St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a southern Caribbean nation comprising a main island, St. Vincent, and a chain of smaller islands. With yacht-filled harbors, chic private isles and volcanic landscapes, it’s known for its major sailing destinations such as reef-lined Bequia Island off Admiralty Bay, bordered by white-sand beaches like Princess Margaret. The main island is home to the capital, Kingstown. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is situated in the Eastern Caribbean at the southern end of the Windward Islands chain. It is an archipelago of islands, Saint Vincent being the largest, with the smaller Grenadines comprising Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, Petit Saint Vincent and a number of small islets. The country lies approximately sixty one degrees West (61° W) longitude and thirteen degrees North (13° N) latitude, with its nearest neighbors being Barbados one hundred miles to the East; St. Lucia twenty one miles to the North and Grenada twenty eight miles to the south.
The country covers approximately 384km², and has a total population of 111,380 (1998 figure). The capital, Kingstown has a population of 25,000. The topography is quite mountainous, with an average temperature of 27°C, and annual rainfall of 2100 mm. The official language is English, with approximately 85% of the population being functionally literate. The currency used is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), with an exchange rate of EC$1 = US$0.37.
The country gained independence from Britain on 27th October 1979, instituted a Parliamentary democracy on the Westminister model, and has remained a part of the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and is represented by the Governor General, Sir Frederick Ballantyne. The Prime Minister is Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, whose party, the Unity Labor Party, was elected to office from March 2001. The legal system is based on English common law.
There are 32 islands and cays that make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Nine are inhabited, including the mainland St. Vincent and the Grenadines islands: Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent and Palm Island. The stunning Tobago Cays National Marine Park is also located within SVG. This multi-island Caribbean nation offers a combination of rainforest eco-adventures, scuba diving, classic Caribbean powder-white sand beaches, luxury accommodation and yachting or sailing adventures.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit St. Vincent & The Grenadines is May to June and November. During these shoulder months, hotels drop their rates to attract travelers. The peak season – December through April – lures European visitors with its warm and dry Caribbean temperatures. Crowds thin out and hotel prices plummet between July and October when hurricane season threatens the archipelago. No matter which month you visit, you’ll find the islands’ average highs hover around 85 degrees throughout the year.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is in the Atlantic Standard time zone, which is four hours behind GMT, i.e. Britain in winter, and five hours behind Europe, also in the winter. During the winter they are an hour ahead of the eastern seaboard of the USA.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has no daylight saving time, so when the clocks change in summer the island is five hours behind Britain, six behind Europe and on the same time as the eastern seaboard of the USA.