Best Things To Do in St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Days on St. Vincent & The Grenadines consist of lazing along white-sand beaches, exploring coral reefs, and day-tripping to the Grenadines' rural islands and cays. For sunny strips of blindingly white sand, head to Saltwhistle Bay or Macaroni Beach. Prefer to hit the links? Venture to Canouan's pristine championship course to putt on spectacular greens. And there's plenty to do on St. Vincent's main island: That's where you'll discover Kingstown's lively marketplace and the lush foliage on display at the centuries-old Botanic Gardens.
Updated July 29, 2019
- #1View all PhotosfreeTobago Cays#1 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesNatural Wonders, Recreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Recreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
This cluster of small, uninhabited isles perched at the east end of Mayreau boasts some of Grenadine's finest underwater sites. The remote cays' calm, clear waters teem with bright coral reefs and exotic marine life. In fact, the area was named a wildlife reserve to maintain its natural setting. As a result, yachts are not allowed to drop anchor here, so you'll feel like you've discovered untouched Caribbean waters. Almost universally, visitors call Tobago Cays breathtaking and a must-see.
A wide variety of diving, snorkeling and sailing companies offer excursions to Tobago Cays. Friendship Rose Cruise, a reputable charter company, offers full-day sailing and snorkeling excursions via schooner from Bequia to the cays. Boats depart every day at 7 a.m. and return at 5:30 p.m.; breakfast and lunch are included. A full-day cruise costs around EC$410 (roughly $150) per adult; children 5 and younger can sail for free. Lambi Queen Tours is another company recommended by past visitors for its easy daytrip itineraries. For more information on the Tobago Cays, visit the SVG Tourism Authority's website.
- #2View all PhotosfreeCanouan#2 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Travelers are almost always impressed by tiny Canouan, which measures a mere 3 1/2 miles long and a quarter-mile wide. World-class spas, luxurious resorts and breathtaking coral reefs are just some of this isolated island's draws. Though recent visitors do concede Canouan isn't the most accessible island of the Grenadines' chain, travelers say its unforgettable ambiance and scenery merits the long trek to get there.
Grand Bay Beach and South Glossy Bay Beach boast particularly lovely (and free) white-sand beaches with calm swimming waters. Prefer to step off the sands and on to the greens? Then head to the Carenage Bay Beach & Golf Club located on the island's east coast to hit the championship links said to be a favorite of Bill Gates. Would you rather take the plunge below sea level? Venture to the Canouan Scuba Center on the leeward side of the island at the Tamarind Beach Hotel to arrange a diving expedition near the Tobago Cays or Mayreau. If you have the time (and the energy), climb to the top of Mount Royal; from this lookout on the north end of Canouan, you'll find unspoiled views of neighboring St. Lucia.
- #3View all PhotosfreeBequia#3 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Perched at the northernmost tip of the Grenadines' chain of islands, Bequia beckons to beachcombers and seafarers with its golden sands, calm aquamarine waves and relaxed atmosphere. When you tire of lounging along powdery shorelines, head to Port Elizabeth, Bequia's quaint, seaside town located in the central part of the island to pick up some souvenirs and a bite to eat. During Easter, sailors flock to Port Elizabeth's scenic waterfront facing the west to catch the Easter Regatta, a multiday event filled with lively boat races, delectable food and lots of dancing.
While on Bequia, you won't want to pass up the chance to visit Lower Bay Beach, a sunny strip just south of Port Elizabeth. Recent visitors called this picturesque beach the place to go to on the weekends and said it's great for families.
- #4View all Photos#4 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
When it comes to finding the perfect place to lay your towel, it's hard to compete with Saltwhistle Bay's powdery sands. Composed of a pure white shoreline shaded by palm and grape trees and fringed by aquamarine waves, Saltwhistle Bay Beach draws boaters and sun-worshipers alike to its sandy oasis.
Recent visitors claimed Saltwhistle is nothing but serene and full of breathtaking views, though some complain that noisy local vendors can distract from the otherwise peaceful atmosphere. To find a sandy stretch away from badgering salesmen, head north. The beach flanks the upscale Salt Whistle Bay Resort, a popular stopover point for the yachting set. You'll find plenty of seafarers docking here for a quick swim and delectable meal at the club.
- #5View all PhotosfreeBotanic Gardens#5 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
St. Vincent's lush 20-acre park holds a reputation as the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere, with roots dating back to 1765. Inside, you'll encounter a broad collection of tropical flora and fauna, from flamboyant, mahogany and breadfruit trees to exuberant parrots. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the garden's versatile array of natural spices – such as cinnamon and nutmeg – hanging from centuries-old tree limbs.
Recent travelers recommended visiting in the morning and tagging along on a guided tour, led by guides who know their stuff. Other reviewers suggested wearing sturdy shoes as the ground is uneven.
- #6View all Photos#6 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesNeighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDNeighborhood/AreaTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
An upscale hideaway known for its pristine sands, cerulean waters and lavish cottages, Mustique came into the spotlight after Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister, the late Princess Margaret, decided to live here – and it hasn't stepped out since. This exclusive isle has been the highly coveted (yet unpretentious) playground of the rich and famous for decades. Tommy Hilfiger, Mick Jagger and Paul Newman are all among Mustique's A-list residents.
