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.
Entertainment includes – Hotel and restaurant dining, dancing, steel band and Calypso music. A few clubs and discos offer Caribbean entertainment. Casino.
Connecting flights with international airlines Air Canada, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, JetBlue, US Airways, United Airlines and WestJet, are available at Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and Trinidad.
LIAT provide scheduled services to and from many other islands. Mustique Airways, Grenadines Airways, SVG Air, are available for charter.
Bequia: J.F. Mitchell Airport – BQU.
Canouan: Canouan Airport – CIW.
Mustique: Mustique Airport – MQS.
St. Vincent: E.T. Joshua Airport – SVD.
Union Island: Union Island Airport – UNI.
All visitors including nationals of the USA, and Canada MUST have valid passports. A return or ongoing ticket is also required. Visas are required from Nationals of the following countries before entering St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Dominican Republic, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, and China.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ sights and activities are as diverse as the destination itself.
Gospel Fest, a month long festival held in April, showcases the best Vincentian gospel artistes from various zonal preliminaries, along with performances from regional and international gospel artistes, and presentations in dance and drama.
Vincy Mas is a massive Caribbean celebration in music, dance and design, held in June/July. A premiere cultural experience where inhibitions are shed and one can enjoy a release from the daily stresses of life.
Nine Mornings is a unique Vincentian festivity associated with the Christmas season. Nine Mornings before Christmas, people awake in the early hours and participate in church services, biking, swimming and street concerts.
Diving known as the critter capital of the Caribbean
Tourist sites on St. Vincent include: Botanic Gardens. Fort Charlotte. La Soufrière Volcano. Carib Petroglyphs. Falls of Baleine. Dark View Falls. Trinity Falls. Wallilabou Falls. Montreal Gardens. Vermont Nature Trail. Owia Salt Pond. Black Point Tunnel. Belmont Lookout. Cumberland Nature Trail. Rawacou Recreation Park.
Sales Aid available: Brochures. Maps. Posters. Website and DVDs.
The annual Bequia Music Festival is a four-day musical celebration held in January, with local, regional and international performers.
Then at Easter it’s the famous sporting and tourism event – Bequia Easter Regatta. This regatta attracts boat racers from the US, UK and throughout the Caribbean.
Sites: Hamilton Battery, the newly refurbished Belmont Walkway, Bequia Maritime Museum and a Turtle Sanctuary
Commencing the last week in January, the annual Mustique Blues Festival is hosted at the renowned Basil’s Bar. This is one of the region’s most well-recognised musical events, where visitors can enjoy truly world-class performances.
World-class golf – enjoy this relaxing sport year-round at the Grenadines Estate Golf Course.
Canouan Regatta, held in May is more than boat races, it is Canouan’s ultimate cultural experience.
Canouan Carnival, an annual cultural event which takes place in July.
Mayreau’s Regatta, a five-day event in May, is launched with a fishing competition.
Sights Catholic Church, a quaint aged building that provides visitors with a panoramic view of Tobago Cays.
Horseshoe Reef – a 40 to 60 foot wall dive with fabulous colors and visibility of up to 120 feet
Sail Rock – another splendid wall dive at a depth of 60 to 80 feet
Miro Gardens – located between Tobago Cays and Mayreau this 60 foot drift dive is home to spotted eels, stingrays and manta rays.
Easterval, a cultural extravaganza of pageantry, games and fun, originated in 1966.
Sights – Happy Island, home to Happy Island Bar and Restaurant was ingenuously created by a local using conch shells
Liming – A natural part of life in St Vincent and the Grenadines. With an amazing array of untouched and incredibly peaceful spots, and a truly laid-back way of life, the beautiful beaches, “rum shacks” and stunning sunsets are the perfect environment to Lime.
In January 2013 a ‘Liming Appreciation Society’ was launched across St Vincent and the Grenadines’ social media channels. With Dr. Vince E Lime heading up the society, the group will make it their mission to truly master the art of Liming and make sure they spread the word globally. Members will be able to enter competitions, share liming stories, music, recipes and more. The society will pay homage to the art of liming, from the most chilled out hangouts, blissed out beaches, cooling cocktails to the best hammocks, the society will have it covered and encourage everyone to share their tips and experiences.
To find out more about Liming and to become a member of SVG’s Liming Appreciation Society visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Individual passports plus EC $20.00 stamp and all legal documents for divorce or death of previous spouse.
An application for a Special Marriage License should be completed after a stay of 1 day.
An additional fee of EC $500.00 is then paid to the Treasury.