THE GRENADINES comprise of about thirty different islands, many of them
exemplifying the Caribbean dream. Think dazzling white sands, crystal clear waters and a Utopian way of
life made famous in those old Bounty ads. They're sprinkled out between St. Vincent in the north and
Grenada in the south, ranging from tiny atolls where you can count the palm trees on one hand to
thriving communities with a town, restaurants and air strip.
In general, though, you should come here with a couple of good books and someone very special, as
they're as famous for what they don't have as what they do! Yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkellers and nature
lovers will all find plenty to fill their days here, but most visitors to the Grenadines come simply to
relax on the beach, swim in the Caribbean Sea and escape their busy work loads.
Indeed, some people decide to combine one or two different resorts, island-hop aboard a yacht for a
few days or stay first on one of the busier islands like Barbados or St. Lucia. But if you're feeling
stressed out and can think of nothing better than idyllic natural surroundings, lots of peace and quiet
and plenty of early nights, then the Grenadines are right for you.
St. Vincent is the main island with the largest airport, but as this is a lush volcanic place
with darker sand, it is generally off the main tourist map.
However, it does boast many places of interest,
not least of these being the oldest Botanic Gardens in the Western Hemisphere - amongst the many
tropical plants to be found here is a descendant of the original breadfruit tree brought to the island
by Captain Bligh. The spectacular Falls of Baleine should also not be missed and whilst they're
only accessible by power boat, the chance to swim in their huge rock-lined pool ensures a memorable day
out. The physically fit should also consider climbing to the peak of La Soufriere (a 4,000-feet
high volcano that last erupted in 1979) or taking an excursion to the Mesopotamia Valley, a richly
fertile area which boasts some of the finest views in the Caribbean.
If you do like the idea of staying near all these natural attractions, the privately-owned
is probably your best accommodation choice, as this tiny tropical paradise lies just a 5-minute boat ride
from the mainland.
Often though, visitors to the Grenadines don't spend any time at all on St. Vincent, preferring instead
to stay on one of the smaller islands further south.
and Petit St. Vincent
all boast the requisite white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, their
luxury resorts accessed either by boat from nearby Union Island or by scheduled flights directly from
Wherever you stay, though, you should try and schedule in a visit to the world-famous Tobago Cays
- five deserted islands (Petit Rameau, Jamesby, Petit Tabac, Barabel and Petit Bateau) that boast some of
the clearest waters and whitest sands anywhere in the world. Declared a wildlife reserve by the government
and only reached by boat, they're protected by a huge horseshoe reef and are unbeatable for snorkelling.
Not to mention fulfilling your ultimate Caribbean fantasy!