St. Vincent & The Grenadines is known for more than just its stunning natural beauty. It is also renowned for its many cultural attractions, unique black sand beaches, luxury all-inclusive resorts, and beautiful islands. This destination is made up of 32 small islands and cays, including Saint Vincent which is the largest.
St. Vincent can best be described as a postcard-perfect and authentic island. This island has strong influences from West Africa, Europe, and other Caribbean nations like Jamaica. Vibrant and ideal for any type of vacation, this territory known as the “jewels of the Caribbean” has a lot to offer. Notably, at one point St. Vincent & The Grenadines was called “Hairouna” by early settlers, the Carib Indians. That name translates to “Land of the Blessed”.
From the amazing opportunities to go diving to the delicious island cuisine, there are plenty of reasons to vacation in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, which is more simply referred to as St. Vincent. Within this article, we've listed some of the amazing things this destination is known for that you can look forward to enjoying during your vacation there.
Expert tip: Saint Vincent is the ideal vacation destination for couples, families, groups of friends, and pretty much anyone in search of all-inclusive vacations.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are fantastic reasons to vacation in the Caribbean. Saint Vincent is one of the best locations to do both of these activities due to the vibrant coral reefs that can be found in the waters around this island. Some of the most popular spots to dive in St. Vincent & The Grenadines include Anchor Reef and Critter Corner. While diving in St. Vincent, you’re likely to see marine life such as manta rays, squid, frogfish, and sometimes reef sharks.
Sightings when snorkeling at Anchor Reef (off the coast of Kingstown) include a rare black coral garden and plenty of sea life including sea horses and octopuses on occasion. While diving at Critter Corner, you’re likely to come across a wide variety of tropical fishes. There’s quite a lot of seagrass and boulders in this area as well — these are home to much of the marine life in this area. Critter Corner is located to the south of Kingstown, off Indian Bay Beach.
Good to know: Saint Vincent is known as the ‘Critter Capital of The Caribbean’. This means you can expect lots of marine sightings while diving here. If you plan on going snorkeling or scuba diving in St. Vincent, don’t worry too much about packing your own gear, as you can rent some on the island.
St. Vincent is one of many islands in the Caribbean that are volcanic in nature. In St. Vincent, the striking volcanic landscapes will certainly be something to be appreciated, particularly if you're a nature buff. One of the sights you absolutely must see in this regard is La Soufrière, St. Vincent’s highest peak (1,234 meters above sea level). It is possible to take a guided hike to the crater of the La Soufrière volcano. This can be a thrilling experience to have on this island, and it includes hiking along the Leeward Trail. This hike can take six to eight hours (round trip). Another option is taking the Windward Trail. This is considered the easier option, and it is somewhat more popular. It takes about three to four hours (round trip) to get to the crater via the Windward Trail.
The hike to the volcanic crater of La Soufrière is definitely one of the more adventurous and exciting things to do in St. Vincent. With a guided hike, which is highly recommended, you can learn about the plant and animal life in this area, and also see the rainforest, cloud forest, and captivating views of the countryside. Once you get to the crater, you’ll be able to do some exploring before making your way back down to the bottom of the mountain.
Island hopping -- two words you definitely want to hear during a Caribbean vacation. In St. Vincent, this is totally possible as this territory is made up of 32 different islands and cays. Nine of these are inhabited, including the mainland Saint Vincent. The second-largest island of the Grenadines is Bequia. It takes about one hour by ferry to get to Bequia from Saint Vincent, and 30 minutes on the fast ferry. Sailing and yachting enthusiasts flock to Bequia. Many sailboats and yachts can usually be seen along the coastline of this island and many other Grenadine islands. Port Elizabeth, the harbor town, is an excellent place to visit while in Bequia.
The numerous coves and sandy beaches you can explore around the Grenadines are definitely reason enough to hop on a boat to explore. There will be plenty of stops that can be made along the way, including sand bars in the middle of the ocean. Ferry rides are available on a fairly regular basis. Many of the locals have their own small boats to get between the islands. As ferry rides are quite affordable, you might be able to visit several of the nearby islands while in St. Vincent. Some of the most popular islands of the Grenadines include Bequia, Mustique, and Canouan. The Tobago Cays in the southern Grenadines are also a good place to explore and go diving. Private boat charters are available in Saint Vincent and some of the other islands — these can make it easier to explore the Grenadines at your own pace.
The Caribbean is known for its incredible weather and St. Vincent & the Grenadines is one of those places where you'll be able to soak it all in. This island has a hot, tropical climate year-round with fairly consistent hours of sunshine each month. Temperatures on this island can reach highs of around 86°F on average. There are a few notable variances in the weather across the Grenadines with the islands in the south being a bit more dry and warm as compared to those in the north.
Volcanic by nature, Saint Vincent is one of the islands in the eastern Caribbean that has unique black sand beaches. Though you may have visited beaches in the Caribbean or abroad before, the black sand on Saint Vincent’s beaches gives them a unique look and feel. You might almost convince yourself on a quiet, black-sand Saint Vincent beach that you’re a roving island explorer, discovering this location for the first time. Saint Vincent is the only island in the Grenadines with black sand, which means that throughout your Saint Vincent holiday, you’ll be able to enjoy both white sand and black sand beaches.
