Canouan (pronounced ‘cahn-oo-ahn’) is an interesting place, both historically and aesthetically. This stunningly beautiful hook-shaped island has some of the most brilliant beaches in the entire Grenadines chain, and some of the most secluded hideaways too. In sharp contrast, however, it is also home to one of the biggest resort developments in the region, leaving the island with a very split personality.
Occupying the northern half of comma-shaped Canouan, the Raffles Resort was completed in 1995. A classic walled, all-inclusive resort with privatized beaches, it attracted the well-heeled until 2010 when Raffles abruptly ended its management of the vast property.
Now managed by its original Italian owners, the resort is struggling to find a place during bad economic times. Meanwhile, the rest of the island is a real find for independent travelers. The nonresort half of Canouan is mostly undeveloped and exudes a trad Carib vibe, especially around Charlestown and the ferry dock. The residents are welcoming to anyone who takes time to stop by their beautiful little corner of the world.