If lounging in a lush tropical paradise surrounded by tranquil, turquoise lagoons isn’t enough to bring you to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, perhaps it’s any one of these adventures: a scenic hike along coastal paths, a climb to the top of a 1,214-metre volcano, a dive among some of the Caribbean’s most prized coral reefs or a walk through the world-renowned Botanical Gardens and aviary. Indeed, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the challenge isn’t finding an eco-adventure but rather finding time to fit them all in.
Nestled between St. Lucia and Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an unspoiled Caribbean nation of 32 island and cays with a long history and a deep wealth of natural attractions, making it the ideal destination for those with an affinity for adventure and yearning for exploration.
A notable attraction is the Botanical Gardens, located just outside the capital, Kingstown. Founded in 1765, the Gardens not only bears the distinction of being the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere, but it’s also one of the most captivating with its alluring collection of exotic and rare flowers, plants and trees. Indeed, there’s so much tropical flora to discover, whether you’re a novice green thumb or a horticulturalist. Located within the Gardens is the Nicholas Wildlife Aviary, where the indigenous St. Vincent Parrot—the Amazona Guildingii—makes its grand presence in a kaleidoscope of plumage.
For those nature lovers who prefer to walk on the wild side, there are plenty of opportunities for either short and easy hikes or full-day trekking adventures. Some of the most varied and beautiful views are found along the Vermont Nature Trail. Located in St. Vincent’s southern interior, this clearly marked, groomed trail through lush rainforest and plantation forest is where you’ll spot the St. Vincent Parrot in addition to other species like the whistling warbler, black hawk and green heron. For more awe-inspiring rainforest and bird-watching, a visit to the Cumberland Nature Trail in the Cumberland Valley is another must.
The Botanical Gardens not only bears the distinction of being the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere but it’s also one of the most captivating
Avid trekkers will want to conquer the imposing La Soufriere volcano. Two paths ascend to the 1,214 metre summit—one a two-hour climb, the other a more rigorous seven-hour trek along rockier paths. Both boast stunning scenery, including banana plantations, montane thicket and cloud forest before arriving at the incredible crater.
If water—whether it’s cascading waterfalls or the clear, warm turquoise sea—draws you to put on your hiking boots, you’ll want to explore these inland trails and scenic coastal paths:
For an easy hike, take the trail to Dark View Falls—a bamboo bridge crossing the river leads visitors to a high cliff face where water flows into a stone pool.
On the island of Canouan, explore the hugged hills in the north or take coastal walks to secluded beaches and pretty picturesque bays.
Marine creatures, such as green turtles, thrive on the island nation
Bequia’s picture-perfect beaches offer idyllic views along accessible walks; so too do its paved roads, which take trekkers through quaint villages and over forest-covered ridges.
Off the beaten path, Union Island is marked by paved roads and remote mountain ridges that lead to shallow lagoons and pristine bays.
On Palm Island, walkers and bikes can take three nature trails that unravel exotic bird life, indigenous iguanas and lush foliage.
The unspoiled waters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a natural playground for a day of dolphin and whale watching. In fact, between December to April an encounter with whales—humpback whales, sperm whales and pilot whales—or a pod of dolphins, from spinner to bottlenose dolphins, is likely.
Avid trekkers will want to conquer the imposing La Soufriere volcano reaching a summit of 1,214 metres
Other marine creatures, such as green turtles, thrive on the island nation. At the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on Bequia, see how endangered hawksbill turtles are nurtured during the first 18 months of their lives before being released in the ocean. Get a glimpse of these turtles in the wild by swimming or snorkelling with them at the Tobago Cays Marine Park in the Tobago Cays.
While Tobago Cays is also a popular destination for kite surfing, all the islands provide ample opportunity for a series of water sports, including ocean kayaking, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, diving and snorkelling.
|TAILOR YOUR OWN ADVENTURE|
Jeep safaris, bicycle and walking treks and marine tours thrust explorers into parts of the islands that few people have ever laid eyes upon. Need help arranging your own itinerary? Visit the list of qualified tour operators, charter companies and dive shops at discoversvg.com