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Caribbean-On-Line » Caribbean Travel Advisor » St. Vincent

St. Vincent travel tips

February 16, 2009

Mopion in Paradise

Mopion%20copy.jpgOK... The secret is NOW out!!!
This small islet is called Mopion
It's not easy to get to, but is it worth it!

An adventure of a lifetime, it's the getting there that is most of the story. Mopion is a classic tropical sandbar, which is held in place by a reef on it's north side. The shape is ever changing, although the area of this islet stays roughly the same throughout the year, high seas notwithstanding. The thatch umbrella, built to give a castaway a bit of shade, is maintained by the resort of Petit St. Vincent. The 22 bungalow resort is on an island of the same name, a 10 minute ride away by motorboat. The PSV resort would probably like to think of Mopion as their private property, but it isn't. They offer a day trip/picnic to Mopion, for guests to get a stranded-on-a-tropical-isle experience. Of course, all is not what it may appear to be, as there are others who come and go. Most of the time you will have this spot to yourself, but occasionally there are some passing yachties that anchor for the day just outside the shallows.

To get there on your own: It's easiest if you start in Carriacou, a small island of 7000 souls just to the north of the 'mainland' of Grenada. Carriacou is the southernmost island of the Grenadine chain, a necklace of volcanic islands stretching northward, the majority of which belong to the country of St. Vincent. And, in fact Mopion is in the territorial waters of St. Vincent, but there aren't any passport controls out here, and sailors regularly ply the waters between the two countries with impunity.

Once in Carriacou, take a taxi to the fishing village of Windward. There are plenty of men with seaworthy boats there that will be willing to take you over for a quick look, or you can do the castaway thing, and have them return for you in an hour or more. They will likely take you over in a boat the owner built by hand. Windward is the shipbuilding capital of the Caribbean, and you'll probably see numerous small boats being built on the beach.

Take some snorkel gear, water and mostly importantly, sunscreen. Enjoy!

January 24, 2009

Hotel of the Month - Cobblestone Inn, St. Vincent

cobblestone%20inn%20St%20Vincent.jpgI haven't spent much time exploring St. Vincent, yet I have been there many times, usually just to overnight. Most of the time I arrive late, too late to catch the ferry over to the Grenadine Island of Bequia, one of the Caribbean's most charming places, and a favorite spot of mine. Nevertheless, I always look forward to a stay in St. Vincent, however short.

Why? Because St. Vincent really does have a lot to offer. It's a mountainous, volcanic island with steep roads leading down to black sand beaches, and some terrific colonial fortresses just outside the capital city Kingstown.

This is the real West Indies.. The countryside is verdant and lush. However, Kingstown, is where the action is. It has some old buildings, and a bustling market. When I find myself there I always stay at the charming Cobblestone Inn. It's a stone's throw from both the market and the ferry docks. In fact it's an easy walk, even with luggage to the docks. From there you can grab a ferry to various islands in The Grenadines, to as far south as Union Island.

STV%20Cobblestone%20Inn.jpgThe Cobblestone Inn dates back to1814. It was constructed in the Georgian style of architecture favored at the time. Built originally as a waterfront warehouse for sugar, the idea of restoring the building and converting it into a hotel required extensive renovation. In the process, original details of the building were exposed, revealing its lovely cobblestone walkways and arches.

It's a comfortable hotel, steeped in history. While some of the rooms are facing the main street, most are placed further back in the property, and are as quiet as can be. All the rooms are unique, and all show different aspects of the original building. There are seventeen double and two single fully air-conditioned rooms each with its own bathroom. There is a restaurant in the hotel, and another one on the ground floor facing the main street, which is run by Basil, of Mustique fame. It's also one of St. Vincent's best watering holes.

Rates are $75 for a single to $95 for a suite. Tax of 20% will be added on top to cover service and VAT.

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