The Grenadines holiday highlights

32 emerald-clad volcanic islands make up St Vincent and the Grenadines which stud the azure waters of the Caribbean, west of Barbados. Known for their untouched beauty, natural landscapes and tranquillity, these south-eastern Windward Islands provided the picture-perfect setting for scenes from the popular Pirates of the Caribbean films. Rainforest eco-adventures, scuba diving and powdery white-sand beaches are just some of the unmissable attractions of this multi-island nation filled with character and charm.

The Grenadines are unspoilt and sufficiently inaccessible so it can stay that way. On these gorgeous islands, nightlife is traded in for peace and solitude and dress codes – like the lifestyle – range from informal to barefoot casual.

Palm Island
A 45-minute flight from Barbados to Union Island, then a ten-minute boat trip takes you to beautiful Palm Island, which is dominated by a private 135-acre island resort. The intimate Palm Island Resort & Spa shares the island with just a scattering of private houses, so guests are treated to blissful seclusion for the most romantic of holidays with nature trails to explore and private dining on the beach.

Bequia
A 45-minute flight from Barbados takes you to the idyllic island of Bequia and its untouched beauty. The island has a deeply rooted seafaring heritage of fishing, whaling and boat building; today, visitors can watch local craftsmen carving intricate models of the island’s traditional double-ended fishing boats. Secluded beaches and green hills are a stunning backdrop for activities including diving, sailing and hiking. The charming Bequia Beach Hotel is in Friendship Bay on one of Bequia’s best beaches and has a serene setting, laid-back vibe and superb cuisine.

Young Island
Take a 45-minute flight from Barbados to St Vincent then a three-minute private ferry ride to this little gem, just 200 metres from St Vincent’s south coast. Like Palm Island, there’s only one hotel here – Young Island has 29 cottages nestled in 13 acres of tropical greenery, complimentary watersports and the swim-up Coconut Bar.

Beaches
Lapped by crystal-clear waters, Casuarina Beach runs the length of the western side of Palm Island – it’s one of the finest beaches in the Grenadines. Bequia’s capital, the sleepy harbour town of Port Elizabeth, is at the heart of Admiralty Bay on the west coast of the island. This natural harbour is a popular mooring site for yachts and nearby Princess Margaret Beach is a glorious sweep of white sand. The sugar-white sands of Friendship Bay on the south-east coast of Bequia have sheltered waters, ideal for watersports.

Activities
The Grenadines are great for diving thanks to its shallow-water reefs and abundant marine life which can be seen at depths of only 25 feet. The islands also have some of the best sailing in the Caribbean. Charter a boat or book a day trip from Palm Island or Bequia to visit nearby islands and discover secluded beaches, tropical forest and colourful marine life. The island of Mustique exudes a sophisticated air and lures the rich and famous with its pristine white sands and exclusive villas.

Canouan is Carib for the ‘Island of Turtles’ and this tiny gem of an island features gorgeous beaches, a beautiful barrier reef and an 18-hole championship golf course. The pristine talcum-powder sands and turquoise waters of the spectacular Tobago Cays epitomise the Caribbean dream of deserted paradise islands. This archipelago of uninhabited islands is home to a national marine park where you can explore stunning coral reefs and sea turtle nesting sites.

It’s easy to explore these compact islands by foot and a hike through the countryside and along the coastline will reward you with breathtaking views. Book a guided walk to discover more about the local flora and fauna or enjoy the freedom of following your own trail and stopping to enjoy a picnic on a secluded beach, in a beautiful forest or by a pretty waterfall.

The Grenadines key facts

Time difference

GMT -4 hours

Currency

East Caribbean dollar. The US dollar is also widely accepted.

Flying time to destination

12¾ hours via Barbados

Language

English

The Grenadines good to know

Etiquette

The Grenadines
32 emerald-clad volcanic islands make up St Vincent and the Grenadines which stud the azure waters of the Caribbean, west of Barbados. Renowned for their untouched beauty, natural landscapes and tranquillity, these south-eastern Windward Islands provided the picture-perfect setting for scenes from the popular Pirates of the Caribbean films. Rainforest eco-adventures, scuba diving and powdery white-sand beaches are just some of the unmissable attractions of this multi-island nation filled with character and charm.

