The Instagram Guide to Canouan

Never heard of Canouan? You’re not alone! Here's why you should add the Caribbean hideaway to your bucket list.

(Image credit: Alamy)

Editor's note: We encourage our readers to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for up-to-date information on how to safely travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canouan (pronounced CAN-oh-wan) is so off-the-radar that you can’t blame your phone for trying to autocorrect it to "Cancun." The crescent-shaped Caribbean island with spectacular ocean views is part of a chain of islands called the Grenadines  that runs between the islands of St. Vincent and Grenada. If you arrive in Canouan by plane, you’ll likely fly in from Barbados (BGI airport). Be sure to enjoy the view coming in: the small landmass is framed by white sand beaches, incredibly blue waters, and Mount Royal, the highest point of the island. Once you touch down, expect to be greeted by dozens of tortoises, which is only fitting since "Canouan" is the Carib word for "turtle." Although the island is small, it’s packed with memorable activities. Below, our roundup of what not to miss.

Embrace Luxury at the Mandarin Oriental

The expansive grounds of the Mandarin Oriental Canouan may make the resort seem large, but its 1,200 acres are home to only 26 suites and 13 villas. The remote hideaway will make you feel like you’ve gotten away from it all while modern amenities keep the world at your fingertips. Sit back at the infinity pool or one of the resort’s white sand beaches and feel any stress drift away with the tide.

Hike Mount Royal

Mount Royal, the highest point on the island, offers panoramic views of Canouan, plus neighboring islands including St. Vincent, the Grenadines, even St. Lucia. The hike only takes about 30 minutes to get to the top, but you'll gain a lot of altitude, so bring plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes!

Swim With Turtles in the Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays are protected as a marine park, which means they offer extraordinary snorkeling featuring plentiful green sea turtles swimming in clear blue waters. Fun fact: The 1,400-acre archipelago of the Tobago Cays contains five small uninhabited islands, including one where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed!

Lay Back at Shell Beach

Whether you prefer to lounge in a beach chair or grab a paddleboard and cruise the calm waters, Shell Beach is the perfect place to sink into vacation mode. For lunch, Shell Beach Bar and Grill offers Caribbean fare like jerk chicken and the fresh catch of the day.

Golf (or Don’t!) With Sunset Views

Canouan’s stunning 18-hole golf course offers up its beauty to golfers and non-golfers. The 13th hole has incredible views of both the sunrise and sunset, making it the perfect spot for a romantic evening picnic (after all the players have passed) or an impromptu happy hour. 

Unwind at the Most Breathtaking Spa

The Balinese-inspired spa at the Mandarin Oriental has two overwater bungalows as well as hillside rooms accessed by a tranquil wooden walkway. Listen to the waves crash as you get your individualized massage or facial. Nothing more relaxing than that!

If you've fallen in love with Canouan, book a trip here.

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, and relationships. Misuse of the word "literally" drives her figuratively insane.