Nevis Questions

Aug 1st, 2005, 08:56 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,663
Nevis Questions

Hello Fodorites!
My husband and I are traveling to Nevis for two weeks in October (lucky dogs!). On the advice of a couple of Fodorites, and a poster named Viceroy on myeyez.net, we have booked Yellow Bird villa, located just above Oalie Beach. Sunnyboy, if you read this, do you have a comment on this villa?

We would like to rent a car for two weeks. My AAA membership shows Hertz available for $228/week plux 5% tax. Not bad, except that is for a Daihatsu Charade, a tiny sedan - we would really prefer a Suzuki type jeep with removable cover. I called Hertz 800 number to see if they offer this vehicle, and they were NOT helpful (couldn't even find the location). Anyone know if Hertz has these vehicles? Also, are there any other fees besides the low 5% tax?

Is $228/week a good price on Nevis? How about for a 4WD vehicle?

Also, anyone have a favorite guidebook for Nevis? We'd like to explore the beaches and the hikes - is a guide a must, or can we wing it on our own with the hiking?

Thanks!
joan is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 09:53 AM
  #2  
iw
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 735
We stayed at the Oualie Beach Resort in June and really liked the beach there. The restaurant is fabulous and the people are just great and very friendly. We went to the beach at Nisbet Plantation and at the 4S. Also, wonderful beaches. I bought the Fodor's 05 Caribbean Guide, which has info. on all of the islands and it was very helpful. While in Nevis, we also ate at Banana's, which was superb. It might be closed in Oct., since they were relocating. We were not there long enough to rent a car, so Sunnyboy or MIM04 would be able to answer those questions. The locals did talk about some "dumb American" ( I guess I am one, too) who hiked by himself and got lost for 5 days! We hiked in St. Kitts, but not in Nevis and we did have a guide through the rainforest. So much information was gained by having O'Neill. What is so great about these islands is that you can go to any beach that you want to without feeling like a crasher! We had drinks at the 4S and visited Sunshine's. Hope you have a great trip. After corresponding with MIM04 after our return, I do think a villa is a great and affordable way to go!
iw is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #3  
Sunnyboy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've not actually been inside Yellow Bird Villa but people I know who have stayed there report it is quite comfortable. The term "villa" can always be mis-leading as some people visualize a villa to be a large luxurous home appointed with fine furnishings and exquisite linens. In this case from what I know Yellow Bird Villa is more akin to a cute one bedroom cottage. It is nicely appointed and appears to be well maintained. From what I've seen driving by it is accurately described on the various rental villa web-sites where it is listed.

Hertz is the newest car rental agency on the island and therefore has the newest vehicles. I don't believe they have any Suzuki SUV's available. You can rent 4WD Suzuki's from Noel's (the local Avis affiliate)at 869-469-5600, TDC 869-469-5600, Parry's 869-469-5917 or Claude Nisbet 869-469-9837. In addition there are several other smaller companys where you can rent Suzuki's. In October the island is not very crowded so you should have no trouble finding a vehicle that suits your needs. It's been a while since I've actually rented a vehicle but I seem to recall all the car rental companies charge about the same (for the same vehicle) - figure about $35 to $40US per day and you'll generally get a "free day" if you rent for a week or more. You'll have to get a Temporary Driver's License ($30US). You can purchase the CDW and the added liability insurance if you wish. You should check your own policy before you leave to see whether or not your policy will cover you in the event of a loss and sometimes your credit card will also provide coverage for you if you use it to pay the bill. Keep in mind that you are in a foreign country and if you are in a serious accident causing bodily injury and/or significate damage to a local you may have to pay damages out of your own pocket befoe you leave the island and then collect from your own insurance company or credit card company later so weigh your decision to purchase the added insurance carefully.

For lots of information on Nevis visit www.nevis1.com. Chances are the villa owner will have a book which lists many of the things to do and places to see on Nevis. If, by chance they don't, then stop in at the Tourist Office in the Center of Charlestown (it's on Main Street just opposite the road leading to the main dock).

There are many places you can hike to without a guide but you are likely to miss out on a lot of the local culture if you don't use a guide. Check out Top to Bottom Tours, Jim & Nicole Johnson offer no lees than 12 or 12 different hikes through the rain forests, to ruins, caves, etc. They are excellent guides and their fees are very reasonable. Whatever you do don't try climbing Mt. Nevis or taking some of the more inland hikes without a guide and the routes can be dangerous to the uninitiated.

Have a great trip.
 
Aug 1st, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,663
Thanks jw and Sunnyboy! Yes I've gotten lots of info from Nevis1.com - a great site!

