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Kingstown, St. Vincent, situated within the British Windward Islands, is really a gorgeous tropical paradise set far from other Caribbean islands. It's nearly a hundred miles east in the Netherlands Antilles chain. The British culture is well existent here and on St. Vincent, which is observed through the sport of preference, cricket.  In keeping with the true British legacy, cricket is the favorite sport around the island, showing that British culture spreads is in the lifestyle here.
 
Kingstown may be the capital of St. Vincent, which is a wonderful city full of bustling activity and breathtaking natural beauty. The sheer variety of flowers would be the most striking facet of the area. The valleys and hillsides are enveloped by acres of gorgeous shrubbery. The folks within the town of Kingstown are friendly and hospitable. Tourism is one the area's most lucrative industry. Until lately, St. Vincent was referred to as a quiet little island. It is only lately that tourism has truly skyrocketed, which is in direct correlation to all the new amenities around the island. Unlike a few of the other Caribbean islands, the federal government of St. Vincent is stable and the economy and commerce is sophisticated. The perimeter of St. Vincent is a mix of striking black and lovely whitened-sand beach, and also the interior comprises of lush green hillsides and flat grassland beds.
 
All the facilities on St. Vincent, especially in Kingstown, are fabulous. Things are neat and new, which is among the most secure islands within the Caribbean. Fine dining, diving, ocean activities, and festivals are just the start of the numerous wonderful activities on St. Vincent. Museums and historical sites mark the wealthy heritage of the island, and numerous points of interest mix information and entertainment. The stretches of balmy beaches offer every water sport imaginable, and St. Vincent comes with an understated but fairly active night life. A mix of European and strictly Caribbean influences, it offers a different and enjoyable atmosphere wherever you go. Public nudity is illegal in St. Vincent & The Grenadines and topless sunbathing is strongly discouraged. Swimsuits must not be worn in towns, public streets or places of business. For your travelling convenience, we suggest you leave all camouflage prints at home. It is illegal to wear or import any form of camouflage clothing in St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Even large ships can dock at a modern pier close to downtown Kingstown. The pier is served by a nice semi-covered mall and open-air kiosks most offering local goods and souvenirs, and a vehicle area supporting buses and taxis. After that, visitors are able to request a bus service or taxi run to consider you to definitely your destination of preference.Taxis are easily available to take you around the island, and since they're all unmetered, make sure to discuss rates with the driver before departing. Apart from this, alfresco buses freely ply all over the town, with routes covering all of Kingstown and surrounding areas.
 
Getting Around
On Foot: Walking to Kingstown from the cruise terminal takes only about five minutes, and the whole city is easily navigable on foot.
 
By Taxi: Taxi drivers line up outside the cruise terminal. Cabs aren't metered, so be sure to agree on the price beforehand (and be aware of which currency is being quoted). The fare to Villa Beach is about $10, a quick ride to the Botanical Garden even less. Cab drivers can also take you on guided tours of the island; expect to pay about $25 - $30 per hour.
 
The Government sets the rates for fares, but taxis are unmetered and you should always check the fare before setting off. Fares are raised for journeys late at night or early in the morning. The average fare from Indian Bay to Kingstown is approximately EC$25. Tipping is suggested at 10% of the fare. You can also hire taxis to take you to the island's major attractions. Expect to spend EC$40 to EC$50 per hour for a car holding 2 to 4 passengers. Sam's Taxi & Tours (Tel: (784) 456-4338) is one of the more popular choices for sightseeing and getting around in general. Their drivers are courteous, friendly and offer entertaining commentary as you explore the island.
 
By Car: You'll need to purchase a temporary driver's license (about $28) at either the police station on Bay Street or the Licensing Authority on Halifax Street, both in Kingstown. Car rentals start at about $55 a day. One local operator is Star Garage (Grenville Street, Kingstown, 784-456-1743). Note that St. Vincentians drive on the left, and many rural roads are winding and poorly maintained. Be sure your rental car has a spare tire before you leave.
 
