Pinney's Beach Walk

With St. Kitts on the horizon, it looks more like the South Pacific than the Caribbean.

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Many islands boast of excellent beaches, but little-known Pinney's Beach definitely ranks among the best in the Caribbean. The beach begins at the comfortably old-fashioned Pinney's Beach Hotel, on the edge of Charlestown, and ends at Oualie Beach.

Time: 1 hour each way. Length: The beach is 4 miles long. At the end it joins Oualie Beach. Trailhead: The end closest to Charlestown.

Pinney's Beach is, for the most part, an undeveloped, narrow strip of sand flanked by a thick forest of magnificent, towering palms. The beach sand takes its tawny color from quartz.

The only coral beach on Nevis (at Newcastle) is the only white sand beach on the island. All the others are black volcanic sand.

Just 15 minutes down the beach is the big Four Seasons Hotel, the beginning of a mass tourist influx that will--regrettably--propel Nevis well into the 21st century and forever change the completely unspoiled Pinney's Beach.

Development was inevitable; fortunately a resort of the Four Seasons' caliber (with its 18-hole golf course) is in keeping with the island's long-established genteel character.

It's fitting and/or ironic that such a classy resort is on the beach named after Azariah Pinney, one of the Caribbean's great rags-to-riches sagas. When he arrived in Charlestown in 1685, Pinney had only the clothes one his back, 15 pounds in cash and a well-thumbed Bible; the penance for being on the wrong side in the Monmouth Rebellion.

Within 35 years, this astute businessman had developed an estate impressive enough to house the Governor General. Other generations of Pinneys expanded the successful estate and were among the West Indies' wealthiest planters.

The Oualie Beach Hotel at the end of the walk has good seafood and plenty of cold drinks.

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