Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a country located in the Caribbean Sea on the island of Saint Vincent and the smaller islands of the Northern Grenadines (Beccia, Mustique, Canoan, Union, etc.). The population is 109,643 (2016). The head of state is the Queen of Great Britain, represented by the Governor General. The official language is English.
The main island of the state, St. Vincent, was discovered by Columbus in 1498, on St. Vincent’s Day. The island was inhabited by the Carib Indians. The territory alternately came under the control of the French and the English, and only in 1763 became a British colony. A considerable group of black Caribs (garifs) was formed from the mix of Indians and negroes brought in to work on the plantations. Today, most of the population is black and mulatto.
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St. Vincent is a mountainous island of volcanic origin. The chain of old volcanoes, gradually descending, stretches from north to south. The climate of the island is tropical, trade winds. The average monthly temperature is 26 ° C. The dry season lasts from December to April. 70% of precipitation falls between May and November. The entire central part of the main island is covered with forest. St. Vincent, like the other islands, has many beautiful coves and white palm-fringed beaches. The combination of coral reefs and clear water is ideal for snorkeling. Some of the islands are privately owned.
The capital Kingstown (40 thousand inhabitants) is the main economic center of the state. There is a botanical garden, founded more than 200 years ago. It is also an important financial center, where there are many banks with tax exemptions. Agriculture specializes in the production of bananas, coconuts, and arrorut (starchy flour from the rhizomes of maranta).
St. Vincent is an island of volcanic origin. Its area is 344 square kilometers. The islands of the Grenadines archipelago are small, the largest being Bequia, Mustique, Canoan, Mero and Union. Many of the Grenadines’ islands are fringed with coral reefs. The main part of St. Vincent is occupied by mountains covered with forests. The highest point is the active volcano Soufrière (1234 m). There is a lake in its crater. Eruption Soufriere occurred in 1718, 1812, 1902 and 1979. To the south of it is a chain of gradually descending cones of extinct volcanoes. On the steep western slopes of the mountains run down to the sea streams that form beautiful waterfalls and turn after tropical showers into violent torrents. The eastern slopes are flatter, with longer, wider, and deeper rivers running through them. The island’s beaches are covered with black volcanic sand; the exception is the white sandy beaches at the southern tip of the island. The climate is tropical, trade winds, humid. Strong hurricanes are frequent. Average monthly temperatures range from 24 to 28° C. The average annual rainfall on the southeast coast is 1,500 mm, while in the interior mountainous areas it is 3,750 mm. The mountains are covered in places with dense, damp tropical forests and bushes. A rich fauna of birds (the endangered parrot Saint Vincent amazon, a rare subspecies of red-breasted hermit thrush, etc.). Coastal waters abound with fish, crustaceans and mollusks. There are several forest and ornithological zakazniks on the islands, in order to protect the nature.
The state’s largest city is its capital, Kingstown. The city is located on the harbor at the southwestern tip of St. Vincent Island. Since Kingstown was under British rule for a long time, its architecture is dominated by the colonial style. There are several old churches in the town: St. Mary’s, St. George, and Kingstown Methodist Church. Kingstown also has a botanical garden. This is a nursery, founded as far back as 1762, where plants from every corner of the world are collected. The complex is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Its exhibition consists of more than 450 species of tropical plants. There is also an aviary for birds, including the endangered parrot Amazons.
North of Kingstown are the ruins of Fort Charlotte, which was built in 1806 to protect the city and harbor. It is now home to the Museum of Black Carib History.
Hiking enthusiasts can hike the Bucament-Willie-Vermont-Neiche Trail nature trail, which provides opportunities to wander through rainforests and watch birds. On the west shore of St. Vincent Island are the beautiful Baleyn Falls.
The cuisine of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is based on seafood. The main recipe on many menus here is char-grilled fish. Clams, shrimp, lobsters, and tri-tri fish, which is a local delicacy, are used in the preparation of dishes. It is cooked in a variety of ways, but always with curry and spices. In addition to seafood, local cuisine uses fruits and vegetables: sweet potatoes, arrowroot, bananas, coconuts, and breadfruit.
Also popular in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are cassava tubers. They are added to meat or fish and are also used to make “choki” tortillas by crushing and squeezing the poisonous juice through a cloth. As for drinks, tea, coffee, cocoa, and various juices are common. Rum, the basis of most cocktails, and beer are also produced on the islands.
Holidays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is considered elite. The islands are mostly home to four-star and five-star hotels.
Kingstown has an excellent five-star hotel Buccament Bay Resort, which claims to be the most fashionable resort on the island. There is a soccer school and tennis academy, private beach, fitness center, outdoor pool, golf course, kids club and spa. The cost of accommodation starts from $1,000 per day.
