One of my good friends from university lives in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and since 2012 she has been encouraging (read pestering) me to visit. This led to me taking my mom there for her birthday in 2015 and then visiting again for the Easter weekend in 2016. St Vincent and the Grenadines is beautiful. I felt at home there on both instances because it reminds me so much of Grenada.
As with everywhere I visit, I can think of a gazillion things I still haven’t done. Even after two visits to Vincy I still haven’t hiked La Soufriere (volcano) or been to Mustique and the Tobago Cays. Nevertheless I have done quite a bit in St Vincent and I’ve been to Bequia twice where I discovered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
If you’re planning a visit to St Vincent soon, thankfully Liat is no longer your only option. On my return trip from SVG last year, Liat left everyone’s luggage in St Vincent and said nothing until we got to Trinidad. They let us board, land and stand by baggage claim for at least 20 minutes before they announced that they had to leave the bags behind.
Luckily, Caribbean Airlines now has flights to St Vincent’s new Argyle International Airport and a round trip from Trinidad will cost you, on average $215 USD. I haven’t visited since their new airport opened but I’ve heard really good things about it. St Vincent uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar and you can use their public transport with assistance. I didn’t have much experience with it, but I don’t think it’s as efficient as Barbados‘.
TripAdvisor et al gives you the whole list of things to do in SVG but here’s my St Vincent lah hay recommendations with some hidden gems you won’t find elsewhere.
Crayfish hunting in Welcome
So I wasn’t really ready for this crayfish river experience. I was told that we were going fishing. I figured okay cool, boats, fishing lines, bait let’s go. Nope. We trekked from my friend’s house down a trail to a river and then people started shoving baskets strategically into the water to catch the crayfish. We spent a good four hours following the river catching as much crayfish as possible.
We trod through the water, through bush any and everywhere for the catch. I didn’t do much catching – crayfish aint cute- but it was a really fun experience. People were slipping and sliding, pushing straw baskets in all bits of the river, doing the absolute most to catch the crayfish and put them in buckets.
Afterward we headed back home and of course the crayfish ended up in a big pot of soup with coconut dumplings (amazing) and provisions. While I did this with my friend’s family, I actually found a tour group called Bamboo Adventures SVG who does a crayfish river experience for $60 USD. If you’re an outdoorsy person looking for something different to do and you think you’ll like crayfish, then I definitely recommend it. If you know someone in Vincy though you can save the $60USD and get to crayfishing on your own.
Lunch at Uncle Mac’s
2. Uncle Mac’s has some great Creole food. Vincy food is similar to Grenadian food with a touch of Trini. My favourite Vincy food is coconut dumpling – the sweet, crispy fresh grated coconut mixed into a salty, firm dumpling…put this in everything! If you’re a soup person try Uncle Mac’s callaloo soup, if not just let your eyes guide you- everything is good! Uncle Mac’s which is in Kingstown (capital of St Vincent) is easy to find.
You can also try Vincy KFC which I found to be really good. I think I’ve tried local KFC in every Caribbean island I’ve been to and they ‘re all different. Jamaica and Grenada have been the best and Barbados was the worst.
You can wash down either meal with the national beer: the indigenous people called St Vincent Hairoun (Land of the Blessed). Like Antigua’s Wadadli beer, Vincy’s national beer is Hairoun and is a light beer from what I remember.
Black Point Tunnel
While its history is far from pleasant it’s a breathtaking place. Its about an hour drive from the capital. Built in 1815 by enslaved Africans to make it easier to transport sugar from Estates to the wharf, the tunnel is 360 feet long and opens out to a view of the sea. We walked through the entire tunnel which was a bit creepy and difficult; think about the number of lives which were lost where we walked. Black Point itself was actually one of the filming sites of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. There’s a $5 EC entrance fee which gives you access to a picnic area and park as well as a nice black sand beach on the walk into Black Point Tunnel.
There’s MUCH more to do in St Vincent, some other suggestions I have are:
- Explore Kingstown – go to the Botanical Gardens and get a good history lesson at Fort Charlotte
- Experience Vincy nightlife at Huffles Ranch
- Have dinner by the ocean at Cafe Soleil
- Go fishing on Young Island Docks
On my next lah hay to St Vincent my first two stops are going to be St Vincent’s active volcano (La Soufriere) and Dark View falls and a day trip out to the Grenadines as I’ve only done Bequia so far.