November 20, 2015

St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Paradise Found!

Ever since watching the megahit, Pirates of the Caribbean, I rate the beauty of an island on a scale of “1 to Pirates of the Caribbean 10!” Unforgettably beautiful, the movies’ swoon worthy beach scenes had every movie goer longing to find paradise, and after my recent visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines - also featured in one of the films - I can now declare paradise found!

Dotting the Lesser Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a collection of 32 spectacular islands and cays that scatter the Southern Caribbean Sea towards Grenada. Laid-back and relatively unknown, much of its appeal is its seclusion, something not every Caribbean island can offer.     

This is a destination for those seeking a real taste of the Caribbean, a place where sky-blue waters gently lap upon crowd-free swaths of white-sand lined with swaying palm trees and breathtaking seascapes. This is sheer paradise as it was meant to be enjoyed.

On the beautiful island of St. Vincent, the largest in the Grenadines, I drove along winding roads, past fishing villages, isolated coves and sweeping expanses until I arrived at the 5-star Buccament Bay Resort. In part, what makes this all-inclusive community so desirable is its setting, cradled between the emerald mountainous peaks of St. Vincent’s striking interior and the pristine beaches on the island’s southwest coast.

My gorgeous villa was beautifully decorated, and featured a private sitting area that opened onto an outdoor deck with a private plunge pool. Sitting atop a white-sand beach with sparkling turquoise waters is the outdoor double infinity pool, my favourite place to disappear beneath an umbrella with a good book. Poolside or beachside, the view is inspiring, especially at dusk. The picturesque ‘Bat Cave’ and shipwreck located on one of the property’s secluded coves reminded me of a scene straight out of the hit TV show, Gilligan’s Island. 

On the big island of St. Vincent, where the scent of passion fruit seduced me, lush green mountains, tropical rainforest, remote inlets, fishing villages and sweeping expanses left me speechless. One of my favourite views was at the residence of Prime Minister, Dr. Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, who entertained us with tales of his good friends, Comandante Fidel Castro and former President Hugo Chávez, during a breakfast meeting to the discuss the opening of the new Argyle International airport that will offer nonstop jet service from North America, Central and South America, and Europe to SVG.

St. Vincent's dramatic backdrop provides plenty to do. Climb through vibrant rainforest, bamboo groves and cloud forest to reach the top of St. Vincent's majestic La Soufriere Volcano. Afterwards, visit the towering Dark View Falls that cascade into two pools that are wonderful for bathing. Stroll through the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere with an array of tropical plants, flowers and trees. In Kingstown, walk along the capital's cobblestone streets lined with colonial buildings and bustling with colourful markets, overlooked by Fort Charlotte where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding islands.

With 32 islands and cays that make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is no shortage of unforgettable escapes. Some of the more famous islands include Young Island, Bequia, Mustique (where aristocrats, royalty and rock stars vacation), Canouan, Mayreau, The Tobago Cays, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent, characterised by white-sand beaches and sapphire waters. The islands - some of which are uninhabited - are accessible by boat or flight which I discovered to be an unforgettable way to take in the picturesque view of yachts and sailboats bobbing in a sea of blue.

One of the trip’s highlights was snorkelling and swimming with sea turtles in the Tobago Cays followed by an overnight stay on the 135-acre Palm Island Resort. This under the radar gem provided the ultimate private island escape nestled amidst five white sand beaches and postcard-perfect views that literally took my breath away.  

My accommodations were free from television and phones, offering the utmost in relaxation and featured a king-size bed, peaked-ceilings, and a large verandah and hammock where I sat and watched the sunset. If you’re looking for the ultimate in seclusion, I suggest booking the private 2 bedroom villa that comes with its own beach and pool.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not your typical vacation destination. It’s surprisingly untouched by the hordes of mass tourism that have changed the face of many Caribbean islands. This is a tropical paradise in a secluded end of the Caribbean is where you can unplug and literally get away from it all, and in this day and age, there is no greater luxury.

Read about my hotel experience at Buccament Bay Resort and Palm Island Resort in the Winter Issue of Travel Professional out now!

Images by Travelista73. 

July 08, 2015

Under the Grecian Sun - Ios

A spectacular rugged landscape and youthful vibe are some of the characteristics of IOS, an island known for its golden beaches and lively atmosphere.

Chora, the capital of Ios, is built on a picturesque hill with narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants and laid back bars. But the island is not just for fun, it’s also home to 365 churches strung along its natural terrain. Rent a vehicle and set out to explore the island’s isolated interior and 75 kilometres of beaches that vary from white to golden sand.  When you go, make sure to pack a picnic! Maganari Beach, Kalamos Beach and Mylopotas Beach are a few worth noting. If you go to Plakoto Beach, be sure to visit the ancient ruins where legend has it the poet Homer is buried. Ios is a study in contrast and offers something for everyone.



For an island known for its endless partying, LIOSTASI IOS HOTEL& SPA is anything but! From the moment you set foot into this stylish boutique hotel, you are immersed in a world of peace and serenity all within easy access of Chora. Liostasi is stylishly decorated in a contemporary feel with natural accents to compliment the island’s rugged beauty. Nothing short of fabulous, it is a place with no shortage of beauty, where one can de-stress from daily life in a soothing setting. The wonderful pool area overlooks a pretty bay surrounded by sun loungers. Guests can also dine alfresco at the restaurant or sip cocktails at the Lounge Bar and watch the magnificent sunsets. For my full hotel review, visit Travel About   


 Read my new article in the newest issue of Fredi Magazine on newsstands now!