I have always liked a challenge. On our first visit to inspect the many Nevis rentals, our wonderful host from Paradise Beach Resort which has some of the best Nevis villas, told us all about the Nevis Triathlon. My ears pricked up because I had always wanted to try a triathlon, but I am a total wimp when it comes to cold water.

The idea of competing in a triathlon where the swim begins in the amazing calm turquoise waters surrounding the beautiful island of Nevis rather than the cold waters of the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland seemed like a no-brainer to me.

1. Beautiful Turquoise Seas around Nevis

Several years later, I return to the island of Nevis in advance of the Triathlon to acclimatise.  It doesn’t take me long to realise some of the steepest and bumpiest roads in the world are here and when coupled with 30 degrees of heat and high humidity, my challenge was going to be no picnic. The thought of a bit of cold water suddenly does not seem so bad in comparison to the extreme heat of Nevis.

View of Pinney's beach and the distant hills in Nevis

2. Pinney’s Beach Nevis

First morning with great enthusiasm and excitement, I get up at 5 am to meet Reggie Douglas, my local trainer. Reggie is famous on the island. He has won the Triathlon 5 times and has also competed at some of the world’s biggest cycling challenges. We set off for a spin of the island. We get halfway up the 6 km ten-degree hill, and I’d say even Reggie, who looks quite worldly wise, was shocked with my colourful language! I turned from being a polite CEO and owner of the worlds most trusted villa rental company to a foul-mouthed fish wife. The hill in Nevis is the mother of all hills and the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike.

Alexandra and Reggie Train Before the Triathlon

3. Training with Reggie before the Triathlon

I can’t help asking myself at this point “WHAT am I doing”?  Why am I not tucked up in my gorgeous villa at the Four Seasons with its incredible view of the ocean, stunning infinity pool and super comfortable bed? I start thinking about a day relaxing on the beach, maybe a stroll to Sunshine’s for one of his famous Killer B’s followed by a snooze around our private pool listening to the birds chirping and the wild monkeys frolicking around the gardens.

A monkey playfully interlopes into the garden at a Paradise Beach Resort Villa

4. Monkey in the garden of Villa 1610

But I am nothing if determined, so I pedal on!

It’s several more days to race day at this point, and all the advice given to me is that I must taper down. I haven’t taken the tapering up very seriously, but I soon found I excelled at the tapering down!!! The tapering down involved lots of massages at the gorgeous Four Seasons spa and eating all around me in the various amazing restaurants on the island.  They call it carb loading! It is the best part!

Vic's Bar at Nevis

5. Tapering down before the Triathlon

It turns out that for a small island, Nevis has a great number of restaurants.  One of my favourites was The Barbecue night on the beach at the Nisbet Plantation House.  It is the original home of Fanny Nisbet who married Horatio Nelson on the island.

The barbecue night takes place every Thursday and coincides with the Managers cocktail party.  As soon as you step into the bar, you have a rum punch in hand.  Exactly what a serious athlete like me needs a couple of days before a race! The food is buffet style and very tasty. Afterwards, if you feel like practicing some sexy Caribbean dancing, there is a local Reggae band playing until late into the night.

Palm Trees sway in the warm tropical breeze at the Nisbet Plantation

6. Dinner at the beautiful Nisbet Plantation

Next day for lunch we tried the Golden Rock.

Golden Rock is one of the Island’s oldest plantation houses. Golden Rock is on the side of Nevis Peak amongst the verdant rainforest. It was built in 1801 and was once a thriving Sugar Estate. The gardens are stunning with tables dotting throughout the tropical shrubs and flowers.

There are ponds full of carp and mini waterfalls and sweet-smelling flowers everywhere. You can opt for a private spot to dine or be part of the main restaurant in the oldest part of the house.  The food is simple but excellent. We had the special fish and vegetable soup of the day, and it was all lovely.

Iridescent purple lillies sprout from the water feature at the Golden Rock Plantation House in Nevis

7. Golden Rock Plantation House Nevis

Part of the tapering down involved trying one of Sunshine’s Killer B’s.

I survived, but some guests did not.

