An island hopping honeymoon awaits
Finding serenity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
With 32 islands and cays to choose from, St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers a honeymoon experience that’s hard to replicate anywhere else in the world.
“There are nine inhabited islands that each have their own distinct character and feel. The main island of St. Vincent is often overlooked by travellers on their way to the Grenadines, but is well worth the visit. Here, you’ll experience black sand beaches, vibrant markets in the nation’s capital of Kingstown, tropical gardens, nature trails, waterfalls and more,” Shelley John, director of sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Office told Canadian Travel Press. “South of the largest island of St. Vincent, the Grenadines are strung across 40 miles of tranquil waters. SVG offers great sailing, diving, romantic resorts perfect for a honeymoon or a couple’s retreat and eco-tourism adventures, including a volcano that you can hike up, all in one destination.”
Described as the Caribbean before mass tourism, the authentic and unspoiled destination has become increasingly accessible since the opening of Argyle International Airport two years ago. Accommodations range from secluded private islands and lavish suites to unique resorts on the doorsteps to adventure and discovery. And while there are new hotels in the works, Glen Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Authority said they are not about mass tourism and seek to maintain the dynamics that make the archipelago special.
“The Canadian travel market is more adventurous and has a greater appreciation for the diversity and different cultures around the world, and I think SVG is exactly the type of destination that Canadians really want to see,” he said. “We want to make sure our destination remains sustainable, that the tourism product remains the same. I consider SVG the most diverse product in the Caribbean. I always say one of the perfect posters for SVG would be black sand that merges into white sand. We’re the only destination in the Caribbean that can offer both. St. Vincent is a volcanic island, the rest of the Grenadines are coral islands.”
From scenic hiking trails and majestic waterfalls to one-of-a-kind adventures and tree-top massages, here are a few ways for couples to embark on a memorable honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Don’t mope on Mopion Island
Be a castaway for the day and enjoy the tiny island of Mopion, which is surrounded by striking clear turquoise waters.
“Mopion is a unique sandbank that has just an umbrella in the middle of it,” said Beache. “Every time we show that picture someone always says ‘no, you guys just photoshopped that. It’s not real.’”
Pack a picnic and enjoy the white-sand refuge as memories of the hustle and bustle back home fade into oblivion. Mopion Island is an easy day excursion from Petit St. Vincent or Palm Island.
Do like Ed Sheeran and unplug at PSV
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the world, Petit St. Vincent is where celebrities like Ed Sheeran go to disconnect and unwind. The private island paradise features 22 villas and two-bedroom cottages spread across
115 acres. Perfect for couples looking to connect with each other, the tranquil oasis is purposely built without TVs and WiFi in the rooms. Unwind with a massage at the hillside Balinese-inspired spa or take advantage of the onsite Jean-Michel Cousteau Diving Centre, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.
Ignore TLC and chase those waterfalls
SVG is home to lots of spectacular waterfalls but Dark View Falls on St. Vincent is a rare multi-layered cascading twin fall. Cool off by taking a serene dip surrounded by lush vegetation upon reaching the top. The short hike from the parking lot is also scenic through a bamboo grove and across a swinging bamboo bridge.
Pamper yourself on Palm Island
The adults-oriented Palm Island Resort & Spa is a romantic option for those looking for an all-inclusive resort. Set on a private island across 135-acres, its 43 guest rooms are specifically designed to offer privacy. There are five white sand beaches to choose from around the destination. For a memorable experience, schedule a special private picnic at one of the secluded beach-side hammocks and cabanas or enjoy a deep tissue couple’s massage in the newly built spa.
Be the star of your own movie set
Calling all Pirates of the Caribbean fans. St. Vincent is home to Wallilabou Bay, a key filming location for the movie saga featuring Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. Take part in a photo opportunity or simply enjoy the scenic anchorage.