Driving in St. Vincent & The Grenadines is on the left. While initially driving on the sometimes extremely narrow, twisting roads is a bit of an adventure, you will quickly begin to enjoy the challenge and start driving like a "Vincy". Be careful as people tend to speed a lot, stop unexpectedly anywhere like in the middle of the road and seem to like hugging the central line. There are limited road signs, but locals are usually happy to point you in the right direction. If you get the "I'm not from around here" answer, you can choose to question more that same person (who is most likely from there anyways) or ask someone else. Remember to sound your horn as you make the sharp curves and turns. If someone behind you hunks twice at you, it is because they want to pass you. Simply roll down your window and wave them to move forward (if the way is clear, obviously). If someone coming in the opposite direction flashes their lights twice at you, it is because they want you to pass or make a turn where you are signaling your intention of going. Drinking and driving is not yet a criminal offense but eating while driving is one.
Avis has an office at the E.T. Joshua Airport Tel:(784)456-4389 and the majority of local companies will be happy to pick you up at your hotel or at the airport. You can also contact Rent and Drive Tel:(784)457-5601 or rentanddrive@vincysurf.com or David's Auto Clinic Tel:(784)456-4026 in St. Vincent. Sunset Tours Moke & Jeep Rentals in Bequia Tel:(784)458-3782 offer similar rates and terms.
 
By Bus: St. Vincent's bus system is an informal network of privately owned vans that do ongoing loops around various parts of the island. You'll recognize them by their bright colors and personalized decals -- gems like "Hot Wax," "Burps," "Ooh-La-La" and "Jesus the Finisher." The vans are a much cheaper alternative to cabs (we paid about $0.40 each to ride from the Botanical Garden down into town), and are a good option if you're willing to deal with the informality of the system and the fearlessness of the van's drivers.
 
Flamboyantly painted buses travel the principal roads of St. Vincent, linking the major towns and villages. The central bus terminal is at the New Kingstown Fish Market. Fares range from EC$1 to EC$6. Minibuses, which stop on demand rather than at bus stops, run frequently between Kingstown and the popular hotel areas of Indian Bay and Villa. The number of vans starting in Kingstown and running to Owia or Fancy in the north is limited. The best way is to take the early bus to Georgetown and try to catch one of the two vans running between Georgetown and Fancy EC$10. To get to Richmond in the northwest, take a bus to Barrouallie and seek onward transport from there. A day trip to Mesopotamia (Mespo) by bus EC$2.50 is a worthwhile experience.
 
Things To See and Do
Kingstown is a verdant green tropical paradise, and also the British-style offer a nice contrast for the greenery around them. Fort Charlotte now is located in the northernmost reason for Kingstown; also it was built throughout the American Revolution. The view takes priority within the ruins. Set 640 ft above the ocean, in the citadel you are able to gaze upon the leeward shores, see all Kingstown, as well as catch a peek at Grenada on the obvious day. The cannons which were utilized in combat from the French still stand, and you may have an eerie feeling that war was at the not too distant past. A number of vibrantly colored art walls represent the ancestry of black Caribs.
 
The Botanic Gardens found just south of Fort Charlotte now in Kingstown, began in 1765 by Governor George Melville. Those are the foremost botanic gardens from the West Indies. Twenty acres in dimensions, the range of indigenous flowers and plants have to been seen to be believed. Cinnamon, nutmeg, almond, mahogany, and teak are just a few of the glorious aromas that waffle about in the environment. Many trees inside the gardens are about 200 years of age. The Soufriere tree, contained in the Gardens, is exclusive towards the island, and is not present in an all natural area since the early 19th century
 
The Vermont Character Trails is a number of hikes thorough rains forests and marked trails around Kingstown. They're very exciting, so be sure to contact St. Vincent Forestry Headquarters, situated within the village of Campden Park for all those particulars.
 
