Canouan Island

Overview

Introduction

Located 25 mi/40 km south of St. Vincent, Canouan Island in the Grenadines is a good place to drop anchor for a while, whether you're on a yacht or just looking for a nice spot for your vacation landfall. Aside from two resorts, Canouan remains nearly untouched.

Unlike some of the other islands in the Grenadines, Canouan isn't privately owned, but it should be noted that the Raffles resort occupies roughly half of the island. Although there is a small town, the population hovers at around 1,000, and the residents are mostly farmers or seamen. Expect genuine friendliness and a good taste of old Caribbean culture.

The white-sand beaches are excellent (particularly Grand Bay Beach), and the island's relatively large size (3 sq mi/8 sq km) allows more nonbeach activities—such as walking and bike riding—than other Grenadine islands. Mount Royal is a 900-ft/275-m "mountain" with cedar forests that you can hike through. The island has pristine reefs for divers both on the leeward and windward sides.

The Moorings Yacht Charter Co. has a base on Grand Bay (Charlestown Bay), which has greatly increased the bay's popularity (http://www.moorings.com). Be warned, however, that Canouan is not fully geared up for tourism—normal conveniences may be lacking. There are no public restrooms and few dining options outside of the resorts. Taxis are available, but there are no rental car agencies. You can get cash from the ATM at the National Commercial Bank branch.

There often appear to be more animals than people on Canouan: Goats, chickens, dogs, donkeys and large land turtles roam free.

The Canouan Jetport features a terminal decorated with gingerbread trim and palm fronds, but the landing strip has been greatly enlarged to accommodate midrange planes.

Those seeking an upscale, all-inclusive getaway can try the island's Raffles Canouan. The resort offers an 18-hole golf course, spa, private Donald Trump casino, lighted tennis courts, scuba diving and other watersports. Part of the resort's land has been designated for luxury villa construction.

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