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St Vincent And The Grenadines Destination Guide

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The tropical treasures of St Vincent and the Grenadines are found near St Lucia and Grenada, part of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea. This unspoiled paradise of 32 islands includes Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent, Tobago Cays, Union Island and Palm Island, each with their own unique character and magnificent beaches to discover.

Thanks to its beautiful beaches and laid-back atmosphere, St Vincent and the Grenadines is an idyllic venue for that perfect island wedding or romantic honeymoon retreat. This aura of romantic seclusion is made possible by the fact that the island chain is refreshingly free of big, crowded resorts and the trappings of rampant development – by Caribbean standards, St Vincent and the Grenadines is an undiscovered gem. Most of the population live on the largest and most developed island, St Vincent, leaving a slew of the smaller islands sparsely inhabited and blessedly unspoiled.

The varied topography of the island chain enables an exciting array of adventures, from sailing and scuba diving to hiking and horse riding on the beach. There are also a few golf courses worth swinging a club at. St Vincent offers lush rainforest, making eco-retreats and jungle adventures increasingly popular.

The island nation has a French and British colonial history; Carib Indians fought off European settlement on St Vincent until the 18th century, after which it was subjected to many years of colonial rule and slavery. On 27 October 1979, it finally became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence. Since then this lovely island nation has survived largely on its natural bounty, with agriculture the backbone of the country’s economy, and tourism attracting a steady stream of foreign admirers.

The main tourist centres in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingstown (St Vincent) and Port Elizabeth (Bequia), provide a unique insight into the culture of the island nation. Kingstown’s colourful markets and good restaurants make it a good base for hiking to La Soufriere Volcano, or exploring the filming locations from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Port Elizabeth is a sleepy seaside town with less to offer in terms of shopping and entertainment, but which provides easy access to the lovely beaches of Mustique, the historic Hamilton Fort, and the Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary.

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Ins & Outs of St. Vincent & the Grenadines

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Located in the southern Caribbean Sea, forming part of the Windward Islands, St. Vincent & the Grenadines comprises 32 islands and cays extending 72 km (45 miles) to the southwest like a kite’s tail. Mainland St. Vincent, Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, The Tobago Cays Marine Park, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent are the main islands.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form

