St Vincent and Grenadines (or SVG) is a group of 32 idyllic islands and cays, located to the west of Barbados. The largest of the islands is St Vincent, a lush volcanic island, home to the country’s capital of Kingstown. Mustique is undoubtedly one of SVG’s most exclusive islands, with royalty and celebrities regularly visiting this Caribbean gem. As you would expect, the shores around SVG offer perfect opportunities for diving, snorkelling and watersports – plus there is some great island hopping to be done for those wishing to explore a little! It’s also a great destination to combine with Barbados, by doing a twin centre itinerary.
Things to see and do in St Vincent and Grenadines
Attractions: The largest of the islands, St Vincent, has the lion’s share of attractions. Wander around the cobbled streets of St Vincent’s lively capital of Kingstown for a real feel for the place, visiting pretty churches and passing arch stone doorways and historic buildings. For a great view of Kingstown, visit the historic Fort Charlotte, which sits at 600ft and offers panoramic views over the city and the bay. If you’re a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean film, make sure you visit Wallilabou, the picturesque bay, which served as the set for the movie. The drive down to the bay through the local villages also offers an interesting insight into island life. If you consider yourself to be somewhat green-fingered, a trip to the Montreal Gardens and also the Botanical Gardens in Kingstown are not to be missed. Both feature a fabulous variety of exotic plants in stunning settings. Other interesting attractions on the island include the Bat Cave, Owia Salt Pond, the Falls of Belleine (a 60ft waterfall), Black Point Tunnel and La Soufriere Volcano. On the island of Bequia, you can visit the fascinating turtle sanctuary and also take a trip to the historic Fort Hamilton. On the stunning island of Mustique, the main attraction is the beautiful beaches. Some of the jewels in the crown include; Macaroni Beach, Lagoon Beach, Cotton House Beach and Britannia bay. With so many wonderful places to explore, a spot of island hopping on a boat is a must. The most obvious focal point on an island hopping trip is the incredibly scenic Tobago Cays, which consists of 5 uninhabited islands which have excellent diving and snorkelling possibilities.
Events/festivals: In March and April, sailing fanatics will enjoy the famous Bequia Easter Regatta when world-class yachting takes place. Canouan also hosts a thrilling regatta in the month of April. In June and July, SVG hosts the liveliest event of the year: the Vincy Mas carnival. Expect colourful parades, Carnival Kings and Queens and lots of calypso music and dancing. Just before dawn over nine days in December, the streets come alive with the sounds of steel pans and other local music during the Nine Mornings Festival.
Sports: The islands of SVG are perfect for outdoor lovers with a range of sports on offer including hiking through stunning scenery, biking, diving, snorkelling and dolphin and whale-watching. The region is also a perfect place for sailing with ideal conditions, tranquil blue seas and so many wonderful islands and cays to drop anchor and explore. Golf-lovers will enjoy the Trump International 18-hole Championship golf course on the island of Canouan.
Nightlife: Throughout SVG, the nightlife tends to be confined to the hotels, but there are a few exceptions. On Mustique, the most popular night-spot is Basil’s Bar which has a reputation for attracting the celebrity-set. The Wednesday night barbeque here is the highlight of the week. On the island of St Vincent, the Aquatic Club is one of the most popular night spots and The Attic in Kingstown is also an island favourite. St Vincent also has a small casino, the Emerald Valley Hotel Casino.
Eating/Drinking: Comprising 32 islands and cays, it’s not surprising that the locals are passionate about fresh seafood and fish – and regional specialities include red snapper, kingfish, lambi (queen conch), lobster, squid and octopus. If you can, visit the town of Barrouallie on the west coast of St Vincent for a their fish festival which takes place on the first Friday of every month. Another of the region’s passions is rum. The local liquor is known as Sunset rum. The local beer, called Hairoun, is also popular tipple. The region also produces a black wine which can be used for cooking, drunk on its own or mixed with rum.
Shopping: Kingstown, St Vincent’s capital, offers the largest selection of shopping, with local markets, boutiques and duty free shopping. Popular items include straw-made items, grass rugs and other handmade souvenirs
When to go
The islands are known for their warm weather all year round, although the peak season (which sees the best of the weather) falls between January to May. July is the wettest month where rain falls on average for 26 days (in comparison to April, the driest month, which has on average 6 days’ rain fall). The hurricane season officially lasts between June and November, although, unlike other parts of the Caribbean, SVG is so far south that is often escapes many of the storms. Most of the time, the winds around SVG move at about 15 knots (or 17mph) making it ideal for sailing and fishing.
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