Are you in need of a well-deserved break? If so, look no further than St Vincent and The Grenadines -it’s the Caribbean, so you’re guaranteed sun, sea and sand. This picture perfect holiday destination is the amazing place to relax, rejuvenate and recharge those batteries.
A blissful paradise
A sparkling string of 32 islands freckled across the cobalt waters of the Eastern Caribbean, St Vincent and The Grenadines is a quiet paradise, where sugary white sands are shaded by emerald palms and cascading waterfalls thunder among dense jungle vegetation.
It is a haven of adventure, where visitors can hike up dramatic volcano peaks, swim among vibrant coral reefs and dine on the catch of the day and zero-kilometre produce, before retreating to their locally run and small-scale accommodation.
From island hopping to mountain biking, and immersive nature retreats to beachside sanctuaries, there are so many ways to enjoy an eco-adventure on these sun-soaked isles.
St Vincent and The Grenadines enjoys a network of hiking trails that allows guests to immerse themselves in verdant nature and vibrant culture. From the easier trails that unfurl around capital Kingstown on the mainland of St Vincent to the legendary La Soufrière, a daring hike that climbs an active volcano, there’s a route for all ability levels.
Starting from Buccament Valley, families can hike a two-mile route through bamboo, evergreen and rainforests on the Vermont Nature Trail, and perhaps see the amazing amazona guildingii parrot in the late afternoon light.
Another easier walk leads visitors towards Dark View Falls. Offering spectacular views on the way and cooling waters on arrival, it’s the ideal route for families. Adults or teenagers keen for a challenge can continue to the second of the two waterfalls for incredible views of the plunge pools and bamboo forest.
Heading out to the islands the coastal route through Tobago Cays offers further glimpses of nature, along with plenty of scenic beauty spots for a picnic.
From swimming with grazing sea turtles to exploring vibrant coral reefs, soaking up the sun in the shallows to enjoying local cuisine on the beach, a trip to St Vincent and The Grenadines offers endless aquatic adventure. In the Tobago Cays National Marine Park, visitors can dive under the surface of the crystalline waters to meet the turtles and other marine life up close, or bask on the
Meanwhile, numerous beaches steeped in pirate history await on every island, offering countless opportunities to make a splash.
A whale-watching expedition is something to be remembered for years to come, and this island nation hosts many eco-tour companies that can help this dream come true. Visitors have the chance to witness humpback whales, sperm whales and pilot whales, although the chances are higher between December and April.
Dolphin sightings are incredibly frequent, with spinner, bottlenose and common dolphins gracing the azure waters all year. To watch the elegant pods race through the water is a glimpse of magic that no visitor will ever truly forget.
Desert island adventure
Complete solitude and infinite sea views await on castaway islands, the perfect experience for any visitors who dream of adventure or are simply seeking that quiet moment away from it all. The ever-changing sandbanks on St Vincent and The Grenadines make this dream a reality, with many hotels arranging cruises to drop adventurers off at these islets with a picnic lunch.
In the southern Grenadines, the twin islets of Mopion and Punaise offer the best opportunity for a true experience of isolation, with Punaise simply a shifting pile of sand and Mopion featuring just a single thatched umbrella. It’s the perfect place for a picnic lunch and snorkelling adventure.
Parks and gardens
Fertile soils and a temperate climate lend these volcanic islands a verdant charm that tempts many tourists to visit every year. From bamboo forests to landscaped gardens, the natural landscapes are like a breath of fresh air.
At Madeira Valley Forest Park on the east side of St Vincent all funds received from admissions are reinvested in the park, preserving the coastal rainforest of the lower Massey Valley and agro-forestry in Biabou. Agricultural life can be explored in further depth on a local farming tour, including explanations of rainwater harvesting techniques and fantastic views of passion flower fields.
Visitors can also savour an elegant afternoon spent in the Montreal Garden and Botanical Gardens, where they can admire the endemic flora and landscaped terraces against a dramatic backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains. The banana plants are particularly impressive and the raised altitiude of 1,5000 feet affords wonderful views.
Diving and snorkelling in the Caribbean
If you’re wondering where to go for diving and snorkelling in the Caribbean, then you’re in luck because St Vincent and The Grenadines is the perfect place. Beneath the surface of the glistening waters are coral reefs and gardens, dramatic cliffs and caves to explore, as well as marine life ranging from turtles and tropical fish to rays, starfish and reef sharks.
Whether snorkelling from white-sand beaches or heading out in a boat for an off-shore dive there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The five islands that make up the Tobago Cays all form part of the National Marine Park that protects these waters. Four of the five islands also lie within a horseshoe-shaped reef, ensuring excellent reef diving and snorkelling excursions. Here there are abundant green turtles, with sightings almost guaranteed thanks to conservation efforts. Shallow waters make it ideal for snorkellers as well as divers, and they can expect to see angelfish and stingrays, banded butterflyfish and lobsters.
