Bequia

Bequia


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Bequia is a beautiful, diverse little island, consisting of no more than seven square miles lying nine miles south of St Vincent, north of Mustique. It is the northernmost and largest of the Grenadines, a string of islands that stretch for approximately 60 miles between the islands of St Vincent and Grenada in the Caribbean. Bequia is too small for big industry, yet large enough to offer the basic needs. The size of the island has also determined the character of its inhabitants. Since they must acquire commodities from abroad, Bequians have had to look to the sea for their living, working as merchant seamen on freighters, as captains and crews on cargo ships, on yachts and cruise ships, and as fishermen and lobster divers.

The History of Bequia


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The first settlers of Bequia were the Arawaks, and later the warlike Caribs. In 1664, France laid claim to Bequia, but did not establish a permanent settlement there. In 1675, the slave ship Palmyra sank off the Bequia coast. The Africans who managed to swim ashore eventually mixed with the native Caribs to form the 'Black Caribs'. The fighting ability of the Caribs kept Europeans out of St Vincent and the Grenadines, even while they were taking over the rest of the Caribbean.

Between 1719 and 1763, French settlers set up lime, indigo and sugar factories in Bequia. By a treaty between the French and English in 1763, St Vincent and the Grenadines was designated British. The island, now mainly in British hands, began to cultivate cotton and then sugar, and they began to import slaves from Africa to help in the enterprise.

Changing Times

In 1834, the slaves were emancipated, and this caused a decline in the planter economy. Since the Bequians had always depended on the sea for much of their food, and for all their communication with the outside world, there was a surge in whaling, fishing, and trading throughout the islands. Boat building became a large part of the Bequia trade. From the 1840s until very recently almost all the regional trade in the Eastern Caribbean was carried on boats built either in Carriacou or Bequia.

In 1979, the State of St Vincent and the Grenadines achieved independence within the British Commonwealth. Bequians now look for their livelihood to lobster diving, fishing and tourism.

Whaling on Bequia

William Thomas Wallace Jr came from Scotland, and he introduced whaling to Bequia. Having worked on one of the New England whaling ships that came to the Caribbean chasing the humpback whale, Bill Wallace started his own shore whale fishery in the mid 1870s out of Friendship Bay. The Ollivierres from France followed suit in 1876 with a fishery at Petit Nevis (a small off-shore island just south of Bequia). Whale meat was a staple food for the population in those days.

Today only one small whale fishery exists. A crew of six sails out on a 26-foot traditional double -ended whale boat. The design is based on that of the small boats carried aboard the large whaling ships that sailed the Caribbean before the 20th Century. There is great excitement on the rare occasion when a whale is caught. Groups gather on the hills to follow the hunt. The butchering is done on Petit Nevis with a constant stream of small boats carrying loads of people to watch and celebrate.

Tourism

Over the years Bequia has retained much of its charm. Famed for having that rare combination of hospitable people, colourful heritage and simple lifestyle, but with modern amenities, many visitors have settled and built winter homes, adding to the ambiance of Bequia.

Bequia's superb anchorage's have brought many visiting yachtsmen to drop anchor in Admiralty Bay to wander along the quaint waterfront at Port Elizabeth, with its bars, cafes and fascinating shops.

There are a few ways to get to Bequia. In 1992, Bequia acquired an airport that can accommodate small aircraft, and there are now charter flights to take passengers to and from St Vincent, Barbados, and other Caribbean islands. There are also ferries running between Port Elizabeth, Bequia and Kingstown, St Vincent. Cruise ships also visit Bequia, and people enjoy day trips to the island.

Best Beaches

The beaches of Bequia are white sand, some are secluded, and all are clean and uncrowded. The waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, sailing, diving, and other water sports.

  • Princess Margaret Beach is just down from Port Elizabeth on the leeward side of the island . This beach is a lovely ribbon of golden sand and is so named because Princess Margaret enjoyed a dip there in 1958.
     
  • Lower Bay is nearby, and is a popular, expansive beach. There are a number of very good, and reasonably priced, bars and restaurants, making it a favourite venue both during the day and in the evening.
     
  • Friendship Bay is a short ride from town, and it is a long, wide sweep of beach, with excellent conditions for diving, sailing and snorkeling. The Friendship Bay Hotel is located there (27 rooms), which has a beach bar and restaurant. Also in Friendship, Herby and Spicy is a delightful beach bar with chair-swings, and weekly jump-ups.
     
  • Hope Bay is north of Friendship, and is a remote, picturesque beach. It is difficult to get to , but that makes it all the nicer! There are no hotels or bars nearby, so bring a picnic. It has rather shallow waters and a long line of breakers from the Atlantic Ocean; this makes it ideal for body surfing and windsurfing.
     
