The 6 most beautiful places in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The 12 most popular tourist attractions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A haven for boaters, St. Vincent and the Grenadines flaunts some of the most magnificent scenery in the Caribbean. This chain of 36 emerald volcanic islands stretches south toward Grenada, with plenty of white-sand beaches and palm-lined hulks with mega-yachts alongside sailboats. Private islands abound here, many with chic resorts. Diving is excellent, and coral reefs overlook many of the beaches, with excellent snorkeling – a short splash from shore. Striking island lovers drift to these peaceful and unpretentious islands for a dose of classic Caribbean scenery, free of the cruise laps found in busy ports.

At the northern end of the archipelago, St. Vincent is home to the capital city of Kingstown , with cobblestone streets and colonial buildings, while Union Island is the southern gateway to the Grenadines. Scattered like jewels in the surrounding seas are the green islets of Bequia, Moustique, Mairo, Canoan, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent. Divers, snorkelers, boaters and beach fighters love the picture-perfect Tobago Keys , part of a marine park surrounded by coral reefs.

1 Bequia.

The second largest of the Grenadines, charming Bequia (pronounced “Beck Way”) is a popular yachting destination with a rich history of whaling. Lush hills dotted with bougainvillea fall on beaches and boat-filled bays. The island is also known for being safe and friendly. Port Elizabeth on Admiralty Bay is the main commercial center on Beccia. The path runs along the shoreline on the south side of town, passing restaurants and stores. Stop by the Bequia Maritime Museum to learn a bit about the history of the island. At the southern end of Port Elizabeth, the trail leads to the small rise of Princess Margaret Beach. Separated from this beach by a rocky outcrop, Lower Bay is another stretch of golden sand with great snorkeling.

Accommodations: Where to stay in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

2 Scuba diving and sailing in Tobago

Scuba diving and sailing in Tobago

In the southern Grenadines, Tobago Keys covers five small uninhabited islands that are now a key feature of Tobago Keys Marine Park , Protected by reefs, the beaches offer calm clear waters for swimming and snorkeling, and the surrounding coral gardens are rich with marine life. Snorkelers and divers can see sea turtles as well as stingrays, barracudas and schools of reef fish. Many boaters anchor here to fish in the crystal-clear waters and warm up on the beaches.

3 Editor’s Choice Petit St. Vincent

Petit St. Vincent Lyn Gateley / photo modified

Petit St. Vincent is a tropical fantasy. Also known as PSV, this private island is home to the boutique Petit St. Vincent Resort, one of the most popular resorts in the Caribbean, where guests settle into secluded ocean-view villas sprinkled around slopes and bays. To keep the island tranquil, there are no phones or televisions in the villas. Instead, colored flags relay messages to attentive staff. The resort covers the entire island and belongs to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio.

4 Palm Island.

Palm Island is a small piece of paradise. Home to the Palm Island Resort & Spa and a sprinkling of vacation villas, this beautiful island is named after the abundant coconut palms planted by the resort’s former owners. Five white sand beaches border the coast, with excellent snorkeling right on shore in translucent turquoise water. There is a small airport on the island, and just a short boat ride from Union Island .

5 Salt Whist Bay, Mirow.

Accessible only by boat, Mairo is a tiny island of only 2.5 square miles with one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful bays, Salt Whistle Bay , The bay is a popular spot for yachts, and its palm-lined arch of white-sand beach is great for sunbathing. Several local vendors sell souvenirs and snacks along the shore. The island’s only road leads uphill from the beach to a small village with spectacular views of the ocean and Tobago Cays , Most visitors arrive at the dock at Saline Bay.

6 La Soufrière Volcano Walking Tour

La Soufrière volcano walking tour d_pham / photo modified

One of the popular things to visit on the island of St. Vincent is a tour of the crater of La Soufrière Volcano (not to be confused with La Grande Soufrière on Guadeloupe). Rising 1,234 meters above sea level, La Soufrière is St. Vincent’s highest peak. It is still active, the last one erupting in 1979, fortunately without fatalities.

