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English is the official language of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Most locals also speak Vincentian Creole. This English-based creole contains elements of French, Spanish and Portuguese, and has also been influenced by the languages of the Garifuna and the West Africans brought to the Caribbean by the slave trade.
Despite the small size of the islands, there is still a good amount of choice when it comes to eating out.
The breadfruit is the unofficial symbol of Saint Vincent and forms part of the national dish, roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish. There is even a Breadfruit Festival in August.
Fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood are the mainstay of the Vincentian diet.
Local specialities include red snapper, kingfish, lambi (queen conch), callaloo soup and arrowroot, a traditional Amerindian crop that is powdered and used like a flour in breads and puddings.
Chicken and curried goat are also popular.
The local beer is called Hairoun, the original Amerindian name for St Vincent. Rum is ubiquitous and is often mixed into a potent, sugary punch.
Tipping in St Vincent and the Grenadines is discretionary and should reflect the service you have received, though a service charge of 10% is typically added to your bill in hotels and restaurants.
The currency of St Vincent and the Grenadines is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD), which is pegged to the US dollar. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$2 and EC$1, and 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
US dollars are widely accepted on the island, though you'll usually be given change in EC dollars, and at a less favourable exchange rate.
All the major islands except for Mayreau have a bank and 24-hour ATMs that dispense EC dollars.
Major credit cards and travellers' cheques are accepted at most hotels and the larger restaurants.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has a good telecommunications infrastructure, with reliable mobile coverage on most of the islands.
High speed internet is widely available and Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in tourist areas.
The phone code for St Vincent and the Grenadines is 784 and to dial from the UK is 00 1 784.
Suggested clothing and other items
You are in the tropics, so cool casual cotton clothing is recommended, and if you're planning on dining in some of the more formal restaurants, men should pack a shirt, tie and jacket and women a smart dress.
Please note that it is against the law to wear camouflage clothing in St Vincent and the Grenadines (including children) and to carry items made out of camouflage material. These will be confiscated and not returned.
St Vincent's vibrant Carnival, Vincy Mas, takes place in June and July, and the final two days of the festivities, which fall on the first Monday and Tuesday of July, are both public holidays.
- January 1st - New Year's Day
- March 14th - National Heroes' Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
- May 1st - Labour Day
- Last 2 days of carnival - June/July
- August 1st - Emancipation Day
- October 27th - Independence Day
- December 25th - Christmas Day
- December 26th - Boxing Day
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to St Vincent and the Grenadines
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
11 hours (via Barbados and Saint Lucia)