Activities
 
Diving
St. Vincent & The Grenadines has 32 beautiful islands, and hundreds of pristine scuba diving and snorkelling sites to explore. Each island has something different to offer with unique and diverse marine life, stunning topography and untouched coral reefs. The perfect Caribbean destination for experienced divers, underwater photographers, or beginners wishing to become certified. Throughout the islands, experience safe and professional dive resorts are there to make your vacation one to remember. A myriad of underwater species exist side-by-side in this diverse collection of Caribbean islands. Long snout seahorses sway gently on the coral, schools of blue Creole wrasse and yellow-stripped French grunts swarm across the reef. Peer inside a recess to find shy lobsters, pertinent crabs and fearless shrimp defending their territory. Barracuda stare as curious divers swim past searching the seabed for rare critters and beautifully sculpted crustaceans. Flounders and stingrays bury themselves in white sand, hoping they aren’t noticed by the eagle eyes of the dive guides. Sleepy nurse sharks retire beneath dramatic boulder corals and the tiniest of pygmy filefish quiver amongst the camouflage of soft corals. Incandescent azure blue sponges are the makeshift home to frogfish, while sergeant majors guard vivid purple egg patches from the cheeky reef butterfly fish. With year-round good visibility, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will spark the interest of even the most avid snorkelers and divers. Exciting underwater adventures guaranteed!
 
For further information on diving in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, contact the following dive operators based throughout St. Vincent & The Grenadines:
Bequia Dive Adventures: adventures@vincysurf.com Tel: (784) 458-3826
Canouan Dive Center: info@canouandivecenter.com Tel: (784) 528-8030
Dive Bequia: cathy@divebequia.com Tel: (784) 495-9929 or (784) 458-3504
Dive St. Vincent: bill2s@divestvincent.com Tel: (784) 457-4928 or (784) 457-4714
Grenadines Dive: gdive@grenadinesdive.com Tel: (784) 458-8138
Indigo Dive, St. Vincent: info@indigodives.com Tel: (784) 493-9494
Mustique Watersports: watersports@mustique.vc Tel: (784) 488-8486
 
Beaches
All the beaches on St. Vincent are public, and there's an additional benefit too. Hotels encircle most of the popular beaches, and the staff comes by regularly to consider drink orders when you sunbathe alongside a pool inside your comfortable chair. The most secure spot to go swimming is around the leeward beaches the windward side has rough waters which are frequently too harmful.
 
Rental property Beach is easily the most popular strip of beach on St. Vincent. The tranquil waters make swimming ideal, and you will find numerous coffee shops, bookstores and water-sports suppliers to match all your beach-going needs. The only real drawback here's that on weekends the shore may become insanely overcrowded. Indian Bay Beach has lovely golden sand and placid waters. Many bars and restaurants dot the shoreline landscape, which is among the most popular spots around the island for diving. Buccament Bay has crisp, water that is clean and black, volcanic sand. This can be a tiny, isolated beach, perfect for a mid-day picnic.
 
A haven for boaters, St Vincent and the Grenadines flaunt some of the most gorgeous scenery in the Caribbean. This string of 36 emerald volcanic islands stretches south towards Grenada, with plenty of white-sand beaches and palm-lined bays where mega yachts bob beside sailboats. Private islands abound here, many with posh resorts. Diving is excellent, and coral reefs fringe many of the beaches offering superb snorkeling a short splash from shore. Discerning island lovers drift to these peaceful and unpretentious islands for a dose of classic Caribbean scenery free from the cruise ship crowds found in busier ports.
 
At the northern end of the archipelago, the island of St Vincent, is home to the capital of Kingstown with cobbled streets and colonial buildings, while Union Island is the southern gateway to the Grenadines. Scattered like jewels in the surrounding seas are the green islets of Bequia, Mustique, Mayreau, Canouan, Union Island, Palm Island, and Petit St Vincent where casual elegance recalls the Old Caribbean. Divers, snorkelers, boaters, and beachcombers alike, love the picture-perfect Tobago Cays, part of a marine park ringed with coral reefs.
 