Expert tip: When planning a romantic getaway, consider booking well in advance, especially if you have your heart set on a warm winter getaway. The Caribbean offers a fantastic opportunity to bask in warmth during the colder holiday season while indulging in quality beach time with your loved one!
A trip to the Caribbean might be incomplete without some whale watching. In St. Vincent, you can sign up for a boat trip to head out on the waters for this incredible adventure. St. Vincent is known for having some stunning marine life off the coast, so you really might see some whales or other remarkable marine life during this experience. There are said to be at least seven species of whales and 11 species of dolphins in this area, so the odds just might be in your favor.
You won’t run out of opportunities to try amazing food in St. Vincent. The most popular dishes on this island include ingredients like fresh seafood, spices, cassava, and more which leave quite a lot of room for the creation of memorable island delicacies. Some of the most popular local dishes on this island include:
Breadfruit and jackfish - Breadfruit goes well with almost anything, which is possibly why it is part of St. Vincent’s distinctive breadfruit and jackfish national dish. Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish are included in this dish. This dish can be seen on lunch menus with a sauce made of onions, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and other vegetables and herbs.
Breadfruit Meringue Pie - If you like breadfruit, you’ll love Breadfruit Meringue Pie. Shredded breadfruit, coconut milk, raisins, and currents are used to make this dish. The pie is topped with an egg meringue.
Madongo dumpling - This is a traditional dish made from native arrowroot along with nutmeg and coconut. In St. Vincent, this is a delicacy particularly as this country is the only place that cultivates arrowroot.
Buljol - This is a salad that includes shredded cod or salt fish, pepper, tomatoes, oil, and onions. There are several ways to prepare buljol and it can be eaten cold. You’ll most commonly find this dish being served at breakfast time.
Callaloo Soup - Callaloo is similar in flavor to spinach. It’s common practice to use coconut milk in the preparation of this healthy appetizer. Vegetables including garlic, onions, and peppers, several kinds of meats (optional), and dasheen leaves round out the recipe. Sometimes cassava, yams, and potatoes are included.
Saint Vincent is one of the most beautiful and green islands in the world. The St. Vincent Botanical Gardens is one of the best places to be entirely surrounded by these beautiful greens and other brilliant floral colors. The gardens here cover around 20 acres and are home to both indigenous and exotic tropical plants and trees. Hibiscus, cinnamon, nutmeg, mahogany, palms, and even a breadfruit tree are among the plants and trees found here. The latter is said to have grown on the island from a seedling brought by Captain Bligh. The St. Vincent Botanical Gardens also has an aviary where you may see the native St. Vincent parrot and other bird species.
Good to know: If you want a guided tour of the St. Vincent Botanical Gardens, you can hire a guide for a small fee. Usually, you can find guides at the entrance of the property. Taking a guided tour can be worth it as you'll be able to see some of the things you might otherwise have missed.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines has a rich history that includes influences from many parts of the globe. Some of the island’s cultural influences come from places like West Africa and Europe. On these islands, there are quite a few historical sites you can explore to get familiar with their roots. Many of these are located in Kingston, Saint Vincent, the capital of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. You’ll be able to see the quaint colonial mansions there that date back centuries. There are also a number of towering Gothic church spires.
Many of the islands of the Grenadines are packed with history as well. On Bequia, for example, you’ll be able to visit places like the Firefly Plantation where it’ll be possible to have a firsthand experience of crushing sugar cane to make juice. At this plantation, you can also sample the various fruits and vegetables based on what is in season and learn about the different trees in the area. If you take a guided tour, you can learn about the uses of some of the herbs and flowers in this area.
Saint Vincent is named after a Spanish saint who went by the name “Saint Vincent” Saragossa. Saragossa is said to have arrived on this island in 1498. As history tells it, the island of Saint Vincent was named after him by Columbus as an act of tribute. The name ‘Grenadines’ on the other hand actually means ‘pomegranates’ – but, in the case of St. Vincent, it refers to the small islands that are sprinkled throughout the region.
The St. Vincent Botanical Gardens is a popular stop for nature lovers. This site is also quite historical as it is actually the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere. The St. Vincent Botanical Gardens dates back to 1765 and has been on a mission to conserve rare plant life since that time.
The Caribbean has quite a fascinating pirate history. Notably, Saint Vincent is one of the places that is known to have had pirate pop-ups in the past. Added to that, parts of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed on this island. The first three installments of the franchise are actually said to have been recorded here.
The more you know about a destination before you go, the more you can broaden your expectations and be more open to new experiences once you get there. St. Vincent & The Grenadines is famous for so many things that you will almost certainly be able to add to this list during your stay there.
As you complete the planning process for your trip, one of the last things might be making a booking for a hotel or resort. Or, perhaps this is the first thing on your list as you want to ensure you’re able to stay at one of the best Saint Vincent resorts. You need not look any further than Sandals Resorts if you are in search of a resort that specializes in accommodating families. Your trip to this tropical island will be nothing short of spectacular thanks to the fresh new property and the same high-quality inclusions for which this resort is recognized.
So, all that's left to say is, happy vacation!