No, I am certainly not expecting a lavish estate - I have rented villas lots of times and I realize I'm getting a cute cottage - which is just what we had in mind.

I will definitely check out the guided hikes.

I just called my car insurance company. Ha! They do not provide any coverage outside the US. I liked it better when I was ignorant of that fact! I will call my credit card company too.

Which leads to another question: we vacation often on Eleuthera in the Bahamas, another un-touristy destination. Credit cards are almost unheard of there...even the rental cars are paid in cash (or traveler's checks). Do you find Nevis to be similar? Are USDollars and credit cards widely accepted? I would like to use the CC for the rental car, and cash for other expenses. However we usually run low on cash at the end...do the non-resort restaurants generally accept CC's? (I realize there may be a transaction fee from the CC company)

Thanks much!
joan is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #5  
Sunnyboy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Credit Cards are accepted by all of the major car rental companies as, of course, are $US. You can use credit cards at most restaurants and shops around the island and just about eveyone will accept $US in payment for anything on the island. You may, however, get $EC back in change (especially if you are buying something in one of the small shops). Consider bringing a samall "credit card" size pocket calculator with you to convert curency ($1US = $2.688EC but you'll get exchange rates that vary between $2.60 and $2.70EC to $1US). Some of the tourist oriented shops will mark items with both $EC and $US prices but usually if you see only one price it is in $EC (FYI - Four Seasons Gift Shop prices are all in $US). For me, I always assume prices marked are in $EC and pay accordingly. If you don't have a calculator handy use this sinple formula - divide $EC price by 3 and add 10% - the result will be very close to $US equivelent.

There are ATMs at all the banks in Charlestown that dispense $EC currency.
 
Aug 1st, 2005, 06:22 PM
  #6  
iw
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 735
As always, Sunnyboy has great advice!! I just received the credit card statement from our time in Nevis and St. Kitts. Groan!!!! Like you, Joan, we were afraid to use cash at the onset of our vacation, and charged a lot of stuff. I was amazed at the transaction fee that followed each charge, since we have never dealt with this before. Is it new? Are more people traveling to the Caribbean???? Anyway, we ended up taking too much cash and charging stuff, but came home with cash to spare and then some. Maybe we are backwards....grin...We saw most items in USD and had a few dinners in EC, which, as Sunnyboy pointed out, very easy to convert. Also, while the 4S is a great place to visit, their gift shop prices are really high!! Beautiful property, though. Happy trip, again. Karen
iw is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 06:43 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 995
Karen - you have made a good choice of villa. I am sure you will enjoy it a lot. There is so much to do and see on Nevis. I know you will really enjoy it a lot! [email protected] is the website for Noel's auto if you want to email for prices.

IW - I know who you are talking about getting lost... that was so crazy! Yes. I really think villa is the way to go. I think it is nice to stay at a resort, but I like to have extra space that you do not get in a hotel room.
MIM04 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:08 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,663
Thanks again, all!

Sunnyboy, I will take your advice and bring a calculator, but I do like your shortcut - but somehow I think I'll not be too good at it after a Killer Bee!

I called my CC company: they will cover a car rental on Nevis! With of course a million rules to follow...
By the way, iw, they will charge a 1% transaction fee for any charges in EC$. Sounds better than the 3% I've been hearing, but still - I'm sure it's an unfavorable exchange rate as well. So we'll probably charge the vehicle, but use cash elsewhere...

Re: car rental. One of the websites mentioned that TDC will exchange your rental car while on St. Kitts - you just park one at the pier in Nevis, pick up the other on St. Kitts for the day. Since we plan to visit St. Kitts at least once during our trip, this sounds like a great idea! Have any of you done that?

Mim, I will email noelauto and see what the rates are, and if he offers the same exchange. Thanks very much.

One more Q! I am really intrigued by the rail trip available on St. Kitts - I'd like to do that, wondering if any of you have tried it. It actually sounds like an old railway, refurbished perhaps for the tourist/cruise trade (don't think we can book privately unless there's no cruise ships in port). Cheesey or worthwhile - or both ?

joan is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:49 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
The website for the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is www.stkittsscenicrailway.com

You can contact them directly.

I haven't tried it and have heard mixed reviews.
lizpereira is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 08:42 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 619
We spent 7 days in Nevis is summer 2003. Rented a sedan from Noel's right from the airport upon arrivalm for $318, so $228 is reasonable for 2005. A car is a must for island exploring on Nevis. Visit the Golden Rock Estates and take the short nature trail to see the monkeys. We were required to purchase a "St. Christopher And Nevis Temporary Driver's Licence", a cost of $62.50 several years ago. Robert
Robert is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 09:22 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
An excellent web site on St. Kitts & Nevis is www.islandimage.com and www.myislands.myeyez.net

lizpereira is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:35 AM
  #12  
Sunnyboy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
To answer Joan - TDC does allow you to "swap" a rental car for a day trip to St. Kitts. Many people do it and it works out great.

