Introducing the Grenadines
Discover the Grenadines on a honeymoon or romantic getaway holiday. Stay in a charming inn or exclusive resort on one of these gorgeous islands, known for great sailing, a choice of magnificent white- and golden-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
Alternatively, charter a bare-boat yacht or a crewed vessel to explore this idyllic 65km-long necklace of mainly small and hilly islands and coral cays. Discover secluded coves edged by palm-fringed white-sand beaches, while inland, find rainforest-covered hillsides that are perfect for both short strolls and challenging hikes.
The Grenadines are comprised of roughly 30 islands and cays stretching south from St Vincent, which include mainly inhabited islands, including the following.
Discover green hills, quiet lagoons, pristine coral reefs and unspoiled white-sand beaches in the largest (18km2) and most northerly of the Grenadines. Bequia is just 14km south of St Vincent – perfect for a day trip or longer stay. Unwind on the palm-fringed white sands of Friendship, Industry and Lower bays, with good swimming and snorkelling.
See endangered hawksbill turtle hatchlings close-up at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on Park Beach. Watch craftspeople continue age-old traditions of boat building near the main harbour village of Port Elizabeth and spy the occasional whaler setting out from here in wooden boats with harpoons.
While spear fishing and nets are prohibited in the marine park, the islanders themselves are the world's last hand-harpooners; their limited activities have no affect on marine stocks. Port Elizabeth is well known for its safe and picturesque anchorage of Admiralty Bay, a haven in the 17th century for the navies of England, France and Spain, as well as pirates. Today the bay is a favourite yachting anchorage.
Accommodation on Bequia varies from luxurious resort cottages to cosy West Indian-style inns. Consider staying at: the Frangipani, a comfortable inn overlooking Admiralty Bay; the stylish Friendship Bay Resort, nestled in 5ha of tropical gardens metres away from the white-sand beach at Friendship Cove; or the Old Fort Villa, a romantic boutique hotel set on a cliff top with panoramic views.
Rub shoulders with the rich and famous, many of whom own cottages here, including members of the British Royal Family such as Prince Andrew. This privately owned island offers 4.5km2 of rolling green hills fringed by gorgeous white-sand beaches surrounded by clear turquoise waters.
Sunbathe on the shimmering white sands of Macaroni Beach and dive the wreck of the French liner Antilles, which ran aground on the Pillories reef in 1971. Rent a mini-moke and drive past some of the most stylish homes in the Caribbean, including the late Princess Margaret's place, Les Jolies Eaux. Watch for the green flash at legendary Basil's Bar, a thatched pub sitting on stilts over the water at Britannia Bay.
Visit during the first two weeks of February to watch musicians from North America, Europe and the Caribbean play at the Mustique Blues Festival, held nightly at Basil's Bar.
Come on a day trip or stay longer at the Cotton House located in Endeavour Bay, one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive hotels. Or try the unique Firefly Hotel, famous for its animated bar, popular with local expats. Mustique is 29km southeast of St Vincent.
Relax on the gorgeous white-sand beaches, dive or snorkel the surrounding coral reefs that teem with colourful marine life and hike up the cedar-forested slopes of Mount Royal (240m) for panoramic views overlooking the Grenadines. Tiny Canouan is just 5.5km long by 2km wide. It is located 23km south of St Vincent and 32km north of Grenada.
Come on a fleeting visit or stay longer at the elegant beachside Raffles Resort with its 18-hole golf course and deluxe European-style casino. Or stay in the thatched-roof bungalows of the Tamarind Beach Hotel and Yacht Club facing Grand Bay Beach.
Play Robinson Crusoe on the pristine white-sand beaches that fringe this tiny, 400ha, privately owned island paradise. Mayreau boasts a small hilltop village and the charming Saltwhistle Bay Club, a resort surrounded by an 8ha tropical garden and facing two gorgeous white-sand beaches.
The island is a favourite spot for sailors who anchor in Saltwhistle Bay. Hike up the island’s only hill for scenic views then cool off with a swim at Saline Bay Beach or with a cold drink at popular Dennis’ Hideaway bar. Access to Mayreau is by boat from nearby Union Island.
Choose from this group of five uninhabited cays fringed by pristine white-sand beaches and surrounded by turquoise lagoons of crystal clear waters, coral reefs and colourful reef fish. The cays are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving and as an idyllic yachting anchorage.
Swim and snorkel in the clear turquoise waters surrounding this small 850ha island that is fringed by soft powder-white beaches. Hike up to Mount Parnassus (275m) for panoramic views over the southern Grenadines. Union Island is located midway between Grenada and St Vincent. Go on a fleeting visit or stay longer at the beachside Bigsand Hotel, with private balconies overlooking a tranquil bay.
With a choice of five powder-white beaches and the elegant Palm Island Resort, it’s easy to relax on this idyllic island, surrounded by crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and sailing. Access to Palm Island is from nearby Union Island, a 10-minute boat ride away.
Petit St Vincent
Escape everything on this tiny 45ha private island ringed by powder-soft white-sand beaches and covered with lush green foliage. Unwind in comfort at the chic Petit St Vincent Resort, offering a choice of hillside or beachfront cottages. Petit St Vincent is the southernmost of the Grenadines, easily reached in your own yacht or by pre-arrangement with the PSV boat after first flying to Union Island via St Vincent.
Best time to visit St Vincent and Grenadines
The best time to visit St Vincent and Grenadines is during the dry season from December to June. The islands experience a tropical climate year round, with an average annual temperature of 25°C and a high of 33˚C during the hottest months from May to September. The rainy season lasts from July to November.
Arrive in late June for St Vincent's week-long Carnival – one of the largest celebrations in the eastern Caribbean, with a range of street parades and steel band and calypso competitions.
St Vincent and the Grenadines are part of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean Sea, located 40km south of St Lucia, 120km north of Grenada and 160km west of Barbados. St Vincent (29km long by 18km wide) is the largest island of the group, followed by Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St Vincent.
By air, St Vincent receives daily flights via Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia and Trinidad, with connections to the Grenadines (including Bequia, Mustique, Union Island and Canouan, which each have small airports).
To St Vincent from Barbados and Grenada is 30 minutes, from Trinidad is 1 hour, from New York is 5 hours and from London (via Barbados) is 9 hours. St Vincent’s ET Joshua airport is 3km southeast of Kingstown.
By sea the Grenadines are accessible by charter yacht, ferry (to Bequia) and by mail boat from St Vincent to Canouan, Mayreau and Union islands.