Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)Terrain: volcanic, mountainous
The islands and cays offer a traveler white sand beaches edged with deep blue waters lined with palm trees. Many of these islands are "Gilligans Islands" - remote little or no population with a unqiqe Caribbean flavor. The Grenadines are a favorite with sailers who can sail right up to a small island and explore the area (note sailors and boaters must first visit a customs office before anchoring). The Grenadines seem to be well known to wintering yachters, beach loving aristocrats and rock stars, but remains off the beaten path for most other visitors.
The islands require muti-stop transportaion to get there - Most fly into Barbados, Grenada or St. Vincent and then take a commuter flight to a smaller island.
Mayreau beach in the Grenadines - North side of island.
Most international flights would take visitors to a Caribbean gate-way island (Puerto Rico, St. Vincent, Barbados, Grenada etc.) where you will catch anisland hopper flight to one of the Grenadine islands. Also, sailing and yachting into the islands is very popular as well.
Islands of the Grenadines include:
- Young Island - Read island/resort report here.
- Bequia - A perfect small Caribbean island Bequia offers amazing sandy beaches (usually never crowded), lush green landscapes, a caribbean village atmosphere with well run hotels and vacation rentals. Bequia offers travelers that special mix of solitude with access to amenities of comfort. With fewer than 6000 inhabitants, Bequia feels like home from the moment you arrive; friendliness is the watchword, and the pace is relaxed and easy-going.
- Petite Nevis - Petite Nevis is a tiny island in the Grenadines, off the coast of Bequia. The island is uninhabited, but has been used by whalers to flense their catches as late as the 1960s.
- Mustique - Mustique is a private island in the Caribbean Sea, one of the Grenadines. The entire island is owned by the Mustique Company, who rent or lease its 89 private villas, of which 57 are available for weekly rentals. There are also 2 privately owned hotels. Because of its luxury and isolation, Mustique has attracted a number of celebrities.
- Petite Mustique
- Petite Canouan
- Canouan - http://www.canouan.com
- Mayreau - It is the smallest inhabited Grenadine island with a population of 300. It's a beautiful, layed back but primitive island of friendly people. A real Caribbean jewel!
- The Tobago Cays
- Union Island - Due to its vulcanic silhouette, it is also called the Tahiti of the West Indies. The island is approximately 3 miles long and 1 mile wide. Surrounding islands are Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Palm Island, and Petit St. Vincent. The highest peak is Mount Parnassus - 900 feet above sea level.
- Petit Saint Vincent - Petit St.Vincent lies 40 miles south of St.Vincent. It is an island of rolling hills spread over 113 acres surrounded by two miles of white sand beaches. The island offers just over 20 vacation rentals and cottages available for rental.
- Palm Island - http://www.palmislandresorts.com
- Carriacou (Grenada) 27.5 km², 7,400, Capital Hillsborough - Carriacou is about 7 miles in length and about 2 miles across. Volcanic activity created a varied topography mainly of wooded hills, rising up dramatically in places creating an irregular coastline.
- Saline (Grenada) 0.3 km², Uninhabited
- Frigate (Grenada) 0.4 km², Uninhabited
- Ronde (Grenada) 3.2 km², Uninhabited
- Large (Grenada), 0.5 km², Uninhabited
- Petite Martinique (Grenada) 3.7 km², 550, Capital North Village - very small with less than a thousand people and located about 3 miles east of the north end of Carriacou.
Most Vincentians are the descendants of African slaves brought to the island to work on plantations. There also are a few white descendants of English colonists, as well as some East Indians, Carib Indians, and a sizable minority of mixed race. The country's official language is English, but a French patois may be heard on some of the Grenadine Islands. St. Vincent has a high rate of emigration along with high unemployment and under-employment.
Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. African slaves--whether shipwrecked or escaped from St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in St. Vincent--intermarried with the Caribs and became known as "black Caribs." Beginning in 1719, French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations worked by African slaves. In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. Conflict between the British and the black Caribs continued until 1796, when General Abercrombie crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras.
Slavery was abolished in 1834; the resulting labor shortages on the plantations attracted Portuguese immigrants in the 1840s and east Indians in the 1860s. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.
