St. Vincent and the Grenadines: The Island Country
Imagine skimming over a gentle sea under the bluest of skies. Sail for a few hours to reach a new destination. This is island-hopping perfection. Once you reach the shore it’s never an easy choice between cocktails at the beach, or a tour of the town. But, it’s your private yacht charter, so you can always opt to do both.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one country composed of islands and islets. Yacht charters often begin north on the island of Saint Vincent and cruise south to Grenada. Much of the turquoise sea is protected, so living reefs and abundant sea life make snorkeling and diving a magnificent experience. There are renowned spots for kite boarding and windsurfing, which attract enthusiasts from around the world. If privacy and seclusion are important, only a dozen islands are inhabited. It’s easy to leave the only footprints in the sand.
A luxury yacht charter may not be the only way to experience St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but it is the best way. There are amazing places, above and below the waterline, which can only be reached by boat. Islanders commute by boat. In fact, they have an impressive history of boatbuilding. One might say that they pioneered yachting communities hundreds of years before the phrase was coined.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Island Hopping
This tropical island paradise is an excellent place to escape the rest of the world. The beauty and serenity are profound. It’s easy to find a secluded beach. Jump off the deck into the warm sea. Have a picnic. Almost everywhere is too remote for the paparazzi. High-profile, high-net-worth individuals and celebrities play in peace.
The main islands, Saint Vincent, Bequia, Union and Carriacou, are fun to tour with a local guide and driver. If you like to be active, a wide range of things to see and do can keep you on the go. Set out on hiking and biking trails. Go souvenir shopping at island markets. Dine at exclusive restaurants or local fish fries. Meet talented people; artisans, craftsmen, owners, politicians, musicians and chefs, many with legendary reputations.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Geography
This island country is in the Lesser Antilles Island arc. It is on the southeastern border of the Windward Islands, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning an area of 133 square miles, the 32 dependent islands and cays have a land mass of just 17 square miles. The main inhabited islands are Bequia, Mustique, Union Island, and Canouan. Others are privately owned. Most of this tropical island archipelago remains wild and remote.
St. Vincent, just twice the size of Washington, D.C., has 52 miles of coastline. On the southwest coast, the capital, and only town of any size, is Kingstown. It is the economic, administrative and cultural hub of the islands, where most of the population live.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Unspoiled
La Soufriére or Soufrière Saint Vincent, is an active volcano that reaches the dizzying height of 4,049-feet. Sail past the orchid-festooned jungle landscape, comb the black sand beaches, swim in a waterfall, or take a guided tour for spectacular hiking. Visit the Botanical Gardens, 20 acres of exotic tropical trees, plants, exotic birds and wildlife. Relax in a waterfront restaurant, sip an icy Hairon lager, and let time slip away.
Bequia, (pronounced Beckway)just nine miles from St. Vincent, has a tradition of boat building, fishing and whaling. Learn about Bequia’s maritime tradition at The Bequia Maritime Museum. Discover why it’s the model sailboat capital of the world. Hire a car and guide to explore the island. Visit hatchlings at Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Tour Firefly Plantation, then sample island specialties at their restaurant.
For a leisurely afternoon, float aimlessly off the beach at the Bequia Plantation Hotel balancing a fine rum punch from the beach bar.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Indulgent
Mustique is synonymous with luxury, grand villas and an exclusive hotel. Visitors can come ashore only with permission from the Mustique Company. Take a taxi tour to appreciate this private, perfectly manicured island. Go horseback riding or rent a mule to explore on your own.
Palm Island is an exclusive, 135 acre island resort, with facilities, including the yacht club and restaurant, open to the public.
Petit St. Vincent, 113 acres of resort seclusion, is one of the world’s most enchanting hideaways. The bar and restaurant on the beach, gift shop and tennis courts are open to charter yacht guests. The open air spa offers excellent services in a dreamy, tropical setting.
Canouan claims the top beaches in the Caribbean for swimming and snorkeling. Arrange to play the 18-hole golf course, a game of tennis, or indulge in spa treatments at the Canouan Resort. There is a 5,900-foot landing strip for private jets up to G5.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Authentic
Mayreau is the smallest inhabited isle in the Grenadines, with about 250 residents. Welcome to the authentic Caribbean. There are two general stores. People wave as you pass by. Goats nibble grass in the front yards. Resident dogs happily accompany anyone strolling up the road. Take the steep hike up to the church at the top of the hill for spectacular views of the Tobago Cays.
Saltwhistle Bay has a fabulous beach. The anchorage is a mecca for international yachtsmen, who eagerly exchange stories of their adventures at the beach bar. Mayreau is also a popular kitesurfing destination.
Tobago Cays are known as the “Jewel in the Crown” of the Southern Grenadines. The marine portion of the park surrounds five uninhabited cays, the populated island of Mayreau, and three islets. As soon as you arrive, grab your snorkel or dive gear and explore Horseshoe Reef. Next, do a little beach combing, or photograph the giant puffer fish. Finally, everyone gathers on the beach for an amazing barbecue of fresh lobster and local fish.
Union Island is the hub of the Grenadines’ yachting and airport traffic. The island is fringed with gorgeous bays, lagoons and reefs with perfect sailing waters. Cruise up to Happy Island for a rum punch. This famous, funky, little bar, seemingly afloat in the middle of Clifton Harbour, is built by hand from conch shells.
Kite boarding lessons are available from two internationally known schools. Chatham Bay on the west coast is a quiet anchorage with a mile of white sand beach, perfect for a beach barbecue.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Captivating
Life here engulfs visitors in its sunny embrace. Rejuvenate in romantic, secluded anchorages, on sparkling beaches, at prestigious celebrity sanctuaries, and in picturesque villages. The islands are an excellent destination for connoisseurs of nature; sailors, divers, hikers, musicians, kite surfers, photographers, poets, artists, and all lovers of beauty. Let yourself go.
Our Favorite Places:
French Verandah Restaurant, Mariners Hotel, best dining on the island
Café Soleil, Blue Lagoon Marina, south coast
Bequia Plantation Hotel, Port Elizabeth, go for the beach bar
Frangipani Hotel Bar, Port Elizabeth, an icon
Bequia Beach Hotel & Spa, Friendship Bay, superb dining, great beach, new dock, deluxe spa treatments
Cottage House Spa, a retreat of blissful healing
Basil’s Bar, favored bymovie stars and vagabonds alike
Verandah Restaurant, Cotton House, a five-star experience.
Robert Righteous and De Youth, island food and famous local color
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Getting There
Argyle International Airport (AIA) officially opened in February, 2017. It is the newest international gateway to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Other major gateways to St. Vincent from North America and Europe are Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Martinique and Puerto Rico, with connecting flights to Bequia, Canouan, Mustique and Union Island.
Major airlines fly in to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The main US cities with direct access are New York, Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte. Check the links below for updated schedules and additional destination information.
Caribbean Airlines has nonstop service between New York and St Vincent.
Contact Select Yachts Charter Brokers for more information about Grenadines charter. Let’s collaborate to design your perfect itinerary and book the best yacht and crew according to your preferences.
Interview of Ann McHorney (Select Yachts) and Tim Mauer (S/C Endless Pleasure by Grenada radio host George Grant, July 2016: