7 Best Things to Do in Kingstown, St. Vincent
One of the thrills of St. Vincent is its off-the-grid location compared to other Caribbean islands — in a quiet, 18-mile-long country, which includes a chain of 32 tiny islands called the Grenadines. Kingstown is a no-frills, bustling industrial city. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can spend a few hours exploring the hilly, mostly underdeveloped country, or opt for an excursion to one of the Grenadines’ remote, “Gilligan’s Island”-like cays for some relaxation in the sun.
Breakfast: Sunshine Bakery – Locals come to this bakery — located inside the C.K. Greaves Supermarket, a short walk from the port — for dense, filling coconut bread and the island’s favorite snack, the “red belly,” a semisweet bun stuffed with shaved coconut. Arrive early: These made-daily goods go fast.
Lunch: Vee Jays Restaurant and Bar – A mix of tourists and Vincentians alike make a beeline for this spot on Kingstown’s central Bay Street for affordable, homestyle West Indian and Creole creations featuring fresh fish, mutton, beef, and traditional buljol — a dish of sautéed codfish, breadfruit, and vegetables. More than 60 types of drinks are on the menu, but the national lager beer, Hairoun, is tops if you like suds with your stew.
Cocktails: Basil’s Bar – This is the hangout of the rich and famous on the Grenadines island of Mustique, but if you can’t make it there, you’ll find an outpost on Kingstown’s Bay Street. You might not run into Mick Jagger at that location, but the real stars are the savory dishes. Show up in the late afternoon for rum-laced sundowner punches and flaky Vincentian samosas stuffed with spiced beef, chicken, fish, or veggies.
For Everyone: Botanic Gardens – Head just a half mile north of the city for a glimpse of the island’s real beauty. Developed in 1765, the garden is the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and was created to grow spices and medicinal plants. Now, the 20-acre, peaceful sanctuary is filled with fragrant flowering plants, towering trees, and an aviary housing 500 endangered parrots.
For Couples: Dark View Falls – The reward for attempting the 15-minute hike across a bamboo bridge-topped river is arriving at one of Vincy’s most beautiful sights. Cascading waters empty into two pools clean enough for bathing. It’s such a romantic spot; if you were thinking about proposing marriage, this would be the place.
For Families: Buccament Bay Resort – A day pass to St. Vincent’s newest hotel is a win for three reasons. First, it’s all-inclusive, so food and drinks at five restaurants and bars are covered. Second, it’s lauded for its out-of-the-ordinary activities, including rugby, an all-weather soccer pitch, and cricket, so you can get a taste of British sports. Plus, the three pools and expansive stretch of beach keep the resort gloriously crowd-free. Eight-hour passes cost $150 for adults and $75 for children.
For the Adventurous: Indigo Dive – St. Vincent is called the “Critter Capital of the Caribbean,” thanks to the abundance of marine life flourishing in its coral reefs. Search for baby sea horses, frog fish, and more while snorkeling and diving in the nearby Tobago Cays. Chances are you’ll be greeted by sea turtles — they like to bask in the clear waters, too.
Tip: Many cruise lines split port calls between St. Vincent and a serene Grenadines island like Bequia or Mayreau, home to spectacular beaches that you won’t want to miss.
This is the region where the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies were filmed. Take a 10-minute taxi ride from Kingstown to Villa Beach, and then hop aboard a water skiff to the private Young Island Resort, where Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom bellied up to the Captain Bligh bar during breaks. If you’re lucky, a chatty waitress will entertain you with stories of the actors while serving the resort’s famous cinnamon and coconut breads with flavored butters.