Nevis: Day 2 (Part 1)

Seeing Nevis for the first time in daylight is an experience you never forget.  Imagine your favorite things from different Caribbean nations all in one island — I promise you it is that good.

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Mornings at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club begin at Coconuts, an open-air dining room on the oceanfront where you are treated to a picturesque view.  A light breeze carries the sweet scent of both the tropics and the food.  Choose from an extensive menu of traditional breakfast dishes and island favorites, as well as from a buffet of fresh fruits and pastries.  We made sure to fuel up, because we were going to be spending the entire day on the Heritage Trail; seeing as much as we possibly could without rushing through anything.  The Nevis Heritage Trail leads you to twenty-five of the island’s premier historical sites.  By following the trail, it is possible to understand the history of the country and its many aspects.  It is amazing that such a tiny island can have so many things to do and see!

Nevis

Nevis

I seem to have the best luck when it comes to tour guides and Nevis was no exception.  Nevis Tourism Authority paired my husband and I with the incomparable Tracy Frazer.  I knew from the second we shook hands with her that we were going to have an unforgettable day.  The passion she exudes for her country is infectious.  As we began our drive around the island she said to us, “Nevis is like no other place you have been to before.  We have gorgeous beaches, wild monkeys, and old men riding around on donkeys while talking on their cell phones.”

Nevis

Our first stop was at Cottle Church.  John Cottle, once the President of Nevis, built this tiny church in 1824 as a place for his family and his slaves to worship together (something unheard of at that time, since it was considered illegal).  The ruins are hidden in the woods off the main road.  The structure was severely damaged during an earthquake in 1974 and again in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo.  It is presently undergoing restoration to ensure its historical significance for the future.  Both locals and tourists are allowed to hold wedding ceremonies there today.

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Back on the road we spotted our first Monkey Crossing sign, yet still no sign of monkeys, which we were told outnumbered the humans on the island.

Nevis

We continued on to Mt. Nevis Hotel and Restaurant for a sweeping view of Saint Kitts.

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

And then over to Oualie Beach, a great spot for families and water sport enthusiasts.  This is also the beach where you take the ferryboat to and from Saint Kitts if staying at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

The next beach we visited was Cades Bay.  This quiet cove is nestled amongst sun-drenched beaches and sapphire waters.  From there you can enjoy even more stunning views of the rugged Saint Kitts peninsula and rainforest clad Nevis peak.  Looking for the ultimate in pampered service?  This is your spot on the island!

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

We briefly stopped at St. James Anglican Church, as it houses the only black crucifix in the entire Caribbean.

Nevis

Nevis

This was all even before lunchtime. . .

Nevis: Day 1

Throughout all of my travels around the world, I have never once had the oppurtunity to leave the airport during a layover and explore, as I prefer direct flights or the fastest route possible.  While there are direct flights from Charlotte to Saint Kitts and Nevis (our final destination was Nevis), they do not operate every day, such as the date we needed to depart.  Thus, my husband and I decided for a five hour layover in Saint Martin, which was the perfect amount of time for a quick adventure in a new country!

Saint Martin

As soon as we landed, we hailed a two-minute taxi to the legendary Maho Bay, a beach on the Dutch side of Saint Martin.  It is famous for being located at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport.  Arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of the runway due to its short length, resulting in planes flying over the beach at minimal altitude.  Watching airliners pass over the beach is such a popular activity that daily arrival and departure timetables are displayed in the nearby bars and restaurants.  There is a danger of people being blown into the water, because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off, so most spectators hold onto the fence that separates the beach from the runway.

We chose to spend our entire layover at Bliss, a quiet and chic beach bar that has a fabulous pool and view of the runway.  We immediately ordered some daiquiris and allowed the Caribbean sun to seep into our pores.

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

If Maho Bay is not on your Bucket List, it should be!  Where else in the world can you get buzzed by 757s and fruity drinks?

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

Our layover seemed like the fastest five hours of my life and before I knew it we were inside a tiny eighteen-seat propeller plane headed toward Saint Kitts.  The flight was less than thirty minutes and the aerial views were nothing short of magnificent.

Saint Martin

Saint Martin

Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

We could have continued in the same plane over to Nevis, however we opted for a short boat ride instead.  Our home for the next four nights was Nisbet Plantation Beach Club and we arrived just in time for dinner.  Although, our first order of business was to ask for a bottle of champagne in celebration of being in a new country — a ritual that we started many years ago.  Then we feasted on a gourmet three-course meal.  If this was any indication of how good the food was at this property, we were in for the culinary time of our lives.

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Nevis

Since it was dark when we finally arrived to Nevis, we fell asleep not knowing what our surroundings would look like in the light of day.  The element of surprise only added to the immense excitement we were already experiencing!

