A combination of 32 islands and cays, only nine of which are inhabited, along with three island resorts, tranquil and intimate St Vincent and the Grenadines may well be the complete Caribbean destination you’ve been looking for.
SVG, as it is commonly known, gained independence in 1979, but the islands' history dates much further back, including long struggles against colonialism.
Renowned for their staggering untouched beauty and natural landscapes, from St Vincent's lush tropical rainforest full of eco-adventures to the idyllic beaches, coral reefs and turquoise lagoons of the Grenadines, these picturesque and diverse islands are a perfect destination for chilled-out explorers who love an adventure.
Blessed with powdery white and black-sand beaches and some of the best sailing and diving waters in the world, the "Critter Capital of the Caribbean" entices divers from all over the world to see creatures that are rarely found elsewhere, along with its crystal-clear waters, also popular for cliff diving, watersports and the exploration of sunken ships.
With the opening of the new international Argyle airport in 2017, Virgin Atlantic now flying twice weekly from London Heathrow and new properties on the horizon from Beaches, Holiday Inn and Black Sands Resort, SVG offers an increasingly popular alternative to the Caribbean’s larger islands.
The most popular months to visit are between December and May when the climate is more comfortable and drier.
The largest and northernmost island is St Vincent, a forest-covered interior dominated by an active volcano. It has outstanding natural beauty and very welcoming people, along with a range of accommodation options, from guest houses to luxury resorts, like the recently opened 5-star La Vue Boutique Hotel and Beach Club in Calliaqua.
With just 19 rooms, three restaurants, several bars, a gym including a squash court and sauna, a spa and tennis court, in addition to a large deck and swim-up pool, La Vue provides stunning panoramic views of several islands.
To the south of St Vincent lies the Grenadines, including the relaxed and friendly Bequia (pronounced 'bek-way'), the largest of the islands with an international flair and tailor-made for sailing enthusiasts, beach lovers and honeymooners.
Industry here is still based around boat building with local artisans constructing everything from simple sailing vessels made from coconut husks to ornate, extremely intricate and factually accurate replicas. Simpler model sailing boats are also built for racing during the popular annual Easter Regatta.
Accommodation options include the magnificent retro chic Bequia Beach Hotel, nestled within the stunning Friendship Bay beach with views across the water, a perfect spot from which to experience Bequian life and activities and sample delicious Caribbean-European fusion cuisine in unrivalled surroundings.
The island of Mustique is popular with the Royal family and an army of celebrities, blending elegance and luxury with natural white sands, palm trees and of course turquoise seas.
Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular pastimes with sites around All-Awash, Pillories, Dry Rock South and Coral Glen. For a fascinating peek into secluded bays, coves and resplendent private homes and gardens of the famous, take to the water for a tour by boat.
To enjoy the island at your own pace, and in wonderful peace and solitude, put your walking shoes on. In addition to paved roads, there are several hiking trails that take in hilly woodland as well as some of the beautiful beaches and bays.
The Cotton House is a Mustique landmark whose beauty, luxury and service will ensure a memorable stay.
An 18th century stone and coral warehouse has been transformed into a contemporary sanctuary set amongst expansive acres of tropical gardens leading down to Endeavour Bay.
At the heart of the estate lie The Great Room and Veranda Restaurant surrounded by a collection of 17 luxurious, garden and sea-facing villas, suites and cottages with private verandas and plunge pools.
Bespoke treatments in the Cotton House spa are designed exclusively for the hotel by award winning organic spa range, ila, who take inspiration from the islands’ most potent natural wonders; the life-giving moringa and baobab trees, regenerative ylang ylang, sweet revitalising jasmine and seductive balancing frangipani.
Other Grenadine highlights include Canouan which boasts the Sandy Lane Yacht Club and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the only one in the Caribbean; Union Island famous for its cultural heritage and Easter Regatta; and Mayreau, the smallest inhabited island with the most beautiful of beaches.
The picture-perfect setting of Tobago Cays made it an ideal backdrop for several scenes in the early Pirates Of The Caribbean films and make for a fantastic day excursion from neighbouring islands for a spot of swimming with turtles and enjoying a beach barbeque with the locals.
And for those who simply want to escape from it all in the most magical surroundings, the private island resorts of Petit St Vincent, Palm Island and Young Island can only be reached by boat and are havens for romance seekers, honeymooners and weddings themselves.
Please contact me for further details on these wonderful islands and recommended properties and experiences.