Nevis

Do you need a car in Nevis?

Should you rent a car in Nevis St Kitts & Nevis > Nevis

The tiny Caribbean island of Nevis only has just the one road running around it in a full circle. I’ve completed this ring on a bicycle in around 90 minutes, whereas it takes less than an hour to drive it.

Nevis Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

James says - a few trip notes:


Yet if Nevis was a small Balearic island, you might still be tempted to get a hire car just to enjoy the beauty of it at your own pace. The reality is that you can rent a car in many places in Spain for a month for what it’s going to  cost you just to hire a car for one day in Nevis.

There are no car rental desks at the airport in Nevis, which is the other side of the island from the capital Charlestown. Here there are at least car hire services who can also offer a meet and greet service, not just at the airport, but also at the inter-island foot ferry terminal, which is right in the centre of Charlestown.


Why should you rent a car in Nevis?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Nevis?

Nevis Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

80%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€335

 #269/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €X

300/300

 

Free parking score

Total 33 - of which 25 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

76%

#32/300

 

Why do you need to rent a car on Nevis?

  • Generally, a hire car really isn’t recommended on Nevis. It’s not really worth the hassle, especially when there are plenty of taxis and tour guide services.

Why not? Visiting Nevis without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Nevis public transport quick facts

Train score

 

50%

Water travel score

50%

Overall public transport score

50%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

50%

Reasons why you don’t really need to rent a car on Nevis

  • Local licence – before you can actually drive on Nevis, you will need to apply through your rental agent for a temporary three-month local licence. That is going to set you back around East Caribbean $50 or US $24. That’s not really a big deal if you’re planning to stay here for a while, but it’s just another cost in a location where there are none of the major international car hire brands, and local hire is already very expensive.
  • There are no car rental desks at the airport in Nevis.
  • You will need to arrange car hire with a local provider, who can then arrange airport pick up.
  • None of the major international franchises have operations in Nevis.
  • Online quotes are not available, but expect to pay in excess of (US) $350 to rent a car here for one week.
  • Moreover, there really is no need to hire a car on Nevis, where there’s never a shortage of taxis to greet every arriving flight or boat. If you are arriving here by passenger ferry from Basseterre in St Kitts, then you will find that the port is right in the centre of Charlestown, and this is where buses leave for the various different parts of the island, and again, taxis are widely available

Nevis buses

The best way to get around Nevis is to do as the locals do, and take advantage of the friendly local buses. There might not be any published bus timetables, but as all the villages on the island tend to have only one or two side roads running through them which then lead onto the main island road. It’s easy enough to ask around and find out when the next bus might be likely. Buses operate on a pay-the-driver on exit basis, and you will rarely pay more than about US $1-$2 to go anywhere on the island (but carry local coins or small value notes for this).

Nevis taxis

Most local taxi drivers will also be happy to show you anywhere on the island, including a full day tour if you want.

Just make sure you confirm at the start whether you are being quoted in East Caribbean or US dollars, because there is a substantial difference between the two, even though both currencies are widely accepted (work on a basis of 3:1 when using US dollars, although the official rate is actually 2.7:1).

However, no commentary on transport Nevis would be complete if it only compared different options for getting around by motorised minibus or taxi (when actually most taxis are also minibuses as well).

Hiking on Nevis

The real beauty of Nevis can be found deep inside the island by taking a hike up towards Nevis Peak. This is best done with a local guide, who should also provide transport to the trailhead.

Even if you just want to walk around the island’s superb coastline, there’s plenty to see, and it’s easy enough to meander at your own pace, and then to return using local buses or taxis, or hitching if you prefer – as a tourist, you will find that small island Nevis is generally safe, although driving standards sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

Paradise Cycling on Nevis

To go one step better, head down to Ouallie beach. As if there aren’t enough options there for various different watersports, you can also hire a road or a mountain bicycle here and do a loop around the island or explore locally.

Do I need to rent a car on Nevis – for extended distance trips / travel off the island?

In a word, no!

If you are here for a very long period of time, then you will no doubt negotiate a car lease agreement locally. We’re mainly offering car rental advice for people spending more typical holiday / vacation periods of 3 – 14 nights. If you are visiting here from Europe, Nevis is nothing like other islands you might be used to visiting, such as the Canary Islands, where regular ferry services are available. You could easily do a “road trip” in the Canaries and visit the five main islands, driving in between the ferry ports, and continuing in a loop. The only other island you can visit from Nevis with a car is St Kitts. You can also very easily take a foot ferry to St Kitts, and then either continue from Basseterre using minibus services, or possibly rent a car there for the day.

Verdict

Do you need a car in Nevis? This Nevis car hire advice primarily focused on the island of Nevis itself, although some visitors to the island just come as a day trip from the much larger St Kitts.

If you have already picked up a rental car in St Kitts, then you can also use the Sea Bridge service to travel between the islands – this is a vehicle service which doesn’t have any connecting buses, although it’s easy enough to continue onwards on the Nevis side without a vehicle.

When looking at car rental on Nevis alone, for us the advice would be a big resounding “no”.

Ratings

Car rental in - Nevis Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Nevis?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Nevis?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Nevis?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Nevis if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Nevis if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Nevis if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

1

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Nevis?

Have you driven in Nevis? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Nevis?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

St Kitts

Should you rent a car in St Kitts?

