- Population: 121,000 (UN, 2005)
- Capital: Kingstown
- Area: 389 sq km (150 sq miles)
- Major languages: English
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 72 years (men), 75 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 East Caribbean dollar = 100 cents
Backpacking in Saint Vincent & Backpacking in Grenadines
The Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is an exotic bunch of 32 islands that are scattered wide across the Caribbean like emeralds on a turquoise blue sea. With immaculate beaches, lush rainforests, forested mountains, remote and underdeveloped islands and towns, and colourful wildlife on land and sea, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is the closest anyone will get to Eden. Perhaps, the islands are a playground for the rich and the famous in the mood for some world-class sailing, yacht chartering, crazy reggae night clubbing, diving and snorkelling, Brad Pitt for instance, but in truth, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the pure and unspoiled nature are most ideal for relaxation .
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (13 15 N, 61 12 W) is an island country composed of 32 islands in the southeastern Caribbean between Saint Lucia and Grenada. SVG has an area of 389 km2 of mostly rugged mountain and volcanic landscape especially on the windward side while bays and sandy beaches on the leeward side. Extreme elevations point at the La Soufriere as the highest point of the islands with an altitude of 1,234 m above sea level.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a pleasant climate the year round. The climate on the Caribbean islands istropical marked by little temperature variation. The warmest month is September and the coolest, January. The rainy season begins around May and lasts until November or December, but the entire year enjoys a favourable weather. Hurricanes are a devastating and yet rare threat.
Saint Vincentians (also Vincentians) total to a population of 103,869 as of the latest 2011 estimate. The majority of the Vincentians are of African descent. Africans were brought to the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as part of the slave trade while other Africans sought refuge in the islands escaping from Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Barbados. Despite the aggressive resistance to European settlement, there also is a thriving community of Caucasians, mainly Portuguese, in the islands. Other Vincentians are of mixed, East Indian, Caucasian (mainly Portuguese), and Carib Indian descent.
There are two individual languages listed in te Ethnologue for SVG: ENGLISH and VINCENTIAN CREOLE ENGLISH, a Frech Patois. The official language is English used in formal domains like education and the government,, and yet only around 400 really speak it in the islands. Vincentian Creole, on the other hand is the native tongue spoken by majority of Saint Vincentians.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is largely a Christian nation with more or less 88% of the population practicing its beliefs. Around 75% of the Vincentians are Protestants from various denominations, mostly Anglican, while about 13% of the population are Roman Catholic. Non-Christian practices include Hindu etc.
One look at St. Vincent and the Grenadines and one can’t help but be in awe of the clear blue seas, the white sand beaches, the warm nudge of the wind, and the stunning smiles of the locals. The emerald chain of islands is worlds away but you feel just right at home. It’s in the paradox of Bequia’s everyday hustle and Canouan’s lazy beach retreats that remind you of life’s natural course, only better. A step close to paradise many say, and this is apparent more so in the stunning and historical 8.1 hectare Botanical Gardens of SVG – the oldest botanical garden in the western hemisphere.
One can also find nature in the raw just like the shimmering Falls of Baleine that streams from volcanic slopes right at the northern tip of St. Vincent. Fortunately, the islands maintain integrity. There are no major resorts, although an island that responds to the rich and the famous’ whims do exist - Mustique. It won’t feel right to miss Kingston and its “lively market town and busy port” appeal, a fresh change for many travellers who have been diving for corals and swimming the blues in . Quite a tragedy though that in the midst of this immaculate nature, some areas of SVG are polluted so extremely that swimming is impossible.
Strange excitements are the lure of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, especially the small world of Vincentian cuisine. You’ll be surprised at their seafood-many-ways and adore smoke just this once from grilled meats along the beach. Specialities include red snapper and kingfish, as well as souse, which is pickled meat or seafood, lambi or conch, and callalou soup. The foodie will also enjoy the plethora of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables on the island. And if you love good West Indian cuisine, you’re in the right place for the gastronomy is offered in most hotels all throughout the islands. More importantly, food is served always with a smile.
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