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SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES TRAVEL GUIDE

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a southern Caribbean nation comprising a main island, St. Vincent, and a chain of smaller islands. With yacht-filled harbours, chic private isles and volcanic landscapes, it’s known for its major sailing destinations such as reef-lined Bequia Island off Admiralty Bay, bordered by white-sand beaches like Princess Margaret. The main island is home to the capital, Kingstown.

 

Although tourism and other services have been growing moderately in recent years, the economy is not well diversified. Unemployment remains high, and economic growth hinges upon seasonal variations in the agricultural and tourism sectors.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • Capital: Kingstown

  • Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

  • Area: 389 km²

  • Population: 110 210 (2018)

  • Language: English, French patois

  • Religion: Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%, Roman Catholic 13%

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POSTS ON SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

BEST TIME TO VISIT SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a tropical climate, with hot, humid conditions year-round. Historically, the dry season has been from December to May and the rainy season from June to November. However, there has been noticeable changes in this pattern over the past ten years- the rainy season now lasts from May to October.

 

The best time to visit St. Vincent & The Grenadines is May to June and November. During these shoulder months, hotels drop their rates to attract travellers. The peak season – December through April – lures European visitors with its warm and dry Caribbean temperatures. Crowds thin out and hotel prices plummet between July and October when hurricane season threatens the archipelago. No matter which month you visit, you'll find the islands' average highs hover around 30C (85F) throughout the year.

 

  • High Season (Dec–Apr) - People fleeing the northern hemisphere winter arrive in droves and prices peak. This is the Caribbean's driest time and can be cool the northern islands.
  • Shoulder (May–Jun & Nov) - The weather is good, rains are moderate throughout. Reduced visitor numbers and the best mix of affordable rates and good weather. makes this an ideal time to visit the Caribbean.
  • Low Season (Jul–Oct) - Hurricane season; the odds of being caught are small, but tropical storms are like abound. During this time room prices can be half or less than in high season and you will find eastern Caribbean’s beaches good for surfing.

BEST TIME FOR:

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines enjoys a hot, tropical climate suitable for beach going all year round. The driest and least humid months are typically from January to May, so these are best for enjoying the beaches. From June to December the rain usually falls in brief, very heavy showers as this is the hurricane season.

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SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES TRAVEL COSTS

The Caribbean is not cheap, but there are ways to get the most bang for your buck with a little forward planning and some savvy choices

 

  • Budget less than US$150 Room away from the beach: under US$100, Meal at a locally popular restaurant: US$10, Ride local buses: US$3
  • Midrange US$150–300 Double room in the action: US$200, Visit parks and beaches that are free, rent bikes or snorkel for US$10 per day Rental car for exploring: US$40 to US$60 a day.
  • Top end over US$300 - Beautiful rooms at the best resorts in high season: US$400 and over, Activities in beautiful places: US$100 and up, World-renowned meals: US$100 per person and more.

 

Here are some of the best ways to save money:

  • Travel in groups Bring your friends and other couples along with you and rent a villa.
  • Book far in advance For high season deals.
  • Book at the last minute For incredible deals as hotels dump empty rooms.
  • Follow the divers They demand great value near beautiful waters.
  • Ride buses and ferries You meet folks and may have an adventure.
  • Live like a local Save money while having a more authentic visit.
  • Travel in low season Prices can drop 40% or more.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

GETTING AROUND

The best way to get around St. Vincent & The Grenadines is by taxi. Taxis are plentiful on St. Vincent and the bigger islands, and fares are reasonable for short trips. Taking a cab is probably the easiest way to get to your hotel from St. Vincent's E.T. Joshua Airport (SVD), located a few miles southeast of Kingstown.

 

  • Renting your own set of wheels on St. Vincent, Bequia and Mustique is also an option, but it's not recommended as roads can be somewhat tough to navigate. You'll need to present a valid driver's license as well as a temporary local license, which you can pick up from at the police station on Bay Street in Kingstown or at the Revenue Office located in Port Elizabeth, Bequia. A temporary license costs EC$100 (about $40).
  • Buses are another popular means of getting around St. Vincent, Bequia and Union Island; however, they tend to be overcrowded and cramped. You'll find buses provide an easy and affordable way of getting around St. Vincent but be prepared for slow speeds and crowded conditions. Buses depart from New Kingstown Fish Market along the waterfront.
  • Taxis are available on more populated islands like St. Vincent, Bequia, Mustique and Union Islands, as well as some of the smaller isles. Taxis are not metered, so negotiate a price before hitting the road.

