Things to see and do in St Vincent and the Grenadines
Attractions in St Vincent and the Grenadines
Visit Bequia, an island 14km (9 miles) south of St Vincent and the largest of the Grenadines. Observe Bequia's age-old traditions of boat building and fishing, largely retained due to its seclusion. In the marine park, spearfishing, snares and nets are prohibited. The islanders themselves are the world's last hand-harpooners and their activities do not affect marine stocks.
Watch men building their boats by hand in Admiralty Bay, Bequia's natural harbour and a favourite anchoring spot for yachtsmen from all over the world. The attractive region around Lower Bay has good opportunities for swimming and other watersports.
Take in the oldest Botanical Gardens in the western hemisphere, which occupy 8.1 hectares (20 acres) to the north of Kingstown, St Vincent, and contain a display of tropical trees, blossoms and plants, including a breadfruit tree descended from the original one brought to the island in 1765 by Captain Bligh.
Take in the beautiful beaches on Canouan. The island claims some of the best in the Caribbean with long stretches of powder-white sands, wide shallows and coral.
Falls of Baleine
Take a boat trip to the Falls of Baleine, at the northern tip of St Vincent. The 18m (59ft) freshwater falls stream from volcanic slopes and form a series of shallow pools at the base.
Head to the fishing villages of Questelles, Layou, Barrouallie and Châteaubelair, all of which have charming pastel-coloured cottages and excellent black-sand beaches from which fishermen set out daily in small brightly painted boats.
Visit the lively port and market town of Kingstown; the capital of St Vincent. The town contains 12 small blocks with a variety of shops and a busy dock area, which is the centre of commerce for the islands. The Saturday morning market, comprising many stalls piled high with fresh fruit and vegetables, brings everyone to town.
Mustique, a gem in the ocean taking up only 4.5 sq km (2 sq miles). Mustique is privately owned, with a landscape as gentle as its lifestyle - verdant hills roll into soft white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. This island has long been a hiding place for the rich and famous, including members of the British Royal Family.
Head to Mount Parnassus on Union Island, which soars 275m (900ft) from the sea guarding the entrance to the southern Grenadines. The 850-hectare (2,100-acre) mountainous island is fringed by superb beaches and is the stopping-off point for yachtsmen and visitors heading to some of the smaller Grenadines. Clifton Harbour, the main town, is small and commercial.
St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral
Head to the centre of Kingstown where you will find St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral. Built of grey stone, it is a graceful combination of several European architectural styles displaying Romanesque arches, gothic spires and Moorish ornamentation. Its architecture has led Kingstown to become known as the City of Arches.
Head to the numerous islets and coves of the Tobago Cays where you can see some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world. Visitors can sail, snorkel and beachcomb in complete seclusion. The only way to get here is by chartered yacht.
Hike up La Soufrière volcano (1,200m/4,000ft) in the north of St Vincent, which is popular, though strenuous. The 5km (3 mile) journey rewards you with a wonderful bird's-eye view of the crater and its islands, and all of St Vincent.
Hit the water and try some sailing, scuba diving or snorkelling on Bequiam which is encircled by gold-sand beaches, many of which disappear into coves. Lodgings vary from luxurious resort cottages to small, simple West Indian inns. Much of the nightlife centres on the hotels and beachside barbecues, invariably accompanied by a steel band.
Visit Young Island, which is only 180m (590ft) off St Vincent and rises from the sea to form a mountain blanketed with tropical foliage and blossoms. Young Island provides an excellent view of the procession of yachts sailing into the harbour of St Vincent. The entire island comprises one resort called Young Island Resort, which consists of 29 rustic cottages set on the beaches and hillsides.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist Office in the UKAddress: 10 Kensington Court, London, W8 5DL
Telephone: (020) 7937 6570.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourist Office in the USAAddress: 801 Second Avenue, 21st Floor, New York City, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 687 4981.