The Grenadines are superbly undeveloped, supremely unspoilt and sufficiently inaccessible to stay that way. On these gorgeous islands, nightlife is conspicuous by its absence, peace and solitude are unsurpassed, and the dress code – like the lifestyle – ranges from informal to barefoot casual.

Palm Island
A 45-minute flight from Barbados to Union Island, then a ten-minute boat trip takes you to beautiful Palm Island, which is dominated by a private 135-acre island resort. The intimate Palm Island Resort & Spa shares the island with just a scattering of private houses so guests can enjoy blissful seclusion for the most romantic of holidays. Explore nature trails and enjoy private dining on the beach.

Bequia
A 45-minute flight from Barbados takes you to the idyllic island of Bequia, renowned for its untouched beauty and seafaring heritage. The island has a deeply rooted history of fishing, whaling and boat building; today, visitors can observe local craftsmen carving intricate models of the island’s traditional double-ended fishing boats. Secluded beaches and green hills provide a stunning backdrop for activities including diving, sailing and hiking. The charming Bequia Beach Hotel is located in Friendship Bay on one of Bequia’s best beaches and offers a serene setting, laid-back vibe and superb cuisine.

Young Island
Take a 45-minute flight from Barbados to St Vincent then a three-minute private ferry ride to this little gem, just 200 metres from St Vincent’s south coast. Like Palm Island, there’s only one hotel here – Young Island has 29 cottages nestled in 13 acres of tropical greenery, complimentary watersports and the swim-up Coconut Bar.

Beaches
Lapped by crystal-clear waters, Casuarina Beach runs the length of the western side of Palm Island – it’s regarded as one of the finest beaches in the Grenadines. Bequia’s capital, the sleepy harbour town of Port Elizabeth, is at the heart of Admiralty Bay on the west coast of the island. This natural harbour is a popular mooring site for yachts and nearby Princess Margaret Beach offers a glorious sweep of white sand. The sugar-white sands of Friendship Bay on the south-east coast of Bequia have sheltered waters, ideal for watersports.

Activities
The Grenadines are renowned for their superb diving, shallow-water reefs and abundant marine life which can be seen at depths of only 25 feet. The islands also offer some of the best sailing in the Caribbean. Charter a boat or book a day trip from Palm Island or Bequia to visit nearby islands and discover secluded beaches, tropical forest and colourful marine life. The island of Mustique exudes a sophisticated air and lures the rich and famous with its pristine white sands and exclusive villas.

Canouan is Carib for the ‘Island of Turtles’ and this tiny gem of an island offers gorgeous beaches, a beautiful barrier reef and an 18-hole championship golf course. The pristine talcum-powder sands and turquoise waters of the spectacular Tobago Cays epitomise the Caribbean dream of deserted paradise islands. This archipelago of uninhabited islands is home to a national marine park where you can explore stunning coral reefs and sea turtle nesting sites.

It is easy to explore these compact islands by foot and a hike through the countryside and along the coastline will reward you with breathtaking views. Book a guided walk to discover more about the local flora and fauna or enjoy the freedom of following your own trail and stopping to enjoy a picnic on a secluded beach, in a beautiful forest or by a pretty waterfall.

Tipping

If no service charge is added to your bill, tip about 10%.

Religion

Christianity

Food & drink

Food
• The national dish is breadfruit and jack fish.
• Chicken and meat dishes are served with vegetables, ground provisions, and rice ’n’ peas.
• Other traditional dishes include curried goat and queen conch.
• Fresh fish is a staple on the islands and includes mahi mahi, tuna, bonito, snapper, kingfish, flying fish and marlin. Seafood includes lobster, squid and octopus.

Drink
• Stick to bottled water.
• The local drink is Hairoun beer, but Sunset rum is a firm favourite not to be missed.