Jagger and Bowie call it home, as do aristocrats, wealthy yachters and rehabbing celebrities. Despite its pockets of world-class luxury, most of St Vincent and the Grenadines is a tranquil, lost corner of the Caribbean.
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This idyllic tropical hideaway, set along a pristine beach, features charmingly tailored guest rooms.
Fort CharlotteJust north of the city and standing proudly atop a 660ft ridge, Fort Charlotte offers commanding views of both town and the Grenadines to the south.
Built in 1806 and named after King George III’s wife, the fort was built to repel the French navy. In its heyday it was home to 600 troops and 34 cannons. These days it’s a fair bit quieter, but the walls and a few of the guns remain. It’s a steep 30-minute walk from town or you can hop on a bus that will drop you off near the fort; then you only have to contend with the last 10 minutes uphill.
St Vincent Botanic GardensThe oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere, the St Vincent Botanic Gardens are lovingly tended and provide an oasis of calm that’s only half a mile north from the frenzy of Kingstown. Originally established in 1762 to propagate spices and medicinal plants, the gardens now comprise a neatly landscaped 20-acre park with lots of flowering bushes and tall trees. There’s a small aviary that is intermittently home to some of the island’s remaining 500 endangered St Vincent parrots. Guided tours are sometimes available.
Princess Margaret BeachSimply divine. Located just around the corner from Port Elizabeth, it is one of the loveliest stretches of sand on the island. To get there requires a slightly contrived journey, traveling on the main road south and turning down the narrow road to the beach.
St Vincent's carnival, called Vincy Mas, is the main cultural event of the year. Usually held at the end of June or early July, it features a 12-day run of calypso and steel band music, colourful costume parades and lots of dancing. Most of the action is centred in Kingstown. On Bequia, there's a major regatta over the Easter weekend. A Christmas celebration called Nine Mornings starts on 16 December and features parades through the streets of Kingstown, bicycle races, string band serenades and carolling. May Day is also Fisherman's Day on St Vincent, which comes at the end of a week's worth of contests when the island's fishermen catch as many fish and mend as many nets as they can.
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