A long established crop on St. Vincent, arrowroot, has
recently enjoyed a considerable restoration of its fortunes,
being in the manufacture of computer paper – a
far cry from being one of grandma’s favoured baby
foods and sauce thickening agents. St. Vincent is the
world’s biggest supplier. You can visit the processing factory
at Owia.
The panoramic view of Mesopotamia Valey offered
here is probably unsurpassed in the Caribbean. The
richly fertile valley, often referred to as the ‘bread basket’
of St. Vincent, is thickly planted with banana, nutmeg,
cocoa, coconut, breadfruit and root crops:
eddoe, tannia and dasheen. Mountain ridges rise all
around with Grand Bonhomme dominating at 3193
feet. Rivers and streams come together at
Mesopotamia to tumble down to the sea over the
rocks of the Yambou Gorge.
This tunnel is about 300 feet long and links Grand
Sable with Byrea Bay. The tunnel was constructed by
the British with the help of slave labour in about 1815
to provide an access route for sugar exports. The estates
north of Byrea were distributed to British settlers
after the end of the Second Carib War in 1796 for the
cultivation of sugar cane. During periods of unfavourable
weather, produce could be stored in the
tunnel, as well as in a few nearby caves. Today, the
tunnel is a local attraction and the area is used as a
recreational park. The tunnel was a masterpiece of engineering
skill for its time.
Located on 20 acres of land, on the outskirts of
Kingstown, the Botanical Gardens are the oldest in the
Western Hemisphere. Among St. Vincent’s wide variety
of tropical trees and shrubs is a breadfruit tree from the
original plant brought by Captain Bligh (of the Bounty fame) in 1793. There is also a Soufrière tree (Spachea
perforata) which bears the national flower.
Conservation of rare species of plants has been
practised since the gardens were founded in 1765.
Other conservation work involves the endangered St.
Vincent parrot, Amazona guildingii, the national bird.
These parrots can be found in the wild in the Buccament
and Cumberland Valleys. An aviary, originally
containing birds confiscated from illegal captors, now
holds 24 parrots. There is legislation to preserve the
majority of the island’s birds, animals and reptiles, and
carries stiff penalties for infringements.
Savour the beauty of a black sand beach and fascinating
mangrove swamp on the south-eastern tip of St.
Vincent, nestled between Prospect and Brighton. The
salt pond has attracted many visitors to its various activities
and has grown into a considerable recreational
and entertainment spot. Enjoy sea bathing,
picnics, fishing, parties or just sit and take in the picturesque
views of the Grenadine islands. Recognised
as an area of natural beauty, it offers a bar and rest
house, seating, flowers and trees, provision for parking,
the all-important litterbins and vendors plying their
trade. Voluntary members of the founding group, the
Brighton Beach Rollers, responsible for this worthy project
and for much of the beautification, clean the
beach daily.
‘Below, the river tumbles and splashes away to meet
the sea, and all this is set in a framework of rock and
fern and tree.’ This setting well describes that of Dark
View Falls, set in the forest-clad Richmond Valley on
the north west of the island. A natural bamboo bridge
spans this tumbling river luring you to a unique setting
of two majestic falls, in step formation. This is an uncommon
feature for one site, with elevations of up to
229 feet, all being fed by a tributary of the Richmond
River. As you explore this hidden and unspoilt location,
your experience will be one of awesome discovery.
Come, let Dark View Falls inspire you.

