Bluer than blue skies…Greener than green vegetation…Dramatic rock formations…Picturesque, uncluttered landscapes that stretch on for miles…Without a doubt, St. Vincent and the Grenadines delivers those postcard perfect views you would expect from an idyllic Caribbean vacation. A cluster of 32 islands dotting the southern Caribbean Sea, SVG is one of those rare destinations you can count on to take you off the grid and transport you to absolute peace in paradise.
No rush. No fuss. No hassle.
Whether you’re the adventurous sort seeking the thrill of the great outdoors, or you’re looking forward to doing absolutely nothing, SVG has scores of options for you to indulge in, minus the inconvenience of the crowds found in so many neighboring islands. So, if all you’ve got are 5 days to play with, here’s my recommended St. Vincent and The Grenadines itinerary to help you make the most of your visit.
NB: The following itinerary is based on the assumption that you have booked an early morning arrival and evening departure. It is also geared toward the low-key traveler who just wants to relax and soak up the sun.
St. Vincent and The Grenadines Itinerary: Day 1
Stop 1: Kingstown
With an early morning flight you won’t be able to check in until after lunch. A great way to start making the most of your (almost) full day on the main island of St. Vincent is to head into Kingstown.
At first glance it might appear that there’s not much to do in the capital city. But don’t just walk away. Stay and experience the island in its purest form.
Stroll along the main thoroughfare and soak in the unique vibe of this centuries old port city. Take in the details of the colonial style architecture that defines so many of the buildings. Observe the vendors peddling any and everything on the sidewalk and out of the trunks of vehicles. Listen to the infectious twang of the Vincentian accent as idle conversations swirl surround you. Smile with anyone you make eye contact with. And patronize a street vendor or two if you see something that catches your eye.
When you’re ready to escape the sun and get off your feet, make your way to The Cobblestone Inn for lunch and drinks. This beautiful hotel and restaurant is every bit as cute and as quaint as the name implies and it offers the perfect escape from the cacophony of the city. Order a meal from the extensive menu and have the friendly bartender mix you the perfect rum punch. Relax in the open air dining room until you’re ready to bid the city farewell.
Best Mode of transportation: Minibuses are easy to pick up along the side of the road. Note that they’ve mastered the art of packing way too many people into these miniature vehicles so be prepared for a tight squeeze.
Cost of minibus ride: EC $2 (one way)
Estimated cost for lunch: EC $40
Stop 2: Fort Duvernette
When the sun begins to dip and the temp starts to cool down, make your way over to Villa Beach and take a water taxi to Fort Duvernette. Also known as Rock Fort, this historical site sits at 195 ft above sea level, atop a tall, narrow rock that rises dramatically out of the ocean. To get to the top, you need to climb the many, many, many stairs that wind their way along the rock face. They’re quite steep so if you’re afraid of heights you might want to think twice about this activity. However, the views on the way up are breathtaking and absolutely worth the sacrifice.
I should note that while there are amazing views at the top, several areas are disrupted by thick bushes (at least when I visited). So, while it’s still a spectacular scene, be prepared for some obstruction of what should be a 360 degree vantage point.
Only Mode of Transportation: Water taxi
Cost of water taxi: EC $10 (approximately 5 minutes long)
Access to the Fort: Free
Walk with: Drinking water, comfortable shoes, healthy heart
St. Vincent and The Grenadines Itinerary: Day 2
All Day: Road Trip to Owia Salt Pond
Owia Salt Pond is located to the north of the island and makes for a great road trip destination. It’s a popular spot for residents in the area who can be found making daring jumps off the ledges into the rough surf outside of the perimeters of the pond. However, it also receives its fair share of tourists who prefer to take a relaxing soak in the calm, and much safer, salt water pools.
While there are tours available for this attraction, I highly recommend renting a car for the day, and making the hour-long drive on your own. The road, although broken and rugged in certain places, offers a relatively smooth ride for the most part and there are so many breathtaking, stop-you-in-your-tracks views along the way.
Be warned, you need to descend a couple hundred steps to make it down to the beach…which means you also have to ascend a couple hundred steps to get back out. But once you make it down to the pond you’ll be rewarded with the most dazzling sight. Picture it: The white spray of massive ocean waves pounding against large dark rocks. Towering mountains covered in a carpet of green plants and trees. The still water of the salt pond in the foreground. The bright blue sky serving as the perfect backdrop to it all. It will be a scene from Mother Nature you won’t soon forget.
Whether you’re in the mood to be adventurous or you just want to relax in the shallow water and make friends with the fish that dart in and around your legs, it’s easy enough to spend an hour or two here unwinding and taking many Insta-worthy pics.
Mode of transportation: Rental Car
Cost of rental: US $65
Entrance fee to Salt Pond: EC $5
St. Vincent and The Grenadines Itinerary: Day 3
All Day: Bequia
After a good night’s rest pack a beach bag, hop on the ferry and prepare for an epic day of beach-bumming fun in Bequia. The second largest island in The Grenadines, Bequia is overflowing with lush greenery and clear water. Cute eateries line the boardwalk with uninterrupted views of the bluer-than-blue ocean. And the popular Princess Margaret Beach, with its blinding white sand, is even more perfect than you could have imagined when you envisioned the ideal Caribbean getaway.