Another luxury hotel complex, Ruffles Resort, is located on Canoan Island. The hotel has both suites, and luxurious villas overlooking the ocean. The complex has a large number of restaurants and bars, excellent beaches and swimming pools. The hotel offers special programs for honeymooners.
Hotel complex Cotton House is located on Mustique Island, which is located 28 kilometers from St. Vincent. You can get here only by sea. Next to the modern buildings on Mustique Island, there are restored colonial-era structures. There is a spa center, tennis courts, restaurants. The complex also offers a wide range of water sports.
Among the cheaper hotels is the three-star Palm Island Resort, located on Palm Island. It has spa and fitness centers and an outdoor pool. In addition, the hotel offers services for weddings. There is also an opportunity to use the services of a babysitter if you go on vacation with your child.
Entertainment and recreation
New Year in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is celebrated on January 1. In the same month, January 22, the state celebrates Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Day. However, the highlight of the year is Carnival. It takes place from the last week of June to the end of the first week of July. The festivities include a marathon of music, costume parades, and numerous dance contests. On the eve of Christmas is the Nine Days Festival, which runs from December 16 to 24. During the festival, there are sports competitions and dance contests.
Nightlife on the islands is not too rough. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is more suited to a quiet, measured and secluded vacation. But that doesn’t mean there’s not much to do. The islands offer plenty of options for outdoor activities. For example, the quiet bays of the islands attract diving enthusiasts. There are special schools that teach diving for beginners. Windsurfing and yachting are also very popular.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is ideal for beach vacations. There are white sand beaches on all the islands, and black sand beaches can be seen in the east of St. Vincent.
On weekdays, stores in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a lunch break lasting from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, stores and stalls operate on a reduced schedule from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Most often, tourists buy as souvenirs from the various handicrafts of seashells, coral, which makes and sells the local population. In addition, no traveler leaves Saint Vincent and the Grenadines without a bottle of locally produced rum.
The largest seaport is located in Kingstown. Near the capital is the Ernos Vale International Airport. In addition, there are 5 other airports on the islands.
Rail service in the country is absent. Movement is carried out basically by cars. The total length of roads in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is 1000 kilometers. Only one third of them are paved. Tourists can rent a car. For this need to have a driving license of international standard. You can also use the services of a cab.
Telephone service in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is fairly well developed. There are pay phones almost everywhere in the country and around the world. Payment for calls from old-style pay phones is made with special coins, on newer devices – with special cards that can be purchased in supermarkets, newsstands and even pharmacies. Mobile communications are also well developed, the coverage area covers almost all islands of the state. Outages may be observed only in the sea space separating the islands and in the mountainous area in the north of St. Vincent. Internet services on the islands are developing rapidly. Internet cafes can be found on the streets of Kingstown.
The crime rate in the country is quite low, but frequent pickpocketing does occur. Pickpockets mostly operate in crowded places – harbors, airports, and public places.
You should not carry large sums of money and jewelry. For safety of tourists’ property all hotels have safes. No special vaccinations are required before visiting the country.
Local laws allow businessmen to open up in the country of any legal form of enterprise, but in practice, foreign investors often use two legal forms – offshore trusts and international business companies. Registration procedure comes down to submission of the memorandum and articles of association to the Registration Chamber and simultaneous payment of the state duty. Registration takes 24 hours. Also in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is possible to purchase a business that is ready and in operation.
Due to the increasing popularity of St. Vincent and the Grenadines resorts is growing in demand for real estate on the islands.
However, potential buyers are faced with a number of protective measures imposed by the state due to the small size of the territory. Thus, to purchase real estate, foreign nationals must first obtain special permission and pay certain fees.
The most popular types of real estate are villas, located on the coast. The cost of such villas starts at $ 200,000. Apartments are less popular, but demand for them also exists. Most apartments are rented out.
Tips for the tourist
Although one goes to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a beach vacation, one must remember the rules of conduct in public places. Outside the hotel in a bathing suit is not allowed. Moreover, in such a form you are unlikely to be allowed in a good restaurant. Restaurants and hotels automatically include government tax at the rate of 7% and a service charge of 10%, so every tourist decides for himself to leave a tip.
Russian citizens can get visas upon arrival at the airport or immediately after arrival at the local authorities. To get the visa one must present the international passport, the air ticket (the ticket must be round trip, otherwise visa is not issued), for children under 18 and traveling with one parent must have a notarized power of attorney of the second parent, the passport of the child, if the child is over 14 years old. For children under 6 years old who are entered in the parents’ passport, a photo is enclosed.
