Monday, February 22, 2010

Thoughts on Nevis

While biking around Nevis, I had some thoughts on the island. It's a special place, relatively unspoiled by development foisted upon a lot of the Caribbean. Part of the reason is difficulty in getting there. There is no scheduled airline service directly from the USA or Western Europe. Large commercial planes and cruise ships go to nearby St. Kitts instead. The runway is long enough for turboprops and small jets but not long enough for common carrier planes like Boeing, Airbus or even Bombardier and Embraer RJs. There are no casinos or other man-made significant attractions.

Instead there is natural beauty of the volcano, the rain forest and the sea.

NASCAR enthusiasts would love the place since there is a single ring road, driving British on the left side, so one can go fast and turn left all day long (If the runway is closed, there's always the private drag strip on the east side of the island. Strangely, this isn't mentioned in any of the tourist guides).

Literacy is 98%, which is better than Israel and Greece (source). While the beaches are not in the top ten of the Caribbean, they are still far better than almost anywhere in the US or Canada.

The food at the Nisbet Plantation was excellent, far exceeding our expectations. Michael Pollan would approve as most of the ingredients were grown locally on the island. The fish and seafood was caught daily - we could see the boats going out. The roads are lined with goats and chickens - to the point that as a driver one wishes they did not have so much free range. One caveat: if you see lamb stew on the menu, it's likely goat, not lamb.

A 12 year old friend of ours stayed on the island a year ago and hated it. "There was no wifi [at the time] and no TV." That's a feature, not a bug.

There aren't that many places like this left to visit. Enjoy them while you can.

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