One thing to note about Bequia is that a large portion of its establishments shut down during the off-season, from August to early October. So plan accordingly and get a meal before you head to the beach as the only restaurant there is closed.
While our Bequia day ended up being close to perfect, it started off a little rough because we didn’t know the best action to take. That being said, here’s hoping you can learn from our mistakes. Take note of what we did versus what we should have done.
What we did:
- Took a minibus straight to the beach, which meant we had to hike down a long and rugged hill to get to the coast.
- Got to the beach only to discover that the only restaurant there was closed.
- Walked for about 25 minutes along a cracked and broken walkway alongside the water, through a forest, and a closed hotel, before we got to a boardwalk where several dining establishments were open for business.
- After eating and having a few drinks as a reward for our hard work, we hired a boat for just US $20 to take us back to the beach.
- We used the same boat to deliver us to the port later that day.
What you should do:
- Walk from the port along the boardwalk and pick a spot for breakfast or an early lunch. It’s less than 5 minutes away.
- Stock up on snacks and drinks to take you through the rest of the day.
- Hire a boat to take you to Princess Margaret Beach where you can frolic in the water all day.
- Make arrangements with the same boat to pick you back up around 3:40 pm so you’ll be there in time for the 4 pm ferry departure.
Mode of Transportation to Bequia: Ferry service
Departure times: 8 AM (from Kingstown) & 4 pm (from Bequia)
Cost of ferry: EC $40 (round trip)
Mode of Transportation in Bequia: Water taxi
Cost of taxi: US $20 (one way)
Estimated cost of Lunch: EC $60 (including drinks)
Beach chair rental: EC $15
St. Vincent and The Grenadines Itinerary: Day 4
All Day: Road Trip to the West of St. Vincent
Your last full day on the island provides another great opportunity to rent a car and roam, this time heading west. Our initial objective was to take a leisurely drive up to the Wallilabou Waterfalls I heard so much about. I envisioned a soft hike and a couple hours cooling down in and around the plunge pool but…
Stop 1: Wallilabou Waterfalls
This was a perfect instance of reality falling short of great expectations. The waterfall was very ‘petite’ and a little unspectacular…Two small channels funneled water into a tiny pool that could accommodate no more than three people at a time. To say the least, it was a bit underwhelming for a waterfall-chaser like me.
On the upside however, the falls are located in the middle of a lush garden full of beautiful flowers and precocious bright green lizards that will dart in and around you, and even crawl into your bag if you let them. While this stop didn’t provide the exhilarating experience we had hoped for, it was a nice place to take a break from all the driving, snap some pretty portraits and if ever I visit again, I’ll give strong consideration to having a little picnic there as well.
Stop 2: Pirates of the Caribbean Museum
The great thing about venturing to Wallilabou for the falls, was discovering the Pirates of the Caribbean Museum just a few minutes away! Several movies in the franchise were filmed in SVG and a big chunk of the set is preserved at this Museum. For “as much as you can afford” you can take a guided tour courtesy the groundskeeper.
Don’t go expecting fancy showcases and elaborate props, but still go. Apart from the natural beauty of this strip of coastline, the museum is actually a very cool place in a haphazard, quirky sort of way. Pages from the script and images from some of the shoots are crudely fastened to boards mounted on the walls. Film reels and canisters lay on the floor in some semblance of a display. The hangman’s noose still stands proudly in the courtyard. And you can even walk along the jetty Captain Jack Sparrow stepped onto just as his ship sank beneath the waves.
Stop 3: Buccament Bay Beach Resort
On the drive back down, make a slight detour to the abandoned Buccament Bay Resort. Once a sprawling and spectacular all-inclusive getaway, its now a ghost town with dredged pools and abandoned bungalows. As dreary as the compound is however, the property’s beach front remains pristine and is open to the public.
Stop 4: Fort Charlotte
Round out your road trip with a final stop at Fort Charlotte. Built in 1806 by the British, the Fort rises 600 ft high above the city of Kingstown and delivers amazing views of the leeward side of the island. Once manned by 600 soldiers and 34 cannons that point toward the ocean, as well as inland, the fort was built to protect against French attack, Carib unrest and slave rebellions. Now, centuries later, it sits as a reminder of the Caribbean’s complicated past and the perfect vantage point for those seeking a bird’s eye view of Kingstown and environs.
St. Vincent and The Grenadines Itinerary: Day 5
QT Hotel Time, Late Lunch and Airport
Having booked a PM return flight, we had a good chunk of the day to play it. However, we had no intention of being reckless with our time. And neither should you. In light of this, my recommendation is to use your last day to enjoy the amenities at your hotel. Have a leisurely breakfast. Lounge by the pool. Follow that up with a nice lunch and drinks. Take a nap if you feel so inclined. Then finish pack before calling your taxi.
With only 5 days to play with you don’t want to waste any time (or money). The experiences outlined in this St. Vincent and The Grenadines itinerary were all extraordinary in their own way and I hope you find at least some of the recommendations highlighted useful as you plan you own trip to beautiful SVG!
Are you going to be heading to SVG soon? If yes, share what you’re most looking forward to in the comments!