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With more than 32 islands and cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a charming place in the Southern Caribbean. Nine of its islands are inhabited, including the main island of St. Vincent and the following Grenadines: Young Island, Union Island, Mayreau, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Petit St. Vincent, and Palm Island. This place is a great point to forget about noisy cars or even crowded shopping malls. To travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines it’s necessary to make an international connection, either by plane or by boat. Notice that many anchorages are available throughout the island. By the way, one thing you can’t forget when you travel to this place is your valid passport and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form. To apply for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form, you have to fill out an online form (you can take advantage of the one offered by iVisa.com) and follow a series of easy steps that won’t take you long. Keep in mind that you don’t have to visit the embassy or consulate to obtain this document. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is famous for its beautiful sailing destinations like Bequia Island, which is surrounded by colorful reefs and it faces Admiralty Bay, a place lined with white sand beaches. This small territory is also famous for its volcanic landscapes and the high-class private islands that can be quite peaceful every day. As you can assume by the name, the main island is Saint Vincent, and its capital is Kingstown (not to confuse with Kingston in Jamaica). This Caribbean paradise offers a mix of rainforest eco-adventures, luxury resorts, scuba diving, exotic beaches and sailing adventures. Moreover, you can explore the breathtaking Tobago Cays National Marine Park. This National Park has a famous archipelago made up of five uninhabited islands, which are: Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac, and Jamesby. In this archipelago, you can give yourself a total escape with nature everywhere, as the beaches are quite calm and peaceful, especially since they haven’t been inhabited. You can also go snorkeling or diving and appreciate the beauty of the marine fauna in the place, including beautiful sea turtles and reddish coral reefs. However, we still remind you to be careful when trying to explore the small islands in the archipelago because you shouldn’t visit them by yourself. Always make sure to explore them with proper guidance, and don’t forget to leave your documentation (your passport and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form) in a safe place to avoid losing them. As for the capital, Kingstown, it’s an excellent place to take afternoon walks and appreciate beautiful sunsets. Its name is quite popular, but for the wrong reasons, as many people confuse this city with the capital of Jamaica or believe that they are called the same. Jamaica is Kingston, while this city is Kingstown, different words at the end. In this city, you can visit the free library and the majestic Anglican Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption), which captivates due to its rocky construction of dark and impressive tones, simulating the old colonial forts. Many travelers often believe that as this region has different islets, it’s necessary to carry identification documents everywhere. But actually, it isn’t. Once you show your St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form at the port of entry and also show your valid passport, it’s no longer necessary to show these documents elsewhere. It’s recommended to keep the passport and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form at the hotel once you arrive there, this way, you can enjoy the rest of the trip with peace of mind and without fear of losing these documents. Speaking of safety, keep in mind that St Vincent and the Grenadines is a friendly Caribbean destination, and crime rates are relatively low. Most of the visits for travelers are trouble-free. However, there have been some incidents related to violent crime, including muggings, but they’ve been most common in the local community. To avoid any trouble, try to stay alert of your belongings, and try to take only the necessary in public. Another thing you should keep in mind is that theft from holiday homes and yachts does happen, but not so often. You can simply keep your doors and windows locked when you leave the accommodation, and try to keep your belongings (including the passport and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form) in a safe place, away from windows. Aside from that, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a lot to offer. We recommend you visit Union Island, the southernmost of the Grenadines. This island is only 90 km from Barbados, and from this island, you can see the mainland of Grenada. In Unión you have the opportunity to visit the cities of Clifton and Alto de la Cruz, with colorful houses and cozy alleys. This island has only 3,000 inhabitants and the official language is Spanish, although they also speak English and French. The crystal-clear waters and soft sands will be enough reason to make you stay there for at least a few hours. Another place you cannot overlook is Petit St Vincent, which is a small island that operates as an eco-friendly luxury resort. It has a lot of luxury villas, and as you can guess, it’s totally private, so you might have to pay a fee or a price to enter there. On this island, you don’t have to show your passport or the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form, but you still have to pay for the services, especially if you’re planning to stay at a resort. Once you’re there, you can enjoy the incredible landscape and calm waters. Other islands that you have to visit are Mayreau, Mopion, and Petit Tabac. All these islands have totally crystalline waters with a soft blue that mixes little by little with the intensity of the Caribbean Sea. Rest assured that you will fall in love with their beaches instantly. As a last obligatory stop, don’t forget to visit the La Soufrière volcano, but with extreme care, as this volcano is still active and its surroundings can only be accessed with the appropriate guide. You can enjoy many things in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but to do so, you must apply for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form because this document allows you to enter this territory properly. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form was created by the government to have better control of all the tourists entering the region. However, it might be necessary for the future for other circumstances, including natural disasters. We recommend you to apply for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Pre-Arrival Travel Form with iVisa.com to avoid any inconvenience when traveling to this Caribbean pearl.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines Travel Guide

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airport of St Vincent

caribbeanSt Vincent and the Grenadines was named Hairouna by its native people, meaning ‘Land of the Blessed’. With its awe-inspiring beauty spread out on land and sea over a chain of 32 islands in the Caribbean Sea, the name can still claim truth today. Over 60,000 tourists visit the islands every year, some arriving on their own boats, taking advantage of the trade winds that sweep the islands to set sail into the sunset for this truly exotic destination.

Amazing clear blue seas and marine life are a major feature of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Activities such as scuba diving are extremely popular and accessible here, as are sailing and boating. With 32 islands separated by short channels, many visitors take the opportunity to go ‘island hopping’ in the Caribbean Sea. Some of the Grenadine isles are tiny and remain largely untouched, making independent exploration of these islands an unforgettable experience.

There are several resort-style accommodations located on the larger islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, such as Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, and Union Island. The largest island, St Vincent, also offers high standard accommodation at luxurious beach locations. On some of the smaller islands in the Grenadines there are also affordable lodgings where you will be able to stay on a budget, and some islands are extremely exclusive. Wherever you go, you will always be greeted affectionately with a warm Caribbean smile. The locals are used to receiving and catering for tourists as they themselves know how attractive their country and lifestyle is.