There is no Russian Embassy in the country.
By the time Europeans arrived, the islands were inhabited by Caribbean Indians. St. Vincent was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his third expedition to the New World on January 28th 1498 on St. Vincent Day, hence the name of the island. For more than two centuries, the Caribs fiercely resisted European colonization. The cannons of the Spanish coastal forts were aimed into the interior of the island as the Caribs represented the greater danger to the colonists than external enemies.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. St. Vincent alternately came under French and English control. Beginning in 1719 the French began to grow coffee, tobacco, indigo, and cotton there. Slaves from Africa were brought in to work on the plantations. As a result of mixed marriages of runaway and freed slaves with local Indians, a stratum of “dark-skinned Caribs” appeared.
The English first took possession of St. Vincent in 1763 and it became a British colony by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. In 1796 the English suppressed a revolt of black Caribs and exiled more than 5 thousand rebels to one of the islands off the coast of Honduras. In the beginning of the 19th century in St. Vincent appeared sugar cane plantations where slaves toiled. After the abolition of slavery in the British colonies (1834), emigrants from India and Portugal were brought to the islands as laborers.
In 1925, the first legislative council was created on the island, in 1951, universal suffrage was introduced, in 1969, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines received the status of “associated state” with the right of full internal self-government.
The country attained full independence on October 27, 1979 under the constitution finalized in London in September 1978. In 1979, the Labor Party, which won the parliamentary elections, formed the government. In 1984 the New Democratic Party won and its leader, James Mitchell, became Prime Minister. The party has also won elections in 1989, 1994 and 1998. On February 28, 2001, the parliament was dissolved. A month later, early parliamentary elections were held. The United Labor Party (ULP) won 12 seats and the New Democratic Party (NDP) three. The government was headed and formed by the leader of the ULP, Ralph Gonsalves.
The National Broadcasting Corporation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a government radio and television service, operates on the islands. Several newspapers and magazines are published in English. The largest newspaper is The Vincennes Weekly, founded in 1919 (circulation, 5,500 copies). The oldest publication is the government newspaper The Haverment Gazette (founded in 1868). The printed organ of the New Democratic Party is The New Times, and of the United Labor Party, The Unity.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, led by Great Britain. A constitution has been in force since the country’s independence in 1979. Formally, the head of state is the Queen of England, represented by the Governor General. The legislative body is the House of Assembly (unicameral parliament), consisting of 15 elected deputies and 6 senators appointed by the governor general (4 – on the recommendation of the prime minister and 2 – on the recommendation of the leader of the opposition). The term of the parliament is 5 years. All citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote. Executive power is exercised by the government, headed by the prime minister, the leader of the political party that won the election, who is appointed by the governor general. The government is responsible to the House of Assembly.
The major parties are the United Labor Party and the New Democratic Party. There is also a political coalition, the United People’s Movement, which fights for democratic change and national independence. The National Labor Movement, the United Union of Workers, and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Union of Workers are all advocating for workers’ rights.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. From 1958 to 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a member of the West Indies Federation. The country has economic ties with other nations of the West Indies, and is a member of the Caribbean Community and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an independent island nation in the Caribbean Sea, a member of the Commonwealth. The country consists of 33 islands, the main island being Saint Vincent, and the remaining 32 are a group of small islands called the Grenadines. The population is more than 110 thousand people. The capital is Kingstown, which is home to about 15% of the population.
The head of state is the English queen, whose interests are represented by the governor-general. The state language is English. The main population of the island is mulattoes and negroes, descendants of the indigenous Carib Indians and former slaves brought from Africa.
For ordinary tourist trips of up to 90 days, you will not need a visa. Stamped on arrival at the airport or seaport. The availability of return air tickets is mandatory.
Read a detailed article on visa regime, documents required for entry and customs regulations here.
Island of St. Vincent
St. Vincent was discovered by Columbus in 1498. It is an island of volcanic origin, with mountainous terrain. A chain of old volcanoes runs through the territory, the height of the tops of which gradually decreases from north to south. There is an active volcano Soufrière, the height of 1234 meters. But there is no need to be afraid of it, as well as expect a unique natural spectacle. In the twenty-first century there has not been a single eruption, and in the twentieth century, it happened only twice – in 1902 and 1979. At the moment, in its crater is a lake, where they sometimes bring tourists on tours and walks. Thanks to the volcano, the northern part of the island has several beaches with black volcanic sand.
