Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

The slogan "The Caribbean as it used to be" is tossed about a lot in advertising, often to excuse a dull 1950s retro look. But St. Vincent and the Grenadines actually are the Caribbean of decades ago. Even Johnny Depp coming here to film scenes for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies didn't exactly put St. Vincent on the tourist map. St. Vincent is undeveloped when compared to neighboring St. Lucia, and it's not as lush as Grenada and Dominica, but it has its own beauty. It has only enough attractions to absorb a day or two of your time, but the offshore islands of the Grenadines are the best sailing waters in the Caribbean, even topping the British Virgin Islands -- the yachting crowd seems to view St. Vincent merely as a launching pad for the 65km (40-mile) string of the Grenadines. Don't come here for nightlife, grand cuisine, or spectacular beaches. (There are some white-sand beaches near Kingstown on St. Vincent, but most of the other beaches ringing the island are black sand.) That said, St. Vincent is unspoiled by the fallout that mass tourism brings, and islanders treat visitors courteously. British customs predominate, along with traces of Gallic cultural influences, but all with a distinct West Indian flair. South of St. Vincent, the islands forming the small chain called the Grenadines have such romantic-sounding names as Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, and Petit St. Vincent. We'll explore Union and Palm islands, and Mayreau as well. A few of the islands have accommodations, but many are so small and undeveloped that they attract only beachcombers and stray boaters. Populated by the descendants of African slaves and administered by St. Vincent, the Grenadines collectively add up to a landmass of about 80 sq. km (31 sq. miles). These specks of land may lack natural resources, but they're blessed with white-sand beaches and coral reefs. If you don't stay overnight in the Grenadines, at least try to visit one on a day trip from St. Vincent, and enjoy a picnic lunch (which your hotel will pack for you) on your own quiet stretch of sand. Bequia would be the most recommended island to visit on a day's jaunt.

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St. Vincent

The Grenadines
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