Loved the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean"? Part of it was filmed on the leeward coast of St. Vincent at Wallilabou Bay. You can swim or sun yourself on the beach there, or go inland for a quick dip in the Wallilabou Falls. Along the drive from Kingstown it's worth a stop to see the Carib petroglyphs (rock carvings) in Buccament or Barroullie; ask a local for exact directions if you're driving, or have your cab driver take you there.
 
To get up close and personal with St. Vincent's lush landscape and unique wildlife, head north of Kingstown to the Vermont Nature Trails. These paths will lead you on a two-hour hike through tropical rain forests and evergreen groves, where there are ample opportunities for bird watching. Keep your eyes peeled for the national bird, the St. Vincent parrot.
 
Hop a ferry to the island of Bequia. Admiralty Transport (784-458-3348) and Bequia Express (784-458-3472) offer frequent service between Kingstown and this largest island in the Grenadines, where you'll find golden beaches and lively waterfront shops and cafes in the tiny capital city of Port Elizabeth. The ferry takes about an hour each way.
 
Beaches
Best for a Half-Day Visit: The black sand beach at Buccament Bay is just 20 minutes from Kingstown, and its calm waters make it a good spot for swimming. There are changing facilities at Buccama On the Bay, a nearby restaurant.
 
Best for Active Types: Villa Beach may not have much sand, but it does have a number of waterfront restaurants and shops, as well as folks coming and going by sailboat and ferry. You can go snorkeling, swimming, shopping or people watching, or just join the locals for a spot of "liming" (a Caribbean term for relaxing or hanging out).
 
Best for Dramatic Scenery: The beaches on the windward coast of St. Vincent aren't safe for swimming -- the surf is too strong -- but they provide some of the island's most spectacular views. The pounding waves at Argyle Beach make this long, black sand beach a particular favorite for picnicking and sunbathing.
 
Bequia
The second largest of the Grenadines, charming Bequia is a popular yachting destination with a rich whaling history. Lush hillsides dotted with bougainvillea tumble to beaches and boat-filled bays. The island is also known for being safe and friendly. Port Elizabeth on Admiralty Bay is the main commercial center on Bequia. A walkway runs along the waterfront on the south side of town passing restaurants and stores. At the south end of Port Elizabeth, a trail leads over a small rise to pretty Princess Margaret Beach. Separated from this beach by a rocky outcrop, Lower Bay is another stretch of golden sand with great snorkeling.
 
Tobago Cays
In the southern Grenadines, the Tobago Cays encompass five small, uninhabited islands that are now the key feature of the Tobago Cays Marine Park. Protected by reefs, the beaches offer calm clear waters for swimming and snorkeling, while the surrounding coral gardens are rich in marine life. Snorkelers and divers spot sea turtles as well as stingrays, barracuda, and shoals of reef fish. Many yachters anchor here to frolic in the crystal clear waters and bask on the beaches.
 
Petit St Vincent
Petit St Vincent feeds tropical island fantasies. Also known as PSV, this privately owned island is home to the boutique Petit St Vincent Resort, where guests are ensconced in secluded ocean-view villas sprinkled around the hillsides and bays. To preserve the island's tranquility, guests will find no phones or televisions. Instead, colored flags convey messages to the attentive staff. The resort encompasses the entire island and belongs to the portfolio of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
 
Kingstown, St Vincent
Kingstown is the capital and main commercial center of St Vincent and the Grenadines with cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and a few tourist attractions. The town is known for its churches. St George's Anglican Cathedral, an 1820 Georgian-style structure, is adorned with stained glass windows, while the 1823 St Mary's Catholic Cathedral features Gothic spires and Romanesque columns and arches.
 