The island is almost eternal summer with temperature differences from 24 to 28 degrees. The average temperature is a stable 26 degrees. The climate is tropical. Rainy season is the period from May to November. The dry season, popular with tourists, is from December to April. Most precipitation falls in the interior mountainous regions of the island. On the coast, they fall three times less.
The coast is very beautiful. There are many bays and beaches with white sand and palm trees. The central part of the island is covered by forests. The water is very clear with many coral reefs clearly visible.
The capital city of Kingstown
Here on St. Vincent is the capital and largest city of the state, Kingstown. This is a developed financial center, where there is a large number of offices of various banks and brokerage companies from all over the world because of the preferential tax treatment. Besides, the city is very interesting from a tourist point of view. It has beautifully preserved authentic architecture and a botanical garden, planted more than 200 years ago.
The agricultural sector is developed and exports bananas, coconuts, flour, and palm oil.
The Grenadines are a group of 32 islands that make up the state. The largest of these are:
Many of them are surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making them a very popular destination for divers and ordinary tourists who enjoy boat trips and cruise ships.
The water is home to a huge number of fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Fishing and underwater hunting are very plentiful here and also attract the connoisseurs of these kinds of recreation.
The main architectural landmarks are in the capital city of Kingstown. Among them are the best examples of English colonial architecture:
- Kingstown Methodist Church,
- St. Mary’s Church,
- St. George’s Church.
Besides that, it’s worth visiting the ruins of Fort Charlotte, built in 1806 to protect the harbor and the city. Today, there is a Black Carib Museum dedicated to local history and indigenous peoples.
Natural attractions include the beautiful Balein Falls on the west side of the island. Hiking enthusiasts can hike the specially organized Bucament-Villey-Vermont-Neiche Trail, which winds through rainforests and numerous clusters of beautiful native birds.
The main thing the local chefs can please you with is the seafood, which forms the basis of the local cuisine. In the menu of any restaurant and cafe – a large selection of fish baked on coals. It is highly recommended to try it. Especially the local unique delicacy called “tritri fish,” which is cooked with local herbs and spices. In addition, lobsters, shrimp and clams will be on any menu.
Vegetarians will appreciate the large selection of dishes from local fruits and vegetables. It is worth noting the local dishes of marantha, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, coconuts and bananas.
Coffee, tea, cocoa and freshly squeezed juices are in common use. Locals make rum and brew beer.
Rules of conduct for tourists
You can wear swimsuits only in hotels and beaches. On the streets and in the city it is considered inappropriate, you may not be allowed in restaurants and cafes. Your bill will automatically be added 17% of the amount. Of which, 7% is local sales tax and 10% is a service charge. Be prepared for that. Hence, the option of not having to leave a tip. The matter is left entirely up to you.
Hotels and lodging
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are among the rather expensive resorts, focused on service. Therefore, there are virtually no hostels or three-star hotels. Most players in the hospitality market wear four or five stars.
The most prestigious and popular among affluent tourists is hotel Buccament Bay Resort with room rates starting from $1,000 a night. On its territory there is a huge number of entertainment and professional training centers, including a tennis academy, a golf course, fitness center and a number of other facilities. Famous people from the United States, Canada and South America can often be found here.
Another interesting option is the Ruffles Resort Hotel, located on the small island of Canoan, is in high demand by honeymooners or romantic couples. There are extraordinary views and rooms for all budgets, from simple rooms to individual beachfront villas overlooking the ocean.
If you want to live amongst the classic colonial architecture, look no further than Cotton House Hotel, on Mustique Island, 29 kilometers from the main island. You are guaranteed to be immersed in a bygone era. You’ll be living in a modern building, but all around are carefully restored buildings from 250 years ago.
If you want to save money, we recommend a budget option – the three-star Palm Island Resort Hotel on Palm Island. In addition to the traditional services in the form of a pool, spa and fitness center, there is a local wedding palace, where you can play quite a formal wedding. The nice thing is that there is a developed service of nannies, animators and babysitters. You can easily surrender your children to the experienced local staff, and do something more interesting in adult company yourself.
Recreation and entertainment
The main tourist event is the big mass carnival, which takes place over two weeks that include the last week of June and the first week of July. In addition to the traditional costume parades, there are numerous dance contests, heaps of concerts and performances by musical groups.
Fans of bars and nightlife are unlikely to be happy with the news that there is virtually no club life here. After all, this is a resort, more focused on beach holidays, as well as diving and boat trips with fishing. In addition, here in reverence and in fashion yachting and windsurfing.
For an unusual experience and pictures, go to the eastern or northern part of the main island. There are beaches with black volcanic sand.
