Travel Guide to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Our detailed travel guide to St Vincent not only answers all of your questions, but provides valuable insight to this magnificent getaway choice.
About St Vincent: St. Vincent is an island located in the Caribbean and made up partially of submerged volcanic mountains. La Soufrière (meaning sulpher) is still an active volcano and reaches 1234 m. It is one of the most studied volcanoes in the world.
St. Vincent has a population of approximately of 120,000 citizens, and are referred to as Vincentians. Christopher Columbus discovered the island on January 22, 1498, the patronage day of St. Vincent of Saragossa, a Spanish saint; which is how it obtained its name. The Grenadines is in reference to pomegranates because of all the small islands scattered throughout. They do not actually grow pomegranates though.
Mainland St. Vincent is one of the few countries to have both white and black sand beaches. The island is mainly covered with lush tropical rainforest.
Close to the equator, St. Vincent's mean annual temperatures range from 26 to 32C (79 to 90F) along the coast, although it does have cool nights in the autumn months. The higher from sea level you go, the lower the temperature. The rain season and hurricane season begins at the end of June and lasts until November 1. St. Vincent sees an average of 2000 mm (78.7 in) of rain per year.
One important thing to remember in St. Vincent is that the ocean currents are quite strong. It is important to stick to public swimming areas. Never swim at night, in unmarked area's or by yourself. Also, if venturing into the mountainous areas for a tour only travel with experienced guides as there is little police protection.
Saint Vincent has solid electricity throughout the entire island, and their water is safe to drink, although we still recommend sticking to bottled.
National Anthem:St. Vincent! Land so Beautiful
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time Zone (year round)
Languages: English, some Creole
Power Outlets: 230 V, 55 HZ North American Non-Grounded , North American Grounded, Type E French 2-pin Electrical Adapter Plug and Electrical Outlet, British 3-pin Electrical Adapter Plug and Electrical Outlet, Australian plug Electrical Adapter Plug and Electrical Outlet, Danish 3-pin Electrical Adapter Plug and Electrical Outlet
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted
Travelers Checks: Traveler checks are not accepted widely. You may be able to cash them for XCD at a St. Vincent bank
Side of Road to Drive on: Left
Legal Drinking Age: 18 to consume alcohol
: : ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS
- Upon entering St. Vincent be sure to show customs officials your return ticket and/or proof of sufficient income.
Lone Parents and/or Minors:
- Bring a notarized letter indicating the parent(s) have authorized the trip. Also provide the child's valid passport that does not expire for a minimum of 6 months from the date of your departure.
-A passport (valid for 6 months after your entry).
-Citizens of the USA and Commonwealth and EU countries do not require a visa. All other countries please check with your Embassy or with your travel organizer as to whether a visa is needed.
-All visitors intending to stay in private accommodation in St. Vincent should be met upon arrival, in order to avoid lengthy and unnecessary delays at the airport.
-If travelling with a pet; bring a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination. The health certificate must have been dated within thirty days prior to your departure date. You are also required to provide an attestation that the pet is free from ECTO and ENDO parasites (or a deworming certificate)
: : CUSTOMS INFORMATION
- Be sure to declare and bring receipts for all valuable personal belongings (ie. laptop, watch, etc.) or you could have to pay taxes on it when you leave.
- You are allowed to bring clothing and personal products for your stay.
Jewelry, binoculars, cameras, sports requisites, portable typewriters,
toys, medicines and toiletries are allowed for personal use only.
- You are not allowed to bring camouflage of any kind.
- There are no limits on the amount of currency you can enter with.
- Those of drinking age and older can enter with 1 qt of wine or spirits.
- Those of smoking age can bring up to ½ lb (or 200 cigarettes) of tobacco OR 50 cigars.
- You may bring implements, instruments and tools of profession, trade, occupation or employment.
- Dutiable (taxable) items include: Gifts, radios and other similar electrical equipment. You may be required to leave a deposit pending re-exportation.
- Narcotics, spear fishing equipment, arms and ammunition are all restricted.
- Licensed firearms must be declared and are subject to immigration and police regulations. An application must be made to the Commissioner of Police for a local licence. Undeclared and unlicensed firearms will be seized by the authorities.
- You should verify allowable items to return to your own country with customs regulations (available at the information desk at your port of departure).
Prohibited items include:
Uncanned food and derivatives;
Earth, plants, flowers, etc.
Arms & Ammunition
: : SALES TAX AND FEES
- Sales Tax is approximately 15%
- Airport taxes are almost always included in your airfare. Verify with
your airline before booking
- Departure Tax is approximately $40 EC, this is subject to change.
This tax is exempt for:
children under the age of 2;
diplomats (except Ecuador);
transit passengers complying with TWOV conditions;
airline crew travelers;
: : MEDICAL INFORMATION
As in many other areas of the Caribbean and Latin America, travelers are advised to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves against water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases by using mosquito repellent (DEET), and avoiding swampy or low lying areas where mosquitoes are more prevalent. Using physical barriers such as mosquito nets and long sleeved shirts is also recommended.
Bringing in Prescription Drugs:
- Prescription drugs are allowed in Aruba. You must have a doctor's prescription or note indicating that the medicine is needed, the patients name, and the medication(s) name.
- Visit a local medical travel clinic 4 – 6 weeks before departure if require any vaccinations.
