The Grenadines are a compact archipelago less than 70 miles in length of 100 or so tiny rocky islands and cays stretching across the sea between the two. They are still very much off the beaten track as far as mass tourism is concerned, but are popular with private yachts and indeed it was yachtsmen who first popularized the Grenadines as a destination.
The seven picturesque, hilly and inhabited islands are particularly appealing, each with a distinct character and easy-going way of life, and with glorious white-sand beaches and rocky coves, excellent harbours and lots of opportunities for snorkelling, diving and other water sports.
The largest island in the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines, ‘mainland’ St Vincent is 21 miles long and 11 miles wide. It is relatively uncommercial and is green and fertile with a lush rainforest and mountainous interior, beautiful black-sand beaches and fishing villages, coconut groves and banana plantations. Hiking and birdwatching are rewarding activities and, underwater, diving and snorkelling on the unspoiled reefs offer a colourful adventure with a huge array of sea creatures to identify. Accommodation on St Vincent is low key in small hotels and guesthouses, most of which cluster along the south coast east of Kingstown where there is a fine view across to Bequia.
The Grenadines have a certain exclusivity, and some of the smaller islands, such as Mustique, are even privately owned. There are some fabulously expensive and luxurious places to stay, served by small planes zipping around the airstrips, but the island chain is also ideal for independent travellers on a more modest budget. There are affordable hotels, guesthouses and rental homes and Grenadine ferry-hopping is a journey that is one of the most delightful tourist routes in the Caribbean.