Getting to St. Vincent – Grenadines
Most visitors arrive by air at the E.T. Joshua International Airport in Arnos Vale only a 10 minute drive from Kingstown. Air connections are available through Puerto Rico, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Trinidad. Direct flights to Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Union Island and St. Vincent operate from these gateways. American Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, British Airways and BWIA provide service from the US, Europe, and South America to the gateways. American Eagle, LIAT, SVG Air, Air Martinique, and Mustique Airways offer connections to our islands.
From these gateways to the island of St. Vincent connection times are:
Barbados 35 min.
Grenada 30 min.
Marinique 45 min.
St. Lucia 20 min.
Puerto Rico 2 hr. 19 min.
Visitors arriving by YACHT are required to complete customs and immigration. Ports of entry are Wallilabou and Kingstown on St. Vincent, and in the Grenadines, Bequia, Mustique, Union Island and Canouan. Dive operators will pick up and deliver divers to and from their yacht. Call or radio the nearest operator with location and any gear requirements.
CRUISE SHIPS visit the islands. For a sample of St. Vincent’s delights the following cruise lines visit the islands and will arrange diving if the schedule permits: Chandirs, Epirotike, Princess Cruises, Windjammer, WindStar, Pacquet Cruises and Ocean Line Cruises.
The new cruise ship dock in Kingstown Harbor is scheduled for completion in December 1998.
Transportation between the islands is both by air and sea.
Air: Both Bequia and St. Vincent have air strips with night landing equipment. Other landing strips are located on Union Island, Mustique and Canouan. LIAT, Air Martinique, SVG Air and Mustique Airways fly between the islands. SVG Air and Mustique Airways are available for charter.
Sea: Several inter-island ferrys operate in the islands. The MV Admiral I, Admiral II, M.V. Bequia Express, and the Bequia Eagle operate only between St. Vincent and Bequia. MV Baracuda services Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union Islands
Customs and Immigration
A passport of proof of citizenship (birth certificate or voter registration) is required by US and Canadian visitors for entry into the country. All other visitors must show a passport. An onward or return ticket is also required of all visitors. Visitors are allowed a 6 month stay with these documents.
One quart of liquor or wine, 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes are allowed duty free per person when entering the country.
Upon departure there is a departure tax of $30 EC (Eastern Caribbean), or $12 US ($1US is approximately $2.60EC).
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are in the Atlantic Standard time zone. During the period from April to October, this is the same as Eastern Daylight time and 4 hours behind GMT. From November to March, the time is 1 hour ahead of EST and 5 hours behind GMT.
Any time of the year is good to visit. The coolest months are November – February. The temperature varies all year between 64F/18C and 90F/32C. The rainy season is between July and November. During this time there is some rain almost every day and overcast skys frequently. Diving is always possible with the exception of 2-3 days per year when the winds are very stong.
Water temperature varies with the season. Water is warmest in May through December. Heavy wetsuits are never necessary. The temperature in March may reach 78F and a 3mm suit is adequate. During most of the year, a polartec or similar suit is perfect.
Good telephone, fax, boatphone, cellular phone, Internet, telex, and telegraph service is available. Local and International telephone service is provided by Cable & Wireless which offers IDD service to most locations.
On July 1, 1998, the area code changed from 809 to 784. A transition period will run from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999 when both area codes will be acceptable.
Regular mail service and Federal Express are also available. The post office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 3:00pm and from 8:30am to 11:30am on Saturdays. Both the General Post office and Federal Express are located on Halifax Street in Kingstown.
The Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar is the official currency. It is linked to the US dollar. The range is normally from $2.60 EC to $2.68 EC per dollar.
Travelers cheques, US dollars and Canadian dollars are accepted in many hotels and businesses. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, car rental agencies and businesses.
Banking hours are Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 1 pm. Some banks stay open until 3:00pm. On Fridays, most banks reopen from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Standard electrical plug Electricity is 220/240 volt, 50 cycle and is reliable. The standard electrical plug has 3 rectangular pins. Petit St. Vincent is the exception with 110 volt, 60 cycle power.
Divers should bring the appropriate transformers or converters for charging underwater lights, strobe batteries and computers. Do not rely a hotel to provide a transformer.
Getting Around on the Islands
Taxis, rental cars, and mini-buses provide transportation around the islands. Driving is on the left.
A temporary driving license, or international license, is required to rent or drive an automobile. It can be obtained at the Police Station on Bay Street or the Licensing Authority on Halifax Street. Present a valid drivers license from your place of residence and $40EC when applying for an SVG license.
Taxis are available on a per-hour, per-trip or per-day basis. They are not metered, but fares are set by the government.
Brighly colored and imaginatively-name mini-buses can be an inexpensive mode of transportation. Just stand beside the road and wave or point to the ground and one will pick you up. Inquire about your destination before getting in. Their route may not take you all the way to your destination and you may be better off waiting for another bus.
English is the offical language of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Print film processing is available in Kingtown for C-41 print film. Prints can be processed in 90 min. No slide (E6) processing is available on the island.
The country is a fabulous place for a wedding and honeymoon.
A special license and a 3 day stay prior to the marriage are required. A special license can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice or an ordinary license (requires a 7 day publication of notice of the ceremony) from the Registrar on Halifax Street.
Previously married individuals must present a copy of the divorce decree.