The charming island of Bequia, famed for its lost-in-time ambience, colourful buildings, green hills and white beaches, is dotted with more than 20 dive sites along its shores. Rougher seas mean the north-east coast is for more experienced divers, while Admiralty Bay promises fish and coral, as well as a wreck. For family friendly fun snorkelling from Princess Margaret Beach reveals shoals of different fish, while Spring Bay and Crescent Shore are also popular.
Offering some of the best diving in St Vincent and The Grenadines, Mustique welcomes divers of all levels. A coral reef restoration project and a coral nursery protects the reefs for generations to come, and while divers can head out to deeper waters, snorkellers can expect to see varied marine life setting off directly from the beaches. Turtles, eels, lobster and wonderful coral can be spotted easily, while Mustique is also home to four wrecks and black-tipped reef sharks.
This idyllic island is a hot spot for snorkelling and scuba diving. With a vibrant reef, which comes close to shore in the north, it is home to coral gardens, turtles, sharks and stingrays. Mayreau Gardens is considered the most beautiful attraction, a deep reef that can be reached by boat and offers drift diving as well as snorkelling to spot colourful sponges, sharks and hawksbill turtles.
In the southern Grenadines, this island offers some of the best shore snorkelling with long reefs fringing the coast and calm waters. With a small population of less than 2,000 people, it is unspoilt, mainly visited by boats during the day to explore its bays. Here snorkellers can expect to see colourful reef fish as well as brain coral and green turtles.
Offering the best shore snorkelling on the main island, with clear waters, Wallilabou Bay offers marine life that takes in moray eels, trumpetfish, damselfish and bluehead wrasse. It is also famed for its underwater landscape of steep cliffs and rock sea beds, providing a dramatic backdrop for snorkelling and diving, as well as colourful corals and sponges.
With so many islands and cays to explore, marine parks, protected reefs and a dedication to conserving the diverse marine life, St Vincent and The Grenadines, is the ideal destination for everyone from novice snorkellers to experienced divers.
The ideal yachting and sailing destination
Away from the hubbub of the Caribbean tourist spots, St Vincent and The Grenadines offers the ultimate island-hopping adventure. An arc of 32 mostly uninhabited volcanic islands within the Lesser Antilles, this Caribbean hideaway is of the world’s most desirable yachting destinations for travellers seeking the serenity of sun, sand and seclusion.
Landscapes encompass jungle-clad volcanoes, lagoons and white-sand beaches, while under the glinting Caribbean waters there are coral reefs, turtles and reef sharks to discover.
Steady winds make St Vincent and The Grenadines an ideal location to learn to sail year round and with temperatures a balmy 25 to 33 degrees centigrade its the ideal temperature for nautical pursuits.
With so many bays and beaches to explore, it is easy to find a secluded spot, and the small-scale hotels and resorts that dot the islands provide a welcome spot for lunches and dinners with sea views.
Vibrant marine life
When dropping anchor, holidaymakers can plunge right into the warm waters to enjoy excellent snorkelling and diving conditions with good visibility and dazzling marine life.
Swimming among green turtles feeding on seagrass in the secluded lagoon of Tobago Cays Marine Park is a highlight, and the reefs surrounding these virgin islands are home to everything from stingrays and butterflyfish to reef sharks and starfish.
Every sailor can find their dream beach in St Vincent and The Grenadines, there are perfect stretches of powdered white sands, or even black-sand bays. Fringed by swaying palms, lapped by calm shallow waters, they are perfect for swimming, with some offering other watersports such as kayaking, standup paddleboarding and snorkelling.
Beachfront restaurants serve up grilled catch of the day and rum punches, while other beaches are completely deserted, perfect for a castaway experience.
Nature meets culture
Mooring up in the harbours dotted throughout the nine inhabited islands, visitors can explore the riches on land as well.
Hiking trails along the volcanic peaks enthral walkers with a cacophony of birdsong beneath the canopy of majestic trees and epic views across the Caribbean Sea. There are horse riding expeditions and visits to waterfalls tucked within rich jungles, not to mention lush gardens to explore, filled with exotic species.
The still active La Soufriere Volcano on St Vincent island is a unique hiking experience, while the walk to the Dark View Waterfall includes a stop off at the Walliabou Site, where Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.
Old World port towns have retained their rustic tropical charm, populated with small hotels, beach bars and cafes. Admiralty Bay on Bequia, is known as one of the most beautiful anchorages, while capital Kingstown is famed for its colonial architecture, botanical gardens and vibrant fish market.
The perfect place to stay
Introducing the all-new Sandals Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, opening in Spring 2024. Tucked away on its own private cove and bordered by a lush forest and gently flowing river, you’ll find Sandals’ newest all-inclusive resort – the ninth Caribbean destination and the 18th Sandals resort in their portfolio.
From stunning two-storey Overwater Villas to Beachfront Butler Villas, the unique rooms and suites at Sandals Saint Vincent truly capture the natural beauty and secluded feel of the island.
Basting 12 restaurants and five bars, Sandals Saint Vincent offers everything from a dock-to-dish upscale seafood restaurant to healthy grab-and-go options like green bowls and sushi handrolls.Guests can also dive into five captivating swimming pools, including a 300-ft linear pool, and take advantage of unlimited land and water sports – all included during their stay.