Twenty-five miles south of St. Vincent lies Canouan, a small crescent- shaped island surrounded by wide shallows and coral. The islanders are mainly fisherman and peasant farmers. The island claims some of the best beaches in the Caribbean and measures 3-1/2 miles by 1-1/4.
The old church on the north side of Canouan, shown to the right, had a village around it until a hurricane in 1921 swept away the village, which was rebuilt on the other side of the island.
The name Canouan comes from the old Carib “Cannouan” which means Turtle Island. Here the ship-building industry in the Grenadines was started. It’s a quiet island, unspoiled by tourism. The eastern side has one of the finest beaches around, protected by an extensive reef.
There are three (3) hotels on Canouan: The French-owned Canouan Beach Hotel, the Crystal Sands Beach Hotel, and Villa Le Bijou.
The Canouan Beach Hotel has developed the southern area of the island as an all-inclusive resort. The hotel has forty-three (43) seaview rooms, with a restaurant and bar on the south beach. Activities include sailing, snorkelling, volleyball, table tennis, and day sails to other islands.
The Crystal Sands Beach Hotel, set right on the beach in the main bay, is low-key with 10 cottage style rooms and a small bar/restaurant. The Villa Le Bijou has six (6) rooms, nightclub and a beautiful hill view. It is a charming and inexpensive guesthouse, beautifully designed with textured walls of stone and pebbles.
The Canouan Annual Yacht Races take place in august with festivities including yacht races, various sailing events and fishing competitions, cricket matches, greasy pig and donkey races, crab races, a beauty pageant, and a calypso competition. Needless to say there’s plenty of great food and drink for the spectators, and a good time is had by all.
Canouan has it’s own airport with night landing facilities. There are regularly scheduled flights from St. Vincent on Air Martinique. Mustique Air Ways and SVG Air also provide a charter service for your convenience.
Those who wish for the adventure of travel by sea can get to the island on Mondays and Thursdays aboard the MV Snapper. The boat leaves the Grenadines Wharf in Kingstown at 9:00 am and arrives in Canouan at 2:00 pm the same day. You can pass the time watching the flying fish jump beside your boat.