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Getting There

By Plane -- Four of the Grenadines -- Bequia, Mustique, Union Island, and Canouan -- have small airports. Service from St. Vincent is by small interisland carriers. SVG Air (tel. 800/624-1843 or 784/457-5124; www.svgair.com), one of the longest-established airlines in the region, will fly you in modern five- to nine-seaters to any island within the eastern Caribbean. From St. Vincent the one-way fare to Canouan or Union Island is $45.

By Boat -- The ideal way to go, of course, is to hire your own yacht, as many wealthy visitors do. A far less expensive option is to take a mail, cargo, or passenger boat, as the locals do, but you'll need time and patience. The ferry dock at Kingstown is at the cruise-ship terminal. The most visited island by ferry is Bequia, costing $10 for the 1-hour trip. Two companies compete on this route: Admiralty Transport (tel. 784/458-3348; www.admiralty-transport.com) and the MV Bequia Express (tel. 784/458-3472). Several daily trips are made Monday to Saturday beginning at 8am in St. Vincent; the last trip back from Bequia is at 5pm. On Sunday the schedules are curtailed, but there are usually two trips -- one for morning departures, another for an evening sail.

Some adventurers prefer to take the mail boat, MV Barracuda (tel. 784/455-9835), sailing Monday and Thursday mornings from St. Vincent, stopping at Canouan, Mayreau, and Union islands. On Saturday a round-trip takes in every island. The one-way fare to Canouan is $12, to Mayreau $12, and to Union Island $14.