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To get to the crater, you can climb the leeward trail (six to eight hours round trip) or the easier and more popular windward trail (three to four hours round trip). Along the way, you’ll learn about uniquely adapted plants and animals and see rainforest, cloud forest and spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Once at the top, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the crater.

If you want to stay close to the volcano, the budget-friendly Richmond Vale Diving & Hiking Center offers basic accommodations and guided walks on the leeward trail that start right at the hotel.

7 Mustique

Mustique by Jason Pratt / photo modified

Exclusive Mustique is a private island and playground for celebrities, rock stars and the wealthy rich.With its own airport and general store, this five-kilometer island is home to many private villas and two luxury hotels, Firefly Mustique and The Cotton House. Coral reefs beckon just offshore, and the island’s white sand beaches provide excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Macaroni Beach is a favorite.

8 Kingstown, St. Vincent.

St. George’s Anglican Cathedral

Kingstown is the capital and main commercial center of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and several tourist attractions. The city is known for its churches. St. George’s Anglican Cathedral , an 1820 Georgian style structure decorated with stained glass windows, and the 1823 St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral Gothic spires and Romanesque columns and arches. Another popular attraction is the Botanical Gardens of St. Vincent, the oldest in the West Indies.

For great views of Kingstown and the surrounding islands, go to Fort Charlotte, high on the ridge north of town, and if you’re a nature lover, you can hike the popular Vermont Nature Trail , about 14 kilometers from Kingstown, and find the endemic St. Vincent parrot.

9 St. Vincent Botanical Gardens

St. Vincent Botanical Gardens.

Founded in 1765, the delightful St. Vincent Botanical Gardens are the oldest in the West Indies. The gardens include 20 acres of native and exotic tropical plants and trees such as hibiscus, cinnamon, nutmeg, mahogany, palms and a breadfruit tree, reputedly grown from seedlings brought to the island by Captain Bly. Bird lovers can see the endemic St. Vincent’s parrot in a small aviary on the grounds. Location: Kingstown, St. Vincent

10 Leeward Scenic Drive.

Carving along rocky peaks and scenic coastal stretches, Leeward Road is a 40-kilometer road that runs from Kingstown to Richmond Beach , along the sheltered west coast of St. Vincent. The road passes through local villages, black sand beaches, coconut plantations and some landmarks. Along the way, Caribbean Rock has a carved face dating back to 600. Many travelers also stop at Barrualle , a small fishing village with a stone altar and petroglyphs. The tradition of pilot whale hunting is still in practice.

The route ends near the black sands of Richmond Beach, a popular swimming pool. In the distance you can see La Soufrière, the active volcano and the highest peak of the island. From this part of the coastline you can walk to Ballein Falls, an 18m-high waterfall on the northwest tip of St. Vincent. Access to the falls is by boat or foot, as there are no roads in the area.

11 Canouan.

40 km south of St. Vincent, the small island of Canouan is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and excellent snorkeling. A barrier reef protects the Atlantic side of the island, and two exclusive resorts, the Pink Sands Club and Canouan Estate Villas and Residences, stretch along the northern half of the island, overlooking a highly regarded golf course.

12 Union Island.

South Island is the southern port of entry to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as a gateway for travel to the surrounding islands. The island has two main villages, Ashton as well as Clifton , Ashton is the starting point for hiking in the mountains, while Clifton is home to most of the tourist facilities, stores, restaurants, marina and airport. Two of the island’s best beaches are on the north shore at Richmond Bay as well as Belmont Bay .

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Other Must-See Islands near St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Also in the southeastern Caribbean, Grenada is known as “Spice Island” for its fragrant nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices that grow on fertile soil. Along with St. Lucia, further north, these two destinations offer an authentic Caribbean feel and lush scenery. Both are also among the best all-inclusive luxury resorts in the Caribbean. East of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados boasts historic sites honored by UNESCO and beautiful pink sand beaches. To discover other dazzling stretches of coastline and appealing tropical escapes, see our articles on Best Beaches in the Caribbean and Best Tropical Vacations.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Anthem of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a state located in the Caribbean Sea on the island of Saint Vincent and the smaller islands of the Northern Grenadines (Beccia, Mustique, Canoan, Union, etc.). The population is 109,643 (2016). The head of state is the Queen of Great Britain, represented by the Governor General. The official language is English.

