Family Vacations to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
|Charter a boat and sail the islands of the Grenadines (Photodisc)|
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Highlights
For centuries sailors have steered toward Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesan archipelago comprised of 32 islands and cays stretching south towards Grenada. Modestly developed and untouched enough in certain spots to pass for the 17th century, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines served as the site of scenes from two of the Pirates of the Caribbean blockbusters. Come to these islands for hiking, diving, sailing, and other eco-adventures.
Lush with rainforests, Saint Vincent, the "gateway to the Grenadines," is the most populous of the islands. Expert hikers climb to the 4,000-foot crater at the summit of La Soufrière, a volcano, an all-day trek up and down best accomplished with a guide. Two less rigorous hikes lead to waterfalls. After arriving at the trailhead for Trinity Falls via a four-wheel-drive vehicle, a one-hour walk passes by palm and bamboo thickets, traverses "steps" formed by gnarly roots, and slick rocks to the three glistening cascades. Because of the swift current, don't jump in; just admire the view. You can swim at the base of the Falls of Baleine. From the boat moorings, it's only a five minute walk to the 60-foot chute tumbling into a wide, natural pool.
Also on Saint Vincent, Wallilabou Bay, site of scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean, contains the dock from which Johnny Depp jumped into the sea and faux 17th-century storefronts remaining from the set. Take a swim while you wait for the beachside restaurant to serve its tasty Creole fish.
Want your own sailing adventure? If you have plenty of sailing experience, charter a bareboat (if not, hire one with a captain and a crew) and sail the Grenadines' many sheltered coves. Contact Sunsail or Barefoot Yacht Charter, both on Saint Vincent. The kids can yell, "Yo, ho, ho," as you anchor for the night.
The best underwater treasures in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are the reefs surrounding the five uninhabited islands of the Tobago Cays. Petit Bateau, with its shady sands and relatively calm waters, appeals to beginning snorkelers and families with young children. Those more experienced with masks and fins can take on the often choppy but rewarding waters of Horseshoe Reef.
The Boulders and the Cathedral, sites rich in sponges and black coral, lure divers to Bequia, a low-key island with small town charm and two great beaches, Princess Margaret and Lower Bay. The main harbor, Admiralty Bay, blooms with hibiscus and a handful of gingerbread-trimmed shops. At the Old Hegg Sea Turtle Sanctuary, see tanks of hawksbill turtles and hear tales of how these hatchlings are rescued, raised, and released two years later when they won't easily be picked off by hungry birds hovering above the shore.
Tip: The best souvenirs are Bequia's hand-crafted models of the double-enders, the island's unique boats.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication