The perfect Caribbean getaway.

 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines are a group of beautiful islands that lie west of Barbados, south of St. Lucia and north of Grenada, in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean Sea. The islands are made up of mainland St. Vincent, which is 344 km2 (133 sq. miles), and a chain of 32 unspoilt islands and cays called the Grenadines. 9 of these are inhabited, namely, Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petit St. Vincent and Palm Island. The islands are as diverse as its people and each have their own charm and secrets to be discovered. Mainland St. Vincent is volcanic, providing the leeward side of the island with beautifully unspoilt and calm black sand beaches while the windward side is very rocky and steep and made up of mainly white sandy beaches. Saint Vincent's highest peak is La Soufrière volcano at 1,234 m (4,049 ft.), which can be climbed and trekked in a day adventure. The Grenadine islands have white pristine beaches with very few people to interrupt your long warm leisurely days. Combined, the islands have a total of 110,000 inhabitants and, although the islands were first colonised by the French, it was later given to the British, making English its official language.

 
 

History

These tiny islands in the Caribbean were first called ‘Hairouna’, meaning ‘land of the blessed’ by the native Amerindians or ‘Caribs’ who were the very first occupants of the islands. The local people had made small settlements and livelihoods for themselves from about 150AD – long before the islands were stumbled upon by explorer Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, who named the region, the ‘West Indies’, whilst on his voyage to the East Indies. In 1635, a Dutch ship that was transporting slaves to neighbouring lands capsized off the coast of the tiny islands, and resulted in its cargo full of African slaves escaping ashore. These liberated slaves mixed with the Caribs on island, forming a new ethnic group called the ‘black Caribs’ or ‘Garifuna’.

Europeans did not colonise the country until early 1700s, when the French arrived. This was followed by a series of wars and peace treaties, eventually leading to the islands being given to the British. During the period of 1975 and 1976 the black Caribs decided they did not want to be colonised and launched a rebellion led by their chief and now National Hero Chief Joseph Chatoyer. However, they lost this battle, which resulted in thousands of the islanders being banished to a tiny island called ‘Baliceaux’ off the coast of Bequia - the biggest Grenadine island. Similar to the French before them, the British used the slaves to work their plantations of sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton and crops until the slaves were fully emancipated in 1838. This led to the influx of indentured labourers from Portugal and India who mingled with the Africans and the Black Caribs. Then there was a period of economic decline, caused first by the eruption of the resident volcano ‘La Soufriere’ and then by a Hurricane that destroyed a lot of the crops on the tiny islands. This decline continued until the country gained full Independence in 1979 under the Prime Minister Sir Robert Milton Cato.

Due to the tiny island’s long history with colonisation, slavery and indentureship, there is a wide history to be learned from what has been left behind. Artefacts from the Amerindians or ‘Caribs’ can be found around the island, and are also displayed at the national Trust Museum in the capital town, ‘Kingstown’. With the mixture of Amerindian, European, Portuguese, East Indian and West African inhabitants of the islands, there remains a rich mixture of cultures, traditions, festivals and activities that are now enjoyed and treasured by locals and visitors alike. The warm and friendly locals of these islands are known simply as Vincentians, or ‘Vincies

flag of st.vincent and the greanadines

Falls of Beleine 

 
 

Food

Eating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is truly unique and there are many dishes that are indigenous to us on the island. One of my favourite is ‘Callaloo’ soup, which is made from dasheen leaves with pig tails, meat and local provision added to it. It is truly amazing and nothing can compare to a great bowl made by your mother! We also eat a dish called ‘Peleau’, a cook-up of rice and different meats, eaten regularly throughout the week. The country is predominantly a Christian society and Sundays are considered holy. Only in recent times have businesses started opening on this day – before, Sundays were for church, worship and spending time with your family and, although things are changing rapidly, Sunday is still considered a day for leisure and spending time with loved us.

Sunday lunch is usually an elaborate event with families getting together and great amounts of dishes being prepared. These include macaroni pie, baked chicken or pork, salad, provision, cooked rice, stewed peas and many more that would vary slightly. Fish and seafood such as lobsters, conch and black fish are also very popular and are preferred by the men as they believe it makes them stronger. You must visit and enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch! There are many provisions that grow locally including the very first breadfruit tree, which was brought by Captain Bligh and can be found at the Botanical Gardens in St. Vincent - the oldest in the western hemisphere. The delicious fruit are grown on huge trees and must be roasted or cooked before eating. They also make up part of our national dish, consisting of roast breadfruits and fried jack fish. Fried plantain is also very popular and delicious. Local fruits such as mango, plumrose, red and yellow plums, golden apples and many more are grown in our yards and eaten everyday, once in season. If you have a sweet tooth, try our local sugar cake made from peanuts and hardened sugar syrup. Coconut sugar cake and Tolums also made from coconut are made by the older people and Tamarind balls and sweetbread are also great snacks to munch on while at home.

Sunday lunch is usually an elaborate event with families getting together and great amounts of dishes being prepared. These include macaroni pie, baked chicken or pork, salad, provision, cooked rice, stewed peas and many more that would vary slightly. Fish and seafood such as lobsters, conch and black fish are also very popular and are preferred by the men as they believe it makes them stronger. You must visit and enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch! There are many provisions that grow locally including the very first breadfruit tree, which was brought by Captain Bligh and can be found at the Botanical Gardens in St. Vincent - the oldest in the western hemisphere. The delicious fruit are grown on huge trees and must be roasted or cooked before eating. They also make up part of our national dish, consisting of roast breadfruits and fried jack fish. Fried plantain is also very popular and delicious. Local fruits such as mango, plumrose, red and yellow plums, golden apples and many more are grown in our yards and eaten everyday, once in season. If you have a sweet tooth, try our local sugar cake made from peanuts and hardened sugar syrup. Coconut sugar cake and Tolums also made from coconut are made by the older people and Tamarind balls and sweetbread are also great snacks to munch on while at home.

Breadfruit and Fish

Breadfruit and Fish

Saltfish and Bakes

Saltfish and Bakes

Tamerind Balls

Tamerind Balls


Sound Good?