A journey to the hidden gem of the Caribbean
Thandi Myers CONTRIBUTOR
Photo: World Travel Guide
This summer, I journeyed just over five hours to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was a time of great joy and excitement as I was once again greeted with the familiarity of home. It was great to be back, reunited once again with my family and friends. To be able to feel the warm tropical breeze and the shining sun felt like a reunion with a long-lost buddy!
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a multi-island state in the southern Caribbean. On arrival, I was directly on the mainland of St. Vincent. There are 32 surrounding islands and cays that offer many opportunities for eco-adventures, historical and architectural sites, cuisine delights, cultural festivals, and even the Botanic Gardens — one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere!
I had arrived home just in time for the nation’s biggest national festival called Vincy Mas. Vincentians from all over the country, members of the diaspora, and visitors from neighbouring Caribbean islands and other countries around the world experience approximately 10 days of non-stop fun. I was able to take in great steel pan music and watch what is known as Mardi Gras, a street parade of masqueraders decked in beautiful costumes, dancing to the sounds of soca and calypso music coming from booming music trucks. The parade was a show of high energy and non-stop fun.
I also took the time to meet up with friends at various beaches such as Buccament Bay and Villa Beach on mainland St. Vincent. On another occasion, we took a two-minute ferry ride to a tiny island resort near mainland St. Vincent by the name of Young Island. It was a well-deserved opportunity to unwind after a long school year while drinking my favorite piña colada!
My trip would have been incomplete if I did not journey to one of the Grenadine Islands. I made the time to take an hour ferry ride to the largest inhabited Grenadines island, Bequia. A popular tourist destination boasting turquoise sailing waters, it has a very popular Easter Regatta, and a variety of restaurants and bars, most of which have a perfect ocean view. I spent the day at a beach picnic on the Princess Margaret Beach with some friends — a day well-spent, packed with fun and laughter and a journey back to mainland before sunset.
My family and I went on long drives through the rural areas and the mountainous terrain of mainland St. Vincent. We visited one of the most popular tourism sites, Dark View Falls, in the northwest of the island. To see the waterfalls, one has to cross a bamboo bridge over a river. The tallest waterfall was stunning. It was truly a hidden gem off the beaten path.
On another day, I went on an early morning hike up to the highest point on the island, the La Soufrière volcano. While it was tiring and seemed never-ending, the journey was worth it. The view of the neighbouring towns and villages from above and the volcano’s crater was spectacular to say the least. The journey down the mountain was just as fun and adventurous as it rained periodically.
My summer vacation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the place I call home, was great fun and a period of reunion and relaxation. I look forward to the next one… whenever that may be. Until next time, farewell Hairouna!