The Grenadines

Map of the Windward IslandsView of a Tiki Hut from Yacht Sudiki

 

The Grenadines are by far our favorite cruising grounds in the Eastern Caribbean.  They are located between St. Vincent  and Grenada (click on the map for reference) and are comprised of over 30 islands, nine of which are inhabited.  They offer a diversity of Caribbean flavor and your trip can be easily tailored to suit the mix of sailing time and island time you want.  The snorkeling and diving are some of the best in the world, there are hundreds of beaches to enjoy, the restaurants and bars offer great food and exciting nightlife and there are many annual special events, music festivals and regattas to enjoy.  Below is a brief description of the nine inhabited islands in the Grenadines, the Tobago Cays Marine Park, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada.  Any of these islands are easily includable in your trip through the Grenadines.  We do recommend that if you start in St. Lucia, you should either end in Union Island or consider a 9 or 10 day trip to accommodate the additional distance we’ll need to sail.

 

 

Bequia

The northern most island of the Grenadines is Bequia which is home to over 6,000 people.  It is unique in that Bequia is the only Eastern Caribbean island to have had a serious whaling tradition.  You can visit the museum and experience some of the history, check out the model boat shops for a model of a whaling boat and talk with some of the men who have been whaling.  Bequia also has a number of wonderful beaches to enjoy, good snorkeling, some of the best dive sites in the Grenadines and annually hosts the Bequia Music Festival and Bequia Easter Regatta.  And there are a wide variety of restaurants and bars to explore and enjoy.  See www.bequiatourism.com and www.divebequia.com for more information.

Mustique

Mustique is a privately owned island of holiday homes for the rich and famous.  Some of those who have owned property include Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger, David Bowie, Raquel Welsh and the late Princess Margaret.  When a large number of owners are in residence, the island is in “lockdown” and non-residents are very limited in where they can go on the island, but if it’s not in lockdown, you can rent a mule (a small car, not an animal!) and tour the island for a view of some of the mansions.  There are a couple of very good restaurants and a fun bar where you might catch a glimpse of one of the island’s resident celebritites.

Canouan

Canouan is currently going through significant change.  Over the past ten years, a large resort, including one of the Caribbean’s best golf courses and a casino, on the northern end of the island was run by Raffles.  Last year, they closed the resort and different owners have stepped in and started new projects with different portions of the resort, none of which has yet opened.  Apart from the resort, there are a number of fantastic beaches to enjoy and for those who like to walk, there are some amazing views of the southern Grenadines.

Mayreau

Mayreau is home to 300 folks and has a couple of anchorages with spectacular beaches where you can go snorkeling right off the beach.  If you walk up to the village, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the Tobago Cays in the afternoon and some of the best rum punch in the Caribbean while you watch sunset and maybe the green flash!

The Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays are a group of five small, unihabited islands surrounded by Horseshoe Reef and World’s End Reef to the north, east and south and Mayreau Gardens  Reef to the west.  It is part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park, which extends from the south end of Canouan to the north end of Union Island.  The anchorage is very unique in that you can anchor without an island in front of you, the next land east is Africa (which is a bit hard to see)!  The beaches are lovely and the snorkeling is incredible.  You can swim with turtles, stingrays and a plethora of colorful reef fish just feet away.  For divers, Mayreau Gardens, voted the number 1 dive site in the Caribbean, offers three different dives which are quite spectacular.  See www.tobagocays.org  for further information.

Palm Island

Palm Island is a resort island with a beautiful beach but very restricted for those who are not guests at the resort.  Petit St. Vincent is another resort island but less restrictive.  There are some lovely beaches to enjoy and a new beach bar at water’s edge.  A dinghy ride away is Petit Martinique, a very local island who’s inhabitants have a long history of boat building on the beach.  For the adventurous, another short dinghy ride will take you to Mopion, claiming to be the world’s smallest island, for some nice snorkeling.  Other than the sand, the only thing on the island is a small thatched umbrella as the single palm tree was washed away in a hurricane a few years back.

Union Island

Union Island is a wonderful place to visit and explore.  There are three different anchorages, each unique in what they offer.  To the east is Clifton where the anchoring is similar to the Tobago Cays and you can visit Happy Island, a man-made island who’s foundation is made of conch shells.  The town has a number of good restaurants and bars with some of the friendliest folks in the Caribbean.  If you like to walk or ride bikes, Union Island offers some of the most interesting and challenging roads and trails in the Grenadines.  To the south is Frigate Island anchorage, a good part of the time we’re the only yacht there.  If you like to kite surf, this is a great spot when the winds are up.  To the west is Chatham Bay which is a secluded anchorage.  There is one restaurant here and a number of rum shacks just off the beach, otherwise it’s just natural, wild bush country.  The beach is lovely with some nice snorkeling with rich marine life.  See www.grenadinesdive.com for more information.

Carriacou

Carriacou is the largest of the Grenadines islands and has a great variety of restaurants and unique rum shops.  Sandy Island is a relaxed anchorage by an island not much larger than Mopion.  Tyrrel Bay is a smooth anchorage where you can explore a vast mangrove swamp and see iguanas sunning on the mangrove branches.  White Island, on the south side, is a great stop for a beautiful beach and some swimming.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia, 30 miles north of St. Vincent, is one of the most interesting islands to visit.  In the north is Rodney Bay where you can walk through the 19th century fort at Pigeon Island.  Eight miles south is Marigot Bay where they filmed the movie Dr. Doolittle.  But the best is in the southwest where the Soufriere Marine Park is.  Here you’ll find great snorkeling throughout the park, you can anchor between the Pitons, one of St. Lucia’s national symbols, and visit the Soufriere volcano, billed as the only drive up volcano in the Caribbean.  See www.stlucia.org for further information.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent, to the north of the Grenadines, is a great place to start from and well worth a day or two to explore before going to the Grenadines.  For those who enjoy a vigorous hike, the climb to the Soufriere volcano crater is special as is a trip to Trinity Falls.  Montreal Gardens, where they grow all sorts of exotic flowers for export, is well worth a visit as are the botanical gardens in Kingstown, the oldest in the Caribbean.  Kingstown fruit, vegetable and fish markets are fascinating to explore.  See www.discoversvg.com for more information.

Grenada

Grenada, to the south, is also a glorious island to spend a few days on.  There are a number of water falls including Concord Falls and Seven Falls to experience, walks along streams among the nutmeg trees and a trip to the rain forest are all well worth it.  There are many gorgeous beaches and St. George’s, the capital, is one of the most beautiful cities in the Caribbean.  Another adventure is to visit one or more of the working rum distilleries, a few of which are run almost exactly as they were in the 1800’s.  See www.grenadagrenadines.com for more information.