The main island of the state, St. Vincent, was discovered by Columbus in 1498, on St. Vincent’s Day. The island was inhabited by the Carib Indians. The territory alternately came under the control of the French and the English, and only in 1763 became a British colony. A considerable group of black Caribs (garifs) was formed from the mix of Indians and negroes brought in to work on the plantations. Today, most of the population is black and mulatto.

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Video: St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Highlights

St. Vincent is a mountainous island of volcanic origin. A chain of old volcanoes, gradually descending, stretches from north to south. The climate of the island is tropical, trade winds. The average monthly temperature is 26 ° C. The dry season lasts from December to April. 70% of precipitation falls between May and November. The entire central part of the main island is covered with forest. St. Vincent, like the other islands, has many beautiful coves and white palm-fringed beaches. The combination of coral reefs and clear water is ideal for snorkeling. Some of the islands are privately owned.

The capital Kingstown (40 thousand inhabitants) is the main economic center of the state. There is a botanical garden, founded more than 200 years ago. It is also an important financial center, where there are many banks with tax exemptions. Agriculture specializes in the production of bananas, coconuts, and arrorut (starchy flour from the rhizomes of maranta).

Nature

St. Vincent is an island of volcanic origin. Its area is 344 square kilometers. The islands of the Grenadines archipelago are small, the largest being Bequia, Mustique, Canoan, Mero and Union. Many of the Grenadines’ islands are fringed with coral reefs. The main part of St. Vincent is occupied by mountains covered with forests. The highest point is the active volcano Soufrière (1234 m). There is a lake in its crater. Eruption Soufriere occurred in 1718, 1812, 1902 and 1979. To the south of it is a chain of gradually descending cones of extinct volcanoes. On the steep western slopes of the mountains run down to the sea streams that form beautiful waterfalls and turn after tropical showers into violent torrents. The eastern slopes are flatter, with longer, wider, and deeper rivers running through them. The island’s beaches are covered with black volcanic sand; the exception is the white sandy beaches at the southern tip of the island. The climate is tropical, trade winds, humid. Strong hurricanes are frequent. Average monthly temperatures range from 24 to 28° C. The average annual rainfall on the southeast coast is 1,500 mm, while in the interior mountainous areas it is 3,750 mm. The mountains are covered in places with dense, damp tropical forests and bushes. A rich fauna of birds (the endangered parrot Saint Vincent amazon, a rare subspecies of red-breasted hermit thrush, etc.). Coastal waters abound with fish, crustaceans and mollusks. There are several forest and ornithological zakazniks on the islands, in order to protect the nature.

Attractions .

The state’s largest city is its capital, Kingstown. The city is located on the harbor at the southwestern tip of St. Vincent Island. Since Kingstown was under British rule for a long time, its architecture is dominated by the colonial style. There are several old churches in the town: St. Mary’s, St. George, and Kingstown Methodist Church. Kingstown also has a botanical garden. This is a nursery, founded as far back as 1762, where plants from every corner of the world are collected. The complex is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Its exhibition consists of more than 450 species of tropical plants. There is also an aviary for birds, including the endangered parrot Amazons.

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North of Kingstown are the ruins of Fort Charlotte, which was built in 1806 to protect the city and harbor. It is now home to the Museum of Black Carib History.

Hiking enthusiasts can hike the Bucament-Willie-Vermont-Neiche Trail Nature Trail, which provides opportunities to wander through rainforests and watch birds. On the west shore of St. Vincent Island are the beautiful Baleyn Falls.

Cuisine

The cuisine of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is based on seafood. The main recipe on many menus here is char-grilled fish. Clams, shrimp, lobsters, and tri-tri fish, which is a local delicacy, are used in the preparation of dishes. It is cooked in a variety of ways, but always with curry and spices. In addition to seafood, local cuisine uses fruits and vegetables: sweet potatoes, arrowroot, bananas, coconuts, and breadfruit.