The Nevetians are friendly and helpful, and assistance soon arrived to get them home! We did hear a rumour from a very good source that in high season, the Four Seasons have staff members stationed outside Sunshine’s to help escort guests home.  I tried hard to find out what Sunshine puts into his Killer B, but it seems that the only person in the world who knows is Sunshine himself.

We had a lovely meal at Turtle Time afterwards which is located right beside Sunshine’s Bar which is both a very short walk from the Four Seasons and from the best Nevis rentals.  The food is very casual and the atmosphere very relaxed. No need to dress up here.

Alexandra does her bit to rid Nevis of excess killer bees

8. Enjoying a Killer B with Sunshine

We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the nicest Nevis Villas within the Four Seasons Resort called Plumeria Villa 1610.  Plumeria Villa is in the Sunset Hill Estate which is where some of the best villas in Nevis are.  The views from here are stunning.

Plumeria. One of the Four Seasons villas in Nevis

9. Plumeria Villa 1610 at the Four Seasons Nevis

The night before the race we decided to eat in. We went into town and bought lots of Barbecue bits and pieces in Horsham Supermarket. It doesn’t have an incredible choice, but we found more or less everything we needed. We started with sunset cocktails.  Sunset water in my case! We then settled in beside our gorgeous pool.  We chose to cook ourselves but there is a host of great chefs available for guests should you prefer to relax and be pampered.

Barbecue Area at Plumeria Villa in Nevis

10. Barbecue Area at Plumeria Villa Nevis

Race morning arrives with a mixture of anxiety and determination to get to the finish line.  I am determined to do it and finish. The triathlon is very relaxed, and there is a lovely noncompetitive atmosphere which suits me just fine. Everyone is helping each other which I like. I do hear a rumour circulating that Jane Hansom is here to compete and she just happens to be a World Iron Man Champion and was most recently competing in Kona in Hawaii. I have another little moment of “WHAT am I doing?”

Alexandra and Reggie transition between race types

11. The Transition Area with Reggie

One of the nicest parts of the event is the Try a Tri.  The Try a Tri comprises a 100-meter swim, 5k cycle and a 1k run.  There are lots of children taking part in this which is lovely. I would encourage anyone with small children who like sports to give this a go. There were plenty of adults doing the Try a Tri too.

All the competitors set along to the beach at Gallows Bay in the centre of Charlestown.  Then the countdown started; three, two, one and were off.  The swim at 500 meters is not long.  It is my first time swimming with lots of people, and I find myself taking a longer route then I should to avoid the crowd and kicking.  Jane is already gone far in the distance!! From the water, we ran about 300 meters in bare feet to our bikes and the transition area.  Being inexperienced I found this bit quite hard.

A big pile of triathletes psyche themselves up for the swim

12. Gathering for the Start of the Swim

But once I got on my bike and on my way, I felt much better and much more confident.  The bike is my best bit. I love the bike. The sense of freedom you have, being so close to nature with the wind blowing in your hair is truly wonderful.  But not for long, as one kilometre into the cycling race which is one lap of the island of Nevis, you meet the mother of all hills.  It is almost 6km with much of it being at 10% gradient.  I heard someone nicknaming it the Anaconda Hill!  But again, I pedaled on and reached the top.  From there, you get a bit of a reprieve as its downhill for quite some time with a gorgeous view and the wind in your face to cool you down.

View of St Kitts across the water

13. View from the bike

31 kilometres later we are back in Charlestown in the Triathlon transition area.   Another change of shoes and off again for the run.  The run takes you to the Four seasons where many of our lovely villas in Nevis are and then back to the finish line.

The first three of the 2017 Nevis triathlon pose at the finish line

14. Neva Noone, Jane Hansom, Alexandra Baradi

Much excitement ensued then when I realised I had come third and got to stand on the podium!

What a thrill that was.

I quickly forget all the pain and the heat with the excitement. I go from saying NEVER AGAIN to when is the next one!  In second place was Neva Noone.  She is also Irish, and it was wonderful to have two Irish girls on the Podium in Nevis. The icing on the cake was to get to stand on a podium with Jane Hansom, the world champion triathlete.  It wasn’t a split section finish between her and I.  More like a split hour and some!!!

