A string of 32 islands in the southern Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is a place of quiet azure waters, unspoiled forests, and stunning white sand beaches. It is a destination for those seeking a truly off-the-beaten path getaway. With its casual, unpretentious authenticity, friendly people and deep wealth of natural attractions, this collection of islands and cays is a life-renewing experience. From the imposing La Soufriere volcano at 4,048 ft. to the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere, the main island of St. Vincent has so much to offer. South of St. Vincent, the Grenadines are strung across 40 miles of tranquil waters. Only eight of these islands are inhabited: Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent. For their charming remoteness, these islands have something for everyone – the family traveler, the solace and romance-seeker or the adventurous explorer. Another must-see is the Tobago Cays, a family of five sibling islands protected by a huge horseshoe reef.
Visitors will find a qualified lineup of tour operators, charter companies and dive shops ready to help coordinate itineraries. When it comes to accommodations, SVG extends a welcoming hand of inborn hospitality to just about every taste and wallet, from intimate-sized, family-owned hotels and boutique properties to private island resorts.
Sail into SVG and experience the unforgettable magic of dropping anchor in secluded bays and lagoons with turquoise seas and powder white sand beaches. A typical 1-week itinerary will cover approximately 90 miles of cruising with distances between islands ranging from two to five hours. Anchorages on the inhabited islands offer charming towns, remote villages and pristine beaches for exploring ashore. There are a number of charter companies operating out of SVG that offer bareboat charters, skippered yachts or day trips such as TMM Yacht Charters, Barefoot Yacht Charters, Sunsail, The Moorings, or Captain Yannis. Everything you need to enjoy the best vacation on board, from snorkeling equipment to fresh bed linens and boats are fully provisioned before departure according to the special requests or dietary requirements of each guest and upon request, a private chef can be hired to handle the preparation of meals. The Friendship Rose, which operates out of Bequia, is of special note. After running a ferry service for 20 years between St. Vincent and Bequia, today the 100-ft. schooner offers cruises between Bequia and the Tobago Cays, and between Bequia and Mustique, with snorkeling, diving and nature watching along the way.
Over the last three decades, Bequia Easter Regatta has grown into one of the region’s most popular small island regattas, with visitors and competitors coming from all over the world to partake in the Easter weekend’s festivities. Enthusiastic supporters and spectators gather at every available vantage point to see the boats demonstrate their legendary skill. Another annual sailing event is the Canouan Regatta, held every May-June. This festival includes boat races, sports and games, calypso competition and a beauty pageant.
Diving & Snorkeling
The diverse underwater world of SVG offers something for all levels of diving – from a resort course graduate anxious to get up close and personal with marine “critters,” to an experienced diver aspiring for the next photographic trophy. Divers will enjoy a wide range of sites – including wall, reef, wreck and “muck” dives. A few of the top sites include The Bat Cave, an exhilarating dive into an underwater fissure, Anchor Reef, one of the top 100 dive sites in the world, Layou Wall, a drift over the formations of Rock Fort, and the Capital Wrecks, the site of three more experienced wreck dives.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) high caliber of natural surroundings, essentially untouched by development, gives visitors access to the kinds of experiences that are quickly disappearing throughout the world. Hike to the top of La Soufriere volcano to encounter stunning waterfalls and scenic coastal paths. Scuba dive or snorkel over coral reefs, photograph resident critters or green turtles. Go whale and dolphin watching, explore forests in search of the endemic St. Vincent Parrot, meander through colorful tropical gardens, or dream yourself to sleep on a beautiful beach. Don't miss Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, a nursery for endangered hawksbill turtles. The creatures are nurtured for the first 18 months of life before being tagged and set free in the ocean.
Weddings & Honeymoons
From sandy white beaches, picturesque harbors, lush tropical gardens, charming island churches, or even a deserted island, SVG has much to offer for both weddings and honeymoons. There are a number of professional wedding coordinators, catering companies and photographers, along with a trusted network of reputable and reliable suppliers, whose combined experience and local knowledge ensure that the couple and their guests have ample time to relax and enjoy these lovely islands at their leisure. Due to a lack of corporate colonization and chain hotels, a destination wedding in SVG is a truly authentic and personalized experience. Couples’ every need is catered to - there is no mass wedding production set-up. The private islands, Young Island Resort, Petit St. Vincent, and Palm Island have on-site wedding planners that cater to couples every whim and offer a uniquely memorable experience. Notable photo spots include Mopion, the quintessential deserted island, is empty, save for a thatched umbrella, Tobago Cays, a horseshoe shaped reef, Saltwhistle Bay, a perfectly half-moon shaped beach, Casuarina and Macaroni Bay.
The main island of St. Vincent is home to the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere. With wide lawns, tropical flora from around the world, and historical plants like St. Vincent’s original breadfruit tree, an event here is a perfect way to infuse the ceremony with the vibrant Vincentian culture. The “Old Fort” in Bequia is another popular setting. Built in the 18th century as a defense strategy against invaders; today, it is renowned as an historic plantation, offering panoramic views of the southern Grenadines. Thirty acres of tropical gardens surround the castle-like property’s six guestrooms, all decorated with Old World charm. Couples can choose to marry at the main mansion perched above the ocean, or enjoy a sunset hilltop ceremony.