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On cruises to St. Vincent, this magical island and the chain of the Grenadines will quickly captivate you. From the bluest waters for swimming and snorkeling to a harrowing history of occupations and ever-changing hands, the capital of Kingstown has a fascinating past that’ll keep you enthralled during a stop on a Southern Caribbean cruise.
St. Vincent doesn’t feel touristy like some island destinations. Of course, there are the beaches you’d come to expect in this part of the Caribbean, but there’s something different about St. Vincent. Perhaps it’s that civilization on the island was established on top of active volcanoes, or its unique attractions like the St. Vincent Botanical Gardens or the stunning Trinity Waterfalls beyond the city. Of course, there’s plenty of duty-free shopping and local markets to keep shoppers entertained, but Kingstown is also deeply committed to preserving its rich history. While you’re here, don’t miss the chance to try breadfruit or the official regional dish, fried jackfruit.
One of the most popular things to do on cruises to St. Vincent is visit the botanical garden, which will give you a glimpse into the flora and fauna of the island without needing to venture into the jungle. These are also some of the oldest botanical gardens in the region. Local breadfruit, cinnamon and other spices, and exotic plants grow freely here.
An exploration of Union Island is the perfect getaway, where villas and resorts dot this part of the Grenadines archipelago. Kitesurf, swim, and hop from one beachy restaurant or bar onto the next. It’s a relaxing day trip from the Kingstown area for those who want to venture beyond the town.
Take a four-wheeler to the steep Trinity Waterfalls to experience incredible nature at this tropical waterfall, followed by a half-hour hike to the foot of the falls. The currents are strong, so swimming isn’t recommended here.
The top of 18th century British-colonial Fort Charlotte makes for the perfect photo op of the Southern Caribbean. Snap photos of your vacation against a backdrop of crystal blue waters. The fort offers historic insight into life in St. Vincent hundreds of years ago, including preserved cannons for military history buffs to admire.
One popular excursion from Kingstown is a sail through the Tobago Cays in the Southern Grenadines, which is a core part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park and protected reefs. Spot barracuda, stingrays, and sea turtles, to name a few, or swim the warm Caribbean waters in true leisure.
La Soufriere is the island’s biggest volcano, and a day’s hike here will show you an incredible range of St. Vincent’s landscape, from banana farms to the deep rainforest. Hike to the island’s highest point to take in the breathtaking views.
As the capital of St. Vincent, Kingstown is the best spot to get some shopping done as well as tour historic Gothic churches dating back to British occupation of the island, like St. George’s Anglican Cathedral. The cobblestone streets and preserved 17th century architecture will make you feel like you stepped back in time.
The cuisine in St. Vincent relies heavily on the fishing industry and imports from other parts of the world. On cruises to St. Vincent, you’ll discover regional delicacies that are found in few other parts of the world. The national dish of St. Vincent is the fried jack fish, so be sure to try it while on cruises that stop in St. Vincent. Breadfruit is another regional delicacy, often eaten mashed or sauteed with garlic the way you’d prepare potatoes. Yams, potatoes, bananas, and plantains are staples in island cooking as well, including hearty banana fritters, fried plantains, or baked into breads and other snacks.
Settlements on the island of St. Vincent were undisturbed by European colonization until the 1700s, when a Dutch ship sank and enslaved West Africans came ashore to declare their freedom. By the late 18th centuries, the French and then the British took control of the island, creating an economy based on slave labor to produce coffee, sugar, tobacco, and indigo. In 1979, St. Vincent finally declared independence from Britain. In subsequent years, the island developed in its own right as a tourism destination and a unique volcanic oasis.
The Kingstown cruise terminal has pretty standard amenities and plenty of duty-free shopping to keep you occupied if you stay close to the terminal on cruises to St. Vincent. There’s also a tourism information office within the terminal to help visitors.
It’s easy to see Kingstown on foot when you’re taking cruises that stop in St. Vincent. The cruise port is only a short walk to the center of town, and taxis are prevalent in the terminal area to scoop up passengers. The locals rely on the bus network, which can be a crowded but efficient way to get around town. Cars drive on the left side of the road here.
Kingstown offers a variety of duty-free shopping both near the cruise port and in town for visitors on cruises to St. Vincent. There are nearly two dozen boutiques open within the terminal where you can bring back spices, handmade soaps, jewelry, knickknacks, and more. The local produce market is another spot for shopping if you’re looking for fresh fruits and veggies or locally made treasures.
Use the East Caribbean dollar when traveling to St. Vincent. The U.S. dollar is often accepted as well. Banks are the most reliable sources of ATMs in the area. A service charge is usually added to your bill at restaurants, but you can tip additionally if the service was particularly excellent. Leave a 10% tip for your taxi driver.