St. Vincent & the Grenadines is a nation of 32 islands located in the Lesser Antilles between St. Lucia (24 miles to the north) and Grenada (75 miles to the south). The largest and northernmost island is St. Vincent (about 133 square miles) which has a forest-covered mountainous interior that is dominated by La Soufriere, a 4,000ft tall active volcano. On the south west coast is Kingstown, the nation’s capital.
The remaining Grenadines lie to the south of St. Vincent. The largest and most populated are Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island. Young Island is a small private island right off the coast of Kingstown, St. Vincent. Smaller inhabited islands include Mayreau, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent. The Tobago Cays is a marine park located to the east of Mayreau and is a collection of five tiny islands, sheltered lagoons and coral reefs.
We enjoy a tropical climate with the hottest and most humid months between June and September when temperatures reach an average high of 30°C (86°F). The most popular months to visit are between December and May when the climate is more comfortable, though trade winds provide a welcome breeze all year round. The driest months are between January and May and the wettest month is July. There is a theoretical risk of hurricanes between July and November though they usually pass to the north of our islands.
Our official language is English, though an English-based Vincentian dialect is also widely spoken. You may find it a little tricky to understand at first, but once attuned, you'll probably be speaking it as well as the rest of us!
The population of St. Vincent & The Grenadines is approximately 110,000.
Government & Law
St. Vincent & The Grenadines is an independent parliamentary democracy and member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Our parliamentary and legislative systems are derived from the British model with 15 elected representatives, 4 senators and a prime minister serving a maximum 5-year term of office. Queen Elizabeth II is represented by a Governor General. Visit the Government website at www.gov.vc.
Formerly comprising a strong agricultural base with bananas our chief export crop, the economy of St. Vincent & The Grenadines is increasingly dependent on the tourism sector which is now our nation’s primary source of overseas exchange.
There is a 10 percent Government tax at hotels and a VAT of 15 percent.
Our official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$). It is also the official currency of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, and St. Lucia. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, EC$50, EC$20, EC$10 and EC$5. Coins come in denominations of EC$1 and then 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. The US dollar is widely accepted throughout our islands and the exchange rate is fixed at US$1 = EC$2.68. Exchange rates with other international currencies are variable.
Driving in St. Vincent & the Grenadines is on the left. Visitors are required to purchase a temporary licence for EC$100 and must be able to produce a domestic driving licence.
The small private islands of Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent have 110V 60Hz electricity supplies and use a US style 2 pin system. All other islands have 220/240V 50Hz supplies and use a UK style 3 pin system.
St. Vincent & The Grenadines is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-4). There are no daylight savings time changes.
Public nudity is illegal in St. Vincent & The Grenadines and topless sunbathing is discouraged. Swimsuits must not be worn in towns, public streets or places of business. It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing in St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
The water is safe to drink. Bottled water is also available.
The international telephone code for St. Vincent & the Grenadines is +1 784 followed by a 7 digit number. From Europe dial 001 784 plus the 7 digit number.
There is extensive cellular service throughout the islands, provided by Digicel and LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless).
Entry & Exit Requirements
Visitors to St. Vincent & The Grenadines must be in possession of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. Visas are required from nationals of The Dominican Republic, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The People's Republic of China, Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.
All visitors, with the exception of Caricom residents, are normally granted a four week stay by Immigration. To further extend this duration, visitors need to seek approval from the Immigration Department, along with payment of an extension fee of EC$25 per person.
As of May 2015 the EU signed short-stay visa waiver agreements to provide visa-free travel for EU citizens when travelling to St Vincent and the Grenadines, and for Vincentian citizens when travelling to the EU, for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period. In order to benefit from visa-free travel, citizens from the EU and St Vincent and the Grenadines must be in possession of a valid ordinary, diplomatic, service/official or special passport. Visa-free travel applies to all categories of persons and for any kind of purposes of travel (for instance tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits, business etc.), except to persons travelling for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity. Ireland and the United Kingdom will not be subject to the application of the agreement, in accordance with the protocols annexed to the EU treaties. The visa regime to these member states remains subject to their national legislation.