The island nation of St Vincent & the Grenadines is comprised of over 32 islands of unparalleled beauty – from rich, mountainous rain forest to palm fringed beaches and huge coral reefs. St Vincent itself retains a large element of wildness due to its steep and hard to access interior, topped out by a 3,000ft cloud shrouded volcano.
Agriculture forms the mainstay of the economy with crops such as bananas growing in abundance on the verdant slopes. St Vincent was originally inhabited by fierce Carib Indians who resisted any European settlement until the French got a foothold in 1719. The island changed hands between French and English various times through the Napoleonic Wars before becoming a British colony from 1783 onwards. St Vincent & the Grenadines obtained independence from the UK in 1979 – the last Caribbean island to do so.
The Grenadine islands strung out to the south of St Vincent have a long history of sea faring and are fiercely proud of their heritage – events such as the Bequia Easter Regatta help to keep alive the local traditions of boat building and sailing. Mustique was an abandoned sugar plantation island until purchased privately in 1958 and brought to fame when Princess Margaret built a Caribbean retreat on land gifted to her.
Many Grenadine anchorages were frequented by pirates who used their sheltered bays to hide ships and treasure. The Tobago Cays is made up of a group of small, uninhabited islands surrounded by the biggest reef system in the southern Caribbean – and the jewel in the crown of the Grenadines. Mayreau consists of one sleepy village and several stunning beaches including Salt Whistle Bay – one of the most photogenic anchorages in the Caribbean. Union acts as the service centre for the southern Grenadines and gateway to Carriacou just south. Two private resort islands, Palm Island and Petit St Vincent complete the line-up.
Some highlights of the Grenadines are described below – there are many, many more!
Bequia is an enchanting island just two hours sailing south of St Vincent. Arriving in Bequia will make you feel that you’ve discovered the real Caribbean – an unspoiled mix of old and new with a laid-back way of life which will soon have you relaxed, perfect for the first day of your charter.
The main anchorage, Admiralty Bay is deep and well protected by the surrounding hills dotted with private villas. There are a multitude of bars and different dining experiences to choose from around the shore. It’s worth spending a day here to explore – old traditions of boat building, fishing and sea trade continue, and the turtle sanctuary is well worth a visit.
The Tobago Cays in The Grenadines are world famous. They consist of five uninhabited islands inside a massive horseshoe reef with white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, palm trees, and peerless Caribbean land and seascapes. Simply spectacular!
Anchor or pick up one of the moorings inside the Tobago Cays with the huge horseshoe reef in front of you to protect from the ocean swell. There are no restaurants or bars in the Tobago Cays – light up the BBQ and dine under the stars. Since the area is protected the wealth of sea life is extraordinary. Just off the little island of Baradel is an area cordoned off for turtles to feed, and it’s an incredible experience to get close and swim with these remarkable animals. Explore the islands ashore and climb to their summits for the stunning views and watch the almost tame iguanas and land tortoises lumbering around