Head under the sea
Swim and snorkel with turtles and other sea creatures while enjoying a day trip to The Tobago Cays. The Marine Park is a protected wildlife reserve of five islets bordered by a giant horseshoe reef. Enjoy a beach BBQ with rum punch surrounded by palm trees and picture-perfect water.
Take a hike
Adventurous couples can hike up la Soufriere Volcano, an active volcano on St. Vincent. The hike takes roughly two hours one-way but features breath-taking views – regardless of your fitness level. Another scenic option through the rainforest is the Vermont Nature Trail, where travellers may spot SVG’s national animal, the colourful parrot.
Live large in Canouan
For the ultimate luxurious hideaway, stay at the Mandarin Oriental Canouan. The all ocean view hideaway features 26 suites and 13 villas and is the first Mandarin Oriental branded property in the Caribbean. The hotel is set on a white powder stretch of Godahl Beach and features a stunning infinity pool overlooking the ocean – should you choose to leave your expansive colonial style suite. The property also includes a championship 18-hole golf course.
Grab a bite at Jack’s Beach Bar
Did someone say fried chicken? From fresh fish to the aforementioned staple fried chicken served with side sauces like Mango Chutney and Smokey BBQ, this beachfront joint is a hot choice for visitors and locals alike. The views of Princess Margaret Beach aren’t too shabby, either. Wash it down with a Jack’s Signature Cocktail or enjoy some local beer like Hairoun.
Stay forever Young
For couples looking for a special stay close to the vast offerings on St. Vincent, Young Island is a charming private island retreat just off the coast of the main island. The property is so close, the 24-hour ferry to the island takes a mere two minutes. The 13-acre resort offers 29 villas set among tropical gardens and a swim up bar, where some of the cast stayed during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. The infinity pool from Villa 26 overlooking Fort Duvernette is hard to top. Its convenient location makes it an ideal base to unwind after exploring Dark View Falls, La Soufriere volcano or Wallilabou Bay.
Drink up the views
If it’s a cool bar you seek, you can’t go wrong at Scruffy’s or Shenanigans Beach Club on Canouan. Those coming by boat can take advantage of the newly opened Sandy Lane Yacht Club & Residences, which has 120 berths including 24 for super-yachts. Canouan, which means island of turtles, is another picturesque stop with powdery white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters.
One island, two ways to stay
Often regarded as the Caribbean’s best kept secret, Bequia (pronounced beck-way) is the largest island of The Grenadines.
“Bequia is a laid back island with white sand beaches, sheltered bays, charming hotels, villas and apartments and plenty of local restaurants and rum shops to choose from,” said Shelley John, director of sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Office.
The easy going island is popular among yachties and divers. It’s been said that goats outnumber the inhabitants. One of its beaches is named after Princess Margaret, who frequented the destination in the 1950s. For those looking to spend some time discovering the island, here are two agent-friendly options.
ONE Bequia Plantation Hotel
With its prime beach front location secluded at the southern end of Admiralty Bay, Bequia Plantation Hotel is an ideal spot for couples to looking for a tropical escape. The renovated villas and suites look out on to the Caribbean Sea. The self-contained cottages are a great option for honeymooners. Enjoy the sunset while feasting on spicy jerk pork pizza from the wood fire oven on the outdoor restaurant.
TWO Bequia Beach Hotel
The five-star Bequia Beach Hotel is set on eight acres of tropical gardens overlooking Friendship Beach. Accommodation range from suites – including an expansive penthouse – to three two-bedroom villas with private pools and bungalows. Owner Bengt Mortstedt, a former lawyer from Sweden, first bought the property with the intention of living on it himself. The hotel pays 15% commission. The laid-back luxury hotel offers VIP transfer services aboard Bequia Air’s dedicated 9-seat Beechcraft King Air B200 as an alternative to inter-island hopper flights, and direct transport from Barbados to Bequia. Agent commissions are a flat rate of US$30 p.p. on a return booking and US$15 p.p. on a one-way.