Canouan is a very small island—population only about 1,000—that is a part of St. Vincent in the Grenadines in the Windward chain of islands about 1,400 miles southeast of the southern coast of Florida. Its history is of French and British occupation. From 1871 to 1969 it was a British colony, and since then it has been an independent country. The highest point on the island is Mount Royal.
For documentation you will need to have proof of insurance for operating in that part of the world, the airworthiness certificate and aircraft registration and, of course, your pilot and medical certificates. The only other important document needed is a gen dec (general declaration) form, which will be asked for on arrival and departure.
One of the important matters to consider is fuel, which is rather expensive on Canouan. As of late the price has been about $4 per gallon. What’s more, the island doesn’t have any trucks to come to the plane so you need to position in front of the fuel farm and then, because there is no tug, you’ll have to taxi the plane to the next parking spot on the airport. We are in negotiation with them to figure out if we can use one of the private docks, but so far no news.
While it should be a pretty easy flight from Florida with a tailwind, I highly recommend stopping at Borinquen in the northwest corner of Puerto Rico, where as of October 2015 you can take advantage of jet fuel at less than $2 per gallon.
The airport on Canouan, TVSC, offers a nearly 6,000-foot-long runway with RNAV approaches to Runways 13 and 31. It’s pretty easy getting in and out, but there is no taxiway. The airport is served by an air traffic control tower.
Most likely coming from Puerto Rico, San Juan hands you over to Piarco (which is part of Tobago and Trinidad and covers the southern part of the Caribbean), and then you’ll be switched to St. Vincent approach. When in view of the runway you’ll be handed off to the tower. It’s a pretty straightforward approach with the dominant wind coming from the east. Runway 13 is primary.
It’s interesting to note that initially the runway was 3,000 feet long, but because of the number of new resorts, not only on Canoaun but also on the surrounding islands, it was decided that Canouan’s airport would become the jetport of the Caribbean. So they sheared the top off of a hill at the approach end of the runway on the south side to make room to double the length of the runway in order to accommodate larger airplanes including commuters as well as private jets.
This year’s visit to Canouan revealed that a tremendous marina is being constructed on the south side of the airport. Soon the island will cater to both jets and yachts.
One of the nice resorts on Canouan goes by the name of Tamarind Beach Hotel www.tamarindbeachhotel.com. It has four buildings, each three stories high and constructed of wood, that face west and overlook the western side of the island. It is relaxing, beautiful, and run by an Italian, with good cuisine and a rather attractive beach.
On the distant side of the island there’s been development ranging from Carenage, Raffles, and Canouan Resort to Pink Sand Resort, etc. It’s constantly changing, and the Pink Sand should be opening soon. They have a very exciting and attractive room rate in excess of $2,500 per night! The island does have a golf course. Some years ago Donald Trump opened a casino on the island. That was before the extension of the runway. It has since closed.
What makes Canouan an attractive destination is the number of resorts of all tastes as well as all price ranges. But also to the south of Canouan you have one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean, the Tobago Cays. It’s an archipelago comprised of five small islands, none of which are inhabited. It’s also protected as a marine park with a lot of wildlife.
A number of enthusiasts in private yachts go there and to some of the surrounding islands, one of which is called Mayreau, to have a look around. Overflying the Tobago Cays is certainly a worthwhile adventure to pursue either on arrival to Canouan or on departure. The Canouan tower controllers as well as approach in St. Vincent are very accommodating of that request.
Surrounding Canouan you have a number of other very exiting islands. One of them, Mustique, is known for the Cotton House www.cottonhouse.net, a resort popular with movie stars, mostly British, as well as singers.
You also have the Petite St. Vincent Resort www.petitstvincent.com, a very quiet place that used to be a private island with several houses that were turned into a resort about 10 years ago. It basically gives you the feeling of an Aman Resort.
On Canouan itself you have Tamarind Beach Hotel as well as the Pink Sand Resort. On the island of Mayreau there is Mayreau Resort. All wonderful, exclusive places to indulge your island getaway dreams.
Thierry Pouille is the founder of Air Journey www.airjourney.com, which offers aircraft owners and pilots escorted and concierge tours for destinations around the world.