Other popular sightseeing attractions are the St Vincent Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the West Indies, and the St Vincent National Museum, on the same grounds. High on a ridge north of the city, Fort Charlotte offers beautiful views over Kingstown and the surrounding islands. Many visitors head to the popular resort on privately owned Young Island, located about 200 m offshore from Villa Beach.
 
St Vincent Botanical Gardens
Established in 1765, the delightful St Vincent Botanical Gardens are the oldest in the West Indies. The gardens encompass 20 acres of indigenous and exotic tropical plants and trees, such as hibiscus, cinnamon, nutmeg, mahogany, palms, and a breadfruit tree reputedly grown from a seedling brought to the island by Captain Bligh. Bird lovers will enjoy the aviary of St Vincent parrots. Also on the grounds, the St Vincent National Museum displays pre-Columbian Indian, Arawak, and Carib artifacts, stone carvings, and clay works.
 
Leeward Highway
Carving along cliff tops and scenic coastal stretches, Leeward Highway is a 40 km road running from Kingstown to Richmond Beach along St Vincent's sheltered west coast. The road passes by local villages, black sand beaches, coconut plantations, and some worthwhile tourist attractions. Along the way, Carib Rock features a carved face dating from AD 600. Many travelers also stop by Barrouallie, a small fishing village with a Carib stone altar and petroglyphs. The tradition of hunting pilot whales is still in practice here.
 
The route ends near the black sands of Richmond Beach, a popular swimming area. In the distance, visitors can see La Soufrière, an active volcano and the island's highest peak. From this stretch of coast, tours depart to the Falls of Baleine, an 18 m waterfall on the northwestern tip of St Vincent. Access to the falls is via boat or foot as there are no roads to this area.
 
Canouan
About 40 km south of St Vincent, the small island of Canouan is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and excellent snorkeling. A barrier reef protects the Atlantic side of the island, and an exclusive resort stretches along the island's northern third with a hotel, private villas, restaurants, and a golf course. The Moorings yacht charter company operates a base on the island for sailing trips throughout the Grenadines.
 
Mayreau
Accessible only by boat, Mayreau is a tiny island of only 2.5 sq km with one of the Caribbean's prettiest bays. Salt Whistle Bay, a popular spot for yachts, offers an idyllic palm-fringed arc of white sand beach with the tranquil Salt Whistle Bay Club resort tucked back amid the coconut palms. The island's only road leads uphill from the beach to a small village with spectacular views of the ocean and the Tobago Cays. Most visitors arrive at the dock on Saline Bay.
 
Mustique
Exclusive Mustique is a privately owned island and a playground of celebrities, rock stars, and the uber-rich. With its own airport and general store, this 5 km-long island is home to the luxury Cotton House hotel, the Firefly Hotel, and many private villas. Coral reefs beckon just offshore, and white sand beaches ring the island providing excellent opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Macaroni Beach is a favorite.
 
Palm Island
Palm Island is a little patch of paradise. Home to the Palm Island Resort and a sprinkling of holiday villas, this beautiful island is named for the abundant coconut palms planted by the resort's former owners. Five white sand beaches fringe the coast with excellent snorkeling just offshore in translucent turquoise water. The island has a small airport and is also only a short boat ride from Union Island.
 
Union Island
Capped by dramatic volcanic peaks, Union Island is the southern port of entry for St Vincent and the Grenadines and a gateway for tours to the nearby islands. The island has two main villages, Ashton and Clifton. Ashton is the launching point for hikes into the hills, while Clifton is home to most of the tourist facilities with shops, restaurants, a marina, and airport. The island's two best beaches lie on the north coast at Richmond Bay and Belmont Bay.

Diving and Scuba diving
Across the leeward shoreline, you will find over thirty magnificent dive sites. Seahorses and frogfish are some of the fascinating animals you might place during a dive. You will find dive shops popping up all around the area, which clients are reliable while offering fantastic dives.
 
