Bequia – means “Island of the Cloud”, so named by the Caribs many years ago. It is the largest of the Grenadine islands; about seven square miles in size with the highest peak of 881 feet. Bequia’s population is approximately 5,000, and the community is made up of fishermen, sailors, master boat-builders and whalers! The whaling here is more a ritual and has been done for centuries now with sail boats and hand-harpoons, with the whaler taking as much risk as the whale! Catches average about one per year and in no way threaten the species. With a daily average temperature of 25 C/ 80 F, Bequia’s ideal climate attracts visitors from all over the world every year, and is a popular anchorage for yachts. The people are friendly and speak English…… please ask first if you would like to take a picture of an individual.
Taxis – are waiting to serve you once you get ashore. Please use the taxi that is next in line to avoid confusion. TAXI RATES-to most beaches the fare is US $15.00 per vehicle per hour. For three persons or more in a vehicle the fare is US$5.00 per person per hour.
Tour Guides – be sure to request a tour guide from your driver, or buy a map from your driver or one of the Boutiques.
Water Taxis – are also available, but as most are uninsured and do not carry adequate life-saving equipment, enter these boats at your own risk! Water taxis with numbers on the bow are accredited by the Bequia Tourist Committee.
Currency – at the banks US$1.00=EC$2.67. Other businesses give EC$2.60.
Shopping Hours – 8:00am 0 12:00 noon, 2:00pm – 6:00pm. Bequia has lovely Boutiques and unique Craft Shops where souvenirs may be purchased. Bargains are good. Please keep in mind that prices are fixed…..attempts to barter are sometimes considered offensive.
Hotels and Restaurants – there are several restaurants located around the Harbour, and two hotels within walking distance. Taxi-drivers will be happy to take you to hotels and restaurants located outside the harbour.
Clothing – is informal. Bathing suits should never be worn in town or along the main road without adequate covering.
Beaches – are plentiful and beautiful. DO NOT PICK OR EAT SMALL GREEN APPLES, WHICH ARE CALLED MANCHINEEL. Also please do not litter, as we would like to keep our beaches clean for everyone to enjoy. Topless sunbathing is definitely a no-no on Bequia.
Watersports - why not? Diving, windsurfing and sailing are popular sports here as well as snorkelling. Available through Dive Bequia and Sunsports in the harbour, or Friendship Bay Resort and Bequia Beach Club in Friendship. Windsurfing is also available at De Reef Aquasports at the beach in Lower Bay. The various establishments are responsible for services offered.
Tourist Information Booth – If you require further literature please visit the booth located at the entrance to the main wharf.
Bequians are courteous and very friendly… Remember for your own sake that the Sun and the rum are both strong… Enjoy yourself and come back for another visit soon.
Visitors are often surprised that on an island of only seven square miles there is such an abundance of natural beauty. While exploring, whether it’s by taxi, hired car or on foot, there is a visual feast to be discovered around every corner.
Port Elizabeth is built along the waterfront of Admiralty Bay and into the rising hills surrounding it a number of brightly coloured shops, houses, restaurants, small hotels and guest-houses complete the captivating scene. While strolling around the harbour, look out for the “House of Parliament” the name given to the benched area under the almond trees, where the taxis and dollar vans assemble to collect and deposit their passengers. Bequians of all walks of life gather here daily to discuss the topic of the moment, usually politics or some colourful island gossip.
Discussions can be loud and passionate, deviating quickly and unpredictably, often interspersed with boisterous bouts of laughter.
The Belmont Walkway meanders along the waterfront of Admiralty Bay starting at the popular Porthole Restaurant and Bar in Port Elizabeth and weaving its way South, past the Frangipani Hotel, a favourite “hangout” and watering hole for all visitors to Bequia (don’t miss their Thursday night barbecue and “jump-up”). It was the original birth place and family home of Sir James “Son” Mitchell, the former Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
As the walkway winds its way along the shoreline, you will pass the Whaleboner Inn with its arched whalebone entrance and Pat Mitchell’s splendid Gingerbread Hotel, with its pretty facade of intricate “gingerbread” fretwork. In addition to the delightful restaurant upstairs (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner), the complex also features a coffee shop, travel agency and internet facility. Two of Bequia’s best known dive shops, Bequia Dive Adventures and Dive Bequia are located just beyond Gingerbread Hotel. Take the plunge, stop by and enquire about their one-day resort dive courses, you won’t regret it!
A number of inviting, and inexpensive, little bars and restaurants pop up all along the walkway. For really delicious rotis and local food, stop by The Green Boley, and just next door at Maranne’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop you can sample the best homemade ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt on the island, just a stone’s throw away is the legendary Mac’s Pizzeria, serving the best pizza around, as well as freshly baked banana bread and other goodies fresh from their ovens.
You are guaranteed a fabulous meal at L’Auberge des Grenadines, with their live lobster pool (in season) and fresh St. ‘ Vincent river lobster out of season. Friday nights are undoubtedly the most popular, with music by “Phenix”, a lively rock’n roll band who really get the crowd going!
Guarding the harbour at the opposite end of the bay and offering stunning vistas, is the site of Hamilton Fort, built in the late 18th century. Other spectacular views of the island can be enjoyed from Cinnamon Garden and Mount Pleasant.
Just west of Friendship Bay is the peak that locals sometimes call “The Mountain”. This nearly 900ft hill offers an invigorating hike to the reward of a panoramic view of St. Vincent to the north and the Grenadines to the south. Further along is the quaint and colourful fishing community of Paget Farm.
Moonhole, the extraordinary creation of American, the late Tom Johnston, is about a mile past the airport. A private development of over twenty imaginatively built, “free-form” homes that cling to the natural curves of the hillside. There are no windows, no doors -just openings! The ceilings and walls tend to go their own way – no straight lines – some even have trees growing right in the living room! (There is an organised tour of Moonhole on Tuesdays, bookings are essential – call 458-3068.)
Along the eastern coastline you’ll find Spring, Industry and Park – a stretch of coastline shaded by countless coconut palms and often deserted beaches – excellent for picnics, snorkelling and windsurfing (beware of strong currents). Lunch and drinks can be had at Spring on Bequia Hotel (their Sunday Curry lunches are famous!); while in the area, be sure to visit Spring Pottery and Art Gallery housed within the ruins of the old sugar factory. The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary is located just beyond Industry, at Park Beach. Here, Brother King nurtures over 200 endangered Hawksbill turtles, of all sizes, until they are able to fend for themselves in the “wide blue yonder”.