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Mayreau, St Vincent and the Grenadines Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Jun-26-2012, Hits: 2,963, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Location: Caribbean
Geography: Island, Beach
Vacation Type: Relaxation
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Moderate
Attractions: Scenery, Boating, Hiking, Scuba & Snorkeling

Facts and Stats:
Population: Approximately 300
Land Area: 1.5 square miles
Government: Parliamentary Democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Country Dialing Code: 784
Languages: English, Vincentian English
Electricity: 220V
Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar and U.S. dollar
Time Zone: -5 (-4 summer)
Current Time:

Introduction:
Mayreau Island is a popular stopover for yachtsmen who enjoy mingling with locals and other yachtsment in the small village of Old Wall. For longer stays, some choose the small resort at Saltwhistle Bay. Mayreau is the closest island to the Tobago Cays Marine Park.

Geography:
Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines. The island is only 2 miles west of Tobago Cays Marine Park, about 3 miles northeast of Union Island, and about 7 miles southwest of Canouan Island. Mayreau's population lives in the charming village of Old Wall located inland at the top of a hill. Tamarind Hill is the highest point at 280 feet. The island is lined by several white sand beaches and has a salt pond to the south of the village. The salt pond is no longer in production except for local use.

Mayreau is a good diving and snorkeling destination due to a big shipwreck just off the western shore, the Mayreau Gardens off the eastern shore, and the Tobago Cays Marine Park a little further east.

Brief History:
It is believed that the first people to inhabit the islands were the Ciboney people from South America who were gradually displaced to Haiti and Cuba by the Arawaks (Taino) from Venezuela. The Arawaks survived here for 1500 years utilizing their farming and fishing skills. The Arawaks were overrun by Caribs shortly before the area was discovered by Europeans.

While the British, French and local Caribs were jockeying for control of St Vincent for much of the 1700's, Mayreau remained a privately owned French island throughout.

The islanders subsisted on fishing and farming which continue today, although, recent tourism is presenting other work opportunities. Most of Mayreau is privately owned and the village is owned by the state.

People & Culture:
Mayreau is isolated, and as a result, much of the culture has been preserved. In fact, many of the residents remain Catholic because of the long influence the French have had here. Mayreau didn't have electricity until 2002, and there is only 1 main paved road through the village. There is a small school that teaches grades 1-6.

Righteous Robert Rice is a local celebrity of sorts. He is a Rastafarian that owns Righteous & De Youths Seafood Restaurant & Bar where he mixes with visitors, and shares stories and information about the island.

Food & Nightlife:
For only having 300 residents, there are a surprising number of restaurants to choose from. There is not a wide selection of cuisine and menus mostly focus on locally available ingredients like fish, conch, lobster, etc. There are a couple of small grocery stores that have a limited selection of food and sundries.

There are several bars on the island with live music occasionally available (mostly Reggae).

Money & Costs:
Mayreau is generally much less expensive than the nearby islands of Mustique and Canouan.

St Vincent and the Grenadines use EC dollars, although the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. Credit card acceptance is spotty and it is a good idea to bring cash as there is no ATM or bank here. In restaurants, a tip of 10-15% is generally acceptable, if it has not been added already.

Entry Requirements:
No Visa is required for EC citizens and North American & South American citizens. No vaccinations are required. All visitors must have a valid passport and return tickets.

Getting There & Around:
There is no airport on Mayreau and the only way to get here is by boat. The closest airstrip is on Union Island and water taxi service is available from there. There is also ferry service that connect Mayreau to Union Island, Canouan Island, and St. Vincent. It is about a 3 hour trip to St Vincent. Ferry schedules can be found here.

As the island is very small, most people get around on foot and there are no rental cars or taxis. From Saline Bay, there is a short walk up a steep hill to the village. It is about an hour hike from Saline Bay to Saltwhistle Bay. If you anchor in Saline Bay and don't want to walk to Saltwhistle, you can hire a water taxi, or just anchor at Saltwhistle.

Weather:
Mayreau's climat is tropical with little seasonal or daily temperature variation. The rainy season is from May to November.

The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

Month Avg High Avg Low Avg Rainfall
January 84 76 5.1 inches
February 84 75 3.8 inches
March 85 76 4.1 inches
April 86 77 4.3 inches
May 87 78 5.9 inches
June 87 78 9.2 inches
July 87 78 12.0 inches
August 88 78 11.1 inches
September 88 78 10.6 inches
October 88 78 12.2 inches
November 87 78 10.7 inches
December 86 76 7.3 inches

Tips & Additional Information:
  • For emergencies, dial 999.
  • Mayreau has very little crime and is very safe.
  • Watch out for Manchineel Trees which have a greyish bark, shiny green leaves and spikes of small greenish flowers. Its fruits, which are similar in appearance to an apple, are green or greenish-yellow when ripe. Touching the tree can cause blistering as can standing under the tree during rain. Ingesting the fruit can be fatal.
  • Camouflage clothing is illegal in the country for civilians. Don't bring it.





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