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SAINT VINCENT & THE GRENADINES

 
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About St. Vincent/Grenadines

Located 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

Getting There

St. Vincent’s 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 Caribbean destinations.

The 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 Union Island.

From the US
American Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue

The main US cities with direct access are New York, Atlanta, Miami & Charlotte

From Canada
Air Canada, WestJet

From the UK
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic

From Europe
Air France, Condor

Regional airline operators with direct and indirect services to and from St. Vincent:

Liat, Caribbean Airlines

Canouan, Bequia, Mustique and Union Island all have airports with daily scheduled service and charter flights to and from St. Vincent by SVG Air, Mustique Airways and Trans Island Air.
Canouan has a jetport that is serviced by SVG Air

Flight Times

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.

Entry Requirements

Visitors 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.

A 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.

All 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.

Getting Around

By Taxi
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.

By Car
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 and terms.

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.

By Bus
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.

Shopping

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 and shops.

Dining

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.

Night Life

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.

Dress

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.

Health

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.

Electricity

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.

Climate

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.

Water

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 expected.

Telecommunications

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.

Postal Service

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.

Internet/E-Mail

Kingstown has a couple of internet cafés , and others can be found on Bequia and Union Island.

 

 
 

 


 










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