From kite surfing and snorkelling to sailing and scuba diving, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a water enthusiast’s paradise. Whether you prefer to play above or below the waterline, from the stern of a sailboat or several metres under, the 32-island nation has no shortage of ways to get soaked and stoked about these water activities.
St. Vincent has been touted as the “Critter Capital of the Caribbean”—and for good reason. Obliging currents and diverse habitats make the islands’ waters ideal for all manner of animal and plant life. Submerge in these serene seas and enter a kaleidoscope of colour as myriad marine animals glide through technicolor coral. In fact, a 2001 REEF survey found 225 species of fish in the waters of St. Vincent. Eight dive operators scattered across St. Vincent, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island ensure that each explorer’s experience is customized and convenient. And in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a diver truly can experience it all.
Wrecks: The site of three shipwrecks, Capital Wrecks delivers deeply dramatic views, within recreational dive limits. Experienced divers can peer in portholes and glimpse the past as they glide through rusted underwater remains.
Reefs: Voted one of the top 100 dive sites in the world, Anchor Reef provides divers with a breathtaking coral ridge and a jaw-dropping wall complete with swim-throughs. Other reefs, such as those in Alternate Bay and Hans, have extensive shallow reefs of coral and a dazzling display of marine life.
With 225 species of fish in the waters of St. Vincent, it’s been touted as the “Critter Capital of the Caribbean”
Caves: Spot two species of bat in the underwater fissures that form the Bat Cave. A truly spectacular site, this natural wonder is on the wish list of many divers.
Sharks: Just off Petit St. Vincent, Mopion Reef is the best place in the islands to spot sharks.
Can’t decide? See it all at Mayreau Gardens, an expansive coral reef that has been rated No. 5 in a survey of top dive sites in the Caribbean. It boasts crinoids, garden eels and flamingo tongues as well as the wreck of a 1918 British gun ship that lies in only 12 metres of water.
White sands, clear waters and warm breezes make it possible to stride into the surf and snorkel just about anywhere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines! But these spots are particularly pleasing.
Tobago Cays is a collection of five, small islands shielded by an enormous Horseshoe Reef, making it a can’t-miss snorkel site. The Reef is home to a vibrant and diverse array of underwater life and the main lagoon is where the Cays’ most famous residents—green turtles—swim and play.
Mayreau Gardens is an expansive coral reef that has been rated No. 5 in a survey of top dive sites in the Caribbean
Canouan, a small (only 13 square kilometres) crescent-shaped island, could have been created just for the snorkeller. Its white-sand beaches are protected by an impressive reef, leaving clear, shallow waters teeming with spectacular sea life. Serviced by ferry from St. Vincent, this tiny island-jewel is a true gem.
About 145 kilometres of cruise-able waters connect the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And with the distance between islands ranging from two to five hours, it’s easy to arrange itineraries of one day, or one week. Eleven species of dolphins have been identified in the country’s waters and on most tours there is a 95-percent chance of seeing pan-tropical and spinner dolphins, and a 50-percent chance of spotting pilot and sperm whales. Ready to set sail? St. Vincent has a large number of operators, offering sailors a lot of options: bareboat charters, skippered, and even catered. Sailing off into the sunset has never been so easy, or so enticing.
Perhaps the most rustic island in the Grenadine chain, Mayreau has only 250 inhabitants and a single, unnamed village. But has this remote getaway ever got views! Day-trippers typically anchor in sheltered coves, or the lovely Saltwhistle Bay, where azure waters lap at white-sand beaches and palms frame panoramas of the neighbouring islands.
Of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ 32 islands and cays, only nine are inhabited; that leaves 23 deserted islands and cays ready for discovery. Drop anchor and enjoy secluded swims, snorkels and sunbathing.
On most tours, there is a 95-percent chance of seeing pan-tropical and spinner dolphins, and a 50-percent chance of spotting pilot and sperm whales
For sailors with a need for speed, the Bequia Easter Regatta—famous for its boat and yacht races—offers thrills as well as salty spills. The four-day weekend isn’t just for racers, though; the event ends with fun and games—lots of them—on Lower Beach Bay, where families race model boats, build sand castles and partake of barbecue, Bequia style!
Besides being a Caribbean boat-building capital, Bequia is also home to the newly created Bequia Maritime Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of shipbuilding, view boat-building memorabilia and ogle replicas of some of the great schooners built on the island.
Find your favourite way to get wet in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Learn more at discoversvg.com