To get to the Grenadines, head to St. Vincent's central harbour in Kingstown, where numerous ferry companies shuttle passengers between St. Vincent and the islands daily. However, service to outer islands might be less regular. Check schedules with Bequia Express, Jaden Sun and MV Admiral.

 


REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

St Vincent and the Grenadines offer the sort of adventure that defines a Caribbean trip: hopping boats between islands ringed with untouched beaches and few other visitors. Grenada might offer the best of all worlds: gorgeous beaches, a neat little capital and a lush interior brimming with fragrant bounty. With 32 remote islands and cays boasting emerald hills, postcard-worthy harbours, and boutique hotels, this Caribbean destination makes a perfect escape.

 

Devote a few days to exploring St. Vincent, the biggest island of the chain, before sailing to Mustique, Canouan and Bequia – some of the Grenadines' finest (and exclusive) hideaways. However, exploring this quiet, less-travelled tropical paradise requires many hours in transit (there's no direct flight from the U.S.) and a chunky wallet.

 

ST VINCENT is the largest island and the hub that most travellers will pass through on their visit to St Vincent & the Grenadines. Though not uninspiring, the allure of the Grenadines pulls most visitors away from St Vincent quickly as beaches are on the average side and the frenetic pace of Kingstown and its unpolished edges can be tiresome. However, the island is wonderful for exploring and the rain forested interior offers great hiking opportunities with vast banana plantations filling the gaps for a visual spectacle.

 

Kingstown heaves and swells with a pulsing local community that bustles through its narrow streets and alleyways. Steep hills surround the town, amplifying the sounds of car horns, street vendors and the music filtering through the crowd. Rough cobblestone streets, arched stone doorways and covered walkways conjure up a Caribbean of banana boats and colonial rule. Save your beach time for the idyllic white sands of the Grenadines, but for a quick local dip, look for the narrow strips of sand amid small coves at Villa Beach.

 

The windward (east) coast of St Vincent is a mix of wave-lashed shoreline, quiet bays and small towns. The black-sand beaches meld into the banana plantations and the lush vegetation grows up into the hilly interior. As you head north, you really start to get off the beaten track. The jungle gets a bit thicker, the road a bit narrower, and towering La Soufrière volcano (4048ft) begins to dominate the skyline.

 

Continuing on you will hit Sandy Bay, a sizable village that has the island’s largest concentration of Black Caribs. North is Owia Bay and the village of Owia, where you’ll find the Salt Pond, a group of tidal pools protected from the crashing Atlantic by a massive stone shield. This is a popular swimming hole with crystal-clear waters and a view of St Lucia to the north.

 

The Leeward Highway runs north of Kingstown along St Vincent’s west coast for 25 very slow miles, ending at Richmond Beach. Offering some lovely scenery, the road climbs into the mountains as it leaves Kingstown, then winds through the hillside and back down to deeply cut coastal valleys that open to coconut plantations, fishing villages and bays lined with black-sand beaches.

 

Download map waypoints for St Vincent & the Grenadines here: KML / GPX

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

More location and points of interest are available in the above map

 

THE GRENADINES

BEQUIA (pronounced ‘beck-way’) is the most perfect island in the whole Grenadines. Stunning beaches dotting the shoreline, accommodations to fit most budgets and a slow pace of life all help to create an environment that is unforgettable. There are fine restaurants, shops that retain their local integrity and enough golden sand and blue water to keep everybody blissful.

 

The appealing little town of Port Elizabeth is little more than a line of shops rimming the beach of Admiralty Bay backed by a natural amphitheatre of green hills. The harbour is often packed with yachts from the world over. Many places are accessible on foot from Port Elizabeth. Everything else is a quick trip by minibus (EC$2 to EC$5).

 

Wandering the island enjoying the beaches is the top way to let the days slip past. Further afield, day trips to nearby islands are popular.

You don’t have to go far for great diving on Bequia – there are some top sites just on the edge of Admiralty Bay. Trips to Tobago Cays are a highlight for many. The tiny beachside community of Lower Bay has the best beach on the island: stunningly clear waters of Admiralty Bay spread out in front like a turquoise fan from a base of golden sand. It’s never crowded; vendors rent out beach chairs and there’s a couple of cute beachfront cafes.

 

MUSTIQUE is an island that offers stunning beaches and everything else you expect to find in paradise, now just add to the mix accommodations that defy description or affordability. With prices that exclude all but the super-rich, this island is the exclusive playground of the uber-affluent.

 

CANOUAN is interesting, both historically and aesthetically. This beautiful hook-shaped island has some of the most brilliant beaches in the entire Grenadines chain, and some of the most secluded hideaways too (plus one very large resort). You’ll find lovely beaches within a short walk of the tiny main town of Charlestown and the ferry dock.

