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St. Vincent where to stay, what island?

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Can anyone give me advice about St. Vincent? IT looks like a lovely place. We love the BVI and are looking for something similar as far as nice locals, great scenery, great snorkeling and beaches.

We like to stay in hotels right on a nice beach but the only one I have found is the Sunset shores beach hotel. Has anyone stayed there before? Also, Palm island looks interesting but is it a pain to get over to St. vincent for sightseeing and beach bar hopping at night?

ALso, we would want to snorkel the tobago keys. Can we take a day charter from St.Vincent or should we plan to stay a few days on Bequia to take the charter from there?

Thanks for any advice!

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    I am a frequent visitor to SVG, particularly the island of Bequia, so I can answer some of your questions. I have never been to BVI but, from what I have read, it seems SVG is a lot less developed, more laid back, and less tourist-oriented.

    There are a number of good websites to visit – any search engine, like Google, will take you to them. I particularly like Bequiasweet.com which is a combination of good tourist info and local news about Bequia.

    St. Vincent is an island for visiting the sights – hiking the volcano, the Botanical Gardens, walking lush rain forest trails to waterfalls, visiting orchid farms and craftspeople, driving through wonderful mountains and farming valleys to visit superb tropical gardens. St. Vincent does not have great expansive white sand beaches – they are mostly black sand and, on the east coast, can be quite rough. An area called Villa, on the east coast, has a nice little calm white sand beach and it is there that many (but not all) of the hotels, guesthouses and best restaurants are located.

    The Sunset Shores is in Villa. I have not stayed there for years but it had (has ?) lovely gardens. The Umbrella Beach Hotel in the same area gets rave reviews from some visitors.

    Palm Island is a LONG way from St. Vincent so I don’t think you should be thinking of this one if you want to hop over daily to the St. Vincent scene (smile). There is, however, the Young Island all-inclusive resort in SVG, located just 2 minutes across the water from Villa.

    It is a 3-5 hour sail from St. Vincent to the Tobago Keys – the variability depends on wind and current. There are a lot of day-sail operators who do this route for tourists and the snorkelling is great, especially when around the time of the full moon and when the tide is high.

    The Grenadines (Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union) are all small islands with small tourist industries. Mustique caters to the rich and famous and is well worth a visit even if you don't decide to stay there. Canouan has a couple of resorts/hotels; one of the resorts has the only golf-course in the Grenadines. Mayreau has one resort and a couple of guesthouses. Union, I believe, has mostly guesthouses. However they all have lovely mostly deserted white sand beaches. All these small islands are 'dry' - that is there is a shortage of natural water, so you just learn to conserve.

    I normally base myself in Bequia (accessible in 1 hour by ferry from St. Vincent) and, from there, arrange daytrips over to St. Vincent for any hiking or sightseeing. When I do this, I often arrange to be guided around by a local touring service in St. Vincent - there are a number of these and most are extremely knowledgeable about the island’s history, botany, biology, and geography. They also keep their clients from getting lost on the trails and provide great food !

    In Bequia, one can charter a crew and boat for a few days to sail to some of the more obscure anchorages or jump on a day-sail to the Keys or Mustique. once. Bequia has an assortment of hotels in different price-ranges, guesthouses as well as housekeeping apartments and villas to rent.

    Bequia has a great variety of bars, restaurants and unsophisticated but fun nightlife in a very safe setting. No casinos, no floorshows. And no golfcourse.

    Depending on where you live, you can fly to St. Vincent from San Juan on American Eagle or from Barbados on LIAT. You can fly direct to Bequia from St. Vincent and Barbados on either Air Mustique or SVG Air.

    For further information, please post your email address (the one you used doesn't seem to work) and I will reply direct.

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    Limin',

    That was a great summary. Thanks. I'm going to SVG for the first time next month. Will be in SV for 3 days, Bequia for 5, then on a sailboat for 3 more. Do you have any advice on restaurants, tours, etc? Thanks in advance.

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