  • Spring Bay is a bit further north and it is romantic and very secluded. There are acres of tall palm trees, the working plantation and hotel of Spring.
     
  • Industry Bay is located just above Spring, and is inaptly named! There is no heavy industry anywhere on the island. Industry has a nice beach and is wonderful for snorkeling.
     
  • Park is a short walk around the corner from Industry, and it is another palm-shaded, undeveloped sandy beach. It is also home to the Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary.

Final Facts

Winter temperatures on Bequia range between 65° and 85°F, summer between 75° and 95° F. Winters are dry, summers are showery. Electricity is 220 volts, 50 cycles AC. Time is GMT -4. Bequia uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar but US dollars are accepted islandwide. Bequia's population is approximately 6000.

Visiting Bequia is taking a step out of the hectic pace of the world, and slowing the pace of life, taking the time to savour this charming island, rich in tranquility and tropical atmosphere.

Grenadines Escape

Grenadine Escape

The tiny island of Bequia has a unique, magical charm, which is hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean.
Your choice of escape could be a luxury hilltop or beachfront villa, air-conditioned self-catering apartment or first class small hotel, a friendly beachfront guesthouse or a privately chartered yacht swaying quietly at anchor off a deserted beach.

Bequia Villas
Bequia Villas

Over 30 luxury, casual and romantic villas are spread across 2500 acres of lush hills and pristine beaches, a quaint port and small village with a handful of shops, small inns, beach bars and restaurants. Each villa is staffed by its owner and includes a minimum staff of two: a maid and gardener and, in many cases, cooking services and additional personnel at the owner's discretion. Jeep Rental on island is USD$ 50 per day and can be added to a villa rental on booking or arranged on island.
Of special note the following houses have CHEFS; Tranquility, Burke House, New Eden, Anthony Eden, Friendship Beach House, Helianthus have cooking included and the following villas have BROADBAND INTERNET: Windsong, Mockingbirds, New Eden

Grenadines Villa top tip: New Eden villa for beach front villa luxury from US$ 75 per person per day. Tranquility Villa eco-tourism from US$ 63 per person per night.

Bequia Hotels
Bequia Hotels

The tiny island of Bequia has a unique, magical charm, which is hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean. There are no big high rise hotels just colonial relics fashioned into island style boutique getaways. We recommend The Plantation Beach Hotel with its own beach and pool and the smaller inns Frangipani and Gingerbread and the Sugar Apple Inn.
Plantation Beach Hotel

Hotel Bequia
Great News!

The Firefly Hotel on Mustique is purchasing the hotel in Spring Bequia and will be transforming the hotel into the Firefly Bequia. In the meantime it will remain in operation as it is, a charming rustic, peaceful retreat with fantastic views over the Caribbean Sea. We fell in love with it as it reminded us of the Firefly in Mustique, so we just had to buy it!

Email or phone us and say you want to stay at Hotel Bequia opening March 5 2007

Hotel Bequia stan@fireflymustique.com
www.fireflymustique.com
www.fireflyhotels.com
Tel 784 488 8414
Fax 784 488 8514

Hotel Bequia is a small hotel on the Caribbean island of Bequia, part of the country called St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the Windward Islands just 6 rooms on a 225 year old, almost 30 acre working plantation.

Hotel Bequia is a unique property that will be appreciated by those looking for relaxing, unplanned hours in a secluded corner of the world. The beauties of nature are emphasized, and we offer tranquillity along with good food and friendly staff.

The hotel is built on the side of a hill to catch the cooling trade winds, and looks out over acres of coconut palms to Spring Bay and the sea beyond. Take a stroll through the coconut grove to the secluded white sand beach on Spring Bay. If you prefer to swim in freshwater, we have a pool. We also have a tennis court.

Fort Recovery Resorts

"The First Gem of the Grenadines."

Bequia Beachfront Villas
Bequia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines - STV

Click here for Bequia Beachfront Information

 

Grenadine Yachts

Grenadine Escape shares 10 years of experience of living on/sailing the Grenadines waters and our intimate knowledge of the yachts.
Amongst emerald green Grenadines islands you enjoy superb line-of-sight sailing conditions in which you can chose between blue water cruising and easy island hops.

Top tip for Grenadines sailing:
57ft Classic Yacht Cavale is luxury sailing for only US$ 230 per person per day. Book with 2 nights at Young Island and save a further US$ 150.
81ft Taboo does Golfing Charter

Enquiries: enquiries@grenadine-escape.com

www.sailrelaxexplore.com SAIL RELAX EXPLORE - where we do the flight bookings and entice folk to get out and about...

www.friendshiprose.com The Friendship Rose

 

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SVG Air

For information and general questions please e-mail : info@svgair.com

Local:
St. Vincent Tel: 784-457-5124
 

 

Fax:
784-457-5077
 

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