The local stores have an unusually short schedule. In the first half of the day they work from 8:00 to 12:00, in the second half – from 13:00 to 16:30. On weekends, the schedule is shortened – from 8:00 to 12:00. So it is not easy to run out in the evening for food and alcohol.
Tourists bring from here the local rum, as well as souvenirs made of coral and shellfish.
Transportation and travel around the islands
The main gateway to the country is the international airport Ernos Vale, located 5 km from the capital. The largest islands have local airports in the number of 5 pieces. Otherwise, travel between islands is by ferries, yachts and boats. Cab services and car rentals are developed. In order to drive yourself, enough standard Russian driver’s license of international standard.
Mobile communications and Internet
Mobile communications and mobile Internet covers the entire territory of the state. To save money, you can use local payphones, from which you can make calls around the world. You can buy payment cards in any store or supermarket. In addition, if you need to work or just sit on the Internet, you can use the services of numerous local Internet cafes. Internet speed is high enough, there are no technical problems.
Crime and safety
The crime rate is low. There are practically no violent crimes. The only thing to be wary of is pickpocketing. And the local thieves can operate even in the crowd at the airport, as well as in other crowded and visited places. It is advised to leave jewelry and large sums of money in a hotel safe.
Business and Offshore
The state of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is active in making money offshore, with relevant local laws patronizing this type of activity. Exactly, that’s why the largest number of companies registered in the country are offshore trusts and international corporations. The proximity to the United States, Canada and Mexico make this location convenient for tax optimization, hiding assets in divorce or other civil transactions.
Company registration is done in 1 day. All options are available to foreigners, including the purchase of a ready-made business.
Buying real estate is somewhat complicated by the local authorities and the limited territory of the islands, but nevertheless, after obtaining a special permit and paying a fee, a foreigner can do it. The biggest demand for villas on the coast, the cost of which starts at 150,000 dollars. Foreigners, as a rule, do not buy apartments, limiting themselves, if necessary, to renting them.
History and Politics
Before the discovery of St. Vincent by the legendary explorer Christopher Columbus in 1498 during his third expedition, the island was inhabited by Caribbean Indians. The locals actively resisted the arrival of the Europeans for 200 years and constantly attacked the settlements of white people. Even in forts and fortresses, soldiers pointed their guns not toward the sea but toward the interior of the island, focusing primarily on internal rather than external enemies.
St. Vincent constantly changed hands. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was taken over alternately by England and France. The colonizers opened a large number of plantations to which they brought slaves from Africa and grew tobacco, cotton, indigo, and coffee trees. Through marriages between freed slaves and natives, native mulattoes, the black Caribs, were born.
The slaves tried to revolt in 1796, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Five thousand rebels were exiled to one of the smaller islands away from their original places of life.
In 1834, slavery was abolished in the English colonies, and, instead of slaves, the British began to bring in full-fledged laborers from among the poor of Portugal and India.
In 1969, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was granted associate state status in the Commonwealth and full internal self-government.
The date of full independence from Great Britain was October 27, 1979.
At present, the State is a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations, led by Great Britain. Since independence, the country has had its own constitution and a parliament of 21 senators. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the winning party.
The country is a member of such international communities as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community.
The impressions are very interesting. The country itself is very small, there are no problems with visas, traffic is left-handed, you can drink water directly from the tap. It is clean and very tasty. None of the locals, by the way, do not buy water in stores. It is possible to pay with dollars and not with taps. We can pay in dollars, although for the sake of the exchange rate, it makes sense to exchange them for local money.
Holidays were three weeks. According to money, for two people it has come out 200 thousand rubles. But then the dollar exchange rate was more pleasant, of course. I think now you should count on at least 300 thousand rubles for the full 3 weeks, after all, this is not the cheapest resort.
What is definitely worth seeing is the volcano, local waterfalls, mud baths, local beautiful churches. If you’re a diver like my wife and I, it’s certainly worth diving. The beauty is inexpressible. For the price, a dive will cost 70-120 dollars, depending on the island and the popularity of the dive point.
We flew from Moscow with a connection in New York and Barbados. In general, we had a pretty big trip to the Caribbean islands. Well, what can I say. The hotel grounds were excellent. The town and common beaches were full of locals who looked like rastamans. The houses are very nice, especially the old colonial architecture. All in all, everything is very decent. After a few trips to the volcano, waterfalls, and some local national park, though, the available entertainment for us on the main island was over. We’re not into diving, so we mostly had a beach and hiking vacation. Once is worth a trip for a change, a second is unlikely. Can’t even begin to guess why.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an Anglo-Caribbean island nation located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, off the coast of South America. It consists of the main island of St. Vincent and 32 […]