Constitutional monarachy. Gained independence from the UK in 1979.
Head of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor General Frederick Ballantyne since 2002.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves since March 2001.
220/240 volts AC, 50Hz (except Petit St Vincent which has 110 volts AC, 60Hz).
St Vincent, like all the Windward Islands, is a staggering vista of contrasts where lush mountain peaks sit alongside striking volcanic black-sand beaches. The Grenadines are equally stunning, with secluded coves, spectacular coral reefs, rainforest hiking and superb sailing conditions being among the main tourist attractions.
With 32 islands to choose from there are plenty of white-sand expanses and crystal-clear waters in which to find some solitude and tranquility. Those looking for more activity should head to the capital of Kingstown on St Vincent, with its colonial architecture and buzzing vibe.
The smaller islands that make up the Grenadines offer a quieter pace of life, whether it's on the budget-kind island of Bequia to the luxurious hideaways of Mustique. The best way to experience the stunning islands is to hop between them by boat, discovering remote coves that were once the stomping ground of pirates and are now the setting for the swash-buckling antics of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Most visits to St Vincent and the Grenadines are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Violent crime is a problem within local communities, and can occasionally affect tourists. Crimes include muggings, and thefts from hotels, holiday homes and in particular, yachts.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: