The name of the nation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is a good clue that the largest island of St. Vincent is the country's political and economic center. Home to slaveholding plantations in the early colonial era, today St. Vincent's agricultural operations produce bananas, pineapple and arrowroot plants, among other crops.
Kingstown is the capital and largest city, but it still seems like a small town. Tucked between a hillside and the ocean, its narrow streets are a mix of old-world cobblestone and modern pavement. Buildings are mostly one- and two-stories tall and fashioned from fieldstone or clapboard splashed with fading pastel colors. Most roofs are made of tin.
Clustered downtown are shops, grocery stores, mediocre restaurants and historic churches. A spacious open-air market anchors Market Square (five blocks west of the tourist office), which is at its busiest on Friday and Saturday. Fresh fish and produce fill tables set up by vendors, who shout out prices as you pass by. The sidewalks near the waterfront are packed with vendors selling everything from penny candy to breadfruit. A fascinating fishermen's market is along the waterfront, just north of Market Square. Fresh fish is always plentiful.
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