Visiting Bequia

The charming unspoiled island of Bequia lies 9 miles south of St Vincent, the mainland, in the archipelago of the Grenadines at the southern end of the Caribbean. The Grenadines reach for 60 miles into the ocean between St. Vincent and Petit St. Vincent. Mustique is perhaps the most well-known of these islands, but the old world feel of Bequia and the easy and friendly manner of the local people is a huge draw to this island of white sand beaches, good restaurants, lively bars and music during the season which stretches from November until after Easter week when things quieten down – but still, the island exudes its magic. “Here on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches you swim in a warm sea, eat fried fish in one of three little shacks and bask in your own good fortune.” Mark Palmer for the Mail on Sunday. Read an article written by James Brown in the Telegraph about Bequia “The Caribbean island that’s cooler than Mustique”. CN Traveler calls Bequia the Caribbean’s best-kept secret.

The nation of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines is made up of 32 islands and cays of which Bequia is the second largest after the “mainland” St Vincent. Only seven sq miles, the island is home to around 6,500 souls. The other islands in the nation are Bequia’s sister isle Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Young Island, Petit St Vincent and Palm Island. Bequia is a small old-fashioned Caribbean island with a working port and small fishing industry. It is connected with the other Grenadine islands by a local ferry service.

As Mark Palmer points out in his Daily Mail travel article on Bequia, ‘there’s a proud history of ship-building (Bob Dylan had a boat made here) and whaling, and yachtsmen still drop anchor in the magnificent capital, Port Elizabeth, coming ashore to stock up on bread and bonhomie.’ Its natural horseshoe-shaped harbour, natural beauty, island charm and open friendly people of African, Scottish, Irish, French, Arawak, Indian and Carib descent, make Bequia a perfect place to relax and unwind.

The artist Julie Lea arrived in Bequia off a boat in the seventies. In her book, Bequia Reflections, she says the island is a state of mind – that holds us in her spell, teaches us about life and beckons us always to return’.

Cassava is situated on Lower Bay which is the largest beach on the Caribbean side of the island. This is widely thought to be the finest swimming beach in the Grenadines. It is safe and currently free. The sand is white and the water is warm year-round. The bay has three beach bars that serve cold drinks and simple hot food.

The island has both Caribbean Sea facing beaches and also Atlantic facing beaches. These differ in character. The Caribbean beaches are hotter and the sea is calmer and clearer. The Atlantic facing beaches usually have a breeze and there will always be waves lapping at the shore which at times can change into good body-surfing conditions.

In order to see all the island has to offer you will need to rent a car. We recommend Raleigh Bynoe’s car rental service Jumpin Taxi’s. He can be contacted on (001) 784 593 3661 or Philmore McIntosh (784) 458 3304

Bequia’s town, Port Elizabeth, has all the necessary shops you will need. From here the national ferry service will take you to explore the other beautiful islands of the Grenadines. There are also some excellent restaurants to choose from. Diving equipment is available and boating trips can be organised. Highly recommended is a day trip to the beautiful Tobago Cays to experience some of the finest snorkelling and diving in the world.