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Dominican Republic - Grenada - Martinique - Puerto Rico - St Vincent & the Grenadines

St Vincent & the Grenadines

Area: 150 sq miles (389 sq km)
Population: 120,519
Capital city: Kingstown (pop 30,000)
Language: English, French patois
St Vincent & the Grenadines St Vincent & the Grenadines St Vincent & the Grenadines St Vincent & the Grenadines St Vincent & the Grenadines
St Vincent, the northernmost island, is the country's commercial and political center, accounting for 90% of both the land area and population. The volcanic island is lush and green, its deep valleys cultivated with bananas, coconuts and arrowroot.
Most of the interior of St Vincent is tropical rainforest. The lowlands are thick with coconut trees and banana estates. The Mesopotamia Valley, northeast of Kingstown, has some of the island's most fertile farmland and luxuriant landscapes. The national bird is the endangered St Vincent parrot, a multicolored Amazon parrot bird about 18in (45cm) long that lives in St Vincent's rainforests, as do numerous other tropical birds.
The temperature on balmy St Vincent hardly changes. The average daily high varies about 1°F from January to July. Rainfall is a different matter. July is the wettest month, when there's measurable rainfall an average of 26 days, while April, the driest month, averages six days of rain. January to May are the driest months and thus the best time to go, but they're also the peak tourist season. Generally, the Grenadines tend to be drier than St Vincent.

Kingstown is best appreciated for its West Indian feel rather than for any grand attractions. It's a good place to relax and stroll the cobblestone streets. The town gets its unique atmosphere from the produce vendors along Bay and Bedford Streets, the crowds at the fish market and rum shops, and its stone-block colonial buildings.Kingstown is known for its churches. The 1820s St Mary's Cathedral of the Assumption (Catholic) has an eclectic mix of Romanesque arches and columns, Gothic spires and Moorish ornamentation. Other notable churches include the Georgian-style St George's Cathedral and the Kingstown Methodist Church.

This delightful, hilly, green island is just an hour's sail south of St Vincent. The largest of the Grenadines (though that's not saying much), it was once a center of shipbuilding and whaling. Today, most maritime activity is confined to yachting and model boat building. The island's commercial center is Port Elizabeth, which fronts Admiralty Bay on the western coast. The town strikes a nice balance between quaintness and convenience. It has an international mix of residents, and many of the restaurants and shops are run by expats. Many of the waterfront businesses cater to the boaters and shun touristy glitz.

Tobago Cays
The Tobago Cays are a group of uninhabited islands near the southern end of the Grenadines. Many consider them to be the best in the chain, citing their fine coral reefs and turquoise waters. The islands are rocky and studded with cactus, fringed with coves and beaches of powdery white sand. The country has set the cays aside as a national park. Snorkeling, swimming and tanning are the cays' major attractions.

Union Island
The southernmost port of entry for the country, Union Island is more of a jumping off point for the Tobago Cays than a destination in itself. Consequently, if you wander out of the port of Clifton, you'll discover a decidedly local atmosphere that's virtually untouched by tourism. About 3 miles (5km) across at its widest point, the island is rocky and dry, covered in thorny scrub and dotted with cacti, the consequence of decades of foraging by free-ranging goats.Clifton, in the island's southeastern corner, is the commercial center of the island.

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