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    Flag, Coat of Arms, and Tourist Board

    St Vincent (pronounced: vin(t)-sənt) and the Grenadines (pronounced: gre-nə-ˈdēnz) is an island country in the area of the Caribbean known as the Lesser Antilles, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Island nation covers approximately 389 square km (150 square mi) consisting of the main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, which are a chain of smaller islands stretching from Saint Vincent in the north to Grenada in the south. The main island of Saint Vincent is approximately 18 km (11 mi) long by 11 km (6.8 mi) wide.

    Geographically, Saint Vincent is south of Saint Lucia and east Barbados. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are densely populated with approximately 120,000 inhabitants. The capital of St Vincent and the Grenadines is Kingstown, which is located on St Vincent and is also the main port.

    The country has a French and British colonial history and is now part of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

    The island was originally named Youloumain by the native Caribs who called themselves Kalina/Carina ("l" and "r" being pronounced the same in their tongue). The Caribs aggressively prevented European settlement of Saint Vincent until 1719. Prior to this, formerly enslaved Africans, who had either been shipwrecked or who had escaped from Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada sought refuge on the island of Saint Vincent, intermarrying with the Caribs, becoming known as Black Caribs or Garifuna.

    In 1719 the St Vincent was settled by French settlers from Martinique until 1763 when the French ceded the island to the British. France recaptured the island in 1779 but it was regained by the British in 1783. The island went through a turbulent time with conflict between the Black Caribs and the British from 1783 to 1797, when the British ended the conflict by deporting more than 5,000 Black Caribs to the island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras.

    After a long history of British rule, St Vincent was granted ‘associate statehood’ by Britain on October 27, 1969; and finally on October 27, 1979 St Vincent and the Grenadines were granted full statehood and independence - the last of the Windward Islands to gain their independence.

    The People
    The ethnic composition of the area is 66% African descent, 19% of mixed descent, 6% East Indian, 4% Europeans (mainly Portuguese), 2% Carib Amerindian and 3% others. Most residents are the descendants of African people brought to the island to work on plantations. There are other ethnic groups such as Portuguese (from Madeira) and East Indians who also were brought to work on plantations after the abolishing of slavery by the British in 1834.

    While the official language is English most locals (Vincentians) speak Vincentian Creole. English is used formally in education, government, and religion; while Creole (or 'dialect' as it is referred to locally) is used in informal situations, at home and among friends.

    Islands and Cays
    There are over 32 picturesque islands and cays that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines; of these, nine are inhabited. The 32 islands and cays that make up St Vincent & the Grenadines are:

    Saint Vincent, Young Island, Bequia, Petit Nevis, Pigeon Island, Isle-À-Quatre, Battowia, Baliceaux,  All Awash Island, The Pillories, Mustique, Brooks Rock, Rabbit Island, Petit Cay, Petit Mustique, Savan Island, Savan Rock, Petit Canouan, Canouan, L'Islot, Catholic Island, Mayreau, Baradal (Tobago Cays), Jamesby (Tobago Cays), Petit Rameau (Tobago Cays), Petit Bateau (Tobago Cays), Petit Tabac (Tobago Cays), Union Island, Red Island, Palm Island (Prune Island), Frigate Island, and Petit St. Vincent.

    The nine inhabited islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines share much of their history and culture, but each one offers a distinctly different Caribbean experience: St. Vincent, Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, and Petit St. Vincent (PSV).

    The principal of these 9 islands are:

    St Vincent – the main and largest island of St Vincent and the Grenadines

    Young Island - the consummate Caribbean paradise of powder white sands, tropical gardens, blue seas, privacy, natural charm and luxury.

    Bequia - relaxed and friendly with an international flair, made for sailing enthusiasts, beach lovers and honeymooners. White sand beaches, sheltered bays, blue waters and a great selection of hotels, villas and apartments; and excellent restaurants and bars. Also the location of the famous Easter Regatta.

    Mustique – Mingle with the rich and famous on an island that blends elegance and luxury with natural white sands, palm trees and turquoise seas. Location of the well known Cotton House; the annual Blues Festival; and the lively Basil’s Bar. Mustique won Travel Channel's 'Best Exotic Beach Award 2013'

    Canouan - luxury and elegance with natural beauty and local charm - famous for the Canouan Resort and Trump International Golf Club. Canouan also has one of the Caribbean’s longest barrier reefs, gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise seas.

    Mayreau – this is St Vincent and the Grenadine’s great escape. A treasure of peace and tranquility, with no airstrip; you have to sail or yacht to reach this place of picturesque beaches and bays, a friendly village and quaint old church.