Common Sense Cruise Tips: Essentials You Really Need to Pack

Going on a cruise is the holiday of a lifetime for many people!  However, your enjoyment of the experience will be directly affected by the choices you make when it comes to packing.  Take too much and you will feel overburdened, but take too little and you will regret it.  Here are some of the essentials that you should make sure you pack in your suitcase in order to prepare for every eventuality on your cruise and get the most out of the experience:

Suitable Clothing

Clothing is one of the most difficult things to pack when you go on a cruise.  Not only will you need comfortable clothing for a range of situations — daytime, nighttime, beachwear, swimming, etc — but you will also need to follow any dress codes that the cruise has imposed.

Cruises often have a formal dress code during the evenings, although the degree of formality will differ from company to company.  Make sure you find out in advance what is required (no shorts in the restaurants, for example) and pack accordingly.

Consider all of the destinations that you will be visiting when you pack.  This may mean clothes suitable for both hot and cooler climates, as well as swimming gear and comfortable walking shoes.  Also find out about any cultural requirements in the destinations you are visiting, because certain clothing may not be suitable.

Prepare for the Sun

When you book your cruise, there is a good chance that you will be keen to head to a sunny destination.  Nothing can ruin a cruise more thoroughly than getting sunburnt on your first day, so make sure you take all the protection you need.  This will include a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen.  You can always pick more up, but it could be expensive, so try to take what you think you will need with you.  Cruise booking sites like cruisesalefinder.com.au have a ton of information, which will help you be prepared for your destination/s.

Swimming Gear

If you stop off at any tropical beaches, you will want to have all the swimming gear you need to swim in the water.  This does not just mean a bathing suit, but also goggles or even a snorkel.  The latter will be particularly useful to take, so that you can avoid having to pay to rent one at each destination.

Electronics

Gadgets are part of our lives now and you will probably want to take a number of different devices with you, including your phone, iPad, eBook reader, camera, and more.  Take whatever you want, but do not forget to take along your chargers or spare batteries to keep them powered.  You will be able to buy more batteries during your cruise, however it is often much more cost effective to take some along with you.

Also, do not forget to take a universal power adaptor with you.  You do not want to find that you cannot charge up your gadgets, thus an adaptor will be very useful.

A Day Bag

You will probably be making a number of day trips when you stop off at various destinations on your cruise, so it is a good idea to take along a good day bag with you.  This should be something small, light, and portable that you can use to carry enough gear for the day.  You do not want to be carrying a large bag around with you when you are off exploring.

Toiletries

Although your cruise company may provide soaps and shampoos, it is always good to have your favorites with you, so make sure you pack them.  You may not be able to buy them during the cruise or you may find that they are more expensive.  Take anything that you think you will need and travel in greater comfort.

Basic First Aid Kit

There will be a place to seek medical attention on your cruise, but for minor complaints and injuries, it is often a good idea to take along what you need.  A basic first aid kit could comprise: plasters, painkillers, a blister kit, sea sickness tablets, and any other medications that you normally take, and this can save you the hassle of seeking out medical attention and buying potentially expensive medicines when you are on your cruise.

Pack Carefully and Enjoy Your Cruise

Whatever you pack, it is a good idea to start packing as early as possible to avoid packing in a rush and missing something from your list.  Go through the above essentials and make sure that you have these in your suitcase when you pack, as well as anything else that you think will be important.  However, try not to pack too much and instead stick to the basics.  As long as you are not missing anything vital, you will have everything you need to get the most from your cruise!

Ryan Posa has criss-crossed the globe via cruise ships.  From Alaska to Mexico to New Zealand, he has enjoyed the opportunities traveling aboard have provided to see beautiful and fascinating places.  He is General Manager of Cruise Republic and you can follow Ryan on Twitter

The Perfect Trip Starts With The Perfect Car

Imagine flying into beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.  The weather is perfect with not a single cloud in the sky.  Between the casinos and the theme parks, there is so much to do in this beautiful city that you might not ever want to leave!  

However, some of the best landmarks in the southwest of America are located within a five hour drive from Vegas.  The Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and others are easy to access with a car and enough free time.

The question becomes, “How do I get the best vehicle possible?”  You could go online and search through dozens of car sites or wander from booth to booth at the airport trying to compare deals.  Neither one of these options are truly useful if you are in a pinch looking to get on the road quickly.  It can become so much of a hassle that one simply gives up and goes down to swim in the hotel pool instead!

During a recent trip to this beautiful city, I had the same issue myself.  Since I flew in from London, I did not have access to a vehicle of my own.  A quick search online helped me find a site that promises wonderful deals on cars in over 180 nations.  I typed in Vegas and my age and in moments I had dozens of vehicles available for selection.

Because I was on a family vacation, I let the choice be made by my children.  They chose a small van, which was available for less than what my travel brochures had promised when I first booked the trip.

The auto company drove the vehicle right to my hotel door and handed me the keys.  With a full tank of fuel, I was free to toss the children in the back and head off to the canyon.  It was a ten hour round-trip, but I found myself having a better time than I had had in years.

