About St. Vincent/Grenadines
in the Eastern Caribbean, 100 miles west of Barbados,
St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG), offers spectacular
scenery; a 4,000 foot volcano, cascading waterfalls,
tropical rainforest, stretches of black sand beach,
and picturesque coastlines. Best of all, throughout
these islands are a variety of accommodations with
something to fit every budget and lifestyle.
SVG diving offers incredible sheer vertical walls,
crevices, and extensive shallow reefs, many virtually
unexplored and accessible by boat within 10 minutes
from resorts. Diving in the Southern Grenadines and
Tobago Cays boasts impressive dense shallow coral
gardens and a profusion of fish life.
Water Temp Winter 79F 26C Summer 82F 28C Visibility
75 - 100 ft 23 - 30C
Vincents main airport is the E. T. Joshua
Airport in Arnos Vale, a short distance from Kingstown.
This airport services international flights as well
as flights to and from the Grenadines and other
major gateways to St. Vincent & The Grenadines
from North America and Europe are Barbados, Grenada,
Trinidad, St. Lucia, Martinique and Puerto Rico, with
connecting flights to Bequia, Canouan, Mustique and
main US cities with direct access are New York, Atlanta,
Miami & Charlotte
airline operators with direct and indirect services
to and from St. Vincent:
Bequia, Mustique and Union Island all have airports
with daily scheduled service and charter flights to
and from St. Vincent by SVG
Airways and Trans
Canouan has a jetport that is serviced by SVG
Barbados/St. Vincent: 35 mins.
Grenada/St. Vincent: 30 mins.
London/Barbados: 8 hrs. 20 mins.
Martinique/St. Vincent: 40 mins.
Miami/Barbados: 3.5 hrs.
New York/Barbados: 5 hours.
New York/St. Lucia: 5 hrs.
Puerto Rico/St. Vincent: 2 hrs.
St. Lucia/St. Vincent: 30 mins.
Toronto/Barbados: 6.5 hrs.
Trinidad/St. Vincent: 1 hr.
to St. Vincent & The Grenadines must be in possession
of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket.
Visas are required from nationals of The Dominican
Republic, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The People's Republic
of China, Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.
Departure Tax of EC$40 (US$15) per person must be
paid by all visitors who have been in the country
for 24 hours or more.
visitors, with the exception of Caricom residents,
are normally granted a four week stay by Immigration.
To further extend this duration, visitors need to
seek approval from the Immigration Department, along
with payment of an extension fee of EC$25 per person.
The government sets the rates for fares, but taxis
are unmetered and you should always check the fare
before setting off. Fares are raised for journeys
late at night or early in the morning. The average
fare from Indian Bay into Kingstown is approximately
EC$25 and EC$15-20 will get you to the E. T. Joshua
Airport from your Indian Bay or Villa hotel. Tipping
is suggested at 10% of the fare. You can also hire
taxis to take you to the islandís major attractions.
Expect to spend EC$40 to EC$50 per hour for a car
holding two to four passengers.
Driving in St. Vincent is on the left. While initially
driving on the narrow, twisting roads is a bit of
an adventure, you will quickly begin to enjoy the
challenge and start driving like a "Vincy".
There are limited road signs, but locals are usually
quite happy to point you in the right direction. Remember
to sound your horn as you make the sharp curves and
turns. Avis (784-456-4389) has an office at the airport
and the majority of local companies will be happy
to pick you up at your hotel or at the airport. Most
agencies, such as Rent and Drive (784-457-5601 and
Davidís Auto Clinic (784-456-4026) offer similar rates
A temporary driving licence, costing EC$50, must be
purchased at the police station on Bay Street, or
the Licensing Authority on Halifax Street, with the
presentation of a valid overseas driverís licence.
If you have an International Driving Permit you must
get it stamped at the central police station.
Flamboyantly painted buses travel the principal roads
of St. Vincent, linking the major towns and villages.
The central departure point is the bus terminal at
the New Kingstown Fish Market. Fares range from EC$1
to EC$6 (US$0.40 to US$2.20). Minibuses, which stop
on demand rather than at bus stops, run frequently
between Kingstown and the popular hotel areas of Indian
Bay and Villa.
The number of vans starting in Kingstown and running
to Owia or Fancy in the north is limited. The best
way is to take the early bus to Georgetown and try
to catch one of the two vans running between Georgetown
and Fancy (EC$10). To get to Richmond in the northwest
take a bus to Barrouallie and seek onward transport
from there. A day trip to Mesopotamia (Mespo) by bus
(EC$2.50) is definitely a worthwhile experience.
Ferry Service Between Islands
Getting between St Vincent & the Grenadines is
easiest by boat. A ferry makes a one-hour run between
Kingstown and Port Elizabeth on Bequia several times
a day. An inexpensive mailboat carries passengers
and cargo three times weekly between St Vincent, Bequia,
Canouan, Mayreau and Union Island. From St Vincent,
times range from one hour to Bequia to over four and
a half hours to Union Island.