    Tobago Cays – actually a cluster of five uninhabited cays and beautiful lagoons full of green turtles, coral reefs, colorful fish and crystal blue waters. A fantastic yachting anchorage and spectacular place for scuba divers, beachcombers, and the film location for Pirates of the Caribbean. Tobago Cays was listed in Luxurious Magazine’s ‘World’s Chicest Yachting Hotspots For 2013.’

    From St. Vincent with lush tropical rainforests to the idyllic beaches, coral reefs and turquoise lagoons of the Grenadines, St Vincent and the Grenadines is a tropical paradise for yachting, scuba diving, nature, and relaxation.

    St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the best sailing and yachting destinations in the Caribbean. Crewed and bareboat charters are readily and widely available. Kite Surfing, Ocean Kayaking, Windsurfing and Hobie Cat Sailing are also very popular activities.

    Useful Links
    Click here for Travel Information to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Go to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism page for information on Events and Activities in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For more information about this Caribbean destination, visit the official St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Office website.

    Fast Facts

    Capital: Kingstown

    Motto: “Pax et Justitia” (Latin);  "Peace and Justice" (English)

    Anthem: "Saint Vincent Land so Beautiful"

    Government: St. Vincent & The Grenadines is an independent parliamentary democracy and member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

    Language: The official language is English, though an English-based Vincentian dialect is also widely spoken. You may find it a little tricky to understand at first, but once attuned, you'll probably be speaking it as well as the rest of us!

    Climate: SVG enjoys a tropical climate with the hottest and most humid months between June and September when temperatures reach an average high of 30°C (86°F). The most popular months to visit are between December and May when the climate is more comfortable, though trade winds provide a welcome breeze all year round. The driest months are between January and May and the wettest month is July. There is a theoretical risk of hurricanes between July and November though they usually pass to the north of the islands.

    Clothing: Public nudity is illegal in St. Vincent & The Grenadines and topless sunbathing is discouraged. Swimsuits must not be worn in towns, public streets or places of business. It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing in St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

    Water: The water is safe to drink. Bottled water is also available.

    Currency: The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$). It is also the official currency of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, and St. Lucia. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, EC$50, EC$20, EC$10 and EC$5. Coins come in denominations of EC$1 and then 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. The US dollar is widely accepted throughout the islands and the exchange rate is fixed at US$1 = EC$2.68. Exchange rates with other international currencies are variable.

    Driving: Driving in St. Vincent & the Grenadines is on the left. Visitors are required to purchase a temporary license for EC$65 and must be able to produce a domestic driving license.

    Electricity: The small private islands of Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent have 110V 60Hz electricity supplies and use a US style 2-pin system. All other islands have 220/240V 50Hz supplies and use a UK style 3 pin system.

    Time Zone: St. Vincent & The Grenadines is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4). There are no daylight savings time changes.

    Telephone Code: The international telephone code for St. Vincent & the Grenadines is +1 784 followed by a 7 digit number. From Europe dial 001 784 plus the 7 digit number.

    Cellular Service: There is extensive cellular service throughout the islands, provided by Digicel and LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless).

    Dining and Food Specialties:
    Breadfruit is but one of local vegetables, fruits and spices grown and harvested in St Vincent.

    Travel Information
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    By Air
    St. Vincent’s main airport is the E. T. Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale, which is a short distance from the capital Kingstown. This airport serves international flights as well as flights to and from the Grenadines and other Caribbean destinations.

    The major gateways to St. Vincent & The Grenadines from North America and Europe are Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Martinique and Puerto Rico, with connecting flights to Bequia, Canouan, Mustique and Union Island.

    There is also an information desk in the Arrivals Section of the Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados to assist travelers going onward to St Vincent and the Grenadines. The desk is open daily at 1:00 p.m. until the last flight to St. Vincent departs.

    Airlines serving travelers from the US: American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, Air Jamaica and Jet Blue, with the main departure cities with direct flights: New York, Atlanta, Miami & Charlotte.

    - from Canada: Air Canada and WestJet.

    - from the UK: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

    - from Europe: Air France and Condor.

    Entry & Exit Requirements
    Visitors to St. Vincent & The Grenadines must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. Visas are required from nationals of The Dominican Republic, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The People's Republic of China, Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.

    A Departure Tax of EC$50 (US$18) per person must be paid by all visitors who have been in the country for 24 hours or more.

    All visitors, with the exception of Caricom residents, are normally granted a four week stay by Immigration. To further extend this duration, visitors need to seek approval from the Immigration Department, along with payment of an extension fee of EC$25 per person

    By Sea
    SVG's inter-island ferry system makes it very simple for travelers to get from one island to another. Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau & Union Island each have several ferry options to choose from. Mustique has one ferry service that operates on most weekdays. 

    Useful Links
    Click here for an Overview of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Go to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism page for information on Events and Activities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For more information about this Caribbean destination, visit the official St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Office website.

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