The winners of the Nevis 2017 Triathlon are presented with trophies

15. A podium Moment

 

After the race, we celebrated with some of our new-found triathlete friends at Bananas Restaurant. Bananas turn out to be a great choice.  It is a Saturday night, and there is some fabulous live jazz followed by a wonderful singer.  The atmosphere is gorgeous, and the food is delicious.

Still, in a celebratory mood, we head to Sunshines for a Killer B.  This gives us just the right amount of courage to go next door to join in the Karaoke at The Lime Bar.  The atmosphere is fabulous. One of my favourite aspects of Nevis is the fact that you get to socialise with the locals and get to experience local culture in a very relaxed and safe environment; not something that is easy to find in today’s world.

The suspiciously alien looking trophy was well worth the effort

16. The trophy!

Sunday morning which is the day after race day, we decide to go to Mango Restaurant for brunch.  Mango has the most beautiful location.  You can almost touch the sea.  The Four Seasons Resort manages Mango.  Access to the restaurant is via a private road. Our server described the food as “Tasting plates but not Tapas”.  It was all delicious and good enough for us to want to return in the evening for a more romantic atmosphere.

View across to St Kitts from Mango Restaurant

17. Dinner at Mango Restaurant


Restaurants

The rest of our wonderful stay in Nevis involved trying out more of the restaurants.   For such a small island, it has an incredible number of amazing places to eat both lunch and dinner.  One of our favourites is the Montpelier Estate.
Montpelier is one of the original plantation houses in Nevis and is now a lovely boutique Relais & Chateaux Hotel.  It is a great spot for either lunch or dinner. Lunch is around the pool with a fabulous elevated view of the sea. Dinner is in the candlelit courtyard in the original part of the premises.   For both lunch and dinner the food is simple and delicious.

Alexandra in the courtyard at the Montpellier Estate

18. Monpellier Estate


The Hermitage

Last but not least, any visit to Nevis would not be complete without a visit to The Hermitage.  The Hermitage which is now a tiny boutique hotel was one of the original plantation houses on the island. It was built in 1670 and is one of the few surviving houses from this era. It has lasted because the builders used extraordinarily durable lignum vitae timber framing. The Hermitage as well as having excellent food and gorgeous gardens is a piece of Nevis history. It is full of ancient artifacts of days gone by, but it is also where Horatio Nelson Married Fanny Nisbet in 1787. The location is stunning at the base of the Nevis Peak and rain forest. It is my firm favourite place on the island. Peaceful with stunning gardens full of hummingbirds and vibrant, sweet-smelling tropical flowers.

The pagoda at the Hermitage Hotel in Nevis

19. The Hermitage


Climbing Nevis peak

We did have one last adventure before we left Nevis which was to climb the Nevis Peak. My new-found trainer and friend Reggie from Nevis Adventure Tours brought us up. I thought because I was in peak Triathlon shape, this would be a piece of cake for me. It was far from that.

Nevis Peak from the Bottom

20. Nevis Peak

The peak is over 1000 meters in height and very steep with whole way up. There are fixed ropes, so you can pull yourself up. But despite that, we slip and slide up and down.  There are not many viewing points on the way up, but we do get an occasional glimpse which takes our breath away. The rain forest itself is truly gorgeous.  A true Tarzan-like jungle experience.

Reggie and Alexandra halfway up Nevis peak

21. Reggie and Alexandra mid-peak


Luxury Nevis Villas

Nevis is one of the most unspoiled of all the Caribbean Islands we feature and also surprisingly easy to get to. It is also the one where you will get to experience the real Caribbean culture. To top it all off, Nevis is full of beautiful luxury villas to rest your head after days spent exploring this gorgeous island, enjoying some relaxing beach time, eating in its many wonderful restaurants or having a sporting adventure. I cannot recommend this the lovely island of Nevis enough. Please do leave a comment.  We love to hear from you.  Paul is our Nevis Specialist and he will be delighted to hear from you.

About Alexandra Baradi

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2 Responses to “Nevis Villas to Triathlon”


  1. Helene

    When selling like a huckster on a sidewalk one “peddles”; when riding a bike one “pedals”. Glad you enjoyed Nevis.

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