St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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The 30 islands and cays that comprise the Grenadines are among the most popular Caribbean sailing destinations for the rich and famous, but are off the beaten path for most other visitors. They shouldn't be.
The Grenadines are a pristine Caribbean paradise. There are exceptional white-sand beaches on virtually all the Grenadines isles and crystal-clear waters offer first-rate diving and snorkeling among world-class coral reefs. Fewer than a dozen of the islands are inhabited, and even those are lightly populated.
Diving enthusiasts will find colorful sponges, soft corals, great stands of Elkhorn coral, and a few sunken wrecks. Snorkelers will love Owe Bay, in the northeastern corner of St Vincent, Lower Bay, at the southern end of Admiralty Bay on Bequeath and Canaan, midway in the Grenadine chain. And everyone will enjoy unspoiled beaches and post-card perfect Caribbean islands.
Sail the Grenadines on one of our luxury crewed or bareboat catamarans and let all your cares slip away
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to rise with the sun as it peeped from the ocean's horizon? To stretch that first stretch and to breathe in the balm of an air that's as fresh as the waves? To tiptoe outside to the sight of the gulls as they glide on the soft trade wind breezes?
Capital of the Grenadines, St. Vincent and the surrounding islands are an incredible cruising area offering lively winds and plain sailing. The dock on the southern tip of St. Vincent offer a beautifully protected harbor, perfectly placed for sailing southwards as well as for inland day trips.
St. Vincent Leeward Coast
Chateaubetair- The bay here, with its 40-foot deep reef and array of brightly colored fish, is a snorkeler's dream. While usually a good anchorage, especially on the eastern half of the bay, the northerly swells in the winter months can cause difficulties.
Cumber Land Bay- The bay is very deep and those boats wishing to anchor will need to do so with a bow or stern rope to a palm tree. There is no customs clearance.
Petit Byahaut- Four moorings are available at the resort al Petit Byahaut. There is a small beach, diving and snorkeling are superb. At Dinosaur Head (face of By haut point) you will find a 120-foot wall covered in sponges, sea fans and coral.
Troumaca Bay- This small well-protected bay, with room for only a handful of yachts, has some mooring posts on the beach. There is good snorkeling along the northern shore.
Wallilabou- This picturesque bay is a good diving spot and reliable line handlers are available to help secure yachts. Customs can be cleared here between 4.OOpm and 6.00 pm. Kingstown - Customs and immigration can be cleared at Kingstown Harbor and there is a tie-up for yachts.
Mount Wynne -This expansive black sand beach is a local favorite. It lies on the leeward coast thus the seaÂ is very calm. There are toilet facilities, benches and huts. The ideal spot for a picnic and for anchoring speed boats and yachts.
St. Vincent South-East Coast
Blue Lagoon- Surrounded by palm trees, this area with a lovely beach provides a very pleasant anchorage. Moorings are available at the Lagoon Marina.
Villa Beach and Indian Bay- There are two white sand beaches on mainland St. Vincent located on the southeast end of the island. They are divided by a small hilly projection and are easily accessible. Both beaches offer good snorkeling and provide lovely views of Young Island and some of the Grenadine islands.
Young Island Cut- The anchorage here, lying in clear water, is a favorite with yachts people. Anchor with care as the current sweeps both ways and the centre of the cut is 65 feet deep. Moorings are available, but stay clear of the sea bed close to Young Island itself. No customs clearance.
Eight nautical miles from St. Vincent, Bequia is an old favorite of sailors. Head for Bequia has several well known scuba-diving points as well as a sea-turtle sanctuary.
The tiny island of Bequia has a unique, magical charm which is hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean. With fewer than six thousand inhabitants, it feels like home from the moment you arrive; friendliness is the watchword, and the pace is relaxed and easy-going. Don't be surprised if you are greeted with a warm hello as you walk along the street - a centuries-old dependence on inter-island shipping and trading has meant that Bequians have been eagerly welcoming visitors to their shores for generations.
The island's enduring seafaring heritage is one of its most striking features. Virtually every Bequia family has some connection to the sea either past or present, and today's fishermen, sailors and boat-builders are quietly proud to share their marine traditions with newcomers to the island.
