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August 10th, 2013 

Explore Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the Caribbean nations and is part of the Lesser Antilles Island Group. Situated in the eastern Caribbean, it lies north of Grenada, south of Saint Lucia and west of Barbados. Its capital is Kingstown, which an estimated 15,900 people call home.

 This island nation is divided into two regions: the forested volcanic isle of Saint Vincent, which has an overall area of 133 square miles, and the Grenadines, which is a chain of over 600 islands forming a bridge running south from Saint Vincent to Grenada. The Grenadines, however, do not all belong to SV&G, and those islands lying to the south of the Martinique Channel belong to Grenada. Those Grenadine islands that do belong to SV&G, which are about 18 in total, include Bequia, Union Island and The Tobago Cays.

 Saint Vincent, whose inhabitants are called Vincentians, is defined by La Soufriere, the active volcano that dominates the island. The 4,048ft La Soufriere last erupted in 1979, and, although not completely dormant, it now serves as a tourist attraction and visitors are able to climb the volcanic peak. Newcomers to Saint Vincent should be warned that the climb is not an easy one, however. Those wanting to traverse Saint Vincent should also be aware that there is no direct route across the island and that they should use the coastal highways that run all around the isle.

 Some of the Grenadine islands are privately owned, and, of those that are not, only some are inhabited. Visitors can fly into Union Island's international airport and use this isle as a base from which to tour the chain. The Grenadine's most popular tourist attraction is the Tobago Cays Marine Park, which consists of the five cays just off Union Island's Clifton Harbor as well as numerous reefs like World's End Reef and Egg Reef. Tourists should also be on the lookout for the wildlife endemic to the region, including the opossum-like manicou and the bananaquit bird.



 The country's economy hinges on its tourism and agricultural industries - bananas comprise the largest crop - and its population is a mix of those descended from the island's original inhabitants, the Carib Indians, and the later Black Carib, French, British and Portuguese transplants. St Vincent and the Grenadines was operated as a British colony from 1763 until 1979 when it obtained full independence from Britain. Apart from Kingstown, the larger cities comprise Georgetown, Barrouallie and the fishing settlement of Chateaubelair.

 Saint Vincent's major attractions include the Vincy Mas Carnival that takes place every year in July, the botanical gardens and the historic Black Point Tunnel that was burrowed through solid rock by Carib slaves on the instructions of the British. Cricket is one of the country's favorite sports and outstanding players have the chance of being picked to play for the West Indies international team.

 Despite being prone to hurricanes, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the quintessential island paradise and is well worth a visit.

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