St Vincent and the Grenadines Risk Report

Security travel advice for St Vincent and the Grenadines

Security information

Threat level: Medium
The current travel safety advice for St Vincent and the Grenadines is to be aware of petty crime which can be prominent in some busier parts of the islands. Be mindful of isolated areas and to carry out sensible safety precautions with regards to personal safety at all times.

Recent Security Risk Events
In March of 2016 a young German man aboard a yacht was murdered when two masked assailants boarded the ship. The young tourist was part of a larger group of people who witnessed the event. The incident took place in a sheltered cove, part of the islands which was used for the set of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean”, which is popular anchorage with sailors.

Please note that the islands have had recent spates of drug related crimes and revenge killings at targeted attacks between rival gangs. This does not usually involve any danger to tourists but they can get caught up in clashes. Visitors are advised to remain aware of their surroundings and leave an area immediately if it looks like it presents dangers.

Security Risks
Please respect and abide by local laws and customs as some are different from other parts of the world; it is an illegal offence to wear or to carry camouflage items.

A drug culture is apparent among St Vincent, less so throughout the Grenadines yet it remains an illegal act with harsh penalties. This region is a high producer of marijuana and there is a current initiative to crack down on the crop and other illegal substances found in the area such as cocaine.

There is petty crime and more serious crimes on the islands. Take basic security precautions during travel among the islands, show low signs of personal wealth and make sure valuables are not obviously displayed. Avoid walking during the evening hours and especially alone and remain careful if you are a female traveller, as crime and violence against women has been reported including a high rate of rape in comparison to its population size.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is made up of 32 islands and cays. Please be aware when travelling by yacht between the islands and surrounding areas there have been reports of maritime piracy with armed assailants robbing dwellers of the ships. Also be mindful of the weather, as it is an active hurricane area weather can turn dangerous.

International Relations
Being a commonwealth, St Vincent and the Grenadines has a positive and close ties with close ties to the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is part of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean states (OECS) and CARICOM. There is an ongoing dispute with Venezuela regarding Isla de Aves. There are no military forces in the islands however the police do have specialist teams and divisions to help carry out certain militia based roles.

Travel considerations
Roads in the region are underdeveloped, narrow and may not exist on some islands. Please take car when travelling as there may be a lack of appropriate signage and lights.

This region is one of a tropical climate and as such has an active hurricane season which runs from June to November, please note during this time in times of severe weather infrastructure and services may be affected. There is also a risk of tremors and possible earthquakes. Special attention is required at certain places due to the weather making it unsafe for travel such as the Owia Salt Ponds, the Rabacca Dry River may become very wet, and can block your return south for many hours.

Please be aware of local wildlife and natural surroundings and trees such as the Machineel tree, of which is extremely poisonous and can cause fatal injury. These trees are marked with a red sign or spray paint. Please avoid these in rainy weather conditions as you are more likely become unwell, due to the spread of toxins. Hikes to Trinity Falls, as well as swimming in the falls, can be dangerous, particularly in rainy weather.

Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip.

General information

Capital: Kingstown
Official languages: English, Vincentian Creole
Religion: Christianity
Currency: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
Time now in Kingstown:

Visa requirements
UK, US and most EU nationals do not require a visa for travel to St Vincent and the Grenadines but they must ensure that they have a passport that is valid for a period of six months. There is a $EC30 per person departure tax that must be paid on leaving SVG.

Visitors may be required to show proof of a return ticket and to prove that they have the funds to support themselves for the duration of their stay.

Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to St Vincent and the Grenadines are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus which is usually administered when you are a young baby.

Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in St Vincent and the Grenadines, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.

Other health risks
Medical facilities at the main government hospital are quite good and can cope with most incidents but treatment of serious cases may require emergency medical evacuation. Medical and dental treatment on the island can be expensive. Visitors should ensure that they have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any necessary treatment or repatriation.

Mosquito-borne viruses such as Chikungunya virus and the Zika virus are a growing concern in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is advised to take all possible precautions and use Mosquito nets where possible at night.

For more information on the Zika virus, see: Zika virus facts
Information about the Chikungunya Fever, see: Chikungunya Fever facts

Extreme weather and natural disasters
Between June and November, St Vincent and the Grenadines enters its hurricane season. This can cause disruption on the roads and to accommodation. Travellers are advised to ensure they know what the procedures are if they are caught in a hurricane and to keep up to date with the local weather and news whilst travelling the islands.

Official sources of information and advice are:
Federal Emergency Management
US National Hurricane Centre
US National Weather Service
World Meteorological Organisation

Consular information

The US government does not have a Embassy in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It deals with all diplotmaic and consular work via its Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados.
U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park,
Wildey,
St. Michael BB 14006,
Barbados
Telephone: +246 227 4000
Email: bridgetownniv@state.gov

The British government does not have an Embassy or Consulate in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It deals with all diplotmaic and consular work via its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados.
British High Commission Bridgetown
Lower Collymore Rock,
PO Box 676,
Bridgetown,
Barbados
Telephone: +246 430 7800
Email: ukinbarbados@fco.gov.uk

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      Police emergency: 999/911
      Fire emergency: 999/911
      Ambulance: 999/991