The sun is hot! Don’t let sunburn ruin your vacation. By pool, beach or just walking around use plenty of sunscreen and limit time in the sun until your tan develops. Wear a hat. Drink a lot! It is easy to get dehydrated without realising it.
For souvenirs with local flavour look for watercolour and oil paintings by local artists, indigenous jewellery, coconut and bamboo candles, locally designed clothing, stained-glass items, driftwood sculptures, coconut bracelets and hair ornaments, miniature boats made from local woods, crocheted and batik clothing, pottery and handmade straw baskets, place mats, handbags, hats and toys. You may be able to barter the price at local stalls and markets. Shops tend to close early and are almost never open on Sundays and holidays.
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.
Local directory enquiries: dial 118.
International directory enquiries: dial 119.
Calls to the US and Canada: dial 01 + area code + local number.
Calls to other countries: dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.
Cable & Wireless (C&W) provide telecommunications services. Tel: 457-1901.
Public SmartPhones located around the island accept coins, SmartCards, 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 PhoneCards can be used with any Touch-Tone phone by dialling 111 and following the voice prompts. C&W SmartCards 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.
AT&T: Service is available from pay phones and/or selected hotels for calls to the US only using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards,American Express, Diner’s Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 1-800-872-2881 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts. Pay phones may require a coin payment for the duration of the call.
BT: Dial 1-800-744-1144, input your account number and PIN, then dial the number you require.
Canada Direct: Service is available on public pay phones only and can be used with calling cards from Bell, MTS, Aliant, SaskTel and Telus. Dial 1-800-744-2580 for direct access to a Canadian operator.
Sprint: Dial 1-800-366-4663 and follow the voice prompts.
There are no taximeters. The government fixes all rates, but you should verify the fare with the driver prior to departure. Fares increase late at night and in the early morning. Expect to pay EC$35 to get back to Spring Hotel from the Harbour. We recommend Gideon Taxi and their phone number is (458-3760). On Bequia, you can find taxis under the almond tree in Port Elizabeth during the day and around the main nightspots in the evening. You can obtain a rate sheet from the Bequia Tourism Association Office in Port Elizabeth (Tel: 458-3286).
Predominantly Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist and Wesleyan. Roman Catholic, Baha’ism, Hinduism and Mormon are also represented. You are always welcomed at local services.
The General Post Office is in Port Elizabeth and is housed in the yellow Government building across from the main jetty. It is is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3:00pm and Saturday from 8:30am to 11:30am.
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ 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. The exchange rate is fixed at EC$2.67 to US$1. Current rates to Euros and Sterling can best be obtained from many websites.
The US Dollar is widely accepted, although you may get the official exchange rate only at banks. ATMs are available at all banks and many restaurants and most shops now accept major credit cards and traveller’s cheques, 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.
For good service, tip restaurant wait staff and taxi drivers about 15%. Some hotels and restaurants automatically add a 15% service charge to the bill, so check first as it is not necessary to leave more unless you feel the service was above average.