Getting to SVG is somewhat difficult. American Airlines flies to San Juan, Puerto Rico. From there, a direct flight goes to Canouan. (It used to go to E.T. Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale, St. Vincent - and may again some day.) If you are not staying on Canouan, you will then either need to charter a flight to your final destination, or if the schedules work, you might be able to get a regularly scheduled flight by one of the inter-island airlines.
On the islands, hire a cab! Getting around in a rental car is expensive and not easy. Getting lost is not an issue, getting stuck is! Bus service, in the form of mini-vans, is also available on St. Vincent, Bequia, Union, and Mustique - where you can also rent small pick-ups called 'mules.' (Note that, with the exception of the golf carts they give you to use at the Carenage resort on Canouan Island, the renting of cars and 'mules' requires a Vincentian drivers license, which can be obtained at police stations throughout SVG for a rather pricey $40 US.) It is also possible to charter sailboats and motor boats to get around the islands, but sailing in the northern Grenadines - principally St. Vincent, Bequia and Mustique - can be VERY rough and is not really for the squeamish. (The southern Grenadines, by contrast - Canouan, Myreau, Union Island, the Tobago Cays, Palm Island, and Petit St. Vincent - are a beautiful sail.) Also, a ferry runs between St. Vincent and the main Grenadine Islands. One last note: Taxi drivers in St. Vincent can be hired as tour guides. I strongly recommend Ricky Gill - 'RickyTaxi' - for anything you do on the mainland, except for a Trinity Falls trip, where 'Andrew' is your best bet. The Young Island Resort can arrange for these two folks to take you around.
St. Vincent's E.T. Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale accommodates only small inter-island aircraft. Connections from North America are most often made through San Juan, Puerto Rico or the neighboring islands of Barbados (where you'll find a St. Vincent and the Grenadines information desk), St. Lucia, Martinique, Trinidad, and Grenada. You can fly to those islands via international airlines such as American, Air Canada, Air France, Air Martinique, British Airways, and British West Indies Airlines (BWIA). The connection to St. Vincent will more than likely be on Leeward Islands Air Transport, or LIAT. Air Martinique, Mustique Airways, and SVG Air are agents and carriers for LIAT, connecting to various neighboring islands and to the tiny Grenadines.
There is a departure tax from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Island roads are like roller coasters, so if you're not used to such challenging driving, you're probably better off hiring a taxi. Potholes are everywhere and increase the possibility of accidents and car damage.
A good way to see the island is to hire a taxi by the hour. Rates are fixed by the government, but most drivers try to get twice as much.
Public buses in the form of minivans are the cheapest way to get around. They're noisy, crowded, and full of locals. Just wave at the driver to indicate you want to board the bus. The terminal is at Market Square in Kingstown.
Cars proceed on the left. Since roads are not well maintained, do get as many directions as possible before you get behind the wheel. You might even take a mini-bus tour of the island first to get acquainted with the potholes. To rent a car, you will need a temporary Vincentian license, unless you already have an international license.
We had a long layover, so called Robert. He's got a very nice van and he's native-born, of third-generation Scottish indentured servants. He's very knowledgeable. He picked us up promptly at the ferry and took us to Fort Charlotte and the botanical gardens. He also took us to the top of the island and showed us the cemetary where his parents are buried. It was a beautiful place to view the island. He got us to the airport in plenty of time to catch our flight. I highly recommend Robert. Please let him know you found him on the internet. I don't think he believed me when I told him I'd post about him.
The only way to really enjoy getting around SVG is by bus - they are minivans which blast soca and regge music. Be prepared to be packed in and for a fast ride but the people are friendly and it is an efficient system! And only 1-2 EC depending on the distance you are travelling.
When in St. Vincent it costs cents compared to dollars (lots of dollars) to travel the bus' instead of grabbing a taxi. As long as you can carry all of your travel gear, or your luggage is at the hotel already. Look for a spot where lots of people are gathered on the side of the road or just stick your hand out and try to flag one of the vans down. They're pretty easy to spot as they have names on the front and they're usually playing really loud music. Be ready to yell out where your going and don't get discouraged if they don't stop. They all have different routes and they're not written anywhere. Eventually you remember the names of the ones that take you to the places you like to go. Be ready to jump in FAST. You may be jammed pretty tight too, this is all part of the experience of St. Vincent life, you learn to love it! When you are nearing your stop, YELL, "STOP AT THE GAP" and they'll stop at the next road. And that is my lesson in how to get around like a local in St. Vincent. Enjoy!!!!!
Buses (or 'vans') on St. Vincent are really minibuses. they don't follow a fixed timetable but are pretty frequent. You just stand at the side of the road and make a signal to get the drivers' attention. Fares are low and you pay as you get off, not as you get on. Usually there's someone other than the driver who takes the fares.
The vans are brightly painted with various slogans and the interior is dominated by loud local music. It's a fun way to travel - it can be a bit of a squeeze but distances are short. I imagine, though I have no direct experience, that it might not be the easiest way to get around if you have a disbility but other than that, the only reason to take a taxi is if it's late or you have bulky luggage.
American Airlines from Miami or San Juan.
Taxi's. We had a driver that once took us to Young Island he was like our personal driver. Where ever we went he was always there to take us there and even wait while we shopped or ate somewhere. Very affordable and nice.
The airline LIAT takes you from most International airports in the Caribbean to St Vincent & The Grenadines.
Travel between the islands can be done by yacht or motor vessels (of varying sizes).
THIS IS A SHOT OF THE WORKING CREW OF THE SUPPLY SHIP WE TOOK FROM ST. VINCENT TO BEQUIA, THE NORTHERNMOST ISLAND IN THE GRENADINES.
AND WE WILL CLOSE WITH ANOTHER PHOTO OF THE WORKING CREW ON THE SUPPLY SHIP FROM ST. VINCENT TO BEQUIA. THE END.
E.T. Joshua Airport,
St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
Tel. (784)458-4380/Fax (784)456-4586/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Villa Beach, Kingstown, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Petit St. Vincent
Good for: Solo
This is not on Union Island. It's a small 135 acre island, about a 10 minute boat ride from Union....more