Also popular in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are cassava tubers. They are added to meat or fish and are also used to make “choki” tortillas by crushing and squeezing the poisonous juice through a cloth. As for drinks, tea, coffee, cocoa, and various juices are common. Rum, the basis of most cocktails, and beer are also produced on the islands.

Accommodation

Holidays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is considered elite. The islands are mostly home to four-star and five-star hotels.

Kingstown has an excellent five-star Buccament Bay Resort, which claims to be the most fashionable resort on the island. There is a soccer school and a tennis academy, private beach, fitness center, outdoor pool, golf course, kids club and spa. The cost of accommodation starts from $1,000 per day.

Another luxury hotel complex, Ruffles Resort, is located on Canoan Island. The hotel has both suites, and luxurious villas overlooking the ocean. The complex has a large number of restaurants and bars, excellent beaches and swimming pools. The hotel offers special programs for honeymooners.

Hotel complex Cotton House is located on Mustique Island, which is located 28 kilometers from St. Vincent. You can get here only by sea. Next to the modern buildings on Mustique Island, there are restored colonial-era structures. There is a spa center, tennis courts, restaurants. The complex also offers a wide range of water sports.

Among the cheaper hotels is the three-star Palm Island Resort, located on Palm Island. It has spa and fitness centers and an outdoor pool. In addition, the hotel offers services for weddings. There is also an opportunity to use the services of a babysitter if you go on vacation with your child.

Entertainment and recreation

New Year in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is celebrated on January 1. In the same month, January 22, the state celebrates Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Day. However, the highlight of the year is Carnival. It takes place from the last week of June to the end of the first week of July. The festivities include a marathon of music, costume parades, and numerous dance contests. On the eve of Christmas is the Nine Days Festival, which runs from December 16 to 24. During the festival, there are sports competitions and dance contests.

Nightlife on the islands is not too rough. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is more suited to a quiet, measured and secluded vacation. But that doesn’t mean there’s not much to do. The islands offer a wealth of activities. For example, the quiet bays of the islands attract diving enthusiasts. There are special schools that teach diving for beginners. Windsurfing and yachting are also very popular.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is ideal for beach vacations. There are white sand beaches on all the islands, and black sand beaches can be seen in the east of St. Vincent.

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Shopping

On weekdays, stores in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a lunch break lasting from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, stores and stalls operate on a reduced schedule from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Most often, tourists buy as souvenirs from the various crafts of seashells, coral, which makes and sells the local population. In addition, no traveler leaves Saint Vincent and the Grenadines without a bottle of locally produced rum.

Transportation

The largest seaport is located in Kingstown. Near the capital is the Ernos Vale International Airport. In addition, there are 5 other airports on the islands.

Rail service in the country is absent. Movement is carried out basically by cars. The total length of roads in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is 1000 kilometers. Only one third of them are paved. Tourists can rent a car. For this need to have a driving license of international standard. You can also use the services of a cab.

Communications

Telephone service in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is fairly well developed. There are pay phones almost everywhere in the country and around the world. Payment for calls from old-style pay phones is made with special coins, on newer devices – with special cards that can be purchased in supermarkets, newsstands and even pharmacies. Mobile communications are also well developed, the coverage area covers almost all islands of the state. Outages may be observed only in the sea space separating the islands and in the mountainous area in the north of St. Vincent. Internet services on the islands are developing rapidly. Internet cafes can be found on the streets of Kingstown.

Security

The crime rate in the country is quite low, but frequent pickpocketing does occur. Pickpockets mostly operate in crowded places – ports, airports, and public places.

You should not carry large sums of money and jewelry. For safety of tourists’ property all hotels have safes. No special vaccinations are required before visiting the country.

Business

Local laws allow businessmen to open up in the country of any legal form of enterprise, but in practice, foreign investors often use two legal forms – offshore trusts and international business companies. Registration procedure comes down to submission of the memorandum and articles of association to the Registration Chamber and simultaneous payment of the state duty. Registration takes 24 hours. Also in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is possible to purchase a business that is ready and in operation.

Real Estate

Due to the increasing popularity of St. Vincent and the Grenadines resorts is growing in demand for real estate on the islands.

However, potential buyers are faced with a number of protective measures imposed by the state due to the small size of the territory. Thus, to purchase real estate, foreign nationals must first obtain special permission and pay certain fees.

