Things to know and ideas for your own trip to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Regular berth: SVG Cruise Ship Terminal
- Regular berth: in roadstead (tender port)
- Harbour shuttle: not available/necessary
- Taxis: usually available at the Cruise Terminal
- Buses: privately owned minibuses
- Car hire*: Avis, at Argyle International Airport
- Post Office: Halifax Street
- Tourist information: at the Cruise Terminal and on Bay Street
- Banks and ATMs: very few in Kingstown
- Cruise Ship Berths
The town of Kingstown has a well-maintained cruise terminal, which houses small shops as well as a tourist information office. The shops mainly sell local goods and souvenirs. The pier jutting into the bay offers space for two cruise ships. This means that the berths are right next to the town. If all available berths are already reserved and/or occupied, it may also happen that anchoring takes place on site, i.e. the own ship lies at anchor. In this case, the guests are brought ashore with the tender boats. This often means that excursions or shore excursions undertaken on your own may be delayed. In order to be able to keep to the schedules of the tours booked and carried out with the respective shipping companies, these excursionists are preferably brought ashore first.
- Bus Transport
The minibuses that operate on St. Vincent are privately owned and most of them are artistically designed by their owners. They run very irregularly and start in Kingstown from the bus station at the local fish market in all directions to the larger towns on the island. There are no fixed timetables or bus stops. To catch a bus, stop it with a wave of the arm, and if you want to get off, just tell the driver. Fares are quite reasonable and range from 1 to 10 EC dollars per person, depending on the route and distance. Buses do not run on Sundays and public holidays.
Taxis are similar to minibuses, with the prices quoted being for 1-4 people. There are usually plenty of taxis waiting at the berth when a cruise ship arrives. Although fixed fares should apply between the main destinations, it is still advisable to clarify the fare before travelling. Taximeters are not available in the vehicles and often the drivers offer themselves for island tours. This is usually charged at 40-50 EC dollars per hour. Fares are often offered at lower rates away from the berth.
- Local Driving Licence
The island has left-hand traffic, which can also take some getting used to for pedestrians. If you want to rent a car, you need a local driver's licence. This costs 65 Eastern Caribbean dollars and can be obtained in Halifax Street at the Licensing Authority and/or in Bay Street at the local police station. In addition, rental car providers can assist in obtaining one. The basic requirement for obtaining one is the possession and presentation of a valid driving licence from one's home country.
- Kingstown Centre
Big shopping trips are not possible in Kingstown and you won't find any huge shopping malls in the small capital. Nevertheless, there are a few shops, bars and restaurants, and most of them are in the centre of town. Most of the activity takes place on Grenville Street / Halifax Street, Middle Street and Bay Street. The New Central Market building is right in the middle. Here, a weekly market for all kinds of goods takes place every day except Sundays, from 06:00-18:00. Fresh produce, such as fruit and vegetables, clothing and some handmade accessories are on offer. In the morning hours, as well as on Friday and Saturday, there is a lively and busy hustle and bustle. The nearby fish market is similar. The centre of Kingstown is not far from the mooring and can be reached on foot in about 15 minutes.
- Kingstown Churches
A little further west are three Church Buildings that stand quite close to each other. The oldest building in the group is now the episcopal seat of the Windward Islands. This is the Anglican Cathedral of St. George, whose first building was completed in 1720 and was destroyed by a hurricane as early as 1780. It was not until forty years later that the rebuilt church could be used again. The artistically designed stained glass windows with angel motifs were originally intended for St. Paul's Cathedral in London, but did not find favour with Queen Victoria and were then shipped and used in this building. Continuous extensions, on the other hand, gave St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral an interesting look over time, using a wide variety of architectural styles. The building was in use from the year 1823. A few years later and a little further away, the building of the Methodist Church, completed in 1841, was added.
- Botanical Garden
In the north of Kingstown, on the Leeward Highway, there is a rather extensive Botanical Garden. It was founded in 1765 and is one of the oldest gardens of its kind in the western hemisphere. The area is home to a mighty breadfruit tree introduced by Captain William Bligh (Bounty) in 1793, as well as numerous different plant species. You can also see the endangered St. Vincent parrot Amazonia Guildingii (King Amazon). The garden has a small visitor centre with information and a park map. If required, you can book a guided tour there, during which you will receive explanations about the established plants (usually in English). Entrance to the park costs US$2 per person. The botanical garden is about 2.7 kilometres from the Cruise Terminal. It takes 35 to 40 minutes one way on foot, or a good 10 minutes by taxi or rental car*.
- Montreal Gardens
Another well-maintained botanical garden can be found about 17 kilometres from the mooring, in the highlands of the island. The Montreal Gardens cover an area of 7.5 hectares and are largely surrounded by rainforest. Divided into three areas, the Forest Garden, the Colour Garden and the Formal Garden, the complex offers interested visitors an extensive collection of different plants and trees. It takes 45 to 50 minutes to get there by car, depending on the direction. Admission to the area costs 5 US dollars per person. It is open Monday to Friday from 09:00-16:00. Closed on Sundays and public holidays.
- Fort Charlotte and St. Vincent Museum
A good panoramic view of the berth, city, land and sea can be obtained from old Fort Charlotte. Construction work on the fort, which towers some 200 metres above Kingstown, began as early as 1763 and continued until its completion in 1806. The fort had 34 stationary cannons, some of which are still there today and can be visited. In addition, up to 600 soldiers could be stationed there. The grounds house a women's prison and the St. Vincent Museum, which focuses on the island's past and exhibits paintings by a local artist, among other things. The fortress complex is about 4 kilometres from the jetty. It takes a good 10 minutes one way by car and about 60 minutes on foot. Scenes from the blockbuster series "Pirates of the Caribbean" were filmed in the area. Open Monday to Sunday from 08:00-18:00.
