As your tiny plane swoops in over the coral reefs and islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, you’ll be either pinching yourself to check this is really happening – or clinging to your new hubby in a cold sweat. Flying into Union Island is an unforgettable experience, so make sure you get a window seat. Unless you’re a nervous flyer… But once you’ve started breathing again, prepare for a mighty wow-factor. A short boat trip by private craft across the reef and you’re at the pier that leads to the private Caribbean paradise that is Palm Island.
A warm welcome
Time for a friendly smile and a fruit cocktail – throw off those shoes and chill down for a relaxing (with a capital R) honeymoon. Palm Island is a 140-acre desert island in the Grenadines, surrounded by perfect beaches, populated with thousands of palm trees drooping lazily over the cerulean sea, hundreds of giant (harmless) lizards and dotted with luxurious private villas. It’s a Caribbean dream come true.
Your loft room balcony
Choose an Island Loft room for a feeling of honeymoon isolation. Overlooking the sea with your own private beach and verandah, you’ll feel like Robinson Crusoe (except here we’re talking romance not survival). So secluded you can leave the folding doors open (but beware the mozzies) to relish that ocean view and cooling breeze wafting over from nearby Tobago Cays, even the sea turtles love it here. Visit in egg-laying season and you could actually find yourself sharing your private patch of beach with these gentle giants of the deep.
Once you manage to tear yourself away from the idyll of your loft on stilts, there’s just enough to do on Palm Island to fill your honeymoon days without feeling rushed (minimum booking at the resort is 7 nights). Do borrow one of the island’s bikes for a two-wheeled tour. Check out deserted beaches at the other side of the island, coo at the tortoise sanctuary, try out the tennis court (no extra charge), peek into the greenhouse where fruit, veg and herbs for the island’s three restaurants are cultivated, or race a cycle circuit against your loved one. First one home pours the next rum punch…
Lather on the suncream for a day’s sailing trip by Captain Yannis’ catamaran to laidback Mayreau Island and the Tobago Cays for swimming and snorkelling plus lunch aboard. Tobago Cays, where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, is a protected national marine park and a favourite with yachtsmen – expect to rub shoulders here with superyachts as well as charter vessels. The chance to swim with turtles as they graze the seagrass in these shallow waters is an experience you’ll never forget. Strong but stable winds mean the captain barely needs fire up the engine – it’s sailpower almost all the way.
Perfect for newly-weds
Back on Palm Island, make sure you spend at least one day a deux relaxing on one of the resort’s spectacular deserted windward beaches. A refreshing breeze, the chance to snorkel private reefs and enjoy a freshly prepared picnic delivered on demand to your shoreside cabana are what a Palm Island honeymoon is all about. Later on, book the newlyweds’ beach table nestled below a naturally heart-shaped palm tree festooned with fairylights, and sip another rum punch (they are seriously good) while you tuck into a Caribbean feast for dinner.
An unforgettable honeymoon
Palm Island is surrounded by reefs, so off-beach snorkelling is easy – ask at reception for recommended spots and pick up a mask, snorkel and fins from the nearby kit room. Look out for the pod of rays that swim past the island’s landing pier nightly around 10pm – like ghostly shadows, their wings gently breaking the surface, they are a magical sight. Another one for the memory bank…
Peace and quiet
A low-key, restful island, Palm would be perfect for the first week of your Caribbean honeymoon to recharge your batteries after the big day. Combine a stay here with time elsewhere in St Vincent and the Grenadines for the ultimate West Indies holiday. You could even arrange to get married on Palm Island – book seven nights in an Island Loft room and your wedding is thrown in for free! You need to pop over to St Vincent to get the paperwork sorted out (Palm Island will help arrange this), then everything else takes place on the island. Small and quiet, it’s a great location for a second-time-around wedding – or even a spur-of-the-moment proposal and ceremony.
Book your honeymoon trip
W&O Travel Tropical Locations is offering seven nights’ for the price of six at Palm Island, St Vincent and The Grenadines, meaning a seven-night all-inclusive break is available from £1935pp – a saving of £175pp. This special offer includes return flights from the UK with British Airways, return flights with SVG Air to Union Island and boat transfers to Palm Island and is based on two sharing a Palm View Room. Offer valid for travel 26 April – 28 June, 2011, and 18 August – 10 December, 2011. For more information or to book, visit www.wandotravel.com or call 0845 277 3310.