On a recent Seabourn Spirit cruise, I had the opportunity to visit Bequia, in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
Bequia (pronounced beck-way in English) is the second largest island in the Grenadines.
The Grenadines are really remote. There’s even dispute about how many islands there really are. Some total the islets and rocky outcrops (which can be almost on top of each other) in the 600’s. But there’s really about 125 different islands that constitute the core of the Grenadines. The northern two-thirds of the island chain are administered by St. Vincent.
The islands are very different. Some are rich in vegetation, and others are rocky. Some have sheltered harbors, and some have sheer cliffs. The population of the whole area numbers around 8000.
Given Bequia is the second largest, it’s amazing just how small it is. The island of Bequia is just 18 sq km (7 sq miles) in area, and lies 15 km (or 9 miles) from St. Vincent.
You can visit Bequia by plane or take the ferry to Port Elizabeth in Admiralty Bay. (We tendered off the Seabourn Spirit.) Once you arrive, the island is very friendly. My colleague, Alex Yates, and I hired a local cab to tour the island. For $60 USD, we had a 2.5 hour tour of the island by a very personable guide. Great value, and great introduction to the island.
The waterfront and the Belmont Walkway are lined with bars, restaurants and shops. On the beach, you will see fishermen tend their nets, maintaining Bequia’s most important industry. In town, two renowned workshops turn out scale models of sailing ships. (Although our guide told us that tourism is the main stay of the island. Our guide works from November-April in tourism, for the cruise ship season, as most in the tourism trade do.)
The main sights on Bequia can be easily covered in the 2.5 hours that we toured it. You can start with St. Mary’s Anglican Church (1829) and the ruins of Hamilton Fort, which affords a good view of Admirality Bay. The whaling museum at Friendship Bay is quaint, but the port is still used by some of the island families for harpoon fishing.
From Mount Pleasant you get a good view of the island, and in the northeast, the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary gives you the chance to see the green turtles. We had a great visit with the turtles.
And, as our ship’s tour book noted, “you can end your visit with a swim at the extraordinary Princess Margaret Beach near Port Elizabeth, noted for its coral reef and excellent snorkeling. The sands at the adjacent Lower Bay are just as alluring.”
It rained almost all the time we were on Bequia, but Alex and I hardly noticed. We enjoyed touring this small yet charming little island. We really enjoyed hearing the steel drum band, and visiting Bequia Beach Hotel as well.
Give me a call if you’d like to visit. The Seabourn Spirit is a great itinerary to get you there!