We chose Petit St. Vincent (PSV), a private island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for our honeymoon in November 2018. We had always wanted a warm, tropical beach vacation for our honeymoon, and after much research and consideration (Mexico, Hawaii, Bora Bora, Cuba, Costa Rica…) we remembered this website that had helped us plan our Peru trip in 2017.
National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is a collection of accommodations that practice sustainability and protect nature and culture. From treating their staff fairly to respecting the environment, these resorts are committed to improving the world around them.
After perusing the list of resorts, we decided that PSV was the place for us. A 0.5 km² secluded island paradise in the middle of the Caribbean sounded pretty unreal. Even after reading about it, we didn’t fully understand what a hidden gem we had stumbled upon.
The easiest way to get to PSV is to first fly to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Barbados. From Vancouver, we took a one stop flight through Toronto.
After you’ve arrived in BGI, you’ll have to fly about 45 min to Union Island, the closest airport to PSV. PSV arranges a private round trip flight from BGI to Union Island with Mustique Airways. The flight is part of the adventure…it’s a small twin engine airplane that seats 4-6 people.
You don’t have to take the private flight to Union Island, but we found it was the most convenient option for us. Once in Union Island, PSV representatives take you the rest of the way by boat (it’s about a 20 min boat ride). If you’re lucky, you’ll catch an incredible sunset on the way like we did. As soon as you’ve arrived on the dock, you’ll be greeted by PSV staff who will welcome you with a drink and escort you to your cottage in the adorable 1960’s style Mini Mokes that they use to get around the island.
To say PSV is gorgeous is an understatement. As soon as we were left alone, Slade turned to me and said, “Even if we had to leave tomorrow, this trip was worth it.” Can’t say I disagreed, but I was happy we had a whole week to enjoy our little slice of heaven.
PSV has 22 newly renovated cottages tucked away in the hillside or along the beach. There is no Internet or TV in the cottages, just a spacious setup with gorgeous views in every direction. Don’t worry, there’s WiFi in the main lodge…not that you end up using it much.
The cottages are clean, spacious and thoughtfully designed. The beds are comfortable, the bathrooms are huge and luxurious, and the views are absolutely incredible. There’s nothing quite like opening up a wall full of windows and stepping outside to the breeze of paradise. We chose a beach cottage (Cottage 12), and we still dream about it today.
Need to get in touch with the staff? There is a charming flag system on the island: raise the yellow flag for service, raise the red flag to be left alone. Simple. Staff outnumber guests 3 to 1, so there’s no need to stress about the request not being handled on time.
The cottages get cleaned multiple times a day, with wonderful attention to detail. The little things really make the experience that much more special…there is a cookie jar in the room that never empties, and the turndown service is a nice touch.
Our only complaint about our cottage was that our shower did not drain effectively. We put in a maintenance request but I’m not sure they can do much about it.
There are a number of beaches on PSV, all with white sand and incredibly warm and clear water. While all of the beaches are amazing and worth going to at least once, we have listed the pros and cons of each for you:
Caribbean Beaches (Jack’s Beach, Sophia’s Beach)
Pros: Calmer water; good swimming
Cons: Less private since they are right in front of the main restaurant and walkway
Pros: Private; great snorkeling; nice dock
Cons: Windy; hammocks and lounge chairs are only provided for those with beach cottages
West End Beach
Pros: Large beach; great place for lunch using flag system
Cons: Stronger waves; not ideal for swimming
Main Pavilion Restaurant and Bar
This is where we ate the majority of our dinners, as well as a handful of breakfasts and lunches. We loved the feel of this private restaurant tucked away in the hillside. We always chose to eat out on the terraces, framed by trees and overlooking the water.
The à la carte menu changed daily for lunch and dinner, providing unique options for a 3 course meal. We didn’t have a single bad meal here and we tried lots of different things — from soup to cheese puff pastries for appetizers, from steak to barracuda for entrees, from homemade pistachio ice cream to meringue roulade for dessert…everything was delicious and the service was always excellent.
Beach Restaurant and Goatie’s Bar
The Beach Restaurant provides a more casual, open dining experience with a larger menu that doesn’t change. This is the place to go when you’re craving pizza like we were one night! Goatie’s Bar is located next to the restaurant, the perfect spot for a rum punch while watching the sunset. Our only minor complaint was that we found the quality of the drinks at Goatie’s Bar lower than at the Main Restaurant.
Note: This is the only part of the island open to the public, so it can be busier with people from nearby yachts.
West End Beach lunch service
There is a flag pole at the West End Beach and you can order lunch right to your hammock! Just fill out your order and raise the yellow flag. Our favorite hammock was Hammock A.
You can request to have a private candlelit dinner at a number of locations around the island. We chose Jack’s Beach for ours.
You can always request to have a meal in your cottage. We chose to have most of our breakfasts this way so we could enjoy the privacy and luxury (and that view!).
There are a number of organized events throughout the week, like a Caribbean buffet lunch, a beach BBQ, a cocktail evening hosted by the management team, and a movie night. You’re obviously not required to attend any of them, but they’re great if you want to socialize more with other guests or with the staff.
We thought since we were staying in one place for the entire trip, we might get a little bored by the end of it. We were wrong…there is so much to see and do on PSV!
All non-motorized water sports are free to try. This includes snorkeling, Hobie Cats, kayaking, Sunfish, paddleboards, and windsurfing. Head down to the water sports center and the staff there will be happy to help you get set up with life jackets and lessons if necessary.
Picnic on Mopion Island
You can get dropped off on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean for a couple hours for a picnic and a snorkel…what more could you want?
Day trip to the Tobago Cays
Sail to the Tobago Cays on Beauty, PSV’s 49 ft sailboat that was built nearby on Petite Martinique. The Tobago Cays are an archipelago of 5 small uninhabited islands that make up part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park which protects their world renowned coral reefs and wildlife. The snorkeling here is incredible…so many different kinds of fish (and sea turtles!) to see. While you snorkel, Beauty’s skipper Jeff prepares an absolutely delicious barbecue lunch — lobster, steak, barracuda and salad, along with a platter of fresh fruit. This was one of our favorite meals of the entire trip.
The diving center on PSV was opened in 2014 by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau who pioneered scuba diving. As first time divers, Slade and I did the half-day Resort Course, which did not require us to be certified. Slade was a pro while I was pretty scared to be fully submerged underwater and would rather stick to snorkeling…we’re both glad we tried it though, and the experience was pretty incredible.
Learn more about the Jean-Michel Cousteau Diving Center here.
Marni Hill hike
The top of Marni Hill, PSV’s highest point, is less than 100 m elevation, so it only took us about 10-15 min to get there. The view is very rewarding, and there are a couple of chairs at the top so you can relax and take it all in.
Telescope Hill lookout
Another great viewpoint, Telescope Hill sits atop the Main Restaurant. Don’t miss this spot, you can see the whole island and it takes even less effort to get here than it does to get to the top of Marni Hill.
There are two yoga instructors on PSV, and group sessions are led most mornings at one of the two yoga pavillions found on the island. There is no better way to start your morning…we highly recommend giving this a try even if you’re a yoga skeptic! All required equipment is provided.
Nestled at the base of Marni Hill, the Hillside Spa offers a variety of treatments. The open air treatment rooms overlook the ocean, ensuring a relaxing experience. We tried the couples Balinese massage, which we loved. Our only comment was that we felt like we couldn’t linger in the common area after our massages.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of activities on the island. For those looking to stay even more active while on vacation, PSV also offers a 20 station calisthenic outdoor fitness trail (it’s harder than it looks), as well as a tennis court. You can also request to have bikes sent to your cottage for the duration of your trip — they make getting around the island faster and more fun, except when you have to walk them up the hills since they are fixed-gear :)
As we mentioned, we picked PSV in part due to its commitment to sustainability.
The island has its own desalination and bottling plant, which allows them to process ocean water and distribute it in reusable glass bottles around the island, rather than importing plastic bottles from other islands.
PSV has a reef restoration and monitoring project to help repopulate the surrounding reefs. We were able to snorkel where the coral nursery has been set up and see for ourselves what incredible progress is being made to restore the marine life in the area.
They are also reintroducing turtles that were once native on the island and you can see the turtle nursery right outside the lobby!
Please visit the link here if you’d like to read more about the sustainability efforts at PSV, including their recycling and gardening efforts.
This is the kind of place you’re lucky to go to once, and even luckier to be able to return to. We will forever treasure our time spent on PSV. It’s incredible how private this tiny island feels. Even when it’s at full capacity, you often forget there are other people around at all. PSV first opened in the 60s and has retained its charm from that era. A little sleepy, a little retro, it is truly a unique place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of its Caribbean surroundings.
Some parting notes:
We chose the honeymoon package, which included the day trip on Beauty, the Mopion Island picnic, a complimentary 1 hour couples massage, a bottle of champagne and chocolates upon checking in, and a private dinner. If you want to do the activities included, you do end up saving some money with this package.
We chose an all inclusive option that did not include alcohol. We are not big drinkers so paying for our alcoholic drinks separately was a better option for us.
Lastly, here is a video of our trip that Slade put together! I should have maybe mentioned that there was a 3 minute summary of the trip before I made you read this entire post ;)
Thinking about going to PSV? Let us know if you have any questions for us in the comments below!