Bequia is like a moving, breathing screen saver. The picturesque Caribbean island features palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters, lush landscape, rugged hills, stunning sunrises, dramatic sunsets—nearly everything you can ask for in a picture perfect paradise.
But Bequia is far from typical Caribbean destinations. Positioned in the more off beaten track in an array of already remote Grenadines islands, Bequia, while not entirely unknown, remains untouched by mass tourism. There are no shopping centres, casinos, high-rise structures, or large glitzy hotels here.
The island, quiet and peaceful, is an idyllic place for travellers looking to unwind and relax. Make no mistake; it has a lot to offer those who seek adventure too. Make the most out of your busy mornings and enjoy the warm tropical nights under a starry sky while an orchestra of nature sounds serenades you.
One of the eight islands in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines nation, Bequia is considered the second largest island after the mainland. The charming destination, measuring only seven square miles, serves as home to a small population of over four thousand people.
The heart of this charismatic little island is its people. The friendly and welcoming natives are a diverse mix of African, Caribbean Indian, and Scottish people.
As you wander around, you may notice people acknowledging each other with polite nods or little waves. The locals are kindhearted and willing to mingle with outsiders.
There is also a small but thriving community of artists and writers who call the island home. This does not come as a surprise as the colourful isle is a great source of creative inspiration.
Seafarers have long been drawn to the island of Bequia for its striking beaches, busy port that is filled with yachting supplies, great bars and restaurants that make it a perfect shore leave.
Port Elizabeth, the vibrant main town, is busiest during the annual Easter Regatta. During this time, it may be difficult to find lodging around the area.
For people vacationing and living in the island, the port has the essential shops for everything they need.
From the port, the national ferry service can take visitors to the other scenic and stunning islands of the Grenadines. There are also exceptional restaurants for diners to choose from. Those who would like to go on boating trips can organise it in the port. Diving equipment can also be rented here.
Here, you may also find a number of operators that offer charter boats. You may arrange private boat excursions and choose from a wide array of day trips. Local water taxis operating in the port also offer trips between beaches and trips to nearby islands.
During the peak season, the Caribbean Sea is filled with yachts and sailing boats. For years, the easiest way to visit the island was through a yacht or one ferry a day. Today, large public ferries are now able to link Bequia with Saint Vincent. Meanwhile, commuter airlines transport guests from Barbados.
The Bequia Maritime Museum is located on the road from Port Elizabeth to Hamilton. Here you can take a guided tour to find out more about the island’s maritime tradition. A visit here will help you understand why Bequia is regarded as the model sailboat capital of the world.
Meandering in the museum, you will be able to appreciate how Scottish ancestors of the island introduced the art of boat building. You may also see a collection of intricately created model boats that includes detailed replicas of historic vessels. Nearby, you can visit boat shops in the area that display locally crafted model boats.
Additionally, take the time to find out when the tradition of whaling began. This is more than a century old tradition that continues up to this day. The island is one of the few places in the world permitted by the International Whaling Commission to carry out limited whaling. Each year, the natives are allowed to capture up to four humpback whales as long as they use traditional hunting methods. This involves hand-thrown harpoons in tiny sailboats.
Relax and unwind in Bequia’s beautiful beaches and secluded bays. Soak up some sun, walk on fine white sand, and swim in the clear turquoise sea. The choices are bountiful including Princess Margaret Beach, Friendship Bay Beach, Lower Bay Beach, Industry Bay Beach, and Spring Bay Beach.
Spring Bay and Industry Bay, on the windward side of the island, are perfect spots for snorkelling and scuba diving. Travellers can take a short diving course from professional divers, rent equipment, and arrange a snorkelling trip or book a scheduled boat dive in Port Elizabeth.
Explore your eco side, as you get up close and personal with sea turtles. A visit to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary offers travellers with an enjoyable and educational experience rolled into one. Here, you can view young sea turtles and find out more about how to protect these gentle giants of the sea.
And if you simply want a look into the local way of life, head to the busy marketplace whether you are buying anything or not. See the tables upon tables heaped with colourful and fresh produce. And if you already took the time to wake up early and visit the local market, better treat yourself to fresh coconut water straight from the coconut. You are in a tropical paradise after all.
Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.