You can also fly between St Vincent and Union Island
and Bequia, though it's more expensive and generally
less convenient than catching a boat.
Money and Banking
The official currency of St Vincent and the Grenadines
is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) , although the
US dollar is also widely accepted, as are major credit
cards, at hotels and restaurants, and by car rental
agencies and dive and tour companies. The EC$ is divided
into 100 cents. Bills come in denominations of 5,
10, 20, 50 and 100 EC dollars; coins in 1, 2, 5, 10
and 25 cents. At the time of writing, the rate of
exchange was roughly EC$2.70 to US$1.
There are plenty of banks on St Vincent, including
Barclays Bank and Scotiabank on Halifax Street in
Kingstown, both of which have ATMs. E.T. Joshua Airport
has an exchange bureau which is open 8am-noon and
3-5pm on weekdays. There are also two banks on Bequia
and a branch of the National Commercial Bank on Union
Island; all have ATMs. Banking hours are generally
Monday to Thursday 9am-3pm and Friday 9am-5pm; however,
some banks close at 1pm.
The capital city of Kingstown is located in the southwestern
part of the island, hugging a mile-wide swath of land
on Kingstown Bay backed up by a ring of green hills
and ridges. Nicknamed the "City of Arches",
Kingstown is full of old world charm, with Cobblestone
sidewalks, old brick buildings and like many Caribbean
capitals, much of the color and bustle of the island
can be found in the market square at the corner of
Bay and Bedford Streets.
The city consists ot twelve small blocks that are
easy to walk and perfect for browsing. Shops and stores
range from simple to sophisticated, selling local
crafts, books, cameras, binoculars, watches, crystal
and bone china, gold and silver jewellery, Sea Island
cotton and batik. Port Elizabeth is the commercial
center on Bequia and boasts a good selection of stores
St. Vincent boasts an eclectic range of dining options
from beachside grills and take-away pizzas to simple,
casual fare and more elaborate fine gourmet cuisine.
Hotel restaurants are generally open to non-resident
guests and further increase your choices. Along the
Villa and Indian Bay strip is a delightful variety
of local and international restaurants. Moorings around
the Young Island Cut make many of these restaurants
easily accessible to yachtsmen. For those seeking
a slightly more adventurous lunch or dinner experience
take the picturesque drive out to Pebbles in Mount
Pleasant or take a boat ride over to Petit Byahaut
or Young Island. Dining in Bequia is more relaxed
and informal but there are plenty of choices from
small intimate restauants to the more sophisticated.
While St. Vincent may not boast a raucous nightlife
scene, there are a few spots that offer evening entertainment.
A number of hotels feature live weekly entertainment
with local steel bands or string bands usually on
Fridays and Saturdays. You would be wise to check
with the venue before hand for up to date information.
The Attic and Emotions are two well known, lively
nightclubs in Kingstown and Iguana and Marcomay located
in Villa. On Bequia, the waterfront in Port Elizabeth
has a good selection of bars and many hotels offer
lively "jump ups" each week.
Casual resort wear is the general rule for both men
and women during the day. Out of respect for local
customs, swimwear should not be worn on the street,
or in shops and restaurants.
There are six public hospitals, including Kingstown
General Hospital, and Maryfield Hospital, Lowmans
and Bequia Casualty Hospital, Port Elizabeth, and
three privately owned hospitals. Community care is
provided by 38 outpatient clinics located throughout
the country. Each clinic serves about 3,000 people
and is easily accessible. Health centers are well
staffed and provide a wide range of services, including
midwifery, family planning, immunization and emergency
care. St. Vincent has a mental health center and a
home for the elderly.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a reliable supply
of electricity. Electricity is generally 220/240 volt,
50 cycle, except for Petit St. Vincent which has 110
volt, 60 cycle. Most hotels have 110 volt shaver outlets.
The standard electrical plug has 3 rectangular pins
so remember to pack an adapter.
Average temperatures range from 75 87 degrees F. Driest
season is January to April. Rainy season is June to
October. Average rainfall 80" per year on the
coast. 150" per year in the interior.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has an abundant supply
of potable water as the level of rainfall is high.
Taxes & Tipping
Hotels and restaurants will automatically add a 7
percent government tax and 10 percent service charge
to your bill. Tipping is at your discretion, but not
St Vincent and the Grenadines has a state of the art
fibre optic digital telephone system. Internet, Boatphone,
Cellular service, telex, telegraph and facsimile access
are also available. The international area code is
1-784 followed by the local seven-digit number. Phonecards
are available through outlets islandwide as are Phonecard
booths. International Direct Dialing (IDD) service
is available to most destinations in the world and
International calls can be made using your credit
card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, AT & T and Bell
are accepted) by dialing the operator.
The main post office is on Halifax Street in Kingstown
(Mon-Fri 8.30am-3pm, Sat 8.30-11.30am). There are
also branches in smaller communities on St Vincent,
as well as on the other islands.
Kingstown has a couple of internet cafés ,
and others can be found on Bequia and Union Island.