General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
The main banks, FirstCaribbean International Bank (tel 784/456-1706), National Commercial Bank/NCB (784/457-1844), RBTT Bank (tel 784/456-1501) and Scotiabank (tel 784/457-1601), have branches in the capital, Kingstown. ATMs generally accept Visa and MasterCard on the Cirrus/Maestro and Electron/Plus networks and dispense Eastern Caribbean dollars.
NCB also has branches with ATMs on Bequia Island (tel 784/458-3700), Canouan Island (tel 784/458-8595) and Union Island (tel 784/458-8347). RBTT has a branch on Bequia (tel 784/458-3845).
BANKING AND BUSINESS HOURS Banks Banks are generally open Mon-Thurs 8am-1pm (FirstCaribbean stays open until 3pm on Mon and 2pm Tue-Thurs) and Fri 8am-5pm, although a few close as early as 1, 2 or 3pm. Some may close during lunch. The NCB Express Service Center (tel 784/456-190) on Higginson St in Kingstown is open Mon-Fri 9am-3pm.
Post Office Main post office (Halifax St, Kingstown): Mon-Fri 8:30am-3pm Sat 8:30-11:30am
District post offices: Mon-Fri 9-11:30am/12 noon and 1-2:30/3pm Sat 9-11:30am (some are closed)
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Predominantly Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist and Wesleyan. Roman Catholic, Baha'ism, Hinduism and Mormon also represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD), which is divided into 100 cents. Paper money runs in denominations of EC$5, EC$10, EC$20, EC$50 and EC$100 bills, and coins in 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and EC$1 pieces. Major credit cards, traveller's cheques and US dollars are widely accepted, although less so on some of the smaller islands.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 800/393-1876 Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 636/722-7111 (call collect) Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect)
DEPARTURE TAX All passengers must pay a departure tax of EC$40.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS All visitors must have a valid passport, an onward or return ticket and sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.
Nationals from countries other than Canada, the UK and US may require a visa. For more information contact your nearest St Vincent & The Grenadines consulate/embassy or the High Commission for the Countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, or call St Vincent & The Grenadines Immigration & Citizenship at 783/457-1211.
Note: As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air to the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport, Air NEXUS card or US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION British High Commission: 457-1701 (Kingstown)High Commission of Canada: 246/429-3550 (Barbados, also for after-hours emergencies), 800/387-3124 (toll free to Ottawa) US Embassy: 246/436-4950 (Barbados), 246/431-0225 (Consular Section, Barbados)
As of January 3, 2007
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS There are a number of public and private hospitals, as well as numerous health centres/clinics throughout the country. Facilities include the Kingstown General Hospital (tel 456-1955), Chateaubelair Hospital (tel 458-2228), Georgetown Health Centre (tel 458-6652) and the private Maryfield Hospital (tel 457-8991) in Kingstown, all on St Vincent, as well as the Port Elizabeth Hospital (tel 458-3294) on Bequia, the Canouan Health Centre (tel 458-8305) on Canouan and the Union Island Health Centre (tel 458-8339) on Union Island. On Mayreau there's a small clinic in Station Hill and on Mustique there's a clinic (tel 488-8000) across from the airport. There is also a public Dental Clinic (tel 456-1185).
Medial facilities are limited, however, and serious cases may require air evacuation to another island or the US. The nearest hyperbaric chamber is located in Barbados. Doctors and medical facilities often require immediate payment. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
There are a number of pharmacies in Kingstown including CL's Pharmacy (tel 451-2448) in Bemtick Sq on Hospital Rd, which is open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 8:30am-4pm and Sun 9am-12 noon, and offers after-hours service (tel 528-5408). MedCare Pharmacy (tel 457-0212) located on Arnos Vale Main Rd also offers after-hours service (tel 494-1621). In Georgetown you'll find Roy's Pharmacy (tel 451-1477).
Do not touch manchineel trees or stand under them when it's raining. Their poisonous white sap contains an acid that severely burns skin and their fruit, which resembles small apples, is poisonous. Some manchineel trees are located on the beach near De Reef Restaurant on Bequia and at Richmond Bay on Union Island.
When swimming be cautious of strong currents and undertow, especially around Trinity Falls, Warriacou and Mount Wynne.
For all emergencies dial 911.
ILLEGAL ITEMS There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs. It is an offence, even for children, to wear camouflage clothing.
For more information call the Customs & Excise Department at 784/456-1083.
LANGUAGE The official language is English.
POSTAGE The main post office is located on Halifax St in Kingstown (tel 456-1111). It is open Mon-Fri 8:30am-3pm and Sat 8:30-11:30am. District post offices are located on some of the islands, including Bequia (tel 458-3211, Port Elizabeth), Canouan (tel 482-0006) and Union Island (tel 458-8231, Ashton). They are generally open Mon-Fri 9-11:30am/12 noon and 1-2:30/3pm and some are open Sat 9-11:30am. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar 14 National Heroes Day Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday May 1 Labour Day May/June (varies) Whit Monday July (varies) Carnival Monday July (varies) Carnival Tuesday Aug 1 Emancipation Day Oct 27 Independence Day Dec 25 Christmas Day Dec 26 Boxing Day
SHOPPING HOURS Shops are generally open weekdays 8am-12 noon and 1-4pm. On Sat they are only open half day.
TAXES As of January 2007, a new value added tax (VAT) of about 15% will replace the old 7% government tax, which restaurants and hotels add to bills.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system in St Vincent & the Grenadines is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
The country code is 784. Local phone numbers have seven digits. For local directory enquiries dial 118 and for international directory enquiries dial 119. For calls to the US and Canada dial 1 + area code + local number. For calls to other countries dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.
Cable & Wireless/C&W (tel 457-1901) provides telecommunications services. Public Smart Phones located around the island accept coins, Smart Cards, which you insert into the slot on the phone, credit cards and prepaid calling cards, for which you dial a specified number and follow the voice prompts. Prepaid Phone Cards can be used with any Touch-Tone phone by dialling 111 and following the voice prompts. C&W Smart Cards and prepaid Phonecards are available at C&W offices and local agents around the islands.
To use American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa dial 1-800-744-7777 and follow the voice prompts. You can also dial 1-800 CALL USA to use US calling cards, major credit cards or to make collect calls.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
AT&T Wireless (tel 452-5480), Cable & Wireless and Digicel (tel 453-3444) provide cellular roaming services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with one of these companies.
TEMPERATURES The average year-round temperature is 81°F. The rainy season is May-Oct. In the Southern Grenadines the average daily maximum temperature is 86°F and the average daily minimum temperature is 75°F.
TIME ZONE The islands are on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter, the time is one hour ahead.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.