Should you rent a car in St Kitts St Kitts & Nevis > St Kitts

This advice covers the question of car hire for both the island of St Kitts and for Nevis, although it assumes you are arriving on flights to St Kitts (Basseterre). Our separate car hire guide for Nevis just looks at that island on its own.

St Kitts Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in St Kitts?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in St Kitts?

St Kitts Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

80%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€335

 #270/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €X

300/300

 

Free parking score

Total 35 - of which 27 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

77%

#29/300

 
  • Explore at your leisure — with so much stunning scenery, a car is ideal for visiting both islands.
  • Poor public transport — buses congregate around the seafront in Basseterre, but they tend to leave when they are full, and there is no set timetable or interval.
    Also, there is no bus service out to Frigate Bay where the main Marriott resort is, nor are there any buses serving the peninsula. It is assumed that all villa users will have their own transport, but this is often not the case.
  • Sea Bridge — you can take the Sea Bridge ferry across to neighbouring Nevis and explore the island at your own leisure. Alternatively, you can park in Basseterre and use the passenger ferry – a hire car gives you the flexibility to use either option, whereas there is no public transport serving the Sea Bridge on the St Kitts site.
    Whether you bother with St Kitts car hire or not, an excursion to Nevis is highly recommended – see options for visiting Nevis without a car below.
  • Plantation Inns — both St Kitts and Nevis have a number of plantation inns which tend to be situated away from the bus routes. Wherever you are staying, these plantations are always good to visit for a meal or a very genteel afternoon tea.

Why not? Visiting St Kitts without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

St Kitts public transport quick facts

Train score

 

80%

Water travel score

70%

Overall public transport score

80%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

80%

  • Car hire cost — in our survey of car hire prices around the world for cities featured on Carornocar.com, the cost of renting a car in St Kitts is amongst the highest in the world.
  • Taxis are widely available, and are usually reasonably priced, with fixed rates to and from major locations such as the ports and airports. Always agree the price in advance, and confirm whether the quote is in local (EC) dollars or US$.
    You can charter a taxi with driver for the day, although this will be considerably more expensive than getting a hire car or just making individual taxi trips.
  • Limited road space — a car might be fine for a day tour around the island, and an additional day on Nevis, but after that you might well find that you don’t need to go that far anyway, or that you’re doing other activities which don’t need a car.
  • Local driving licence — in order to drive a car in St Kitts or in Nevis, you need to pay for local driving licence, which costs US $20. Considering that a hire car in St Kitts is expensive enough as it is, this is just an unwelcome extra cost.
  • Sugar train — step outside Robert Bradshaw airport and it almost looks like there is a station right on-site. In fact, Basseterre has the curious distinction of being the only city with a station next to the airport, but no train service to the city centre.
    This is because the sugar train is very much setup as a scenic attraction, rather than a functional line, and if you can get a booking, this really is a great ride to take, and the only one of its kind in the Caribbean (outside Cuba).
    I would like to say that the St Kitts sugar train alone is a reason not to bother with a hire car, but unfortunately despite having made several trips to the island, I’ve never yet managed to go on it.
    Running patterns are determined more by the arrival of cruise ships than by any kind of regular schedule, and then the service tends to sell out quickly to block bookings from the cruise companies, so check ahead to see if you can get on board.
  • Buses — despite local buses not running to a European style schedule, they are still a great way of getting around either island.
    All the major settlements are served, and circular trips can be done from either Basseterre in St Kitts or Charlestown in Nevis.
    Buses usually have their names in emblazoned on the front, and they can stop anywhere on the route. Payment is usually around $3 EC per trip, made at the end of the journey.
  • Town ferry — whereas the Sea Bridge is mainly a vehicle ferry, a slower but far more scenic ferry operates between Basseterre and Charlestown, catering for pedestrian traffic. This makes it easy to travel both between and around the islands by a combination of bus and ferry.
  • Cycling — despite its compact size, Nevis has established itself as a leading destination in the Caribbean for cycling, and it even hosts an annual triathlon which attracts top competitors from around the world.
    Bikes can be hired from Ouallie Beach in Nevis. You can also hire a bike and explore both islands, using either the Sea Bridge or the town ferry.
  • Walkability — the islands are generally pleasant to walk around, and there are several reasonable hotels within the town of Basseterre. Any of the sea level hotels in Nevis are easy to get to by bus.
    Real cheapskates (we know, not usually an expression you associate with travel around the Caribbean, but there are a few of us) can even walk from Robert Bradshaw airport into Basseterre.

Ratings

Car rental in - St Kitts Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in St Kitts?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in St Kitts?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in St Kitts?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in St Kitts if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in St Kitts if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in St Kitts if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

 To get the best out of both islands, a hire car is extremely useful to have. In any other destination we would say that the hire car costs are exorbitant, but nothing in the Caribbean comes cheap, so if you’re spent a fortune getting here and you want to keep things simple, a hire car is a good idea.

Verdict — yes.

Note: Very few car hire companies actually have representation at Robert Bradshaw airport in Basseterre, and there is no on-site car hire facility at Vance Amory airport in Nevis. Avis have an office in Basseterre, which is only five minutes’ drive from the airport, so it should be fairly straightforward to arrange a pickup.

Would you hire a car in St Kitts?

Have you driven in St Kitts? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in St Kitts?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: