St. Vincent Travel and Cruise Tips
|St. Vincent has a lush landscape thanks to fairly heavy rains in the fall; credit: SVG Tourism Authority|
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are quiet islands just north of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean.
The main island of St. Vincent is one of the least-visited islands in the entire Caribbean. Frequent and heavy rainfall is one possible reason for its lack of popularity.
The St. Vincent cruise port at Kingstown lies only 71 miles by air from the cruise port at Castries in St. Lucia. But cruise ships often bypass it in favor of Barbados, which is 110 miles east of St. Vincent.
Travel tips start the the basic fact that heavy annual rainfall creates lush mountains and rainforests. Many eco tourism opportunities include hiking on nature trails and swimming in waterfalls.
The island has much more in common with Dominica as a result because of its natural beauty. That island also receives frequent and heavy rainfall as well as a similar number of tourists each year.
St. Vincent Attractions
Unique attractions in the capital of Kingstown include the Kingstown Market, which has a variety of foods, arts and crafts, and the historical churches of St. George's Anglican Cathedral and St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral.
The Botanical Gardens, the oldest garden in the Western Hemisphere, was founded in 1762. The 20-acre gardens were created by the then governor “to provide medicinal plants for the military and improve the life and economy of the colony”. Entrance is free. It is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Outside of Kingstown, St. Vincent has a bit of Vermont in it. The Vermont Nature Trail is a two-hour hike through a 10,870-acre reserve, the SVG Tourism Authority says.
The marked trails take hikers through rainforests and plantation forests and give them a chance to see the St. Vincent Parrot among other species.
The trail is nine miles from Kingstown or about a 30 minute drive.
Historical forts include Charlotte, built in 1806, and Duvernette, built in 1800. Other attractions on St. Vincent include Dark View Falls, the black sand Mt. Wynne Beach and Wallilabou, where the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed.
Cruise visitors will find good beaches at Indian Bay Beach and Villa Beach. They also can take a ferry or water taxi to experience the white sands of Young Island. Other options are Argyle Beach, Brighton Beach and Mt. Young Beach at Black Point.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a 32-island chain with nine inhabited islands. Ferries take visitors among the islands that include Mustique, a getaway for the rich and famous. They also visit the private resort islands of Palm, Young and Petite St. Vincent.
Tourism / When to Go
U.S. and Canadian stopover tourists require passports and valid return tickets to visit the islands. Cruise visitors must have their ship IDs when leaving and returning to their ships.
The 32-island chain is 23rd in total tourism visits, 22nd in stopovers and 19th in cruise visits. The island welcomes about 70,000 stayover visitors and 85,000 cruise visitors each year.
The most popular times to visit are July and April. The least popular are September and then October during the peak months of the Caribbean hurricane season.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines have some of the heaviest annual rain of any islands in the Caribbean with 80 inches on the coast and 150 inches inland.
The average temperature year-round is 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical climate is tropical with little seasonal temperature variation and a rainy season that lasts from May to November.
Like most Caribbean destinations, the coolest months are January and February. The driest months are February through April. April has the best combination of warm temperatures and low risk of rain.
Currency / Tipping
The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC). U.S. currency and major credit cards are widely accepted.
Taxis are unmetered so check the fares before accepting a ride. A 10-15 percent tip is recommended for hotels, taxis and restaurants.
The hotel room tax is 7 percent and the departure tax for stopover visitors is $40EC per person.
Culture / Geography
Languages are English and French Patois (a regional dialect). The economy is split between tourism and agriculture.
The islands are about 242 square miles in total size with a volcanic and mountainous terrain.
Sources / More information