St Vincent and the Grenadines

St Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation that can be found in the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles region. Once a colonial outpost for France and Great Britain, it is now part of the Commonwealth of Nations. No less than 32 islands comprise St Vincent and the Grenadines, with the main island being St Vincent. You'll find the capital city of Kingstown on the southern side of St Vincent, which is also where you will find some of the country's best beaches. You can spend some quality time on the beach during your vacation to the St Vincent and the Grenadines, though the beaches aren't the only things that draw people in. The lush landscape of St Vincent lends itself well to ecotourism pursuits, while the Grenadines chain of islands is arguably the best place to go boating in the entire Caribbean.

While St Vincent and the Grenadines are home to some good beaches, ardent beach enthusiasts might be better off visiting the nearby islands of St Lucia and Grenada. If you're only interested in a vacation to the St Vincent and the Grenadines, however, then you can find some good beaches in the Kingstown area on St Vincent island. Two of the beaches that figure on many St Vincent travel itineraries include Villa Beach and Indian Bay Beach. Villa Beach is just a short, ten-minute drive from Kingstown, and its calm waters make for excellent swimming conditions. Watersports equipment can be rented at Villa Beach, and there are some beachfront cafes that serve drinks and snacks. As for Indian Bay Beach, its reef-protected waters are not only ideal for swimming, but snorkeling as well. These beaches tend to get crowded, particularly on the weekends, so you might make a break for the Grenadines if you want to enjoy a more tranquil beach experience. Bequia is one of the better Grenadines islands to visit if you want to enjoy relatively deserted strips of sand, and some of the others that you can hardly go wrong with include the Tobago Cays and Palm Island.

As you head north along the St Vincent coast, the beaches begin to change into black sand beaches. This is why many beachgoers stick to the island's southern, golden sand beaches. The southern coast beaches are also home to some of the best St Vincent and Grenadines hotels, which also lends to their popularity. The eastern side of St Vincent is home to beaches that get lots of big waves, which makes swimming dangerous. You're better off admiring the water from the safety of land. Should you want to visit the island's east coast, three of the best beaches are Kearton's Bay Beach, Peter's Hope Beach, and Richmond Beach. These are just some of the beaches that you can visit on your vacation to the St Vincent and the Grenadines, though you won't want to spend all of your time on the sand. Lots of adventures await you in this chain of islands, and they include a list of eco-adventures.

Hiking to the top of a volcano, along a coastal path, or through a rainforest is something that many visitors choose to add to their St Vincent travel agendas. St Vincent is the best island in the land for hiking, thanks in part to La Soufriere, which is the island's steaming volcano. It's recommended that you get a guide if you want to climb to the top of La Soufriere, as it is still active. Should hiking on the vegetated slopes of a volcano make you nervous, the Vermont Nature Trails is a great alternative. While hiking through the rainforest on these trails, you'll stumble upon historic plantations that have been all but completely reclaimed by nature. Exploring on land is interesting and exciting in St Vincent and the Grenadines, as is exploring the area waters. In addition to boating and yachting, those who are interested in water-related activities can also enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, and whale watching.

There are about 30 dive sites to choose from off the island of St Vincent, and they can be found along the leeward side. While scuba diving in the waters here, you'll spot some interesting creatures. If you're lucky, frogfish and seahorses will be among them. The southern end of the island is the best overall area for snorkeling and scuba diving. As for boating and yachting, the Grenadines are the islands of choice. According to many in the know, these islands are even better for boating than the British Virgin Islands. While you can rent a boat or cruise the area waters in your own personal watercraft, captains and crews are available for hire.

Several different kinds of whale species can be spotted in the waters of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and as such, many visitors choose to go whale watching. Among the whales that you might see when whale watching on your vacation to this Caribbean island nation are humpback whales, pilot whales, and sperm whales. December through April is the best time to go whale watching here. Many of the whale watching tours also include dolphin watching, and you can also do some turtle watching on the side. The island of Bequia is home to a turtle sanctuary where you can learn all about sea turtles. To see them in the wild, the Tobago Cays Marine Park is the place to go. Green turtles thrive in the protected waters of this park, and you can swim and snorkel with them.

St Vincent travel is growing in popularity, as is travel through the Grenadines, though that doesn't mean that these islands are swarming with tourists. The country maintains a laid-back appeal thanks to its friendly natives, who haven't yet been overrun by tourism. There is development here, but not as much as you might expect, which is why ecotourism lies at the heart of things. Development is increasing, however, as more and more travelers are dropping by to savor a slice of what is, for now anyways, "The Caribbean as it used to be."

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