 

The compact palm-covered island of MAYREAU sits just west of the Tobago Cays. With only a handful of roads, no airport and a smattering of residents, Mayreau might resemble a fabled desert isle. Stop in to the east side of the island (a 20-minute walk from the ferry dock) and you find Saltwhistle Bay. A double crescent of beautiful beaches split by a narrow palm-tree-fringed isthmus, it seems to come right out of central casting for tropical ideals.

 

UNION ISLAND is not only the southern most outpost but serves as an important transport hub to Grenada. The small port town of Clifton has a slightly rough-edged charm and you can easily spend a day wandering its short main street and the surrounding hills. It also has decent accommodations, services and just enough nightlife.

 

With five small islands ringed with coral reefs, the fabled TOBAGO CAYS offer some of the Caribbean’s best diving and snorkelling - perfectly situated in a national park and only accessible via boat on a day trip from one of the Grenadines. The snorkelling is world class and sea turtles and parrot fish are just the start of myriad species you’ll see with incredible coral abound. You can get a day trip to the Cays from any place in the Grenadines. The best operators are found on Bequia and Union Island.

WHAT TO EAT IN SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

There are some good, simple restaurants in Kingstown serving local fare. Impromptu bars rule the streets as the Saturday market wanes in the afternoon. Most hotels have good restaurants open to non-guests.


These dishes can be found across the Caribbean:

  • Callaloo - A creamy thick soup or stew blending a variety of vegetables (eg spinach, kale, onions, carrots, eggplant, garlic, okra) with coconut milk and sometimes crab or ham. The base can be spinach-like.

  • Roti - Fiery chutney sets off the curried chicken, beef, conch or vegetable fillings in these burrito-like flat-bread wraps.

  • Conch - Look for farm-raised versions as conch in the wild are endangered. This large pink mollusk is cooked with onion and spices in a stew, fried up as fritters, or sliced raw and served with a lime marinade.

 

Take time to meet the locals by doing what they do – you’ll enjoy a more affordable and authentic experience.

  • Eat at lunch wagons or stalls. The local fare is cheap and often incredibly good.

  • Drop by a local bar – often the de facto community center. Besides a drink, you’ll get all sorts of useful – or wonderfully frivolous – advice.

  • Look for community fish fries or barbecues in the Eastern Caribbean.

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WHERE TO STAY IN SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

When visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the first time, there are several areas to consider for your stay, each offering its own unique experiences. Here are some top areas to stay in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with specific accommodation suggestions for different budget ranges:


Where To Stay In Kingstown (St. Vincent):

Kingstown is the capital city of St. Vincent and serves as the main commercial and cultural center of the country.

Budget Accommodation:

  • Sunset Shores Beach Hotel: Located near Kingstown, this budget-friendly hotel offers simple rooms, a beachfront location, and easy access to the capital's attractions.

  • Mariners Hotel: Situated in Villa, just outside Kingstown, Mariners Hotel provides affordable rooms, a pool, and a restaurant with panoramic views of the ocean.

Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Rich View Hotel: A mid-range hotel located in Arnos Vale, offering comfortable rooms, a pool, and a restaurant serving local cuisine, with easy access to the airport and beaches.

  • Beachcombers Hotel: Situated near Villa Beach, this mid-range hotel features cozy rooms, a pool, and beach access, providing a relaxed atmosphere for your stay.

Luxury Accommodation:

  • Young Island Resort: Situated on a private island near Kingstown, Young Island Resort provides luxury cottages, a private beach, spa, and gourmet dining experiences.


Where To Stay In Bequia:

Bequia is the largest island in the Grenadines and is known for its charming beaches, vibrant culture, and relaxed atmosphere.

Budget Accommodation:

  • Spring Hotel Bequia: Situated in Port Elizabeth, this budget hotel provides simple rooms, a communal kitchen, and a convenient location near the ferry terminal.

Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Bequia Beach Hotel: A mid-range boutique hotel located on Friendship Beach, offering stylish rooms, pool, spa, and beachfront dining, with easy access to Port Elizabeth.

Luxury Accommodation:

  • The Liming Bequia: This luxury resort, situated on Belmont Bay, offers luxurious villas and suites, infinity pools, spa, and gourmet dining experiences overlooking the Caribbean Sea.



These are just a few suggestions, and there are many other accommodation options available in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to suit different preferences and budgets. Be sure to consider factors such as location, amenities, and guest reviews when selecting your accommodation.


Booking.com consistently return the cheapest rates for accommodation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

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