Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a country with 33 islands. While the main location of St. Vincent attracts the most attention from a tourist point of view, the 32 smaller islands offer a perfect opportunity for a sailing holiday away from land attractions.
Located in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, the Grenadines are ideal for long trips and for those who want to see a little of everything. If this sounds like your type of holiday, here is a guide to the best sailing route around these islands.
1. Setting up the Base Camp
Many previous sailors confirm that the best anchorage is on the Petit Saint Vincent. This is a private island, but appointments can be made in advance directly or through your operator.
Clifton is the busiest place and it is also the best equipped in terms of shops where visitors can stock up. Alternatively, Ashton Harbour is much quieter for those looking for a little more peace and quiet.
Little Saint Vincent has its share of pristine beaches and diving, but it is widely used by sailors as a base to explore further afield.
2. Setting Sail
The island of Mustique is a second favorite destination for many. Made famous in the 1970s as a refuge for Princess Margaret, who owned a property here, it has since become much more accessible to regular travelers.
Snorkeling is available everywhere in the Grenadines, but Mustique is generally considered the best for diving and for discovering nature in general. Here you can go inland to enjoy nature trails on foot or on horseback.
There is an excellent nightlife, especially in the infamous Basil Bar, but Mustique is widely known as one of the best places to take the family. With water sports galore, picnics on the beach and drive-in films via a golf buggy, it is perfect for those who accompany children.
3. Heading South
From Mustique, the closest island to the south is Canouan and this is our next logical destination. It is small compared to 7.6 square kilometers and is the most peaceful place on our itinerary so far.
Canouan has a coral reef on the Atlantic coast and is another great place for snorkeling and other water activities.
For a more leisurely pastime, the island has two white sandy beaches to the south where bright and friendly bays await you. Wildlife is also in the foreground here and, although there are no guarantees, it is possible to spot the strange passing pilot, the humpback whale or the sperm whale.
The name “Canouan” means turtle, which is another indication of the role played by nature. However, there is a lot to explore inland with good restaurants, shops and a fascinating maritime museum.
4. Small and beautiful
Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines and it is often a recommended place for those looking for peace and tranquility. It is only accessible by sea, so it is a good thing that we are in a rented boat from borroweboat when we explore this spectacular place more.
While peace and tranquility can be found in some of the less populated bays, there is a lot to see here that is not always mentioned. Hiking trails lead visitors to the best places, including the Roman Catholic church and the hilltop village with spectacular views of the Tobago Keys.
The road so far still leaves us with more than 25 islands to see. Spending your entire retirement here will leave plenty of opportunities to accommodate them all, but most travelers will have more pressing time constraints.
Another recommendation concerns some of the most spectacular landscapes in the region. Union Island is only a short cruise from Mayreau, but the two places offer a distinct contrast.
Union Island is much more lively and it is one of the best nightlife destinations in the Grenadines. There is plenty of enjoyment, including bars and restaurants, while extensive shops can help visitors fill up before heading to the sea again.
All this takes place in an environment where a magnificent volcanic landscape forms the background.
Other recommendations are Bequia, where the fishing sector remains alive. For the local architecture and an idea of what the area would have looked like centuries ago, this is a perfect final resting place.
6. Before you leave
The focus here is on the Grenadines, which can often be overlooked in favor of the much larger St. Vincent. However, while you are here, it would be wise to browse around some of the most remarkable sights of St. Vincent.
There is the powerful and disturbing Soufrière volcano: a beautiful natural phenomenon that stands at 4000 feet and remains active. Unfortunately, it erupted to a devastating effect in April 2021, so it’s best to see it from afar.
A spectacular backdrop of black and white sandy beaches can help us get home. Those who choose to dock in St. Vincent should not miss the beautiful blue lagoon that can serve as a lasting reminder of the crystal clear waters of this part of the Caribbean.
There really is something for all types of travelers, whether they are looking for an active holiday, peace and tranquility, or first-class sailing itineraries with spectacular scenery.