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Mustique, St Vincent and the Grenadines Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Jun-26-2012, Hits: 5,115, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Location: Caribbean
Geography: Island, Beach
Vacation Type: Family, Romantic, Relaxation, Cosmopolitan
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Expensive
Attractions: Scenery, Boating, Ecotourism, Hiking, Scuba & Snorkeling, Spa & Wellness

Facts and Stats:
Population: Approximately 500
Land Area: 2.2 sq mi
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: GMT -5 (-4 summer)
Current Time:

Introduction:
Mustique is a small, privately owned island that caters to the rich and famous. This quiet locale is known for its luxury and idyllic beaches, and is a popular stopover for sailboats and yachts.

Geography:
Geophysically, the Grenadines resulted from a volcanic eruption of Grenada. The northern Islands, which include Mustique, are part of St.Vincent and The Grenadines. Mustique is located approximately 1,600 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, 15 miles south of St Vincent, and 7 miles southeast of Bequia. Mustique has 12 miles of sandy white beach.

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, the British ousted the Caribs on Mustique during the 1740's. They found the island to be an excellent place to grow sugar cane and built 3 forts (Liverpool, Percival, and Shandy) to defend the island against the French. Remains of these forts can still be seen today.

During the early 19th century, the discovery that sugar could be extracted from sugar-beets removed the demand for tropical sugar. Mustique was abandoned. Only the sugar mill and Cotton House remain from this period.

Mustique was purchased in 1958 by Colin Tennant who began development on the island shortly after.

In 1960, Colin Tennant gave Princess Margaret a 10-acre plot of land as a wedding present, and shortly after, she built an estate.

In 1964, a new village called Lovell was created. By 1968, it supported a plantation of 250 acres of sea island cotton. Other crops such as coconut palms, limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and vegetables were also being grown. The wild, native livestock was herded and a small fishing industry developed.

In 1968, The Mustique Company was formed and the Mustique Company Ltd. Act was signed with the country of St.Vincent and the Grenandines to make the company the custodian of the island.

In 1969, the airport opened and the Cotton House became an inn. Construction began on the first villas by the British theatrical designer, Oliver Messel.

In 1988, The Mustique Company was sold to the 55 homeowners. Today, 17 countries are represented in ownership and nearly 100 villas are now on the island.

People & Culture:
As mentioned, the island caters to the rich and famous. Tommy Hilfiger and Mick Jagger own homes here, and plenty of celebrities drop in from time to time. The villa owners come from a large number of countries, and as a result, you may hear a lot of different languages spoken.

The small, indigenous local population mainly consists of transplants from St Vincent. Most of these people have jobs as gardeners, cooks, and other occupations that support the villas and Cotton House. One particularly notable local is Basil Charles who owns Basil's Bar. There is a very interesting article about him here. It is quite a story.

Food & Nightlife:
There are only a couple of bars and restaurants available. The villas come with a chef and there is a fairly well-stocked store. Provisioning services are available as well.

Money & Costs:
Visiting Mustique is very expensive with villas starting at over $5,000 per week and getting up to $50,000 per week. There are no budget accomodations on the island.

St Vincent and the Grenadines use EC dollars, although the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. Credit cards and travelers checks are accepted, however, personal checks are not. The Mustique Company can perform some money exchange services. Check with them for more information.

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 are direct flight services daily to Barbados and Saint Lucia from the UK, US, Canada and South America on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airways, Delta and Caribbean Airways, amongst others. The Mustique Company will arrange transportation from Barbados to Mustique via one of the company's private planes. Charter flights from neighboring islands such as St Vincent, St Lucia, Grenada, Canouan Island, etc. are also available through SVG Air.

Almost all accomodations come with some form of vehicle. You must have a valid driver's license and be at least 17 years of age to drive. They drive on the left side of the road and the maximum speed limit on the island is 20 miles per hour. The most common form of transportation is a golf cart which are referred to as "mules".

Weather:
Temperatures in Mustique have little variance throughout the year and it is consistently hot and humid. Rainfall varies more with June-December having significantly more precipitation that the other months. Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Mustique Island.


The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

Month Avg High Avg Low Avg Precipitation
January 84 75 5 inches
February 84 74 4 inches
March 85 75 4 inches
April 86 77 3 inches
May 87 78 6 inches
June 87 79 9 inches
July 86 79 9 inches
August 87 78 11 inches
September 88 78 10 inches
October 87 78 9 inches
November 86 77 9 inches
December 85 76 8 inches

Tips & Additional Information:
  • Pestering celebrities is frowned upon.
  • Paparazzi is banned from Mustique. Background checks are done on all visitors.
  • The island and surrounding waters are a conservation area.
  • For all emergencies, dial 999.
  • 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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