The following vaccinations are recommended.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Doctors and hospitals usually require immediate payment for their services.
Kingstown General Hospital
Kingstown, St Vincent
Tel: +1 784 456 1185
Bequia District Hospital
Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Tel.: +1 784 458 3294
Union Island District Hospital
Clifton, Union Island
Tel: +1 784 458 8339
Mesopotamia District Hospital
Tel: +1 784 458 5245
Emergency Contact No.:
Police: (784) 457-1211 or 911
: : CRIME
Crime in St. Vincent is minimal. However petty crime has been reported. Even when anchoring a boat or yacht, there are reports of personal items being stolen. Stay smart and keep an eye on your money, purse, wallet, etc. Use the same common sense you would in any city while in St. Vincent. Review our Travel & Safety Tips section for more information.
Victims of Crime:
- Contact the local authorities AND your consulate/embassy (Embassies are
listed in this itinerary). Do not rely on third parties such as the hotel
to report crimes on your behalf. Always retain a copy of the police
- "911" is the emergency contact number across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
If arrested you must immediately notify them of the country you are from and request they contact your embassy. St. Vincent is obliged to contact your embassy or consulate by international law. While in St. Vincent you are subject to their legislation, penalties, and judiciary methods.
Visiting with a Criminal Record:
If you have a criminal offense from your own country and would like to visit St. Vincent it is at their discretion to allow you in. It is unlikely to cause a problem as long as you are not wanted for a crime and have all ready served your sentence. If you have been accused of something, but have not gone to trial, and do not have a travel ban you should also be fine for travel.
If traveling through or over the United States of America and you have any type of criminal record it is up to the US if they will allow you through or over their country. If worried, you should contact the local immigration offices of the countries that affect your travel and verify before booking a ticket.
: : TRANSPORTATION
- A valid international driver's license is recommended. Always get your international drivers license before departure, in your home country for any trip.
- It is highly recommended to have rental car insurance. It costs approximately $10/day.
In order to rent a car in St. Vincent you must have a valid driver's license from your own country, an international driver's license, a working credit card, and be a minimum of 25 years old. If under the age of 25 you may be able to rent a car, however you should book contact the companies and reserve ahead.
-It is recommended to book a rental car ahead for better prices.
-Cars, SUVs, Vans, and Scooters are generally available.
-Always verify someone will be available at your time of arrival so you may get your vehicle immediately.
-Even with insurance you may be liable for a deductible. Be sure to verify the insurance terms.
-As with all car rentals inspect the car before driving away. Make notes (take pictures if possible) of any scratches, dings, etc while in the presence of the car rental worker. It is preferable to have the car rental worker sign something attesting to the condition of the car.
- Taxis are available at the airports, the docks and through hotel
receptions on the large islands.
- On most small islands in the Grenadines however, Mayreau say, or Petit St Vincent, there is no taxi service. Your hotel will arrange for you to be picked up (verify with your travel agent or hotel to be sure) and from there you are able to walk to wherever you need to go.
- Water taxis are available in some of the islands. They transport you to pther parts of the same island or between islands. They can usually be contacted on VHF Channel 68.
- The government fixes rates for taxi fares (taxis are not metered), so it is a good idea to confirm your fare before departure.
- If you take a taxi for an extended time, perhaps on a tour of the island (which many taxi drivers offer), expect to pay between EC$40-50 per hour for two to four passengers.
- Fares increase late at night through to early morning.
- Below is a breakdown of approximately what you should pay:
From the Airport
To Kingstown – EC$15-20
Villa/Indian Bay – EC$20-25
Blue Lagoon - EC$25-30
To Villa - EC$35-40
Blue Lagoon - EC$40-45
- Public transport is by far the cheapest way to travel, however it is not available everywhere. Verify with your hotel/tour guide before booking an excursion on how you are to get there.
: : CULTURAL INFORMATION
- Smoking is permitted in public areas. Verify with your hotel if it has smoking rooms.
- There are no requirements or dress code. Although one should use common sense. If going to a restaurant it is not appropriate to wear a bathing suit.
-Etiquette is rather simple in St. Vincent. Generosity is probably the most
important part of etiquette.
-It is considered extremely rude (and many will comment on it) to call someone's name out in public.
-It is considered extremely rude for foreigners to take someone's picture.
-Men and women are not viewed differently, although they do have separate social responsibilities. Men are in charge of farming and fishing. Women tend to take care of gardening and selling items in the market place and at stores (not including fish).
-Often a 10% gratuity fee is added to restaurant and other service bills.
You should verify before leaving you own.
-10% tip is expected, however depending on the service you may wish to leave more or less. You should never leave less than 10%.
-Tipping is expected for restaurants, taxi drivers, tour guides.
-For bell man $1 per bag is expected. For hotel maids $2 per day is expected.
: : POPULAR LANDMARKS
This beach has a sandbar with awesome views and not to be missed.
These gardens feature many species of exotic plants, and offer a spectacular view!
This fort was built in 1806 by the English. Its purpose was to protect the harbor from French invasion. It sits high above the bay of Kingstown.
This is an incredible dive spot. be sure to get a guided tour as there are certain times that have strong currents and you can get dragged into rocks.
: : TRAVEL AND SAFETY TIPS
- Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.
- Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while travelling to avoid being a target of crime.
- Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.
- If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.
- Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage.
- Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.
- Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourist's.
- Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.