This chain of less-traveled islands lures everyone from yachties on holiday to glitzy celebrities looking for escape.
A necklace of 32 islands and cays, only nine of them inhabited, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the most popular destinations in the world for leisure sailors, who flock here for its numerous uncrowded anchorages and charming ports of call. Snorkelers and divers are drawn by this country’s many underwater attractions, especially the coral-luscious Tobago Cays…
And those who just want to get away from it all are drawn to the remote private-island resorts. Because of the many private islands, secluded black and white sand beaches and lush tropical vegetation, St. Vincent & the Grenadines seems to have been created with destination weddings, vow renewals and honeymoons in mind.
Under The Volcano
St. Vincent, “the mainland,” is almost 18 miles long and made imposing by its seething giant, La Soufrière volcano, which last erupted in 1979. Thick banks of clouds typically shroud La Soufrière, making its peak a rare sight. Guides lead hikes that wind through the surrounding forest for a close-up view.
St. Vincent’s other natural attractions include the Falls of Baleine, spectacular cascades that are accessible only by boat, and the broad and verdant valleys of the Mesopotamia region, the island’s breadbasket, with rows upon rows of banana trees.
The rugged northern portion of the island is the domain of several hundred people who trace their heritage back to the fierce Carib Amerindians who once dominated the Caribbean. Fort Charlotte, a 19th-century British battlement atop a bluff in the capital of Kingstown, features an impressive interpretive display about the Carib culture.
Downtown Kingstown is a bustling area, and visitors should see the Botanical Gardens, the oldest such gardens in the Caribbean, which were founded in 1763. Its main attraction is a breadfruit tree that was brought to the island by Capt. William Bligh after he finally completed his voyage from Tahiti after surviving the infamous mutiny aboard the Bounty.
Island After Island
Young Island: Situated on this tiny island, just 200 yards off the southern shores of the mainland (St. Vincent) is the privately owned Young Island Resort. This 35 room luxury tropical island resort has been designated a national wildlife preserve. The resort is a haven for rest and relaxation but guests can take part in a range of watersports, sailing, hiking and other activities.
Bequia: Lying just a few miles south of St. Vincent. Bequia (pronounced BEK-way), the largest of the Grenadines islands has only one real town, Port Elizabeth; it’s a charming, sleepy port of call with a pedestrian footpath that stretches around most of the bay. Shops feature the works of model shipbuilders. Among the attractions are the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary and a number of galleries and artisans’ shops. The whaling heritage runs strong on Bequia. Islanders still bring in one or two whales a year using the traditional methods involving a sailboat and a hand-thrown harpoon.
Mustique: This renowned 1,400-acre private island in the Grenadines is known as a favorite hideaway for the world’s most discerning travelers. Scattered around the island are 74 extraordinary designer villas for rent, each with its own distinctive architecture and atmosphere. The Cotton House, the only hotel on the island, is an elegant West Indian-style plantation estate with 17 luxurious guest rooms, cottages and suites, 11 of which feature private plunge pools.
Canouan: Home of Grenadines Estate Golf Club; a challenging and exhilarating Jim Fazio 18 hole championship golf course with every hole overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Deemed “Best Golf Course” (Robb Report, June 2005).
Union Island with its colorful market and mountain peaks is the ideal place for provisioning your yacht. The island also is a great jump-off point for visiting the nearby Tobago Cays.
Tobago Cays: Justly famous for its protected waters is a favourite with yachters and has been identified as a national marine park. The waters of the Tobago Cays are populated with sea turtles which provide friendly swimming companions, making the experience of swimming in the Tobago Cays a magical and memorable one.
Mayreau: Just northeast of the Tobago Cays; this tiny 1.25 sq. miles island has scarcely 300 residents, but its lovely palm-lined beach, Saltwhistle Bay is dreamy and magical.
Palm Island: 135 acres of tropical paradise; this island houses the exclusive Palm Island Resort with its huge expanse of tropical white sand beach, shaded by cooling palms.
Petite St. Vincent: Home of the ultra exclusive Petit St. Vincent (PSV) Resort; the island offers the ultimate in barefoot elegance and unobtrusive attentive service.
With the variety of islands to choose from, the islands of St. Vincent & the Grenadines are ideally suited for the digital detoxing. In 2013 St. Vincent and the Grenadines ranked in the “Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends of 2013.” This was as a result of St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ Digital Detox campaign launched in 2012, offering visitors the opportunity “to disconnect” and enjoy a ‘de-tech’ stay. Palm Island, Young Island and Petit St. Vincent all offer digital detox packages.
The Eastern Caribbean dollar is fixed to the US dollar at US$1.00 EC$2.70.
Stg, US$, traveler’s checks & major credit cards are generally accepted.
Average temperatures range from 75-87º F.
Driest season is January to April.
Rainy season is June to October.
Average rainfall: 80″ per year on the coast; 150″ per year in the interior.
220/240 Volts, 50 AC. Converters are available in hotels.
Barbados/St. Vincent: 35 mins.
Grenada/St. Vincent: 30 mins.
London/Barbados: 8 hrs. 20 mins.
Martinique/St. Vincent: 40 mins.
Miami/Barbados: 3.5 hrs.
New York/Barbados: 5 hours.
New York/St. Lucia: 5 hrs.
Puerto Rico/Canouan: 2. hrs.
St. Lucia/St. Vincent: 30 mins.
Toronto/Barbados: 6.5 hrs.
Trinidad/St. Vincent: 1 hr.