The most popular types of real estate are villas, located on the coast. The cost of such villas starts at $ 200,000. Apartments are less popular, but demand for them also exists. Most apartments are rented out.

Tips for the tourist

Although one goes to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a beach vacation, one must remember the rules of conduct in public places. Outside the hotel in a bathing suit is not allowed. Moreover, in such a form you are unlikely to be allowed in a good restaurant. Restaurants and hotels automatically include government tax at the rate of 7% and a service charge of 10%, so every tourist decides for himself to leave a tip.

Visa Information

Russian citizens can get visas upon arrival at the airport or immediately after arrival at the local authorities. To get the visa one must present the international passport, the air ticket (the ticket must be round trip, otherwise visa is not issued), for children under 18 and traveling with one parent must have a notarized power of attorney of the second parent, the passport of the child, if the child is over 14 years old. For children under 6 years old who are entered in the parents’ passport, a photo is enclosed.

Russian Embassy in the country is not available.

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History

By the time Europeans arrived, the islands were inhabited by Caribbean Indians. St. Vincent was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his third expedition to the New World on January 28th 1498 on St. Vincent Day, hence the name of the island. For more than two centuries, the Caribs fiercely resisted European colonization. The cannons of the Spanish coastal forts were aimed into the interior of the island as the Caribs represented the greater danger to the colonists than external enemies.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. St. Vincent alternately came under French and English control. Beginning in 1719 the French began to grow coffee, tobacco, indigo, and cotton there. Slaves from Africa were brought in to work on the plantations. As a result of mixed marriages of runaway and freed slaves with local Indians, a stratum of “dark-skinned Caribs” appeared.

The English first took possession of St. Vincent in 1763 and it became a British colony by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. In 1796 the English suppressed a revolt of black Caribs and exiled more than 5 thousand rebels to one of the islands off the coast of Honduras. In the beginning of the 19th century in St. Vincent appeared sugar cane plantations where slaves toiled. After the abolition of slavery in the British colonies (1834), emigrants from India and Portugal were brought to the islands as laborers.

In 1925, the first legislative council was created on the island, in 1951, universal suffrage was introduced, in 1969, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines received the status of “associated state” with the right of full internal self-government.

The country attained full independence on October 27, 1979 under the constitution finalized in London in September 1978. In 1979, the Labor Party, which won the parliamentary elections, formed the government. In 1984 the New Democratic Party won and its leader, James Mitchell, became Prime Minister. The party has also won elections in 1989, 1994 and 1998. On February 28, 2001, the parliament was dissolved. A month later, early parliamentary elections were held. The United Labor Party (ULP) won 12 seats and the New Democratic Party (NDP) three. The government was headed and formed by the leader of the ULP, Ralph Gonsalves.

The National Broadcasting Corporation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a government radio and television service, operates on the islands. Several newspapers and magazines are published in English. The largest newspaper is The Vincennes Weekly, founded in 1919 (circulation, 5,500 copies). The oldest publication is the government newspaper The Haverment Gazette (founded in 1868). The printed organ of the New Democratic Party is The New Times, and of the United Labor Party, The Unity.

Politics

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, led by Great Britain. A constitution has been in force since the country’s independence in 1979. Formally, the head of state is the Queen of England, represented by the Governor General. The legislative body is the House of Assembly (unicameral parliament), consisting of 15 elected deputies and 6 senators appointed by the governor general (4 – on the recommendation of the prime minister and 2 – on the recommendation of the leader of the opposition). The term of the parliament is 5 years. All citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote. Executive power is exercised by the government, headed by the prime minister, the leader of the political party that won the election, who is appointed by the governor general. The government is responsible to the House of Assembly.

The major parties are the United Labor Party and the New Democratic Party. There is also a political coalition, the United People’s Movement, which fights for democratic change and national independence. The National Labor Movement, the United Union of Workers, and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Union of Workers are all advocating for workers’ rights.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. From 1958 to 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a member of the West Indies Federation. The country has economic ties with other nations of the West Indies, and is a member of the Caribbean Community and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

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