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nevis trip report

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Thanks to everyone for their help in planning our trip.

The flights to and from Nevis were all on time or even early. All luggage got where it was supposed to be. I was impressed with American Airlines as we had two connections each way.

We left home at 3:45 am so it was very early and we were very tired when we arrived in Nevis. Took a taxi to the Hermitage -- first hotel where we stayed. It is a nice place but we were disappointed in the service and would not go back there again.

We liked the room and the cottages very much. They had upgraded us. We had a private porch with a hammock on the back. Since I am an early riser, I would lay out there in the am and read and watch the monkeys. The view was of the mountains. We also had a separate sitting room with small kitchen in the front.

Even though this was up the mountain, I had thought that there would be a view of the water. There wasn't. So we felt that we were in the mountains more than at a beach -- which was fine for us.

There are no beaches on this side of the island -- you need to drive about 20 minutes to get to where they are. The roads on this side of the island are not the best. Lots of potholes -- some quite deep -- and narrow. People stand in the road to talk and don't move when you approach! Also goats, sheep and cattle all get in the road. And cars -- people stop and leave them anywhere so often it is a one lane road with traffic in two directions. My husband is an excellent driver and does a bit of off road driving so he did a great job but it was not relaxing.

The first day we arrived, had rum punch -- and we preferred the Hermitage recipe to any other we tried -- and dinner then went to bed.

The next morning we had asked for a guided tour of the island. They had not previously arranged it as I had asked. I thought that a guided tour of the island would take us to ruins etc. The person who did take us was very nice and had lived there her whole life. She drove us around the island and told us a little of the history and stopped at all the resorts. Probably we did not go to ruins because they really are mostly accessible on foot.

We had asked about a car rental from the Hermitage before we arrived. We were told to wait until we arrived which we did. The cost was the most I have paid for a car anywhere else and they were not the most helpful. I went through the phone book looking for companies to rent from. We ended up with an old basic toyota car that cost us $400 for 8 days.

I expected some guidance on what to do from the Hermitage and got no help. Their activity book has very little in it.

So, Friday -- our first real day -- we took the tour in the morning, spent the afternoon getting a car and went to the MT Nevis hotel for a nice shrimp and steak dinner. This was the most reasonable hotel dinner $35 including tas and service each.

On Saturday, we tried to go the the gardens only to find out it was closed on weekends! We went to Sunshines for linch and a killer bee. We drove around and familiarized ourselves with the island. That evening we attempted to gp to Bananas for dinner. We had bad directions so it took a bit of doing -- stopping and getting directions a couple of times! But the place was very nice and we enjoyed dinner when we finally got there! It turned out to be much easier than we had been told -- if you don't mind the horrible roads.

Over the course of the next week, we did 3 hikes with Jim Johnson of Top to Bottom and thoroughly enjoyed it. He is a wealth of information and we enjoy hiking. He also took us kayaking and snorkeling on afternoon. And he gave us a cell phone to use for the week as it was his daughter's and she was away at school. Our time with him was great and I would recommend going with him at least once.

What we liked about the Hermitage was the setting and the cottages and the rum punch. What I did not like was the lack of assistance helping us plan things to do. When you have never been somewhere it is helpful to have some idea where to go and what there is to enjoy. Butr the thing that bothered me most was that they quoted everything in US$ but then the bill was converted to EC using a rate of 2.7 It was totaled in EC and then converted back using a rate of 2.65. This costs you more than the quoted rates and is very sneaky. If you spend $1,000US it is $2,700 EC but divide that by 2.65 and you end up with $1,019 US. I considered that a sneaky way to get a few more dollars from us. When I called them on it, they charged the proper amount in USD. But it set wrong that they did that.

We did learn that the wife has alzheimers -- not very advanced yet -- and they had lost their manager a year ago. The owner did not seem to be very involved in the operation and all of this may explain part of the lack of assistance.

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