St Vincent and the Grenadines – it’s a name that might suggest that more than one island is involved in this particular island country, and you’d be right. St Vincent and the Grenadines encompasses a number of islands and you can find out more about them here. The currency they use is the East Caribbean dollar, which is represented by the ISO code XCD.
It won’t come as a surprise to learn the East Caribbean dollar is divided into 100 cents per dollar. The coins and notes in use though are not necessarily exactly the same as you’d expect from any other dollar currency in the world. Here you have seven coins to choose from when paying for things. They are the 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cent coins, the 25 cent one being the biggest cent coin available. There is no 50 cent coin here. There is however a one dollar coin and also one denominated in a two dollar value.
You can also use the five dollar note which is the smallest-valued note around. In addition there are the 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes that are commonly seen on the islands.
The East Caribbean dollar came into being back in the mid-Sixties. Before this the British West Indies dollar was used, but this soon became defunct once the new dollar came into use. St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of six independent states that use the currency today. There are two other territories that use it as well, which are Montserrat and Anguilla. These are British overseas territories.
A number of bureaux de change should be able to offer this currency, although it depends which one you go to. You can of course get hold of it very easily once you arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is helpful to know the island country is also able to take traveller’s cheques to exchange. This means you can easily get these before you leave even if you don’t get the actual currency itself. Make sure you get them in US dollars because it should make them a lot cheaper to exchange when you are out there. The East Caribbean dollar is pegged to the value of the US dollar which is why this is the currency that is ideal to get.
If you don’t need to exchange any cash when you get to the airport (you can easily do it there) head to one of the banks close to where you are staying instead. They’ll be able to do it for you.
The other piece of good news with regard to getting your finances in order while you are there is that you can use debit and credit cards while on holiday. Most places will accept one or the other or both, which makes it convenient to pay for things other than using cash.
You shouldn’t have any trouble doing this providing you use a good currency converter. Some of them don’t include all the currencies in use around the world but this is a fairly well-known one and is used by lots of holidaymakers in this part of the Caribbean. This means you should be able to find it quite easily. Use the ISO code, XCD, to find it more easily.
There is an official High Commission for St Vincent and the Grenadines in London. This is useful if you need information on the islands or you intend to travel there at some point. Either way you don’t need to actually show up at the High Commission to get the information you need, since they have a website as well. The home page is at http://www.svghighcom.co.uk and you can access consular and other information from there.
Thousands of tourists from the UK visit these islands every year. Most trips here are successful and pass without incident, but it is worth remembering that crime does take place. This means you should take every conceivable precaution to make sure you are not a target. This does not just relate to petty crime either – some people have lost their lives while here, although this is very rare. Robberies and pickpocketing may also take place so it makes sense to ensure you are not putting yourself in any unnecessary danger.
For example, make sure you stay in a good hotel, ideally one that provides a room safe for your exclusive use during your stay. Make sure you never take any more cash or valuables with you whenever you go out than is really necessary. It is also important not to make a show of any valuables or cash you have with you, since this obviously makes you more attractive as a target.
It also makes sense to ensure you stay in highly-populated areas and to stay with someone else at all times if you can. Avoid going off the beaten track at night and also during the day if you’re unsure of where you are going. The quieter the area the more potential there is for you to be targeted if you look like a tourist.
St Vincent and the Grenadines are often referred to simply as St Vincent. This is probably because the main island in this island nation is St Vincent itself. There are a number of smaller islands that comprise the northern portion of the Grenadines that also come under this particular nation. These include Petit Saint Vincent, Mayreau and Bequia.
The capital is called Kingstown and can be found – predictably perhaps – on the largest island of St Vincent. You will find the capital at the southern end of the island, and beyond this is the smattering of other islands that form the country as a whole. If you look at the islands on a map you will see St Vincent is far bigger than any of the others.
One of the best attractions in Kingstown is the St Vincent and the Grenadines Botanic Gardens. It may be a long name but it is worth a visit when you are there in person. It is well over 200 years old and is therefore one of the oldest of its kind you could ever visit anywhere in the world.
There are many other places you could visit here as well. Take Trinity Falls for example. This is a couple of hours outside of the capital but it is well worth the visit to see it. Many of the islands have a volcanic history and the falls themselves are there due to the presence of a huge canyon created by previous volcanic activity. The waterfall is some 40 feet in height and you can go swimming at the foot of it if you wish. It certainly makes for quite an interesting experience!
A bit closer to Kingstown is the magnificent Fort Charlotte. This is a great place to go since it is over 200 years old and has defended the town throughout the years. You can wander around it and climb to the top to see the cannons and to get a great view over the capital itself too.
Of course you may well want to see more of the island when you get there, if St Vincent is where you wish to stay. If this is the case you do have the option to book onto one of a number of tours that will take you around the island. There is also the chance to book onto a tour that takes in the La Soufriere volcano. You can also choose to hike up there if you wish, since this is a possibility that offers sensational views as a reward once you get to the top.
Indeed, hiking is a popular activity for those holidaymakers who don’t like to spend all their time on the beaches. You can take many hikes inland or explore some of the coastal regions, depending on what takes your fancy.
St Vincent and the Grenadines gives you the opportunity to explore the main island as well as some of the much smaller ones. With lots of places to stay and plenty to see and do while you are there, you have a good chance to make the most of every minute you spend in this island country.
Indeed you may want to make a list of some of your preferred attractions to see once you get there. This will help you get started with your explorations as soon as you arrive.