Hiking in Nevis
The center of the island is Nevis Peak—also known as Mt. Nevis—which soars 3,232 feet and is flanked by Hurricane Hill on the north and Saddle Hill on the south. If you plan to scale Nevis Peak, a daylong affair, it's highly recommended that you go with a guide. Your hotel can arrange it (and a picnic lunch) for you. The 9-mile (15-km) Upper Round Road Trail was constructed in the late 1600s and cleared and restored by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. It connects the Golden Rock Plantation Inn, on the east side of the island, with Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, on the northern tip. The trail encompasses numerous vegetation zones, including pristine rain forest, and impressive plantation ruins. The original cobblestones, walls, and ruins are still evident in many places.
Peak Heaven at Herbert Heights. This tour company is run by the Herbert family, who lead four-hour nature hikes up through the rain forest to panoramic Herbert Heights, where you drink in fresh local juices and views of Montserrat; the powerful telescope, donated by Greenpeace, makes you feel as if you're staring right into that island's simmering volcano (or staring down migratory whales). The trail formed part of an escape route for runaway slaves, and you can also inspect recent archaeological excavations providing insight into the indigenous peoples. Shorter bush tea walks and monkey excursions are available. The Herberts painstakingly reconstructed thatched cottages that offer a glimpse of village life a century ago, dubbed Peak Heaven, at Nelson's Lookout. These include a small, poignant, history museum; local crafts shop; gallery; and massage room. The solar-powered Coal Pot restaurant offers heaping helpings of affordable island fare (try any soup, the thyme-seared snapper, and scrumptious homemade ice creams) alongside the splendid vistas. There's even a small playground at the entrance. Hike prices start at $25. Nevis. 869/469-2856 or 869/665-6926. www.peakheavennevis.com.
Sunrise Tours. Run by Lynell and Earla Liburd, Sunrise Tours offers a range of hiking trips, but their most popular is Devil's Copper, a rock configuration full of ghostly legends. Local people gave it its name because at one time the water was hot—a volcanic thermal stream. The area features pristine waterfalls and splendid bird-watching. They also do a Nevis village walk, a Hamilton Estate Walk, a Charlestown tour, an Amerindian walk along the wild southeast Atlantic coast, and trips to the rain forest and Nevis Peak. They love highlighting Nevisian heritage, explaining time-honored cooking techniques, the many uses of dried grasses, and medicinal plants. Hikes range from $25 to $40 per person, and you receive a certificate of achievement. Nevis. 869/469-2758. www.nevisnaturetours.com.
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