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St. Vincent & The Grenadines: Travel Guide and What to Expect

looking out to sea from St Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines are 32 islands located in the southern Caribbean. The main island, St. Vincent, is only 16 miles long and a little over 9 miles wide. The main island is also volcanic and quite mountainous. These islands offer eco-adventures like hiking, swimming, and camping, scuba diving, yachting, sailing, paddle boarding, and so much more! See my travel stories about St. Vincent here and here.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
Facts and Figures

Capital: Kingstown

Population: About 110,000

Official Language: English

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC), although some places will also accept US dollars. Check the exchange rates with your local currency.

Time zone: GMT -4

Telephone: The country code for SVG is +1784

Visa: No visa is required for most countries, but check with your government.

Interesting rule: Visitors to St. Vincent may not bring or wear any camouflage clothing.

Weather

Tropical climate, which means hot and humid for most of the year. From the official website: “We enjoy a tropical climate with the hottest and most humid months between June and September when temperatures reach an average high of 30°C (86°F). The most popular months to visit are between December and May when the climate is more comfortable, though trade winds provide a welcome breeze all year round. The driest months are between January and May and the wettest month is July. There is a theoretical risk of hurricanes between July and November though they usually pass to the north of our islands.”

View of Kingstown, St Vincent from the harbor

Getting to St. Vincent

The T. Joshua Airport on St. Vincent is the major airport that the islands share. Many flights will stop in Barbados or Trinidad so that you enter the island on a smaller plane. You can also arrive by cruise ship or boat.

Health and safety

The emergency number in St. Vincent is 911. Make sure you have travel health insurance, you may need to be evacuated off the island in the event of a serious sickness or injury. Avoid getting bitten by mosquitos by wearing bug spray, covering up with clothing at night, and avoiding puddles and other still water. Crime is a problem on St. Vincent so don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry around a lot of cash. Make sure your accomdation is secure when you turn in for the night.

St. Vincent police station in Kingstown

Where to stay

There are now a ton of AirBnbs around St. Vincent and the Grenadines catering to all budgets. Staying on the main island can be very affordable, although there are some more expensive full-service options for visitors looking to splurge.

Food and drink

The national dish of St. Vincent is roasted breadfruit & fried jackfish. Some of the staples of Vincentian cuisine include arrowroot, bananas, sweet potatoes, salted fish, queen conch, lobster, curried goat, callaloo soup, and lots of varieties of locally-caught fish: mahi mahi, tuna, bonito, kingfish, jackfish, snapper, flying fish and marlin. A local beer called Hairoun is made on the island, as well as a sweet punch made with local Sunset Rum. Take a Vincentian cooking lesson with a local and learn to cook Callaloo Soup with a Lonely Planet guide. 

tree with two large breadfruit

Activities

There are a ton of activities to be found on St. Vincent and its many islands. Try hiking the main island’s volcano, swimming off one of the many beautiful beaches, snorkeling with adorable green sea turtles, or try your hand at sailing. Many of the activities are outdoors and run year-round in the tropical climate. There are nature trails, waterfalls, and even botanical gardens to explore for the less adventurous types. There is also golf and tennis offered from various higher-end resorts.

sea turtle swimming underwater

Volcanoes

There are alert systems in place to warn residents and visitors of incoming volcanic activity. Listen to the local government recommendations in the event of an eruption.

La Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent
Photo by David Stanley

La Soufrière Volcano

See my post to read about my experience hiking this volcano in 2008. The trails begin about a 45 min to 1-hour drive outside of Kingstown. La Soufrière is St. Vincent’s highest point at 4049 feet, as well as volcano taking up a large portion of the island’s landmass. It last erupted in 1979 and is due to erupt again in the next decade or so. La Soufrière is French for “sulfur outlet” and there are many volcanoes in the Caribbean bearing the same name. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the crater, and another one to two hours to return down to the bottom. There are multiple tours available, and I recommend hiring a professional guide to help you navigate the often confusing trails. I recommend finding an experienced tour group in advance, such as the La Soufriere Volcano Hike with Fraser’s Taxi and Tours.

looking down into the volcano's crater

Wallilabou Bay

This little bay is famous for being a Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl film location. It’s a 30-minute drive from Kingstown. There are a few preserved props still in the area, as well as a pirate-themed bar and restaurant near the site. Try the Pirates and Beach Tour with Detention Tours.

View of Kingstown from Fort Charlotte, St. Vincent
Photo by David Stanley

Fort Charlotte

Fort Charlotte was built by the British during the colonial era in the 19th century, and it sits 600 feet above the harbor of Kingstown and offers beautiful, sweeping views of the city. You can see the nearby islands of Bequia, a few of the Grenadines, and even Granada on a clear day if you bring binoculars. I was fascinated to find out that at one point the fort held a leper’s colony, and you can still see the ruins of a leper’s bath near the sea below. There is no entrance fee to enter the fort as of 2020. 

view of Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Bequia

The small island of Bequia is a 45-minute ferry ride from Kingstown, and you can buy tickets beforehand or on the ferry itself. It is the second largest island of the Grenadines, with many beautiful beaches surrounded by beautiful bays and harbors where you can dock. 

Admiralty Bay and Bequia

Mustique

Mustique is a privately owned island for the rich and famous. There is a tiny airport for small jets and charter flights. You’ll often see world-class yachts and giant sailboats anchored around this tiny island.

boats at anchor on Mustique beach

Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays are uninhabited, pristine little islands surrounded by crystal clear ocean. Join a charter boat to snorkel or scuba dive here and to see green sea turtles and all kinds of fish. Scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean films were filmed here.

Tobago cays in the Grenadines
bright blue ocean around tobago cays

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