When I returned to the hotel that evening, the children were mildly sunburned, however beyond that they were extraordinarily pleased with the whole event.  I had the car for two more days, so I looked at the map to see what other landmarks the children would enjoy seeing before we had to return home.

I decided to go to the Hoover Dam next, since it was only forty minutes from the hotel.  Even after all the fun they had yesterday, the children were leery of another road trip.  It was not until I showed them the map did they jump on board.

The Hoover Dam is one of the largest structures I had ever seen!  The children absolutely adored the huge structure and the dichotomy of the lake on one side and the river far down below on the other side.

After touring through the power plant, the children were eager to get back to the hotel and its pool.  I bundled them into the vehicle and off we went.

Sadly, we had an accident halfway back.  Some foolish teenager decided to merge without checking and ran right into the side of the car.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  I had one major worry, who was responsible?  I contacted the rental company and they informed me that I had obtained insurance when I rented the car.  Because it was the other person’s fault, there was no need for me to panic.

The car lot sent a new vehicle out and picked us up and within an hour we were back on the road to the hotel.  I was even given a discount for the hassle that I had gone through.  When I returned the vehicle to the lot at the airport, I asked the clerk that checked me in about our rental that had been damaged.  She shook her head and laughed, “That car had to be totaled.  From what I understand, the kid had comprehensive insurance, so everything is all right.”

I thanked the woman and left to board the flight back home.

The trip was an interesting experience to say the least!  I had not intended for a road trip when I made my initial plans, though now I see that any trip without a vehicle is missing out on some of the best activities that can be found off the beaten path.

When I returned home to my flat, the children were abuzz to all their friends about all that had happened, both the good and the bad.

I sat down on the couch and smiled at the deal the site had just sent me on my smartphone.  It was another offer I simply could not refuse!  I live in London and thus do not own a car.  However, the possibility of driving up to Scotland for a weekend was quite appealing thanks to www.discountcarhire.com.

Andi’s Pick: Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club: Nevis

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

First Impression

Originally a Caribbean sugarcane plantation owned by Fanny Nisbet, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is now a world-class resort that oozes with history, elegance, and charm.  You will quickly discover a unique blend of Old World glamour and modern luxuries amidst the backdrop of gorgeous Nevis.  With a staff that graciously handles every single request, it is possible to check in and then completely check out.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Location

Most people traveling to Nevis first arrive via plane on the sister island of St. Kitts.  Someone from the hotel will meet you at the airport and escort you by taxi to the dock, where you will then be greeted by a ferryboat that will have you to Nevis in less than ten minutes time.  The dock on Nevis is right around the corner from Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.  The resort is centrally located on the Atlantic side of the island and its views will likely take your breath away!

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

The Room

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club’s lemon-hued cottages with traditional Nevisian white pyramid roofs dot tropical grounds full of plumeria and coconut palm trees.  Each accommodation is surrounded by almost a quarter acre of lush land and designed with both comfort and privacy in mind.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

The air-conditioned cottages are decorated in an inviting and casual style and are filled with fresh-cut flowers and wicker furniture.  We stayed in an Upper Premier Junior Suite, which is situated closest to the water and features a King size bed, a living room area with a pull-out sofa bed, a wet bar, and a balcony overlooking the ocean.  There is free WiFi, however no TVs, as the hotel truly wants its guests to disconnect from the outside world.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

The Bathroom

The spacious ensuite bathroom stole the show for us with its thick marble counter, high beamed ceiling, gigantic sit in tub, and incredible smelling bath products that you will undoubtably want to purchase in the gift shop before returning home.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

The Extras

There is so much to do and see in Nevis that I recommend staying for at least a week if possible.  Expect nothing less than extraordinary from any of the resort’s restaurants, as the cuisine is rich with flavors that are brought to life by extremely talented chefs.  Begin every morning at Coconuts, where you can breathe in the fresh salt air and listen to the waves lap the shore while you dine on heart shaped banana pancakes.  At Sea Breeze, you can lunch with the sand between your toes.  In the evening, you can admire the glorious sunset as you look down upon the famous Avenue of the Palms from the Great House porch and choose from a gourmet three-course menu.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Wedged between these dining spots are the pool, Jacuzzi, and beach.  Adjacent is an outdoor bar for sipping cocktails.  It is only a few swim strokes to one of the best snorkeling spots on the island, however do not feel obligated to leave your lounge chair.  Beach and pool attendants bring free water and even take food and beverage orders.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Coconuts is also the setting for the popular Thursday night beachfront barbecue.  This weekly event is open to guests, Nevis visitors, and locals alike.  The evening is kicked off with the Manager’s cocktail party and is followed by a lavish buffet.  After dinner, head back to the bar for some dancing underneath the stars to the tropical rhythms of a local band.  This was by far our favorite night of the trip!

Why It Is Andi’s Pick

You will never encounter a friendlier staff than those at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.  Everyone knows your first name and will go out of your way to make sure that you leave with unforgettable memories and with a deep desire to return again!

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

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