Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The phrase “life is a beach” may well have been coined on Canouan (kuh-nuh-win), part of the Grenadine archipelago in the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Despite its diminutive size — just three and a half miles long and a mere quarter-mile wide — Canouan claims some of the finest beaches in the entire Caribbean, with long, wide stretches of powdery-white sands; Grand Bay Beach and South Glossy Bay Beach are particularly stunning. Better still, they’re seldom crowded thanks to Canouan’s isolated location, some 25 miles south of St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles. A barrier reef protects the island’s Atlantic side, creating excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities; Tobago Cays Marine Park — known as the “Jewel in the Crown” of the Southern Grenadines with its sea turtle nesting sites, mangroves, and plentiful coral — is a short ferry ride away. Lush forest covers Canouan’s hilly interior; scale Mount Royal — the island’s highest point — for panoramic views of neighboring Mustique and beyond.