I've not done the St. Kitts train but the cars are new specially designed passenger cars that travel along the existing narrow gauge tracks that run through the sugar cane fields. I've heard mixed reports about the experience mainly that it is a relatively long trip and therefore takes up precious time if you are only on-island for the day and it's a bit on the pricey side.

Regarding Credit Cards - It is now pretty standard for US credit card companies to impose a currency transaction fee on all purchases made in foreign currencies throughout the world, not just in the Caribbean. Generally speaking the fee is 3% so Joan's fee of 1% sounds like a bargain. FYI - this is not really "new" but rather the fees which use to be "hidden" are now disclosed for each transaction. It's really a case of "what the traffic will bear" - somewhat akin to ATM fees - you know the stuff that makes for humorous banking commercials.
 
Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:57 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
Be sure to post a Trip Report when you return on the various forums.

LIZ
lizpereira is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:08 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,663
Hmm...the Railway goes over 23 bridges! Now that is very tempting - I remember riding the Silverton Durango line in Colorado and I just loved it. However, it is not getting rave reviews, costs $89 pp, apparently during Oct it runs only if a cruise ship is in port. And if I already have a rental car, I guess it would be cheaper to drive ourselves around (especially compared to 2003 car rental prices, Robert - who'd have thunk it?). Heck, for $180 we could get quite a tour...we'll have to think some more.

Yes Liz I will def do a trip report! One to rival Viceroy's I hope
joan is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:33 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 22
Just got back from our honeymoon at Montpelier! I'll save all the details for a trip report soon, but just to address the car rental stuff (though others have already covered it quite well).

We had a 4x4 Suzuki Jimmy delivered to Montpelier by TDC (Thrifty) for 4 days--the final bill was $246. It was $45/day plus driver's license, tax, gas, and pick-up/drop-off. The ultra-sub-compact vehicles as you were quoted were about $30-35/day, FYI. I didn't specify what type of vehicle we wanted, Montpelier set that up. We were glad to have the 4x4 as there's no way we could've "explored" the island as we did. So, if you've got any inkling to go off the beaten path--get the 4x4.

Oh, and I did notice the Hertz office there, looked brand new.

If you have any other q's, feel free to email me: andyran26.2 at gmail dot com. Everything is still pretty fresh.

Good luck.
Andy_TN is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:59 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
Joan:

Be sure to visit Miss June's when you're in St. Kitts. www.missjunes.com and a new restaurant called Coconut Grove.
lizpereira is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:19 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,663
Liz, two of our best Caribbean memories are: Tortola, dining at Mrs. Scatliffe's home - not quite as elegant as Miss June's sounds, but fabulous food served by a wonderful woman (and her pre-teen grandson made the rum punches!) who came out of the kitchen after the meal and sang to us from the Bible. My kids still talk about her.
And, there was a restaurant in Grenada located inside an ancient home, I can't remember the name, but legend has it that the same pot of Callaloo soup was on the same stove for decades, always added to, even fed the American soldiers during the Grenada invasion. The dining room was filled with stacks of antique books and photo albums and autograph albums. It felt like you were eating inside a history book.

Anyway, we are definitely looking forward to Miss June. Will reserve before we go!
joan is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 11:45 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 43
Thanks to Joan for pointing me to this forum, I looking for some SKN "pro's" and residents to answer some specific questions about residing on Nevis. We are negotiating a purchase of an existing home but are having difficulty finding information about importing our own personal effects, household goods, our Jeep, etc. Bottom line, just what can be brought in duty free, at least the first time around? Is there a government source or bulletin that outlines the official rules?
Sunnyboy and anyothers...your assistance will be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Cheers, Richard.
Viceroy is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 12:46 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 995
Hello, basically rule of thumb is used household goods get in duty free. You can ship stuff one time and customs is there when you unpack your containter. New household items are subject to duty. You should call the Nevis Customs office, if you have not done so already. GL
MIM04 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 01:48 PM
  #20  
Ike
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 636
Seems like I usually pay about the same amount too..........I liked The Ritz Carlton Rose Hall in Jamaica, The Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas and The Ritz Carlton in Cancun. All three were spectacular. I plan to go to Cap Juluca shortly. I did not like Little Dix Bay or Caneel Bay.

Another place that opens soon is The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman.....

My wife loves the marble bathrooms and the spa's too...........
Ike is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:38 AM.