Caribbean. A retired Philadelphia businessman, Joseph Murphy, has spent some $8 million on these gardens, containing, among other treasures of nature, 100 species of palms from Madagascar, Asia, and Hawaii, along with 70 varieties of orchids. In the Kew Gardens-like greenhouse, you can see rainforest flora and waterfalls. The on-site restaurant, Martha's Tea House, operated and maintained by the Montpelier Plantation Inn, serves an English tea with scones and double Devon cream. You can also order a ploughman's lunch (French bread, pickled onions, and cheese), barbecue chicken breast, mahimahi, or tuna salad. If you patronize the restaurant or gift shop, you don't have to pay the admission of $10 adults, or $7 children 6 to 12 (free for children 5 and under), to the gardens. The garden is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Nevis Jockey Club organizes and sponsors thoroughbred races every month. Local horses, as well as some brought over from other islands, fill out a typical five-race card. If you want to have a glimpse at what horse racing must have been like a century or more ago, you'll find the Nevis races a memorable experience. For information, contact Richard Lupinacci, a Jockey Club officer and owner and operator of the Hermitage Plantation.
Fothergill's Nevisian Heritage Village (tel. 869/469-5521), is a collection of historic structures moved to this site, with an old sugar mill as its centerpiece. Among the attractions are a blacksmith's workshop, a rum store, and a cobbler's outpost, along with replicas of buildings ranging from African-style slave huts to thatched shelters once inhabited by the Caribs. The village is open daily 8am to 4pm, charging an admission of $2.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.