Bequia fulfils many dreams of the perfect small Caribbean island: beautiful sandy beaches where more than ten people may constitute a crowd, lush green hillsides, attractive little villages, intimate, well run hotels and guest houses, hardly any traffic, places to get together and places in which to find that perfect solitude. Variety and choice on so small an island may come as a surprise - but there are both wherever one turns.
Choose a holiday of total beach relaxation or exhilarating sailing and diving in some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Get to know the island on foot, or hire a car and discover so much more than just the golden beaches; take day or overnight trips to neighboring isles or simply fill up another perfect day doing what is increasingly necessary to unwind - nothing!
A choice of nightlife too awaits you - gourmet international cuisine, or delicious local cooking; elegant cocktails or sundowners in a local bar; a lively jump up to steel band music or a wonderfully romantic candlelit dinner far away from it all.
And then of course there are the warm tropical nights, with an orchestra of singing cicadas and gently murmuring surf, and the brilliance of the star-studded sky which tells you, if you didn't already know, this is where you have always wanted to be.
Exploring the neighboring Grenadine islands as part of a vacation in Bequia is a must - a trip to the fabulous Tobago Cays will be unforgettable, as will a visit to the island of Mustique to rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
Or take a trip to the nearby deserted island of Isle de Quatre for the perfect Caribbean dream day, with picnic and swimming and the whole island to yourself....
Longer term charters using Bequia as a base, are becoming increasingly popular as more visitors discover the delights of sailing in the Grenadines. A professional crew will take you wherever you want to go, pamper you with mouth-watering cuisine and on-board comfort, while you lie back and enjoy the unique pleasure of discovering the Grenadines islands under sail.
Set in the middle of the Grenadine archipelago, Canouan is an island of only 3.2 square miles.
Charlestown Bay (also known as Grand Bay) is the main anchorage and location of the village. Enter between the red and green markers. Marcus rents moorings for US$15 (contact him on VHF16 or through Tamarind Beach Hotel). There is a ferry dock in the bay and a dinghy dock off the Tamarind Beach Hotel. Rameau Bay, just north of Charlestown, is a gorgeous, quiet anchorage but may require two anchors - good snorkeling around the rocks. Further north is Corbay, the most sheltered anchorage and a great location for snorkeling or diving. There is a glorious beach at Maho Bay in the north and Friendship Bay in the south also offers good snorkeling.
Mayreau lies west of the Tobago Cays. It is the smallest (1 1/2 square miles) of the inhabited Grenadine islands, with a population of two hundred and fifty-four people. Mayreau is accessible only by boat. The island is rimmed by magnificent sweeping white sandy beaches perfect for sailing and snorkeling.
Hike along the trail from Salt Whistle Bay up to the quaint little village, with friendly bars, local restaurants, and a lovely Catholic church which offers a panoramic view of the Tobago Cays. From Saline Bay a road also leads to the village or across the southern part of the island to the salt pond where you can collect rock salt in the dry season, or continue on to explore the pristine beaches.
The famed Horseshoe Reef surrounds the four main deserted islets, dotted with the odd palm tree and vegetation. The sister island Petit Tabac lies outside the Horseshoe Reef. You can sail, snorkel and dive in luminescent waters filled with a kaleidoscope of colored fish, or beachcomb the brilliant coral sands - a rare tropical paradise that can be reached only by boat.
Mayreau is rimmed by magnificent virgin beaches. Saline Bay in the south, with its nearly mile long white sandy beach is very popular with visitors. As you approach Saline Bay from the north, keep well seaward of the buoy that marks the edge of the reef.
There are two dingy docks and a few moorings for rent. Check the quality and the price before settling for them. Salt Whistle Bay is the favorite of many sailors, scoring high points for calmness. Enter through a central channel because of the reefs on either side, the southern one being particularly dangerous. Anchor in the clear sandy areas. It is also possible to anchor on the windward side of Mayreau, approaching from the south. There are many reefs east of Mayreau so travel in good light and study the charts carefully.