Eating Out
Basil's Bar and Restaurant on Bay Street in Kingstown has got the best sea food on St. Vincent. The inside is air-conditioned, with old worldly stone and brick walls in a really cozy ambiance, indeed. The lobster and filet mignon are out of the world. King Arthur's Restaurant on Kingstown Park Street is easily the most elegant and upscale restaurant in town. The menu samples worldwide cuisine, and changes daily. It is extremely formal, and also the grilled fish and Chinese spring rolls are fantastic.
 
St. Vincent is a great place to experience local Caribbean cuisine at its best -- you won't find chain restaurants here. Fresh-caught seafood and native-grown vegetables are the basis of most of the cuisine; specialties include callaloo soup (callaloo is a bit like spinach) or a roti (curried beef, chicken or seafood wrapped in a pastry turnover).
 
St. Vincent's only all-inclusive resort is on a private island, but you don't have to be a guest to enjoy the fine beachfront dining at the Young Island Resort Restaurant (Young Island, 800-223-1108, ) -- just take a two-minute ferry ride from Villa Beach. Typical lunch offerings include kiwi green lip mussels in a white wine, onion and roasted garlic herb broth, and a slow braised pork cutlet with barbecue sauce. Don't miss the fresh-baked bread, which comes in six different varieties. Reservations are recommended.
 
Located on Villa Beach across from Young Island, the Lime 'N Pub Restaurant (Villa Beach, 784-458-4227) is, as its name suggests, a great spot to relax and hang out by the bar. It's open all day, serving up casual West Indian fare like sandwiches, salads and rotis. The decor picks up the lime theme, with green chairs and place mats, and leafy plants framing the dining area.
 
Buccama On the Bay (Buccament Bay, 784-456-7855) looks out over the beach and isn't far from some of the island's famous Carib petroglyphs. We love the fresh local seafood, from conch chowder to grilled lobster, and the casual setting.
 
The Bounty Restaurant (Egmont St., Kingstown, 784-456-1776) in downtown Kingstown attracts local businesspeople in search of a quick, tasty lunch. The reasonably priced offerings include sandwiches, rotis, or hot dishes like baked seasoned fish and fried rice with vegetables. There is a small art gallery offering local crafts and paintings for sale.
 
Cheap eats and scenic sea views are on tap at the Wallilabou Bay Hotel (Wallilabou Bay, 784-458-7270), which overlooks the bay where part of "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed. The food isn't fancy -- sandwiches, West Indian fare and the occasional lobster dish -- but it's tasty and served in a fun, casual atmosphere.
 
Shopping
St. Vincent isn't a shopping destination, but while you're here, you might pick up some of the Sea Island cotton fabrics and clothing that are local specialties. Vincentian artisans also make pottery, jewelry, and baskets.
 
Since Kingstown consists of about 12 small blocks, you can walk, browse, and see about everything in a single morning. Try to be in town for the colorful, noisy Friday morning market. You might not purchase anything, but you'll enjoy the riot of color.
 
If you're searching for regional souvenirs, head for St. Vincent Craftsmen's Centre, on Frenches Street in Kingstown (tel. 784/457-2516), a 4-minute walk from the wharf. Here islanders sell handmade items such as place or floor mats, along with straw products, local paintings, and St. Vincent dolls.
 
At Sprott Brothers, Homeworks, Bay Street (tel. 784/457-1121), you can buy clothing designed by Vincentians, along with an array of silk-screened T-shirts and even Caribbean-made furniture.
 
St. Vincent Philatelic Services, Dee's Service Building, Bay Street (tel. 784/457-1911), is the largest operating bureau in the Caribbean, and its issues are highly acclaimed by stamp collectors around the world.
 
Noah's Arkade, an excellent store for every type of gift in the West Indies, is located on Bay Street in Kingstown. Books, souvenirs, and wood designs and carvings are a few of their most widely used products. Lima on Bay Street is filled with toys, clocks, field glasses, and cameras, along with the best range of fine jewelry around the island.



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