By Alexander Britell
The green hills and turquoise seas of the Grenadines have long been one of the most romantic places in the hemisphere, an unspoiled archipelago of the sort that inspires novels and one-way tickets.
A big reason for the destination’s romance, though, has been its remoteness, having been served for decades by only a small regional airport.
Traditionally, there’s been one way to get there: by flying first to Barbados, then a small plane to Kingstown.
But the experience of reaching this place is about to change in a big way.
That changed at the beginning of last year when the country opened the new Argyle International Airport, able to facilitate large-body aircraft — but now the flights are finally coming.
American Airlines is set to launch its first-ever flights to St Vincent and the Grenadines later this month.
The new nonstop flights, which will launch Dec. 22, will operate year round on Saturdays out of Miami International Airport.
American is operating the flights on an Airbus A319 aircraft.
The new service will open more travelers’ eyes to St Vincent and the Grenadines and its marvelous marriage of tiny, funky islands like Bequia and Union Island and luxury private-island resorts like Palm Island and Petit St Vincent.
More recently, the destination got a boost from the launch of the Pink Sands Club on the island of Canouan and its recent rebranding as the first-ever Mandarin Oriental resort in the Caribbean, the Mandarin Oriental, Canouan.
Air Canada was the first major North American carrier to begin servicing St Vincent, but the launch of flights from the all-important U.S. market will be a big lift for the archipelago.
It could also help spur tourism development in “mainland” St Vincent, as much of the hotel and tourism development in recent decades has been in the islands of the Grenadines.