The Falls of Baleine are among St. Vincent’s finest natural
wonders. A single stage fall, the sparkling waters
plunge about 60 feet into a rock-enclosed fresh water
pool, perfect for swimming. There is a footpath and
bridge along with a landing platform. Additionally, there
are five moorings which facilitate anchorage for boats
in the bay.
Completed in 1806, the fort is on a ridge 600 feet
above sea level, giving a magnificent view across
Kingstown and down the Grenadines. There are interesting
paintings of the Black Caribs’ history by Lindsay
Prescott in what used to be the officers’ quarters in the
fort, only a few minutes’ drive from Kingstown.
This fort was built around 1800 on a massive rock 195
feet above the sea to defend Calliaqua Bay, then an
anchorage. There are two batteries, one about 40 feet
from the top of the rock and a second on the summit.
Both contain 20 four-pound guns and an eight-inch
mortar, the entire armament is still complete. Admission to
the fort can be arranged through Young Island Hotel.
St. Vincent’s La Soufrière shares with Mount St. Helen
(USA) the fame of being one of the most studied volcanoes
in the world. La Soufrière is a smaller version of
Mount. St. Helen. It rises majestically to over 4000 feet
and last erupted in April, 1979. A tour to La Soufrière
volcano takes you along the picturesque windward
coast of St. Vincent, through banana and coconut
plantations to where the foot trail begins. It leads you
along steep volcanic ridges verdant with bamboo
and tropical trees. This is a day’s journey for energetic
hikers, who should leave early in the morning, as the ascent
to the crater is about 3 1/4 miles. The expedition
can continue down the south west side trail, terminating
10 or 12 miles later in Chateaubelair on the leeward
Steep ridges descending to the sea and lush valleys
make for the most intriguing and dramatic scenery. Small towns and villages such as Questelles, Layou, Barrouallie,
and Chateaubelair, with charmingly designed little
houses, add to the interest and pleasure. There are several
black sand beaches with safe bathing at Mt. Wynne
and areas in the valleys are excellent for picnics. Fishermen
at Barrouallie still fish from small boats. There are also
interesting Government experimental and development
estates plus banana collecting and boxing stations at
Vermont, Spring Village and Richmond.
Just north of Mesopotamia, on a secondary road are
the gardens. These gardens boast an array of exotic
flowers, spices and plants. There is a small entrance fee.
The Owia Salt Pond, is located on the north-eastern
coast of St. Vincent close to the Carib village of Owia,
a two-hour drive along the scenic eastern coast of St.
Vincent. Along the way you can see the Rabacca Dry
River (ash flow from the 1902 eruption of the La Soufrière
Volcano), Black Point Tunnel dug by the British in 1815
using slave labour, and some of the best black sand
beaches in the world. Owia is home for many of the indigenous
people of St. Vincent. Be sure to take a dip in
the famous Salt Pond.
There are interesting excised drawings on rocks by pre-
Columbian people, probably Ciboneys, but maybe
later Arawaks and Caribs, located around the island.
The best-known and most easily accessible are near the
pretty fishing town of Layou, by a river about a quarter
of a mile from the main road. Others are located at Buccament,
Barrouallie and Mesopotamia.
Starting from Arnos Vale, by the airport, Queen’s Drive
climbs to the high point of Dorsetshire Hill and then
comes down Sion Hill with sensational views over Kingstown, the harbour, Fort Charlotte and over the intensively
cultivated ridges and valleys all around on the
landward sides.
Located near the base of Soufrière, this is one of the
largest single coconut estates in the world (3,200 acres).
It is also a considerable producer of bananas, citrus
fruits, spices, cola nuts, and aubergines.
The architects, Buisseret and Clarke, said, ‘The nave and
at least the lower stages of the tower date from 1820.
and the galleried interior is a charming example of late
Georgian architecture.’ There are some beautiful stained
glass windows, three on the east by Kempe and a large
one on the south, made of Munich glass.
The original was built in 1823, enlarged in 1877 and
1891, then renovated in the early 1940s by Dom
Charles Verbeke. There are several styles of architecture
involved, the dominant being Romanesque. The interior
of the cathedral is richly ornamental.
Just a short walk from central Kingstown can be found a
wide and colourful variety of handicraft items made on
the island. Browse among a variety of objects crafted
from straw, clay, coconut, wood, bamboo and metal.
The craftsmen are also famous for their beautiful handmade
West Indian dolls.
This waterfall is set in a deep volcanic canyon about
four miles from Richmond Vale Academy, a one and a
half hour drive from Kingstown along the Leeward coast
to Richmond. A 20-minute hike through lush rain forest
takes you to the falls, said to be the most beautiful in St.
The trail starts near the top of Buccament Valley and
leads you through tropical rain forest where there is a
chance of seeing (or hearing) the St. Vincent parrot
(Amazona guildingii) and the whistling warbler both
unique to St. Vincent and strictly protected. This is the
habitat for the black hawk, cocoa thrush, the crested
hummingbird, redcapped green tanager, green heron
and several other interesing species of birds.
Taking place from the last Friday in June to the first Tuesday
in July, St. Vincent’s Carnival is spectacular, with costumes,
shows, calypsos, parades, music and parties
everywhere. A must!

Categories: St. Vincent

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