The day I got stung by a killer bee in Nevis

A week ago today, I got stung by a killer bee in Nevis. Don’t panic! My condition was not caused by contact with a honeybee or a bumblebee. Nor did it invoke any pain or allergies. In fact, it was quite a heady experience.

Killer Bee from Sunshine's Beach Bar
Killer Bee from Sunshine’s Beach Bar

Oh, how I remember that day clearly! It was near high noon and my travel companions and I sought refuge in the air-conditioned vehicle of our Nevisian host while the sun buttered the narrow road leading to the source of my “liquid affliction”.

That memorable place was Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill, a very festive yet unimposing-looking structure on Pinney’s Beach. It is arguably one of the most celebrated parcels of real estate on the island.

Entrance to Sunshine's
Entrance to Sunshine’s
View of the beach at Sunshine's
View of the beach at Sunshine’s

In case you’ve never heard about it, please pay close attention now. You cannot visit Nevis and not go to eat at Sunshine’s or sample their Killer Bee, its world-renown rum punch. The drink gradually creeps up on you but you feel fine as long as you are seated. Stand up quickly and that’s a different story. Believe me, things can get noticeably mellow from there.

Former President Bill Clinton

I am willing to guess that former US President Bill Clinton can tell you all about the fare at Sunshine’s. From all the pictures proudly displayed on its rustic drift wood walls, it is also safe to assume that Oprah, John Travolta, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Z, Beyonce and countless other celebrities can do so too.

Ellen DeGeneres standing next to Sunshine's
Ellen DeGeneres standing next to Sunshine’s
Britney Spears and a friend (or fan) at Sunshine's
Britney Spears and a friend (or fan) at Sunshine’s
John Travolta and Oprah
John Travolta and Oprah

A closely guarded recipe that was effortlessly thrown together in response to a 1995 drink competition,  the Killer Bee is now unofficially a Nevis national treasure. According to Sunshine, the basic entry requirement was it had to be “easy and reasonable” to make. A combination of white and dark rum (he won’t divulge which ones), passion fruit, nutmeg and bitters, it is one of the most potent rum punches you’ll sample anywhere.

The food is fantastic too! We had sampler plates of the fresh tuna, grouper, lobster, ribs and one of the most tantalizing garden salads that I’ve ever tasted – mango cutlets included.

Some of the most tender ribs I have ever tasted
Succulent and tender ribs
The lobster at Sunshine's is divine!
The lobster at Sunshine’s is divine!
Fresh grouper
Fresh grouper
Salad at Sunshine's
Salad at Sunshine’s

And nothing can compare to the size and magnetism of Sunshine’s personality. He is the owner after who the bar is named. As soon as we exited the SUV and walked up to the entrance, the legend himself met us on the top step with an effusive smile and firm handshake .

“Hello, I am Sunshine“, were the first words he said. After that, his aura took over and it silently screamed ‘warmth’ and ‘a genuine love of people’.

Sunshine and me
Sunshine and me. Wonder if I’ll ever make his wall? (Giggle)

With that megawatt presence, it’s clear how he got that name. The rest – his business acumen and sustained success in spite of numerous odds –  is now well-documented history.

Go visit with him when you can.


Four great beach bars in the Bahamas Out Islands

The 120-mile long chain of islands and cays scattered in the northern part of the Bahamas could be the reason the Abacos is a boater’s paradise. But just as easily,the blatant lack of hustle and bustle and the sheer luxury of non-existent deadlines could hold the larger appeal.

Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that where men go beer, rum and other adult beverages often follow. Simply translated that means the area is brimming with great bars; there is one almost at every ferry or dinghy stop.

Now THAT is a rum list!
Now THAT is a rum list! (Cracker P’s)

If you ever have reason to visit the Out Islands of the Bahamas, I recommend that you visit at least one of these four beach bars:

Cracker P’s Bar and Grill on Lubbers Quarters.

Cracker P's
Cracker P’s

You pull up to the dock and walk directly into an indoor/outdoor space that vibrates with positive energy. Perhaps the only thing more expansive than the panoramic views and the bar itself is the owner’s engaging personality. Patrick and his wife, Linda, and their staff make you feel at home from the get-go. The bar has an extensive rum list, a specially crafted hot sauce, and a casual menu chock-full of seafood options. You simply must try the cheesy fish dip! Even my hips will tell you it’s sinfully good. And ask about their legendary Full Moon Parties. I heard they are not to be missed.

Curly Tails in Marsh Harbor.

Curly Tails Beach Bar
Curly Tails Beach Bar

This spot is a great place to unwind, meet up with friends and enjoy some libations and food while you bask in the view or wait for the ferry to Great Guana Cay. It is a casually chic hangout that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and they have a wide selection of fine wines, premium liquors and beers. Try their conch fritters or grouper burger, and look around for the fast-moving curly tail lizards for which the bar got its name.

Nipper’s is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

NIpper's Beach Bar
NIpper’s Beach Bar

It is a colorful and vibrant bar in Guana Cay that sits atop a sand cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Locals and visitors converge there for the weekly pig roast and to sip some of the best frozen drinks you’ll find anywhere. If you go on Sunday, expect a crowd and be prepared to have fun. It gets loud, and sometimes a little crazy so no party poopers are allowed.

Snappas Chill and Grill is a great spot for cocktails.

The sunset at Snappas
The sunset at Snappas

It has a relaxing atmosphere and friendly staff, and it’s right on the water. I watched the sunset from there on the second night of my trip and it was simply breathtaking. They offer daily Happy Hour specials from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays.


Note: A version of this post originally appeared on TravelDudes.org as I am one of the many contributors to the site. Check it out.