* Grenada: We flew direct from JFK to St. George's for pretty cheap on JetBlue. We stayed up in Gouyave (pronouced like Gwav) in a basic & affordable airbnb place. Gouyave is a small village with friendly people. It has a few places to eat & drink, but no beaches so we spent a lot of time holding on for life in the public bus.
Grand Anse is a nice beach, but crowded when there's a cruise ship in port. At the south end of the beach just past Umbrella's, is a really good food truck & party. Our favorite beach on the island was La Sagesse Bay because it's beautiful & secluded. There's a hotel & bar with great pina coladas for about US$8.
After 4 days in Grenada, we wanted a smaller island where we didn't require the public bus to get everywhere. We took the Osprey Lines ferry from St. George's to Carriacou (~1 hour). We stayed at a great airbnb apartment called Sundowner's Hideaway at Tyrell Bay, which has good restaurant & bar options. It's within walking distance to Paradise Beach, which has a few beach bars, but is still pretty quiet. You could even take a water taxi out to Sandy Island for snorkeling if you wanted.
It was a really nice & relaxing time in Carriacou and our next hop up the island chain to crossed the border from Grenada to St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
* St. Vincent & the Grenadines: To get here we rode with the little Lady JJ cargo boat from Carriacou to Union Island. The ride was just under an hour and Capt. Troy was helpful in getting us through immigration. We spent the night in Clifton in an airbnb room in Castello. It was pretty dumpy and we were very much looking forward to leaving as soon as we arrived. The town of Clifton is ok and has a very popular wind-surfing beach. There's a great Italian spot with good prices & excellent roti. Our breakfast spot was Yummy Bakery - just off the main street with good coffee & fresh bread.
Once in SVG, there are regular ferries connecting the islands. After Union, our next stop was Canouan. The ferry stopped at Mayreau too, but we kept on since I wasn't satisfied with the limited accommodation options. Canouan is small & laid back. We stayed at the narrow part of the island and our gorgeous, airbnb apartment was at the top of the hill with a view to the Atlantic from the road and a view to the Caribbean from bed. Went to the beach on both sides, but there are a lot of sea urchins on the Atlantic side at the deserted beach.
From Canouan, we ferried to Bequia. Bequia was fantastic and we got an amazing off-season rate for a garden view queen room at the Frangipani Hotel. There's a great walkway along the harbor that connects Port Elizabeth to Lower Bay with waterfront dining all along the way. We loved the lime pie at Mac's Pizza, coffee at Gingerbread, vegetarian roti at Fig Tree, empanadas from the Rastaman's food cart, and people-watching from the hotel bar. Our absolute favorite people were Pierre & Isabel. A wonderful French guy & his mother that let us join them for the 12-hour sail from Bequia to St. Lucia.
Pierre has a sweet sailboat about 15m long with 2 sleeping cabins. We had wonderful meals & interesting talks. We set sail from Bequia around 1:00 so it was dark. The night sky was filled with shooting stars - so many that I stopped counting. Some so bright that they lit up our faces like fireworks. There were stars in the sea too as the bioluminescent plankton sparkled in the wake. Dolphins swam along in the night. After a spectacular sunrise, we could see the Pitons of St. Lucia in the distance. It was sunny & perfect sailing weather as we saw sea turtles, swooping birds, and flying fish. We arrived in Rodney Bay about 12-13 hours later and anchored there for the night. I cried when we parted ways with our new French friends and we had to acclimate to life on land again.
* St. Lucia: Arriving in Rodney Bay, we were shocked at the over-development. Jet-skis made swimming dangerous and the beach was packed with resort chairs & umbrellas. We hoped to escape the crowds by going down to Soufriere.
Like many towns in the Caribbean, Soufriere is very poor. Unlike the other towns we've been to, however, there were a few beggars & a couple obnoxious drunks.
* Turks & Caicos: In Providenciales we stayed at the Sands at Grace Bay. Super friendly staff & wonderfully appointed rooms with free use of a couple cruiser bikes. We had delicious meais at every price point; ranging from cheap eats on the beach at Da Conch Shack to swanky elegance under the palm trees at Coco Bistro. Our favorite happy hour place was Somewhere. I still remember the delicious couscous & other Mediterranean fare at Lemon Cafe, but am not sure if it's still open.