Ever since watching the megahit, Pirates of the Caribbean, I rate the beauty of an island on a scale of ‘1 to Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-10!’ Unforgettably beautiful, the movies’ swoon-worthy beach scenes had every moviegoer longing to find paradise, and after my recent visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines – also featured in one of the films – I can now declare paradise found!
Dotting the Lesser Antilles, south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 spectacular islands and cays that scatter the Eastern Caribbean Sea in a kite’s tail that extends 72 kilometres to the southwest. Unpretentious and relatively unknown, much of its appeal is its seclusion, something not every over-hyped Caribbean island can offer.
Here, unwinding and enjoying life is a national pastime, so much so, there’s a term for it – liming – and that is precisely what I did as I enjoyed breathtaking seascapes while sipping cocktails under swaying palm trees, and watching the sun set on an endless ocean of the most spectacular blues I have ever seen.
On the big island of St. Vincent, where the scent of passion fruit seduced me, lush green mountains, tropical rainforest, remote inlets, fishing villages and sweeping expanses left me speechless.
One of my favourite views was at the residence of Prime Minister, Dr. Honourable Ralph Gonsalves (pictured with Travelweek contributor Francesca Spizzirri), who entertained us with tales of his good friends, Comandante Fidel Castro and former President Hugo Chávez, during a breakfast meeting to the discuss the opening of the new Argyle International airport that will offer nonstop jet service from North America, Central and South America and Europe to SVG.
While in St. Vincent I was a guest of the five-star Buccament Bay Resort (pictured), an all-inclusive beach property on the island’s southwest coast. My gorgeous villa was beautifully decorated, and featured a private sitting area that opened onto an outdoor deck with a private plunge pool. Sitting atop a beautiful white sand beach with sparkling waters was the outdoor infinity pool, my favourite place to sip cocktails and take in the incredible views.
With 32 islands making up the Grenadines, visiting every island can prove time consuming. I suggest visiting one or two of the more famous ones which include Young Island, Bequia, Mustique (where the British royal family have vacation homes), Canouan, Mayreau, The Tobago Cays, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent characterized by white-sand beaches and pristine waters. This tropical paradise is sailing heaven, and its breathtaking seascapes provide some of the best diving and snorkelling grounds in the world – something I can attest to!
The highlight of my trip was sailing the picture-perfect Tobago Cays – five uninhabited islands south of Canouan and east of Mayreau – to snorkel and swim with sea turtles followed by an overnight stay on the 135-acre Palm Island. This under-the-radar gem was the ultimate private island escape, nestled amidst five white sand beaches and postcard-perfect views that literally took my breath away.
In life, there are some experiences that defy words, places where pictures fail to capture the height of its beauty. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of those places for me. It is a must-see destination and with the opening of the new Argyle International Airport at the end of 2015, you may find yourself among its honoured guests.