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Travel to the Windward Islands

Submitted by Chris Warren with T/A Heather Grant

St. Vincent & the Grenadines is a paradise for yachts. All those who have sailed in the region agree with this statement.

But planning to get here by air can sometimes invoke a feeling opposite to paradise. Air transportation is inadequate and the connections rarely allow you to reach your destination quickly.

The best gateway into the Caribbean for access to the Windwards is Barbados. There are two flights daily on Grenadines Airways to each of the Grenadines islands, one midday and one later in the afternoon. This allows connections from the international carriers that arrive from the UK, Canada and the US, as long as they are not delayed on their way in. The planes are small, Twin Otters, so be sure to book early, especially during the season. It does not take long to fill 19 seats! For those unfamiliar with the small regional airlines, it is best to work through a local travel agent. These non-IATA airlines are not particularly user friendly when making a booking. They are simply not set up for online bookings.

LIAT still flies all over the Caribbean, so it is possible to fly from Barbados to St. Vincent several times each day. If you are picking up a yacht in St. Vincent, this is a viable option.

Some people arrive at Hewanorra, the international airport on St. Lucia. Unfortunately, there are no scheduled flights from there to St. Vincent & the Grenadines (except during the season, the Mustique Company operates a Twin Otter to Mustique). LIAT flies to St. Vincent from the domestic airport in St. Lucia. Travelers must either drive or take a helicopter from Hewanorra to Castries to make those connections.

From Martinique to the Grenadines - no scheduled flights. Airawak offers shared charters in 8 seaters. LIAT flies daily to St. Vincent, but not to the Grenadines.

Of course, if you take a private charter, you can come and go as you please. Mustique Airways, SVGAir and Executive Air offer charter flights around the Caribbean. Although a bit more expensive, it allows travelers to arrive at their destinations when they wish. Certainly the flexibility is worth the higher cost.

Taking advantage of a travel agent's local knowledge and experience makes travel planning smoother, whether for crew, guests or business travelers, to help them get to their destinations as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

But maybe you wish to linger on Barbados, or St. Lucia or Grenada on your way to the Grenadines. Each of these island nations has a plethora of hotels, villas and activities to satisfy most budgets and tastes. Perhaps you are not rushing to reach your destination, but wish to savour the journey.

Either way, enjoy your travels.

For additional information about chartering a yacht in the Grenadines contact Dennis at Charter Sailing Unlimited: 888-856-8310 / 317-745-1990. You can also go to my 'Information Request' page on my website.

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