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Nevis trip report

New york
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Nevis trip report

I just wanted to say what a wonderful time my husband and I, along with my family and friends had in Nevis. We had our wedding ceremony there, and everyone agreed it was the most fun, relaxing and beautiful wedding that they had attended. We just loved the natural beauty of the island. We will definitely return here for one of our future anniversaries!

We really enjoyed eating at Nisbet Plantation, Oualie Beach Hotel and we took all of our friends to Sunshine's for drinks and to watch the sunset one day. Only one thing struck me as a little odd. I thought beaches were public, but I definitely noticed that there was no traffic into the Four seasons beach area, and I saw two hotel employees standing near the border between Sunshine's and the resort. I kidded around with my friends and called it the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and joked about making a group dash for the other side. Actually one of my friends (who was staying with us at Nisbet for a few days and was planning to stay at the Four seasons after the wedding) wanted to see the Four seasons and also to use their restroom facility. She actually crossed the line and went in, and was followed by the employee. She went into the bathroom and when she came out, was escorted out. I guess she probably didn't have that problem later when she actually checked in as a guest in the hotel. I just thought it was a weird situation, since I always saw people visiting Nisbet Plantation beach and also Oualie's beach without being harassed or asked to leave. Are there rules in Nevis limiting people from visiting beaches that are owned by a resort?

Despite that experience, I still had a great time in Nevis.

Boston
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1. Re: Nevis trip report

dubu--

Glad you had a wonderful time.

Actually, I believe all beaches are public and all have at least one public access point. We regularly drove to the parking area near sunshines, took out our beach chairs and carried them to the middle of the "Four Season's" beach. Sitting there in our own chairs. I'm sure we looked like the riff-raff to some of the high brow Four Season's clientele. Never hasseled by anybody though. Yes, and we did use their bathroom facilities as well!

Bill

Yalesville...
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2. Re: Nevis trip report

dubu - here is some copy re: Nevis beaches:

"Nevis has many other nice beaches. All the beaches on the island are public and free".

None of the resorts actually 'own' the beach - however, the facilities built on the beach are private.

During our stay at Nisbet Plantation last week I noticed signs stating just that fact and for non-guests to respect the privacy of those staying at the resort and refrain from using the facilities.

We did see a few non-guests using the beach, some actually using the lounge chairs that were away from the main facilities - no one went after them and they were very low-key.

I guess it is different at each resort.

We too, had a great time!

Poppa

Nevis
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3. Re: Nevis trip report

It's a bit complex to explain but here goes!

Visitors sometimes have a mis-conception regarding the beaches on Nevis. Everyone assums the beaches are "public" but that's not the case. While there are some public beaches on Nevis (Parts of Pinney's Beach are public) most are actually private property.

A "beachfront" landowner (as in the case of the Four Seasons Resort or private homeowner for that matter) usually owns all beach land up to a line that runs parallel to the water's edge known legally as the "Average High Water Mark". What this means is the public only has access to a narrow strip of sand between the water's edge and the Average High Water Mark (the widith of this "strip" varies from several feet at low tide to mere inches at high tide). Theoretically, you can only access this narrow area from an adjacent public beach, by boat, by granted easement or where a public right of way crosses private land to the beach. FYI - portions of Pinney's Beach just south of the Four Seasons are public and therefore you can walk from Sunshines's along the water's edge north past the Four Seasons Resort but you have no legal right to enter the Four Seasons property, including the beach area between the Average High Water Mark and the start of the grass in front of the resort, without permission or being a resort patron. That's why your friend was followed by one of the resort employees when she went to the rest room. Four Seasons makes a concerted effort to limit non-guests from accessing its grounds or using the resort's facilities - after all their guests pay top dollar for that privilege. The Four Seasons does welcome non-guests in their various restaurants and gift shops.

The same ownership laws apply to the beaches at Oualie and Nisbet but neither of those resorts are as restrictive when it comes to non-guests so you'll find easy acces to those beaches regardless of wheter you are staying at either resort. Also as a point of information, the beach area adjacent to Nisbet Beach is a "public beach" which is why you'll saw a lot of non-resort guests there.

I hope this helps clarify your concern about what you erroroneusly thoght was a "weird situation".

Nevis
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4. Re: Nevis trip report

To BillNearBoston and Poppa - you are mistaken about all beaches being free. You can't always believe what you read in tourist publications. If you check with any local Nevis attorney you'll find the answer is as I wrote.

Boston
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5. Re: Nevis trip report

Thanks for the correction Caribsurfer! Now that I think about it I do recall there were some Four Season's signs facing the sea. Perhaps those were conveniently placed at the high water mark. If so, we were always sitting on the sea side of those signs. When we used their facilities was while we were ordering a drink or lunch so that may have made a difference as well. Thanks again for the clarification.

Yalesville...
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6. Re: Nevis trip report

CaribSurfer - thanks for the clarification - the same applies here in CT - up to the high water mark is public, but you do have to get there by one means or another.

Most local towns do mandate public access, entirely up to the individual community.

Thanks again for your insight.

Poppa

Nevis
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7. Re: Nevis trip report

Following Caribsurfer's comments the strip of land below the high water mark is in fact public. This strip can be significant. At Windward beach in the south of the island the strip between high and low tides measures closer to 60'.

Approx one year ago the Four Seasons showed their true colours by placing hundreds of tons of large rocks directly on the beach to the north of their property. These rocks cover the entire beach both above and below the high tide mark. The effect of this is to stop the general public walking along the beach past Four Seasons property and guests.

The action was illegal but as 4S are the biggest employers on the island it was ignored by the Island Administration. In September 2005 and after several rallies, protests and newspaper articles the Administration finally instructed 4S to remove the obstruction from the beach.

Sadly that request has been ignored and 10 months later the rocks are still there!

Lets hope the new Administration have some rocks too!

Nevis
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8. Re: Nevis trip report

I too hope that the new administration instucts 4 seasons to remove or push back the bolders that were placed. The main aim was to deny locals and visitors alike access to their beach front. These bolders should have been moved by now. I understand that they were to be push back at the end of the season. We are right there now. I hope the upcoming season which starts in November does not see them still there. 4 Seasons has done a lot for Nevis in terms of employment, yes, but they have also during a lapse on import rules been allowed to bring in desease to our beloved palm trees on the Pinney's beach area. It's a sorryful sight to see the dying palms! I hear they are spraying and injecting the palms on-site to protect them from the desease. The coconuts on these palms will sadly be non-edible. I wait to see what else they are allowed to get away with because of economics ! Peace

Nevis
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9. Re: Nevis trip report

I checked with a local attorney, all shorelines within 80 feet of the high tide mark are public access, getting to that 80 feet may be a problem and to do that you need to find a public right of way (they are fairly common). Land is owned from set points inland and not surveyed from the coast as it changes to frequently and the Government never loses land! Most places appreciate your patronage and welcome you to use their facilities, but you should at least buy a drink or snack to be polite if you are using their chairs or restrooms.

Nevis
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10. Re: Nevis trip report

Well, my deed clearly shows that I own up to the high water mark! When I purchased the land I had a long discussion about this very subject with my attorney.

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