Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Travel Guide
The first view you get of St Vincent and the Grenadines will probably be from the air, as most visitors arrive in a propeller plane. Seeing the white, gold and black sand beaches spread out before you is the perfect way to start a vacation.
Many of the islands are complete resorts in themselves. All you have to do is find a yacht to take you there and then sit back and enjoy the lush volcanic scenery, blossom and blue waters. In fact, yachting is one of the main pastimes, and St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the world’s most enticing places to learn to sail, which could be your passport to handfuls of lush, volcanic islands encircled by fabulous coral reefs and cooled by a perpetual trade winds.
Why You Should Go
What’s Cool: Calypso and steel drum bands, dancing in the street, cool breezes, coral reefs, pulling your yacht up at a deserted island.
What’s Not: Crowded buses, lack of public transportation in the evenings and on Sundays, danger of hurricanes.
When to Go
Warm and tropical all year around, you’ll probably find June and July the hottest months and December and January the busiest.
Getting There & Away
To get to St Vincent and the Grenadines, most visitors take a propeller plane from another Caribbean country such as Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia or Trinidad and Tobago. Several airlines make the trip. Cruise ships often stop on St Vincent and the Grenadines and there are several international ports if you are arriving by sea. It is easy to charter a yacht, and if you haven’t sailed before, a crew. Boat is by far the best way to get around the islands and if you’re fearful of renting your own craft, ferries ply the waters on a fairly regular basis.
Health & Safety
St Vincent and the Grenadines are fairly low risk in terms of crime and safety. Kingston has a very low crime rate and tourists don’t often have problems here. Unless you’re planning to stay for a long time, it’s probably best to stick with bottled water on your trip to avoid the possibility of an upset stomach from the tap water. If you do need a doctor, Kingston has the only major hospital on the islands.
Food & Hospitality
Fresh seafood and vegetables are the usual ingredients in the traditional West Indian cuisine of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Lobster and conch are some of the more delicious specialties. Local rum is served up in tasty punches made with exotic fruit juice and ice. Some islands, like Young Island, are entirely taken up with resorts where you can stay in seclusion and style. That being said, there are plenty of mid-range hotels and cozy guesthouses among beach locations.
One week is the minimum you can spend here to enjoy some of the highlights.
- One day in Kingston.
- One day on Fort Duvernette Island.
- One week on Bequia.
- Three days on Mustique.
- Two days in the Tobago Cays.
- A daytrip to the Falls of Baleine.
- Two days on Canouan.
Kingstown: the capital of St Vincent is a lively place, particularly when everyone comes to town on Saturday morning to attend the market.
Bequia: is the largest island of the Grenadines and home to Admiralty Bay, a favorite spot for yachters. With gold-sand beaches, great diving and snorkeling, and traditional fishing still practiced, its no wonder most people end up spending time here.
Fort Duvernette Island: at the top of the island you’ll find some old cannons, circling ospreys and excellent views of the yachts on the water below.
Mustique: the white-sand beaches and azure waters of this privately owned island have attracted members of the British Royal family.
Canouan: likes to boast that it has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Tobago Cays: the only way to get to these amazing coral reefs and deserted beaches is by charted yacht.
Falls of Baleine: you’ll have to take a boat to visit these 60 foot falls, but they are a great location for an afternoon of swimming and picnicking.
Sailing: probably the most popular pastime in the area, there are an abundance of yachts to rent which come with or without a crew.
Diving and snorkeling: black coral, antique liquor bottles and scores of seahorses are visible under the waves off the islands’ shores.
Hiking: the popular route up the 4,000 foot Soufrière volcano can be quite difficult, but there are plenty of rainforest walks for the less practiced hiker.
Cultural sightseeing: explore the islands’ churches and cathedrals, Fort Charlotte and Kingston Market.
Festivals & Events
People on St Vincent and the Grenadines celebrate with Calypso, steel drum bands, bright colors and dancing in the street.
March: you have to wonder what anyone on the islands has to sing the blues about, but the rhythms are sure to get you moving at the Blues and Rhythms Festival.
April/May: Easter Regatta and Big Drum Festival is when yachters have to vie for attention with a Calypso competition and the traditional African and French Big Drum Dance which closes the festival.
June/July: groups of up to 150 people compete in the street for best costume and best band with Calypso and steel drum beats in the air at Carnivale.
December: Christmas festivities begin nine days before Christmas and include races, music in the streets and carol singing.