Visiting this gorgeous sanctuary isn't cheap. You can arrive via ferry, but it only services the island once a day a few times a week. If you arrive by charter boat, you'll need to touch base with the Mustique Company (which oversees the exclusive isle) in order to arrange a mooring. Expect to pay approximately EC$220 to EC$1,000 (roughly $85 to $370) per day, depending on boat size (larger yachts are not allowed to drop anchor here). Accommodations here are also pricey: You can bed down in one of the Mustique Company's nearly 100 luxurious villas, but you can expect to pay a nightly rate of more than $1,000.
- #7View all Photos#7 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesBeachesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeachesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
If you came to Mustique (the Grenadines' exclusive retreat just 18 miles southeast of St. Vincent) to sprawl across blindingly white sand or sit beneath a rustic palm hut facing turquoise waters, head straight to Macaroni Beach, which visitors praise for its beauty. This isolated strip of sand along the island's eastern shoreline makes an idyllic spot for sun-seekers and surfers.
Many reviewers are quick to call Macaroni Beach the best in the Caribbean, especially since the island's exclusivity means it's never crowded. However, others complained of seaweed and wild waves.
- #8View all Photos#8 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesNatural Wonders, Recreation, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Recreation, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Once you've marveled at the Grenadines' magnificent scenery above the surface, it's time to take the plunge below sea level. After all, St. Vincent doesn't hold the renowned title of "Critter Capital of the Caribbean" for nothing. Some of the area's notable underwater creatures include manta rays, squid, frogfish and reef sharks.
Standout dive spots along St. Vincent include Anchor Reef and Critter Corner. Anchor Reef, just a few yards off the coast of Kingstown, boasts a unique black coral garden and a versatile marine life that includes sea horses and even the occasional octopus. Meanwhile, the sea grass and boulders of Critter Corner, which hugs Indian Bay Beach's sugary sands located to the south of Kingstown, are home to a wide variety of fish.
- #9View all PhotosfreeMayreau#9 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesRecreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRecreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Picture it: Tall palms swaying in the breeze, azure waters lapping at the sands of Saltwhistle Bay, and the aroma of savory lobster wafting through the air. This is Mayreau, the compact mile-and-a-half-long cay located west of the Tobago Cays. This quiet island is home to a small hilly village with arresting seaside views, and no airport at all—but then again, its isolation is part of its charm. You'll likely stop here on an excursion to one of the nearby dive sites. If you do, try some delectable seafood and barbecue served at Dennis' Hideaway, a boutique hotel on Saline Bay at the southern end of the island.
Mayreau sits to the east of the Tobago Cays; you can get here by ferry from St. Vincent. Boats operate several times throughout the week, and the trip takes approximately three-and-a-half hours. One-way and round-trip tickets can be purchased on board. For an up-to-date ferry schedule, check out the SVG Tourism Authority's website.
- #10View all PhotosfreeKingstown#10 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Before you set sail for the remote isles of the Grenadines, take some time to explore Kingstown, St. Vincent's colorful capital city located along the island's southern coast. Punctuated by cobbled streets, rolling hills and a bustling harbor, Kingstown lures travelers with its arresting scenery and its vibrant market area.
For a spectacular view of the area, consider making the uphill trek to Fort Charlotte – a colonial-era fort that can be reached via taxi. Recent visitors said it's an interesting stop for its arresting views and far-reaching history. If you don't want to make the journey to Fort Charlotte, consider simply meandering downtown.
- #11View all Photos#11 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesHiking, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're itching to explore, St. Vincent offers numerous picturesque trails. Thrill-seekers will get a kick out of trekking up the imposing La Soufriere volcano, but they should note the climb requires endurance, appropriate attire and the company of a licensed tour guide. The Rabacca trail, a popular route along the windward coast of St. Vincent stretches all the way up to the crater's edge. Another option is hiking one leg of the trip and arranging for someone to pick you up at the end. The Rabacca trail welcomes visitors from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. To plan your trip and reserve your tour guide consult the SVG Tourism Authority's La Soufriere page.
Nature lovers looking for some fresh air with a side of spectacular scenery should head just 5 miles north of Kingstown to the Buccament Valley to embark on the Vermont Nature Trails. These routes do not require as much stamina as the Rabacca Trail. Plus, they boast a rich array of wildlife, such as St. Vincent's rare parrot, the green herron, the crested hummingbird, as well as other species. Visitors are welcome on the Vermont Nature trail from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. It is strongly advised that you stop by the visitor center upon entering to get oriented before beginning your hike. For more information, consult the SVG Tourism Authority's hiking page.
- #12View all Photos#12 in St. Vincent & The GrenadinesHiking, Natural Wonders, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
A quick and easy 15-minute hike rewards visitors with St. Vincent's most accessible and beautiful waterfalls. However, getting there is not without excitement. To get to Dark View Falls, you have to cross a bridge, made of bamboo poles, over the Richmond River. After a short walk through a bamboo grove, you'll reach the first of the waterfalls. You can access the other falls, which is above the first, via another short hike. The falls descends to two pools, where you can take a dip.
Past travelers said Dark View Falls is a must when visiting St. Vincent. They also recommended wearing water shoes as there are rocks in the pools beneath the falls. Reviewers also appreciated the availability of drinks and food for purchase.
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