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Accessing Tobago Cayes From Grenada or St. Vincent and Driving around St. Vincent feels A)Safe B) Scary?

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Jul 2nd, 2008, 10:07 AM
  #1
leavingsoon
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Accessing Tobago Cayes From Grenada or St. Vincent and Driving around St. Vincent feels A)Safe B) Scary?

Hi Fodorites:

Thank you for your amazing help so far. We are going to have more days than we thought and in the interest of consolidation, I am asking semi-related questions in one.

1. Where is it less expensive to organize a day trip to Tobago Cayes? St. Vincent or Grenada? Any recommended companies?

2. Since we are most interested in Caribbean sight-seeing at our own pace, we have previously driven ourselves around Barbados and St. Lucia and are now considering adding a stop to St. Vincent.

Are there any areas we shouldn't drive ourselves to from a crime standpoint on St. Vincent, or is it the universal "don't leave valuables in the car" situation?

The only reason I ask about St. Vincent in particular, is that no one seems to write about doing that. If you've done it, I would greatly appreciate any tips/suggestions.

3. Lastly, just to "collect" another island, we are now considering adding Bequia. If you had to pick between Bequia and Carriacou, which and why? It seems Bequia has a range of accommodations that would suit my DH better.

Thank you again and happy 4th!

 
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:18 AM
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I cannot speak on Carriacou, but I loved Bequia. It is a small island that has no major hotels, no chain eateries and some of the best beaches I have been on. It is very inexpensive to eat and stay as compared to other parts of the caribbean. You can take a day trip on the Friendship Rose to the Cays for around 125US per person and it includes meals which are very good. There is a small office in town, ask anyone they can tell you where it is located. They also have a website. As far as the accommodations you have a variety from small hotels to apartments and villas.
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Thank you!
 
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 02:51 PM
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Hi leavingsoon,

From Grenada, a daytrip to the Tobago Cays is around $300. Maybe more now, with the high fuel prices. It was worth it to do the packaged tour with a company than flying to Union Island & arranging it on your own. We use Caribbean Horizons for our transportation & tour needs in Grenada and they are great.

If I had the time, I would pick Bequia than Carriacou. Carriacou you can do a daytrip on the ferry.

vinceygirl on this forum should be able to answer your St. Vincent questions.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Thanks, also, mymoosie.

And I really liked your pictures on the other thread. Thank you for sharing them.

 
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:57 AM
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It has been 4 or 5 years, but we drove around St. Vincent for sight-seeing. It is typical Caribbean driving on a mountainous island- the usual road conditions, no signs, and in some places easy to get lost, but certainly doable, especially if you have had experience with places like St. Lucia. We were not aware then of any particularly dangerous places, although things can change. And there is a lot you cannot get to by car. However, if you end up in Grenada, that is an even better place to explore on your own.
The trip to the cays from Bequia on Friendship Rose is very nice. I only know Carriacou from a day trip some years back, and while that was very enjoyable, I would pick Bequia for a stay.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Like RAB, we too have stayed on St. Vincent and driven around the island, however it has been even more years. More like ten.

But one of my best Caribbean memories is of driving from Young Island thru the lush interior, out to the windward coast and up to the northern tip, the Owia Salt Ponds.

Absolutely gorgeous, and quite an adventure. We must have been waaay off the beaten path, stopping at black sand beaches and driving the hairpin roads. At one point, we were going thru a small village and a little boy exclaimed, "Look! White people!" Everyone was charming. We knew about this drive from an acquaintance whom we know to be reliable and adventurous. It was an all day jaunt and we packed a lunch, getting our cokes at roadside stands along the way. If you go, plant to swim and picnic at Owia, there is a unique landscape there that not many visitors get to see.

Not for the faint of heart (the roads are one lane only in quite a few places, and you had to cross a dry creek - which was trickling) to get up to Owia.

We also drove ourselves to the Vermont Nature Trails, and hiked and spied the native parrot there.
But I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
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Jul 7th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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Thank you also!

We were away for the weekend and it's so helpful to come back and read more encouraging replies.

Thank you for taking the time to write it all out.

 
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Jul 8th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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You're welcome!
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Jul 10th, 2008, 03:31 AM
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I usually visit St. Vincent on an annual basis and would not consider driving myself around. Vincentians drive fast and furious, the roads are hairpin turns and it is very easy to get lost as there are more and more roads being built off the main ones.
If you are going to drive be prepared for people honking and riding your bumper until they can find a spot to pass. Once you are beyond the city limits traffic dies down and becomes less hectic.
Having given you a word of caution when driving I say go for it but be sure to have a reliable map and spend more than one day to see both coasts. Driving the hills can be very tiring. I traveled with my friend a native Vincentian, even with his driving it is still approx 3-5 hrs round trip dependent on the number of stops you make along the way. We drove the Leeward one day and the Windward the next. Each day was about 4-5 hrs. It is true the further north you drive the more a Caucasian is a rarity. I'm Caucasian and just as a previous poster wrote children especially are in awe of seeing a white person in their area.

