The Grenadines and St. Vincent
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are for the traveler who enjoys nature. The colorful history of this region dates back to the 17th century when this amazing archipelago that includes St Vincent, Bequia, Mustique and Tobago Cays, was named The Grenadines by swashbuckling pirates. Modern-day sailors cruising to the Grenadines aboard a caribbean charter yacht have 32 semi-submerged volcanic islands and hundreds of rocks, sandbars and cays to explore. Many of these captivating destinations are uninhabited and only accessible by boat. Explore the many villages, mountains, rain forests, black sand beaches and waterfalls…all from the comfort of your 5 Star Caribbean Charter Yacht. For more information on the individual islands, please review the guide tab below.
- Sample Itinerary
- Travel Essentials
St Vincent is one of the least touristy islands in the Caribbean—an unpretentious and relatively quiet island where fishermen get up at the crack of dawn to drop their nets into the sea, working people conduct business in town, and farmers work their crops in the countryside. The beaches are either tiny crescents of black or brown sand on remote leeward bays or sweeping expanses of the same black sand pounded by Atlantic surf. Charter yacht travelers interested in active, eco-friendly vacations are discovering St. Vincent's natural beauty, its sports opportunities on land and sea, and the richness of its history. You can walk or hike St. Vincent's well-defined jungle trails, catching a glimpse of the rare St. Vincent parrot in the Vermont Valley, explore exotic flora in the Botanic Gardens, delve into history at Ft. Charlotte, and climb the active volcano La Soufrière. Underwater, the snorkeling and scuba landscapes are similarly intriguing.
Bequia (pronounced beck-way) is a Carib word meaning "island of the cloud." Hilly and green with several golden-sand beaches, Bequia is 9 miles (14½ km) south of St. Vincent's southwestern shore; with a population of 5,000, it's the largest of the Grenadines. Although boatbuilding, whaling, and fishing have been the predominant industries here for generations, sailing has now become almost synonymous with Bequia. Admiralty Bay is a favored anchorage for Caribbean charter yachts. Port Elizabeth is a tiny town with waterfront bars, restaurants, and shops where you can buy handmade souvenirs—including the exquisitely detailed model sailboats that are a famous Bequia export. The Easter Regatta is held during the four-day Easter weekend, when revelers gather to watch boat races and celebrate the island's seafaring traditions with food, music, dancing, and competitive games.
A private speck of land (only 135 acres), exquisite Palm Island used to be an uninhabited, mosquito-infested swamp called Prune Island. One intrepid family put heart and soul—as well as muscle and brawn and lots of money—into taking the wrinkles out of the prune and rechristened it Palm Island. The Caldwell family cleaned up the five surrounding beaches, built bungalows, planted palm trees, and irrigated the swamp with seawater to kill the mosquitoes. The rustic getaway existed for 25 years before Palm Island's current owners, Elite Island Resorts, dolled up the property. Now it's one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean. Other than the resort, the island is populated by a handful of privately owned villas.
Mustique is a Windward Islands hideaway for the rich and famous. The island is hilly and has several green valleys, each with a sparkling white-sand beach facing an aquamarine sea. The permanent population is about 300. Back in the 1960s, Britain's Princess Margaret put this small, private island on the map after the owner, the late Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner), presented her with a 10-acre plot of land as a wedding gift. Tennant had bought the entire 1,400-acre island in 1958 for $67,500 (the equivalent of about $450,000 today). The Mustique Company—which Tennant formed in 1968 to develop the copra, sea-island cotton, and sugarcane estate into the glamorous hideaway it has become—now manages the privately owned villas, provides housing for all island employees, and operates Mustique Villa Rentals. Sooner or later, stargazers see the resident glitterati at Basil's Bar, the island's social center. Proprietor Basil Charles also runs a boutique crammed with clothes and accessories from Bali. A pair of cotton-candy-color, gingerbread-style buildings, the centerpiece of the tiny village, house a gift shop and clothing boutique. There's also an antiques shop with fabulous objets d'art and a deli–grocery stocked with Brie and champagne. The Mustique Blues Festival, held during the first two weeks of February, features artists from North America, Europe, and the Caribbean; shows occur nightly at Basil's Bar. The festival is quite a draw. The island is so small you can take in the sights via foot or horseback.
is a small cluster of five uninhabited islands (Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac, and Jamesby) just east of Mayreau in the southern Grenadines. This area was declared a wildlife reserve in 2006 to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the cays and allow visitors to experience some of the best snorkeling in the world. The sparkling-clear water within Horseshoe Reef, which surrounds four of the islands, is studded with sponges and coral formations and populated by countless colorful fish and sea turtles.
Union Island is the commercial center of the southern Grenadines—a popular anchorage for those sailing the Grenadines and a crossroads for those heading to surrounding islands. Clifton, the main town and a port of entry for yachts, is small, with a bustling harbor, a quaint town square with a busy market, a few simple beachfront inns and restaurants, businesses that cater to yachts. Hugh Malzac Square, in the center of town, honors a local islander and the first black man to captain a merchant-marine ship. The ship was the Booker T. Washington, the time, 1942. Taxis and minibuses are available to get around the island, and water taxis go between islands—including Happy Island, a man-made islet in the harbor where you can get a good stiff rum punch and even some grilled lobster or fish. The Easterval Regatta occurs during the Easter weekend with festivities that include boat races, sports and games, a calypso competition, a beauty pageant, and a cultural show featuring the Big Drum Dance (derived from French and African traditions).
Halfway down the Grenadines chain, this tiny boot-shape island—3½ miles long and 1¼ miles wide—has only about 1,200 residents. But don't let its historically slow pace and quiet ways fool you. Canouan (pronounced can-o-wan), which is the Carib word for "turtle," has a modern airport with an extended runway suitable for small to midsize jets. The island has one of the region's largest and nicest villa communities, a championship golf course, a delightful small resort, and four of the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean. Canouan is also a busy port for Caribbean charter yachts and diving expeditions. Mt. Royal, the highest point on the island at 900 feet, offers panoramic 360-degree views of St. Vincent, all the Grenadines, and even St. Lucia on a clear day.
Mayreau (pronounced my-row) is minuscule—1½ square miles. With the exception of 22 acres at its northern tip that is privately owned and 21 acres that comprise the island's single (unnamed) village and were acquired by St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mayreau remains in the hands of heirs of the original French plantation owners. Only about 250 residents live in the little village on Station Hill, and there are no proper roads. Visitors enjoy these natural surroundings in one of the prettiest locations in the Grenadines—and a rather unique spot where the calm Caribbean is separated from the Atlantic surf by only a narrow strip of beach. It's a favorite stop for Caribbean charter yachts, who anchor in Saltwhistle Bay. Except for water sports and hiking, there's not much to do—but everyone prefers it that way. For a day's excursion, you can hike up Mayreau's only hill for a stunning view of the Tobago Cays. Then stop for a drink at Dennis' Hideaway and enjoy a swim at Saline Bay beach.
PETITE ST. VINCENT
The southernmost of St. Vincent's Grenadines, tiny (115 acres), private Petit St. Vincent—pronounced "Petty" St. Vincent and affectionately called PSV—is ringed with white-sand beaches and covered with tropical foliage. The late Hazen Richardson created the resort in 1968. The current owners made extensive renovations (cottage upgrades, a casual beachside restaurant, an air-conditioned fitness and yoga center, an open-air spa, an air-conditioned library with a TV and Internet access, a new children's center, and landscaping upgrades) but have not changed the design or, more importantly, the nature of the property.
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