The Trump International Golf Club (http://www.canouan.com/golf/default.asp) at Raffles Resort Canouan Island (http://www.rafflescanouan.com) is home to the resort's 18-hole, par 72 golf course designed by Jim Fazio.
Tennis can be found at some the hotels on the Grenadines. Bequia has courts at four hotels and there are also public courts. Palm Island also has tennis courts. Raffles Resort Canouan Island has a tennis center which offers 4 all-weather tennis courts floodlit for night play, pro shop, rental equipment and resident pro.
Mustique has a stable of horses and a guide can take you for a ride on the beach.
Bequia has several shops which cater to the boating and sailing crowd and people who just like boats. The book store has a great selection of books on the subject plus many items carved with scrimshaw including every yachtsman's dream of a knife.
Uncrowded and remote beaches dot these islands - some only accessible by boat. Around the perimeter of Bequia there are many palm fringed stretches for lounging, swimming, walking and snorkeling. Some have beach bars for lunch...others are more secluded. Palm Island has five white sand beaches. Canouan has secluded white sand beaches and pristine waters.
SCUBA DIVING & SNORKELING
Snorkeling in the Tobago Cays is an experience not to be missed. This marine protected area offers spectacular coral reefs and walls. Reached only by boat, the crystal waters and pure white sand are a background to the rich aquatic life.
- Glenroy Adams' Grenadines Dive (Union Island) - http://www.grenadinesdive.com
- Dive Bequia (Bequia ) - http://www.dive-bequia.com
- Bequia Dive Adventures - http://www.bequiadiveadventures.com
Nightlife is a relatively simple affair in The Grenadine islands. Entertainment centers around local music on many of these islands. Bequia is known for its "jump ups" which are barbecues with steel band music and jazz and reggae. Bequia also has a few beach bars that dot the harbour which offer live music and an international crowd of visitors. Mustique has Basil's Bar which includes dancing and live music. Mayreau has 5 or 6 bars that dot an ungodly steep "road" stretching up from the beach. Local cocktails and rum are not to be missed. Windjammer ships sailing the area (usually the Yankee Clipper) usually stop here for a day on the beaches, a beach BBQ and an evening "cultural tour", which is really just a great pub crawl - Hey learning about rum is cultural!
Saltwhistle Bay Club (Mayreau) - http://www.saltwhistlebay.com/
The resort sits on a lovely sprawling 15 acres of daily manicured sandy white beach rimmed with palm trees and tropical trees. The resort occupies what is affectionately called 'Saltwhistle Bay.
Gingerbread Hotel, Restaurant & Café (Bequia) - http://www.gingerbreadhotel.com
Luxury suites with ocean verandas. Beautiful location on Admiralty Bay.
Spring on Bequia (Bequia) - http://www.springonbequia.com
Romantic hillside hideaway on a 200 year old plantation with freshwater pool, tennis & restaurant with ambience of rustic elegance. Dinner reservations required.
The Sugarapple Inn (Bequia) - http://www.sugarappleinn.com
8 spacious apartments close to Friendship Beach on Bequia.
Fort Recovery Resort (Bequia) - http://www.fortrecovery.com
Private luxury beach villas. Breakfast, dinners, boat trips, massages, nails, hairbraiding, yoga & tax.
Friendship Bay Beach Resort (Bequia) - http://www.friendshipbayresort.com
Surrounded by lush gardens & amazing views over the Grenadines the resort offers a beach front restaurant with excellent food & atmosphere.
Tamarind Beach Hotel & Yacht Club (Canouan) - http://www.tamarindbeachhotel.com
40 seaside hideaways located on a white sand beach in the heart of the Grenadine islands. There are 2 restaurants, a bar, water sports, boat excursions & massage.
Anchorage Yacht Club (Union Island) - http://www.ayc-hotel-grenadines.com
Restaurant & Bar with Marina & Yacht Services. The Restaurant with its famous shark pool & sea food offerings.
Big Sand Hotel (Union Island) - http://www.bigsand-hotel.com
Tropical setting with 10 apartments/rooms. The hotel borders on a white sand beach. Enjoy Creole cuisine with a Belgian flavor.