As far as safety goes common sense of course and yes there are areas to avoid. My suggestion if you want to drive independently as opposed to hiring a driver is visit Trip Advisor and post some of your questions. There are Vincentians regularly posting who can give you more specific info.
I love the island and find the people very helpful and friendly. Follow the Golden Rule and you should be fine.

Carriacou is part of Grenada not St. Vincent. Great little island but not quite as commercial as Bequia of which Bequia so far remains relatively unspoiled. It is much easier to drive around Bequia. Friendship Rose has the day trips to Tobago Cays and receives rave reviews. I have not done this sail personally. I was fortunate enough to visit the Cays a few times via Windjammer Barefoot Cruises which is no longer a viable company. Friendship Rose sails out of Bequia. Bequia is 9 miles south of St. Vincent via the ferry. It is approx 40-50 minute ride. And a great experience if you have never been on an interisland ferry.

I will be happy to answer any specifics you may have about accommodations etc. IMO you will be very pleased to visit these islands. So far and not for long you will have the opportunity to see the "real Caribbean" before it is spoiled by tourism. Foreign investors are now making headway in the islands and if all goes as it seems it won't be long before they become a cookie cutter replica of all the others.

Here are some web sites you find useful.
www.svgtourism.com
www.insandoutssvg.com
www.caribbeantravelforums.com
www.bequiatourism.com
www.friendshiprose.com
www.tripadvisor.com click Caribbean on the map then scroll down to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This will take you directly to the SVG site. Click on forum to post your questions.
I only wish I was leaving tomorrow
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Jul 10th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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Thank you for those links. I will follow them.

Right now I'm trying to figure it all out and I have too many questions, so I'll read and return with specifics!

Thanks, again.
 
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Jul 10th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Since you don't quite have enough to read thought you might like to read this trip report.
http://grenadatravelforum.com/index....=0&#entry21032

I thought it was a great, detailed, report. The guy went to Grenada, Bequia, Union Island/Tobago Cays. Enjoy!
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Jul 10th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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www.traveltalkonline.com
Another great web site with a wealth of info on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Some wonderful trip reports from people whom have chartered and sailed SVG.
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Jul 16th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Thanks to you both- i did come across that very detailed report when I googled interisland ferries.

I have posted this elsewhere and I'm sure that you will not see this before I need to act: but just today I'm getting overlyconcerned about the weather in August.

I've decided that there will be some boat not air transfers in the trip and I'm worried about the fact that restaurants in Bequia and lodgings and restaurants in Mayreau are shutting down for sepot Oct and this is annual. My instinct says this means the weather will be bad, the seas rough, the vacay a little less than lovely. Am I being silly?

I've read everything I can about this year's hurricane season and just noticed a storm organizing currently in the region...when no such storms are supposed to exist.

 
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Jul 16th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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Storms tend to bypass the area. You can expect rain as it is the rainy season but hurrcanes in this area have been far and few between. The most recent was Ivan which did minimal damage to St. Vincent and Bequia. Truth be told secondary to flooding Pgh may have had more damage than the Grenadines when Ivan came north. Grenada as most know was hit the hardest and most devastated post Ivan.
I visited last Sept and the weather was beautiful. Occasional shower but not a wash out by any means.
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Jul 16th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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The weather isn't necessarily bad. Sept/Oct in the islands in general seems to be low season, less tourists, anywhere from T&C all the way down to Grenada, etc. We went Sept. and as vinceygirl said, most of it was a passing shower. I don't remember any day being a washout.

I would be concerned about Bequia being really quiet and most places being closed, unless you really, really want Quiet with a capital Q. We like quiet, but when we went to Union Island we were the only guests at one of the hotels we stayed in. I never thought I would say it, but that was too quiet even for us.
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Jul 16th, 2008, 09:48 PM
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Thank you for those reassurances. We are all set, and due to a last minute change in availability of flights out of Grenada, we no longer need to worry (okay, I no longer need to worry ) about having to board the mail boat on high seas just to get home if the weather turns.

So excited!
 
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Jul 17th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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Leaving soon, enjoy yourself. One thing about visiting this time of year is you will learn whether or not you could retire to the islands I honestly enjoyed the peace and quiet.
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