The Tobago Cays provide a wonderful diving experience. Now a protected marine park, these five uninhabited islands are accessible only by boat. Many visitors choose to make the journey in their own boat, and you can charter a yacht in order to reach the Cays, or other options are available. On land the 3,950-foot peak of the Soufriere volcano and its surrounding rainforest presents a pleasurable experience for birders and nature hikers.

When visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines you can look forward to two distinct seasons: the wet season and the dry season. Because of the tropical climate of the region, temperatures never get too cold around the islands – although at the heightr of the rainy season (in July) the temperature get’s a little warmer. During the drier seasons, the Trade Winds keep the islands from getting blisteringly hot, maintaining the air temperature at a comfortable level. It is for this reason that the height of dry season (April) is preferred by tourists.

The main airport of St Vincent and the Grenadines is located in the nation’s capital, Kingstown, on St Vincent Island. From here it is possible to get around the island by taxi or rental car. To get to the other islands there are four airports on the larger islands of the Grenadines, where you can connect with a 30-minute maximum flight. But many people choose to take advantage of the proximity between all the islands by chartering their own yacht for the leisurely pursuit of ‘island hopping’. Otherwise there are ferry and water taxi services connecting all of the inhabited islands.

Highlights

  • Take a dive in the enticing warm tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea
  • Go island-hopping across 32 islands by chartering a yacht
  • Take advantage of the northwesterly trade winds that sweep the islands by going windsurfing
  • Explore the inland tropical rainforests on a jungle tour
  • Witness Leatherback turtles swimming in the surrounding waters of the Grenadines isles
  • Spot an array of amazingly colorful endemic species in this bird-lovers paradise
  • Go whale-watching in what is considered to be one of the finest spots in the world
  • Romance in the air? St Vincent and the Grenadines provide an unforgettable location to get married

Click here for Things To Do in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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St Vincent and the Grenadines travel guide

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St Vincent and the Grenadines travel guide

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About St Vincent and the Grenadines

Scattered across the Caribbean Sea like so many emeralds, St Vincent & the Grenadines is a glorious-looking archipelago. The country’s name makes it sound like an old soul band, and aptly there’s something timeless about the place. Lush mountain peaks, white sands, secluded coves, volcanic landscapes and spectacular coral reefs all go towards making this one of the region’s most diverse spots. For hikers, sailors and those who just fancy kicking back in wave-lapped sunshine for a week or two, it’s some proposition.

The country, which found Hollywood fame when it was used as a setting for the Pirates of the Caribbean films, is made up of 32 islands and cays. St Vincent itself is by far the largest, and has a laid-back capital city, Kingstown, to show for it. Colonial architecture, botanical gardens and a fish market are among the attractions. The latter hints at the dishes that dominate the archipelago’s food scene – fresh seafood, usually washed down with a cold Hairoun beer, is a speciality. Elsewhere on St Vincent there’s some fantastic walking to be had, most notably the trail that leads up to La Soufrière volcano.

The smaller islands that make up the Grenadines offer an even quieter pace of life. Among the most appealing spots are Bequia, which has good claim to that overused adage “the Caribbean as it used to be,” and Mustique, a long-established A-list bolthole that has welcomed the likes of Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The best way to experience the outlying islands is to hop between them by boat, and the country as a whole has near-legendary status in the yachting community. The most obvious focal point on a sailing trip is the stupendously scenic Tobago Cays, which is made up of five uninhabited islands and offers excellent potential for divers and snorkelers.

Key facts

Area:

389 sq km (150 sq miles).

Population:

109,644 (UN estimate 2016).

Government:

Constitutional monarachy.

Head of state:

Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor-General Susan Dougan since 2019.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves since 2001.

Travel Advice

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

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About The World Travel Guide

The World Travel Guide (WTG) is the flagship digital consumer brand within the Columbus Travel Media portfolio. A comprehensive guide to the world’s best travel destinations, its print heritage stretches back more than 30 years, with the online portal reaching its 20-year anniversary in 2019. Available in English, German and Spanish versions, the WTG provides detailed and accurate travel content designed to inspire global travellers. It covers all aspects, from cities to airports, cruise ports to ski and beach resorts, attractions to events, and it also includes weekly travel news, features and quizzes. Updated every day by a dedicated global editorial team, the portal logs 1 million+ unique users monthly.

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