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Visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Scattered across the Caribbean Sea like so many emeralds, St Vincent & the Grenadines is a glorious-looking archipelago. The country’s name makes it sound like an old soul band, and aptly there’s something timeless about the place. Lush mountain peaks, white sands, secluded coves, volcanic landscapes and spectacular coral reefs all go towards making this one of the region’s most diverse spots. For hikers, sailors and those who just fancy kicking back in wave-lapped sunshine for a week or two, it’s some proposition.

Colonial architecture, botanical gardens and a fish market are among the attractions. The latter hints at the dishes that dominate the archipelago’s food scene – fresh seafood, usually washed down with a cold Hairoun beer, is a speciality. Elsewhere on St Vincent there’s some fantastic walking to be had, most notably the trail that leads up to La Soufrière volcano.

The smaller islands that make up the Grenadines offer an even quieter pace of life. Among the most appealing spots are Bequia, which has good claim to that overused adage “the Caribbean as it used to be,” and Mustique, a long-established A-list bolthole that has welcomed the likes of Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Things to see and do in St Vincent and the Grenadines

Botanical Gardens

Take in the oldest Botanical Gardens in the western hemisphere, which occupy 8.1 hectares (20 acres) to the north of Kingstown, St Vincent, and contain a display of tropical trees, blossoms and plants, including a breadfruit tree descended from the original one brought to the island in 1765 by Captain Bligh.

Falls of Baleine

Take a boat trip to the Falls of Baleine, at the northern tip of St Vincent. The 18m (59ft) freshwater falls stream from volcanic slopes and form a series of shallow pools at the base.

Young Island

Visit Young Island, which is only 180m (590ft) off St Vincent and rises from the sea to form a mountain blanketed with tropical foliage and blossoms. Young Island provides an excellent view of the procession of yachts sailing into the harbour of St Vincent. The entire island comprises one resort called Young Island Resort, which consists of 29 rustic cottages set on the beaches and hillsides.

Watery pursuits

Hit the water and try some sailing, scuba diving or snorkelling on Bequiam which is encircled by gold-sand beaches, many of which disappear into coves. Lodgings vary from luxurious resort cottages to small, simple West Indian inns. Much of the nightlife centres on the hotels and beachside barbecues, invariably accompanied by a steel band.

Luxurious Mustique

Mustique, a gem in the ocean taking up only 4.5 sq km (2 sq miles). Mustique is privately owned, with a landscape as gentle as its lifestyle - verdant hills roll into soft white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. This island has long been a hiding place for the rich and famous, including members of the British Royal Family.