St. Vincent and the Grenadines is country of islands in the southern Windward Islands. These lush tropical islands are quintessentially Caribbean, with a welcoming population, amazing undersea life, rich volcanic soil that produces fragrant and delicious crops, and natural landscapes of extraordinary beauty. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed in this tropical paradise. The Grenadines offer superb climate and sailing conditions, especially in the summer months as they are below the hurricane belt.
Day 1: St. Vincent and Mustique
Arrive at St. Vincent’s stunning Blue Lagoon, located at the south coast city of Calliaga. The largest island in the chain, St. Vincent’s breathtaking La Soufrière, a 4,049-foot-high, active volcano, dominates a landscape of undulating thick forests that dissolve into black-sand and white-sand beaches.
St. Vincent is the archipelago’s main island, the administrative capital, and provides goods and services to the smaller islands in the chain. As a yachting mecca it is the preferred starting point for down island exploration.
Embark on the 16-mile passage to Britannica Bay, the only anchorage at exclusive Mustique Island. Charmed with seclusion and tranquility, controlled development on this privately owned island has proven attractive to a wealthy international clientele who own about 90 palatial mansions sprawled across 1,400 acres. Explore charted nature trails by foot, bike or horseback, take a taxi tour, snorkel and scuba among vibrant coral reefs. Visit Basil’s Bar and Restaurant, perched on stilts over the Caribbean Sea, for panoramic views.
Day 2: Canouan
After a short, pleasant sail downwind arrive at Charlestown Bay on Canouan’s west side. This tiny island of heavily forested mountains has a rich history stretching back over 2,000 years to Arawak founders who named their home Cannoun, meaning turtle island. Explore the boutiques and the maritime museum and sample the local Eastern Caribbean cuisine. Dive and snorkel on one of the Caribbean’s longest barrier reefs or bask in near seclusion on brilliant white sand beaches and possibly glimpse a pod of humpback, sperm or pilot whales offshore.
Day 3: Mayreau
Mayreau, the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines, is a paradise island of peace and tranquility accessible only by sea. Anchor in spectacular Saltwhistle Bay, offshore from sweeping Half Moon Beach, a popular yachting destination.
Hike to postcard-perfect Old Wall village, perched on a hilltop, located on the only paved road leading from Saltwhistle Bay to Saline Bay. Bring your camera. The short walk to the top reveals breathtaking views of the Tobago keys. Visit the diminutive Roman Catholic Church atop Station Hill. Explore the welcoming local bars and eateries with menus of island cuisine. In the evening, the islanders come out to their favorite local spots to play music. Join the fun at Saltwhistle Bay Beach Club or Robert Righteous & De Youths.
Days 4 and 5: Tobago Cays
North of Mayreau lies Tobago Cays Marine Park, a national park and wildlife preserve encompassing four uninhabited cays, Horseshoe Reef, and spectacular anchorage in the 1,400 acre sand-bottom, protected lagoon.
This superb setting draws an estimated 3,000 yachts per year. Shallow shelves on the windward side host the world’s third largest coral reef and offer some of the most spectacular diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. Visibility is an astonishing100 to 120 feet. Please tread lightly, Tobago Cays Marine Park is under threat by non-sustainable use and prohibits spear fishing, and bilge and waste discharge.
Day 6 and 7: Union Island, Clifton Harbour
A short sail reveals the dramatic silhouette of volcanic mountains that define Union Island. There are plenty of boutiques, bars, restaurants and Internet cafes to patronize.
The picturesque town of Clifton has charming markets on the green for provisioning, plenty of entertainment and excellent restaurants. Clifton Harbour provides a marvelous anchorage and at its center the man-made Happy Island is a rollicking bar with a view.
Hike or bike to Mount Taboi, nearly 1,000 feet above sea level. Roads and trails throughout the island offer some of the best hiking and biking in the Grenadines. For local information pertinent to the yachting community tune to the cruisers network on VHF channel 68.
Day 8: Union Island, Chatham Bay
Sail to the west, the lee side of Union Island, to the large protected anchorage at lovely and secluded Chatham Bay. Here the vista of lush green hills descends to a long and often deserted crescent beach of golden sand. Experienced hikers may be challenged by trails that lead from the beach to the town of Ashton, and along the island’s rocky, volcanic interior to Mount Taboi.
In classic Caribbean style, Shark Attack is a local who has the only commercial enterprise on the beach, a snack bar with a tradition of great Caribbean barbecue. When Shark Attack is cooking he dispenses a boy by boat to let you know and take your dinner order.
Day 9: Bequia
Trade winds carry you north to Bequia, known as the Nantucket of the Caribbean, and Port Elizabeth in Admiralty Bay. Here you will experience a charming juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern. Still an island of local sailors, hand-built boats, and an active but low-key whaling station, the bustling little upscale port also has gourmet restaurants, thriving retail shops, and professional yacht services.
Brightly colored rooftops poking through the trees delightfully epitomize traditional West Indian architecture. For a half-day adventure into island culture, negotiate a fixed price and take a taxi tour. Many interesting stops will include Mt. Pleasant, for breathtaking 360-degree views, and Friendship Bay, an alternative yacht anchorage that is usually quieter than Admiralty Bay.
Day 10: Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent
Return to the serenity of Blue Lagoon and the lush, rugged mountains of St. Vincent. There is plenty to explore here. Embark on popular day trips to the 3,000 foot summit of the Soufrière volcano or the Falls of Baleine, or visit the Botanical Gardens, Fort Charlotte and Montreal Gardens, or simply sit on deck with a cooling drink, watch the play of changing colors on the hillsides and contemplate past and future Caribbean yacht charter adventures.
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Destination overview: St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Island Nation
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