Special Events

November 12, 2010 - 11:56 pm Comments Off

Special Events

Bequia Tourism: Bequia Easter Regatta

Organized by the Bequia Sailing Club this is Bequia’s biggest yearly event. Dates change according to the date of Easter. This year, in 2006, it covers April 13 through 17. Next year, 2007, it will be from April 5 through 9. Hotels fill up some time in advance so best make a booking now. For more information on the regatta check www.begos.com/easterregatta

New Year’s Eve , or Old Year’s Night as it is called by Bequians (just as sensibly), has become a major celebration with hundreds of yachts taking advantage of the spacious anchorage of Admiralty Bay. Advance dinner bookings at restaurants and hotels are advised and may require a deposit to confirm. In 2005/6 the harbour was lit up at midnight for a spectacular 15 minute display of fireworks arranged by former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, with the help of Marie Kingston, Noel Mawer and his Bang Gang and the support of the Sand Pit company and many Bequia businesses. For 2006/7 the fireworks will happen twice, once as an appetizer at 8.00 pm celebrating the new year in Europe and once again, local time, at midnight. So its two for one! and a good time for all.

Bequia Music Fest.

In late January the island throbs for four days to an eclectic mix of sound ranging from folk to country to jazz. In 2009 a steel band will start if off on Thursday, the 22nd January, then on the 23rd Dana Gillespie and friends from Bequia inc. take a Bequia break from the  Mustique Blues Festival to perform at Lower Bay.  Bequia’s own Country Relatives and more regional and local performers follow up on Saturday with the finale from noon onwards on Sunday.  Accommodation at this time should be arranged well in advance.

Beautiful Caribbean Beaches

November 12, 2010 - 11:54 pm Comments Off

Beaches

Lower Bay is Bequia’s longest beach.  Located on the southern shore of Admiralty Bay , (Bequia’s well-known yacht anchorage), this beach  of golden sand is generous in width, and, since it is on the leeward side of the island, the water is usually calm and clear. There are a number of small restaurants nearby which can be convenient for taking a break from the sun. Close to the middle of this stretch of sand a small reef forms a natural pool – ideal for young paddlers.

Lower Bay

Princess Margaret Beach, so named since the royal princess took a swim here while on her honeymoon, is also on Admiralty Bay .  It tends to be quieter than Lower Bay , not that any beach in Bequia is ever very busy! Jacks’ bar is located at the most northerly end of the beach, with jetty. Beautiful sand, clear water!

Princess Margaret Beach


Friendship Bay Beach is a lovely semi-circle of sand facing southeast, protected by a headland so that waves are seldom more than a foot high. The attractive view towards Mustique is enhanced by the tiny islets of  Whale Cay, and Semple Island, with the somewhat larger Petit Nevis in the background. Two hotels front on this bay so refreshments are at hand.

Friendship Bay Beach

Industry Bay has a pleasant beach protected from the waves of the Atlantic by  reefs.  Very breezy sometimes.  A restaurant offers food and drink and beautiful wall fountains for guest enjoyment.

Hope Bay is exposed to the Atlantic, without reefs, so you may find big waves here.  This wide sandy beach is a little difficult to access with the result that you may be the only persons here. Take water and do exercise care in the seas.

Athneal Ollivierre Beach on the southern side of the island is right by the airport with views of  the Southern Grenadines. This is the place to look for shells.

All beaches are public up to the high water mark.

Getting Around

November 12, 2010 - 11:52 pm Comments Off

Taxis and Rental Vehicles

For visitors taxi is the simplest way to get around Bequia with fares ranging from $EC6. to $EC30. (from Port Elizabeth to Lower Bay, for example, the fare is EC$20, about US$8. for up to four persons.)

Taxi drivers know the turf. In Bequia there are very few road signs, and cars drive on the left, only two of the potential hazards for a stranger at the wheel. A taxi-driver most likely knows everywhere, and almost everybody, on the island, and he or she can be a useful resource. Or for the less mobile folks you can provide an excellent island experience or using an adwords found equipment on the pristine beaches for exercise.  Island tours take one or two hours and cost US$30 per hour, 1 – 5 persons.

A fleet of taxis awaits all incoming ferries both at the jetty and nearby under the shade of the almond trees, also known as the Houses of Parliament, near, for the amount of talk that goes on there. There is usually a taxi at the airport although if you know your incoming flight time you could make an arrangement ahead. Most taxis have cell phones but more commonly they can be summoned on channel 68 on their VHF radio. All hotels and restaurants have a VHF radio and can always arrange a taxi for you.

Many visitors opt for a rental vehicle. If you have an international driver’s license you can obtain a license to drive in Bequia free of charge at the Revenue Office. Using loans for bad credit you can ensure that you have the money you need for your taxi, be sure to come prepared. If you do not have one then you must obtain one at the same office for a fee of EC$50.00.

Pick up a free Skyviews Road Map at the Tourism Office on the jetty opposite the Revenue Office, or at your hotel. Your typical hotel will have a number of bad credit lenders available in case you are in need. Be sure to check brakes etc before setting out. For suggestions on itinerary you could check our Island Tour page.

