Untouched, sleepy and with a small-town charm, Bequia is one of the more off the beaten track islands in the already remote Grenadine Islands. Often referred to as ‘the Caribbean as it once was’, it makes an idyllic cruising spot for superyacht-goers seeking out seclusion.
Pronounced ‘beck-way’, the seven by two mile island is located nine miles south of St Vincent and, with a friendly population of under 5,000, life goes on as it always has, at a snail’s pace.
The sense of tranquillity and tradition that prevails in Bequia is widely down to its inaccessibility. Domestic services from Barbados and St Lucia to the island can be infrequent and often unreliable, but this leaves those travelling by superyacht free to escape the crowds and savour an authentic taste of the region.
Read on to discover how yacht-goers can spend their time cruising this laid-back slice of paradise.
At the top of everyone’s list of things to see in Bequia are the secluded beaches. But, even at peak times of the year, you’ll only ever have to share these coastal beauty spots with a handful of other people.
On the west side of the island, find Princess Margaret Beach, named after the British princess who stopped here for a dip in the 1950s. Caribbean blue waters calmly lap the shore, which is backed by a palm tree forest and a string of driftwood-clad bars.
Equally beautiful but somewhat livelier is nearby Lower Bay. And, on the other side of the island, don’t miss Friendship Bay's long, sublime arc of sand and the wilder but reef-protected Industry Bay.
Even at peak times of the year, you’ll only ever have to share these coastal beauty spots with a handful of other people
Bequia has a proud history of yacht building and the deep-set Admiralty Bay is one of the Caribbean’s most protected, as well as most scenic, natural harbours. Steep, verdant hillsides slope into cobalt waters where scores of sailing yachts gather.
Nestled deep in the bay is Port Elizabeth, the island’s main hub of activity. Stroll through the market, a series of open-air stalls selling fresh produce, or try out the local drinking and dining scene, with the best bars and restaurants lining the waterfront path known as Belmont Walkway.
The Other Attractions
Bequia’s main draw is arguably its slow-paced way of life. The island certainly excels in the art of doing nothing but relaxation can be combined with some easy-going exploration.
A steep mountain range runs down the centre of the island and travellers can take a taxi to Mount Peggy, Bequia’s highest peak, and join the locals for a sunset picnic. Keen hikers can even make their own way from here through jungle-strewn paths to Lower Bay.
A museum in La Pompe, a hamlet on the east coast of the island, which features exhibits on the island’s boat building and whaling history, is also worth a visit.
Bequia certainly excels in the art of doing nothing but relaxation can be combined with some easy-going exploration
The Dive Sites
Snorkelling Bequia’s reef is another way to spend a lazy afternoon but, while in the region, divers and beach lovers alike do not what to miss out on a visit to the coral-hugged Tobago Cays.
Around 30 nautical miles from Bequia, the protected cluster of five uninhabited islands surround a scenic lagoon. Divers and snorkelers can explore the exquisite coral reef, swimming alongside scores of green sea turtles. Round off a trip here by relaxing on one of the whiter-than-white sand beaches.
Among the brightly coloured restaurants lining Belmont Walkway in Port Elizabeth are L’Auberge des Grenadines, which serves a delicious fusion of French and West Indian cuisines, and Frangipani, where diners can feast on a la carte dishes in a romantic, open-air setting.
At Mac’s Pizzeria, choose from 17 mouth-watering toppings, including lobster, while prime steaks and seafood are on the menu at Jack’s Bar in Princess Margaret Beach.
De Reef in Lower Bay transforms from a daytime beach bar into an evening restaurant offering favourites such as curried conch and lobster salad, and light, healthy and locally-sourced food reflects the eco-conscious ethos of Sugar Reef Café in Industry Bay.