- Wallilabou Bay
Wallilabou Bay is located on the Leeward Highway in the western part of the island. Here you can discover the remains of the film set of Port Royal from the well-known film series "Pirates of the Caribbean". Unfortunately, some of the sets are in a rather desolate condition, so that the duration of your stay on site should be manageable and is probably only interesting for real film fans. The bay is accessible free of charge, has a small restaurant/café and is about 22 kilometres from the moorings. By taxi or rental car, a journey time of about 40 minutes each way is to be expected.
- Dark View Falls
St. Vincent has waterfalls worth seeing, such as the Dark View Falls. From Wallilabou Bay, you drive another 20 minutes to a small car park, from where you can only continue on foot. The short path leads through the rainforest and also over a stony stream, which is crossed with the help of two bridges. These run parallel and at some distance from each other, so that you have the choice of using one of the two, whereby the bamboo bridge should not necessarily be favoured. The Dark View Falls are part of a tributary of the Richmond River and consist of two waterfalls. They are accessible daily from 09:00-17:00 and on payment of a fee of 2 US dollars.
- Black Point Tunnel
Of historical significance is the Black Point Tunnel on the east coast. This is part of Black Point Park in the south of Georgetown and was driven through the rock by countless slaves in 1815. The one hundred metre long shortcut accelerated and facilitated the transport of sugar from the Grand Sable mills to Byera Bay. The filmmakers of "Pirates of the Caribbean" found this place so appealing that filming also took place here. The tunnel area can be explored after paying 5 EC dollars and is accessible daily from 08:00-17:00. Caution is advised when swimming on the black sand beach due to sometimes high waves and strong currents. From the berth in Kingstown, it takes 55 to 60 minutes by motorised vehicle* to cover the approximately 29-kilometre distance.
The beaches on St. Vincent are open to the public and consist mostly of black sand. The reason for this is the volcanic origin of the island. The beaches on the east coast, such as Argyle Beach and Black Point Beach, are not suitable for bathing and swimming because of the currents, the always strong winds and the associated waves. The situation is different on the west coast. There you will usually find calmer waters and some sheltered bays with small sandy beaches.
- Paradise / Villa Beach
Unusual for the island are the beaches of Indian Bay and Villa Beach (Paradise Beach) located in the southeast. These bright stretches of beach differ significantly from the norm due to their golden-yellow colour and are also quite popular. It can get crowded, especially at weekends, as many locals flock here. Things are better during the week from Monday to Thursday. From the beach you have a beautiful view of Young Island and the northern Grenadines. There are a few restaurants and bars nearby, and sun loungers can be rented for US$5 each. Both beaches are not far from each other and can be reached from the berth by rental car* or taxi in about 10 to 15 minutes.
The latter costs 5 US dollars per direction and person. The distance is about 7 kilometres. Alternatively, the water taxis departing from the pier take their passengers to Villa Beach for 7.50 USD. You can also take small boats to the small beach on Young Island. However, only half of this beach is open to the public. The other part belongs to a hotel complex and is reserved exclusively for hotel guests. The round trip costs US$ 5 per person, if you use the same boat for both directions. Otherwise, another USD 5 is charged for the return trip. This should be discussed with the boat driver in advance.
- Hiking Trail
The La Soufriere Volcano Trail is a hiking trail that runs across the north of the island and also passes a crater rim. This belongs to the mighty volcano La Soufrière in the interior, which is still considered active today, although the last eruption in 1979 was some time ago. The highest elevation on the island of St. Vincent can be reached from two sides on the trail, which is about 15 kilometres long. You can start in the west from the Richmond Vale Hiking Centre, from where it takes about 3 hours to reach the crater, or in the east near Georgetown at the Rabacca Trail Head, which takes about 2 hours to reach the crater. The trail leads through the rainforest and is sometimes difficult to master. You should be good on your feet, wear sturdy shoes and have at least a light, weatherproof jacket with you. If there are no clouds in the mountains, there are always great views of the crater, land and sea. Having a local guide with you is not the worst choice, as the route is not always clearly recognisable and is also prescribed by the authorities.
- Bequia Island
The nearest island of the Grenadines, located in the south of St. Vincent, is easily reached by one of the daily ferries from Kingstown. The ferry takes you to the wind-protected natural harbour in Port Elizabeth on the island of Bequia. As the largest island in the Grenadines, Bequia has beautiful white sandy beaches. South of the ferry terminal, after about one kilometre, you come to the smaller Belmont Beach, a little further on to Princess Margaret Beach and then to the lively Lower Bay Beach. The crossing takes about 60 minutes each way, and you can expect some swell. The cost of a single single ticket is 25 EC dollars per person. A combined return ticket costs 45 EC dollars and is only valid with the same provider. Payment is made on board the ferries of Bequia Express and Admiralty Transport, which are usually quite modern and moor almost directly next to the cruise pier.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Kingstown, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of independent excursion offers
for, in and around Kingstown,
we have put together for you here.
- Cruises and Offers
If you haven't booked a Caribbean Cruise yet, but would like to get to know St. Vincent personally and take excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise providers in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at the best conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Post office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-15:00. Saturday from 08:30-11:30
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00-13:00
- Tourist information opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00-12:00 and from 13:00-16:00
- Country code: +784
- General emergency call: Tel. 911
- Police: Tel. 12 11
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 61185
- Vaccination recommendation: St. Vincent Tropical Institute
- Safety advice: St. Vincent Foreign Office
- City Map: Kingstown Map
- Climate chart: St. Vincent Climate
- Port Occupancy: Cruise ships in Kingstown
- Local currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar, 1 EC dollar = 100 cents. Normally US dollars are also accepted
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean