The Grenadines

The Grenadines, divided politically between St Vincent and Grenada, are a string of 100 tiny, rocky islands and cays stretching across some 35 miles of sea between the two. They are still very much off the beaten track as far as tourists are concerned, but are popular with yachtsmen. The southern Grenadines are particularly beautiful, a cluster of picturesque, hilly islands with glorious white-sand beaches and rocky coves, excellent harbours and lots of opportunities for snorkelling, diving and other watersports. The Grenadines have a certain exclusivity, some of the smaller islands are privately owned and Mustique is known for its villas owned by the rich, royal and famous. There are some fabulously expensive and luxurious places to stay, but there are also more moderate hotels, guesthouses and rental homes for those who don't want to spend all their time afloat.

Getting there

Grenadine Airways
, www.grenadineairways.com, operates daily shared charter services from Barbados to St Vincent, Mustique, Bequia, Union Island and Canouan and inter Grenadine scheduled flights from St Vincent to the same islands.

All the ferries are cheap and cheerful and an excellent way of getting around if the sea is not too rough. The
Barracuda
is the islands' main regular transport and carries everything, families and their goods, goats and generators; she rolls through the sea and the trip can be highly entertaining . For other services, check at the Grenadines dock in Kingstown. There are often excursions from Kingstown to Bequia and Mustique on Sunday. From Bequia you can take a boat trip to Mustique by speedboat from Friendship Bay or by catamaran from Port Elizabeth, ask at Sunsports at
Gingerbread
. Throughout the Grenadines power boats can be hired to take small groups of passengers almost any distance. Try to ensure that the boat is operated by someone known to you or your hotel to ensure reliability.

To travel further south to Carriacou (Grenada), you can catch a fishing boat ferry, the
Jasper
, from Ashton, Union Island to Carriacou. You will probably have to sit on deck and hang on to whatever you can, as the hold is usually full of luggage and crates of soft drinks for sale in Carriacou. Check out with immigration at the airport in Clifton the day before you travel. The boat captain will take you through Grenadian formalities on arrival at Hillsborough. In high season more frequent boat trips are organized, ask at hotels, take your passport and expect thorough searches of your luggage at Customs and Immigration.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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