Hiking to Nevis Peak Summit, the Ultimate Challenge for Island AdventurersBy Yined Ramírez Hendrix
It’s an inevitable sight to behold. Its presence alone commands attention and admiration. On occasion it’s only partially seen and that adds to its mystery. We’re referring to the Nevis Peak, the summit of the small Caribbean island with the same name—always majestically dominating the scene.
Nevis, the little sister of neighboring St. Kitts, is one of the best preserved islands in the Caribbean and renowned for its crystal clear waters and lush greenery. Its serene beaches invite respite or exploration via idyllic boat rides. However, a volcano (presumed asleep) rests right in the center of this homeland and offers a very challenging physical experience. Those who wish to challenge their fitness routine should consider climbing—yes, climbing—the Nevis Peak, most definitely not a simple stroll through nature.
The sun can strike down hard on the shore, illuminating the beaches, while the peak can be hidden behind thick clouds. On his second trip to this continent, the explorer Christopher Columbus named the island Nieves (Snow) because he thought the summit was covered with snow, despite the tropical climate. With a simple glance after the clouds clear, visitors can view the top of the mountain at a height of 3,232 feet.
The Nevis Challenge
People who wish to climb the Nevis Peak should have at least a decent level of daily physical activity. A guide is essential for the climb as the jungle is dense and the trails are very rustic—some sections are defined by old ropes or even roots.
Sunrise Tours has been running these types of adventures since 1990 and their guides are very familiar with the area. Expert guidance offers the extra benefit of identifying native fauna and flora such as green monkeys and fruit trees along the way. On occasion, when there are stretches with a lot of shade, fluttering bats can be seen.
The climb can take about two hours so it’s essential to stay hydrated and very important to carry water in a backpack. With weather changes highly probable, there is likely to be slippery mud. Slopes, dips and narrow passages will test your balance and determination. Take advantage of every flat point to observe the landscape and rest for a few moments. There are no guarantees once you’ve reached the apex.
After the climb you could observe the capital of Charlestown, the mountain’s green foliage and be charmed by the blue of the sea. But if it’s cloudy, you might not see much more than the volcano’s fumes. At least your name will be engraved in the guestbook—stored in a box—at the summit as well as capturing photographic evidence of your achievement.
If you thought the descent would be easier, remember that much of the route is steep. The climb is challenging, but the return takes equal effort and climbers will need to pay close attention. Get ready to rappel or even descend in a sitting position part of the way down.
Time for a Reward
Since this activity will take up to half-a-day, follow it with a visit to the thermal pools in the village, Bath, located very close to the capital. These baths with therapeutic properties have been used for centuries and are free to the public.
After all the physical effort, a dip in a therapeutic bath will be a good way to renew your energy. Thermal baths are very popular with locals and many visit them daily. Take good care, however, the water can reach a temperature of 108°F and some may not be able to handle the heat past their knees.
And as if the magnificent summit views and the hot springs were not enough, there are even more rewards. Your sore muscles and your adventurous spirit will be satiated with a refreshing Killer Bee, a famous drink at the ultra-popular Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill.
This drink consisting of rum, passion fruit, black pepper and nutmeg has made this beach bar one of the most visited on the island. Its dreamy location on Pinney’s Beach is perfect for watching the sunset.
Here, there is always an ambient vibe and its friendly owner, Llewellyn “Sunshine” Caines, usually greets the diners personally. In addition to its signature drink, the place is well known for its seafood dishes and chicken jerky.