The huge Horseshoe Reef that protects these five deserted islets, with their dazzling, palm-studded shorelines, provides some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The brilliant powdery, white sand, the colored waters shaded in unimaginable blues and the neon marine life beneath give true meaning to the "stop-the-world-l-want-to-get-off'
The Cays have been declared a wildlife reserve by the government and all visitors are urged to preserve and protect this unique natural resource. No fishing, jet skis, or anchoring of dinghies allowed. Make your own contribution to the efforts by disposing properly of your debris, including the charcoal and remainders of your beach barbecue. Local youths may offer to remove your garbage for a fee but avoid this temptation, as some are known to dump it without care.
Petit Rameau features a beach on the south side of the cay, as does Barabel, which lies southeast of Petit Rameau. Petit Bateau provides visitors a shaded beach to the north and another beach on its east side. This easterly beach is the best choice for beginning snorkelers as it has calm shallow water. More experienced snorkelers will be delighted by the waters surrounding Horseshoe Reef, but may find it occasionally choppy.
When approaching these islands, well aided by black and white day markers, be careful not to cut corners as you may end up on a coral head. Anchor in the cut between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau with bow and stem anchors, as the current is strong.
The smallest and southernmost cay, Jamesby, features on its eastern side one of the best beaches of the group. Petit Tabac where Johnny Depp was marooned as Sparrow in Disney's blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl", is the most inaccessible with a narrow entrance at the southwestern tip. This crescent shaped islet is covered in coconut trees planted by the late John Caldwell (a.k.a. Johnny Coconut), formerly of Palm Island and his efforts have been continued by Glenroy Adams of Grenadines Dive, a devoted conservationist and a good choice for scuba diving in the area.
This tiny resort island is just a mile from Union Island, where you are met by the resort's private boat and transported to this 135-acre tropical oasis of unhurried rest and stress free relaxation. Originally known as Prune Island, Palm got its current name when former owners, the late John Caldwell (a.k.a Johnny Coconuts) and his wife Mary, planted hundreds of coconut palms, transforming the deserted island into a palm covered resort Now a private all-inclusive resort where tranquility reigns.
Palm Island is the perfect getaway for people who love natural beauty and want to escape from it all. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and five sparkling white beaches, one of the favorites being Casuarina Beach, which runs the entire length of the western coastline.
Forty beautifully appointed guest rooms, all with incredible views are sprinkled around the island. Sunset Restaurant and Bar is open to nonresident guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner (closed to non-residents September - October). Royal Palm accepts outsiders for lunch and dinner but reservations are essential. There is a strict "smart but casual" dress code (no swim wear allowed).
Hotel facilities (pool, water sports, beach chairs, bicycles, etc.) are strictly for resident guests only. Outsiders are allowed to visit, but must make prior arrangements with the hotel and the "private" signs must be adhered to. Visitors should check at the main office or call VHF 16.
Petit St. Vincent
Petit St. Vincent, or PSV, as it is often called, is one of the world's most enchanting hideaways. Over its varied terrain (113-acres) twenty-two private cottages are scattered some on hillsides, some set into the sides of cliffs, some right on the beach - all absolutely heavenly. For most people the appeal of PSV is what it "does not have"- no telephones or television, no air-conditioning, no casinos or cabarets. Not even room keys.
Clifton Harbor is a small, busy port and the centre of the day- chartering industry. When arriving from the south, stay well-clear of Grand de Coi. If approaching from the north be sure to avoid Newlands Reef which protects the harbor. The Anchorage Yacht Club offers dockage, water, ice, electricity, showers, a laundry service and free collection of your garbage bags.
Snorkelers will find good conditions on Lagoon Reef, which protects most of the southern coast of the island, especially around Frigate Island, just offshore from Ashton.v.
Sun, sea and sand lovers will enjoy Chatham Bay on the west coast (it is also a protected anchorage) and Bloody Bay, on the northwest coast, with its captivating view and long sandy beach, Big Sands is a crescent-shaped beach on the east coast and is ideal for surfing. Richmond Bay on the North Coast, is shallow and great for children (beware of the poisonous manchineel trees - the fruit and leaves will blister if touched).