The Best Things to Do in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Of all the things to do in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the most essential is experiencing the ocean, whether that means scuba diving, sailing, or simply swimming off a white-sand beach. You’ll also want to save time to learn about the nation’s fascinating history at sites like Fort Charlotte and Layou Petroglyph Park.
One of the five small, uninhabited Tobago Cays in the southern Grenadines, Baradel is home to brilliant white-sand beaches that double as nesting grounds for green sea turtles. On the southeastern shore of the island, there’s even a turtle reserve area, where you can swim alongside the graceful giants in a crystal-clear lagoon.
From this 900-foot-high viewing platform—equipped with a telescope, map, and signage—you have a panoramic view of the majestic Mesopotamia Valley (“Mespo”), home to St. Vincent’s fruit, vegetable, and spice crops. A sea of green expands in every direction, bordered by the blue Caribbean far to the south and the mist-shrouded Grand Bonhomme Mountain to the north. It’s the perfect spot to soak up St. Vincent’s rich natural beauty—and to catch a cool breeze.
The waters surrounding Bequia beckon scuba divers with everything from brilliant sponges, colorful fish, and deep-water corals to shallow reefs, sheer walls, caverns, holes, and wrecks. While the area is home to 30 or so easily accessible diving sites, you should head to the designated marine park, which occupies seven miles along Bequia’s leeward coast. Family-run outfitter Dive Bequia (located on Belmont Walkway in Port Elizabeth) offers three dive trips to the park each day, along with instruction, certification, and rental gear. Divers must be at least 8 years old, but snorkelers of all ages are welcome as well.
One look at this hilltop fort, perched over the Port of Kingstown, and you know the British built it to fight the locals rather than to meet any threats coming by sea—all the cannons face the island’s rugged interior, where the Caribs lived. Inside the fort, you’ll find a series of murals depicting the bloody Carib wars. Kids will love exploring the old buildings, and everyone will enjoy the views.
Sailors place the Grenadines, with its 32 breathtakingly beautiful islands and islets, among the world’s best places for boating. For help getting out on the water, turn to Horizon Yacht Charters, which rents monohulls and catamarans (either bareboat or crewed) out of Blue Lagoon Marina on St. Vincent. Enjoy a multi-day or week-long sail around the Grenadines, or opt for the one-way charter and sail south through the Grenadines all the way to Grenada, where Horizon has another facility.
Locals consider La Soufrière—St. Vincent’s massive active volcano that last erupted in 1979—the “queen of climbs.” Approachable from either the leeward or windward coast, the hike to the 4,000-foot summit is a serious, all-day excursion. You’ll need stamina and sturdy shoes—and a knowledgeable guide from the National Parks Authority—to safely reach the top, but once there you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and sea. Keep your eyes peeled for a rare sighting of the St. Vincent parrot on the way back down.
North of Buccament Bay, a turnoff leads to Layou Petroglyph Park, where you’ll find Amerindian writings (or petroglyphs) scrawled on the side of a large boulder. The meaning of the carvings is unknown, but historians estimate that they date as far back as 300 to 600 B.C.E. Lush vegetation grows in the surrounding ridges, making for a fun area to explore. There’s also a small pool where you can take a dip to cool down.
Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth, St Vincent and the Grenadines
Boat-building as an industry has existed on Bequia as far back as the 1800s. At one point, the island was even known as the “boat-building capital of the West Indies,” having produced the largest wooden vessel in the region. While construction has slowed over time, it still occurs—albeit on a much smaller scale—at places like Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop, just up the road from the ferry landing in Port Elizabeth, where Benson Phillips and other craftsmen make and sell their models. Handcrafted using hand planes, chisels, and carving knives, their boats are incredibly detailed and realistic. Choose from whale boats, sailboats, power boats, and wooden schooners, or commission Phillips to build a custom model of your own yacht. The simplest models take about a week to make, but there are always a few boats available for immediate sale, ranging in price from around $250 all the way up to $7,000.
If you were to picture the perfect Caribbean beach, it would probably look something like Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau. Here, clear, turquoise waters lap at 2.5 miles of sparkling white sand, while palm trees, seagrape plants, and flowering bushes provide shady spots for lounging. At one end, you can walk the few yards of land that separate the Caribbean and Atlantic sides of the island. The only catch is that you’ll need a boat to reach the beach, so rent your own or book a day sail to Mayreau.
Lodge Village - Green Hill Road
Around since 1765, the St. Vincent Botanical Gardens claims to be the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Tour the gardens with an informative guide, who will point out all the native and exotic plants growing here, including a breadfruit tree descended from the one Captain Bligh brought to St. Vincent in 1793. In the aviary, you’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the colorful St. Vincent parrot—the island’s national bird.