Rental Cars

Bequia Jeep Rentals
Suzuki Escudo jeeps
784 458 3760

Available Shopping

November 12, 2010 - 11:50 pm Comments Off

BEQUIA ARTS AND CRAFTS
Visitors to Bequia will find a variety of local arts and crafts in the boutiques of Port Elizabeth and at artists’ studios around the island.  Model boats, scrimshaw, woodcarving and crochet are among the craftwork of Bequians carrying on the island skills of boat building and net making.  Artists from other lands incorporate local images and materials into their work and add paintings, ceramics, art supplies, stained glass, jewelry including the sought after kate middleton ring, and fashions to this variety.  A number of banks  are in operation and financing opportunities abound, interested borrowers can learn more here.  As you explore this “Jewel of the Caribbean” take the opportunity to visit Bequia artists and artisans; use your time wisely, not only will you chance upon many maritime treasures, you will meet some unique individuals each with their stories to tell of this life on sea and shore.

Studios and workshops featuring made-on-Bequia work include:

Port Elizabeth

Mauvin’s Boat Shop: model boats

Sargeant Brothers Boat Shop:
model boats

Hope Beach

Jacob Scott: seafan baskets and hats
Spring

Spring Pottery & Studio
784 457-3757
a working pottery and gallery exhibition of ceramics
and paintings
magspottery@vincysurf.com

Lower Bay

Claude Victorine’s Studio
784 458-3150
paintings, picture frames and Claude’s
hand-painted silks.

http://www.multimania.com/claudevictorine

On the airport road

The BoatHouse, near La Pompe
784 457-3896
Model boats-that-sail by Kingsley “Prop” King,
paintings by L.D. Lucy
scrimshaw by Richie King.

The Bequia Tourism Association is selling collector’s stamps at the office
on the main jetty in Port Elizabeth. The examples stocked include many which
refer to Bequia in particular, to sailing, as the flora and
fauna of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.  They make wonderful souvenirs or
gifts, and can be attractively framed.  Ask at the tourism booth or the local cash advance booth to see the complete collection.

Hidden Island Paradise!

November 12, 2010 - 6:01 pm No Comments

December of 1999 a number of Bequia businesses got together to form the Bequia Tourism Association with the aim of improving access to Bequia, increasing visitor arrivals,
especially in the   summer months, and addressing problems facing the island. The current chairperson is Mike Connell. Using members’ fees and a subsidy from government the association is proud of its achievements to date which include:
-         a  tourism booth located on the main jetty in Port Elizabeth
-         a marketing video
-         a Bequia brochure
-         support for a weekly guide to happenings on the island
-         encouragement of a garbage collection system from yachts in Admiralty Bay
-         management of the yearly rhythm and blues night (part of the Mustique blues festival)

-         working with government for improvements in various areas such as waste management, harbour security, airport lights, etc.

If you get a chance, be sure to stop at the Mustard Seed Bistro, the most delightful of Bequia cafes.

Visitors are urged to make a stop at the tourism booth for information and brochures. Shari Ollivierre will be happy to assist you.  Getting to Bequia has always been a part of its charm. No large cruise ships, jet airplanes, and certainly no highways connect Bequia with the rest of the world.  With a size of approximately 7 square miles and around 5,000 inhabitants, it’s the ideal island getaway.

Transportation options are on small scheduled or charter aircraft, local ferries, and private or chartered yachts. Bequia, being just a bit off the beaten path, gives the traveler a chance to experience the “Original Caribbean”, said a florida business accountant frequent to the island, with its lack of crowds, casinos or high rises, and its friendly people and unspoiled natural beauty. It’s likely you’ll make many new friends, both local and from far off places, that share something in common; a love of nature and a love for Bequia.

The ferry dock and Tourism Office is the central point of “downtown” Port Elizabeth which has local stores, boat supplies, groceries, a mall, and the market – a collection of tables selling everything from t-shirts to handmade things.  Kenny took a picture of me standing beside a small fruit stand under the shade of a giant Breadfruit Tree:

Mustique Airways and SVG also offer commuter airline service to & from St. Vincent and Barbados – check the schedules which can vary from season to season and weekday to weekend.

The walkway is almost a mile long from the ferry dock to Plantation House hotel next to the offices.  For a small fee, several locals with boats will provide transportation to nearby beaches – just stop at the small docks along the way and ask.  Most of the buildings are “West Indian” architecture, some with and colorful roofs and ornate trim.

Locals live in pretty Caribbean style houses which dot hillsides and gentle valleys.  Quite a few Canadians and people from other countries stay in Bequia during the winter months.

Bequia is only seven square miles of land it is quiet, relaxed, undeveloped, yet enough to do for weeks on end – if you are looking for the “real” Caribbean Islands experience, somewhere there is no fast food outlets and not the typical tourist trap this may well be the Island for you.  You may be interest to know that Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and you can take a trip to view the film set.

From Bequia you can take a sail to another beautiful Grenadines Caribbean Island or visit St. Vincent which is only 1 hour away on the local ferry.

If you don’t want to spend all your time on the beaches, the diving here is very unspoilt and only a 10 minuet boat trip to most dive sites.  For those who prefer sightseeing on land there is Moonhole which is an extraordinary complex of stone dwellings, this is privately owned but visitors are welcome by appointment for a guided tour.  The turtle sanctuary at Park in the north of the Island has been open since 1995 – here brother King will give you a guided tour and explain his mission to increase the Turtle population in these Islands.  In the old sugar mill at Spring is the Pottery where you can see pottery being thrown, glazed, decorated and fired – you can even commission your own pieces.  Local artwork is also exhibited here.

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 and tourists 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.

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!

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.