It’s cold as anything here in the nation’s capital and we’re dreaming of unspoiled Caribbean beaches, so we’d like to give a shout out to the Grenadines. While some sustainable-tourism panelists argued that cruise culture is taking its toll on the island chain, the Grenadines scored a decent 77 on our Destinations Rated: Islands survey, putting it in the top 20 best islands and tied with Dominica for the top Caribbean island.
So where are they and how soon can we get there?
The Grenadine chain includes 600 islands (many uninhabited) covering about 60 miles in the West Indies, namely St. Vincent, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union Island. In the north, the islands are part of the nation known as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, while southern islands such as Carriacou are incorporated into Grenada.
And now for the goods. Our sustainable tourism experts said:
Beautiful destination for yachting and high-end tourists. Water is scarce so resources must be carefully managed. Good environmental awareness among the local population, who guard their islands zealously. Yachting discharge into the ocean is a problem. Given their fragility, there is need for strict development controls. Otherwise, attractive, friendly people, and good quality of life.
Another panelist bemoaned the behavior exhibited by visitors, especially cruisers:
Visitors are not sensitive to their impact on the environment, especially marine. Many yachties do not see themselves as being ‘on
the destination, and is even truer of cruise ships, which boost arrival numbers while doing little for the islands’ economies.
Ouch! But, to end on a happier note, another expert added:
One of the last, best hopes of the Caribbean. Bequia is a gem and the Tobago Cays, though overrun with boats, remain the best place to snorkel in the region. The only inauthentic place is Mustique and the two private resort islands.
- Nat Geo Expeditions