Charlotte & her family of three had been longing for their first taste of Bequia, here is their first-hand account.
After 3 national lockdowns, and a baby later, I was really excited to finally be on my way to Bequia.
After a smooth flight(well as smooth as can be expected with an 8 month old Livvy in tow!) directly to Barbados from London, we made the short hop over to ‘The island of the Clouds’ on Bequia Air’s speedy little 9 seater aircraft. Bequia Air is a VIP transfer service connecting both Barbados and St Lucia to Bequia during the high season. What a view it was cruising above the clouds, with the little jewel like islands of the Grenadines coming into view dotted amongst the Caribbean sea. We were greeted by a tropical taxi in the form of a pick-up truck at Bequia Airport (the smallest airport I have even seen) by a smiling Cordelia from the reception team and orders were placed for Rum punches to greet us on arrival – which were extremely welcome!
On our short drive to Bequia Beach Hotel, we got an initial flavour of the laid-back atmosphere of the island, even spotting a free range goat on someone’s car! My first impressions of this charming little island was it felt like a delightful contradiction, remote yet accessible, unspoilt yet with lots to do, off the beaten track, yet with fast wifi at the resort – it was truly the best of both worlds!
Once we pulled into the beautiful lush grounds of the hotel, we were able to get our first glimpse of the stunning setting of Friendship Bay – a completely untouched white sand beach just steps away from our Beachfront Suite. The beaches on Bequia are what you imagine in your mind’s eye when someone mentions the Caribbean – soft white sands, warm clear waters and bar the occasional rum shack, untouched by mass development. Our accommodation was perfect for our needs, the suite was furnished in a throwback chic design, with vintage travel posters (no Tvs here!) with a private balcony which was a lovely spot to watch the sunrise and have our morning coffee.
The hotel also offers private villas with plunge pools available for longer stays or larger groups. We had the choice of spending our days on the deserted beach, or choosing between the two swimming pools (the new saltwater pool is beautiful for afternoon lounging, looking out to Mustique in the distance) it truly is a tranquil place and the easy-breezy pace of life does rub off on you within a few days. Breakfast was served a couple of minutes walk away from our room at Bagatelle restaurant, Livvy in particular loved the tropical fruits with the Caribbean bananas a firm favourite as well as relishing in the attention from the very personable staff; thank you to our breakfast waiter for even showing off some dance moves to keep her giggling!
In the afternoon, we took a short taxi ride to Jack’s Beach Bar. Perched on princess Margaret beach on the other side of the island, this was a real highlight of the trip. The calm warm waters of the bay were so inviting and perfect swimming conditions for little and big ones alike. Jacks, set right on the beach, offered panoramic views of the kaleidoscope Caribbean sunsets and the rum punches slipped down very easily accompanied by tasty fried chicken or lighter bites As a local quite rightly warned us ‘you don’t mess with the rum punches!’ Jack’s really was the perfect melting pot of yachties, locals and holiday-makers. We had a quick browse in the cute little ‘Beach Bums’ boutique well stocked with beautiful tropical swimwear and stylish men’s shirts, we peeled ourselves away and got the complimentary shuttle back to the hotel for a restful night sleep.
The next day we took a short walk from Jack’s to the pretty Port Elizabeth harbour and the Belmond walkway, checking out the selection of bars and restaurants and striking up a conversation or two with the friendly locals. It is a wonderful walk to take late afternoon with a pitstop pizza at Mac’s, a family-friendly casual little eatery and a lovely place to spot the boats bobbing on the horizon.
A revelation of Bequia is it is much hillier than I anticipated, at the top of Jack’s (after tackling a great number of steps) we gawped at the incredibly steep hill, my husband a keen cyclist proclaiming it must be at least 30% gradient! Our taxi driver commented that he didn’t drive up or down that road! There are a number of beautiful walks on the island, including the 90-minute hike up to Mount Peggy which is the highest point of the island, with views to Mustique, Petit Nevis and St Vincent the capital on the mainland.
If you are all inclusive at the hotel there is the choice of three restaurants: at the resort is Bagatelle and Blue Tropic, and then Jack’s on princess Margaret beach (where in house guests can sign everything to the room which is handy). We didn’t try Blue Tropic this time, but it boasts Italian and Mediterranean flavours so will be on the list for next time, but we were lucky enough to experience lobster night at Bagatelle which was lots of fun. Fresh giant crayfishes cooked right in front of you on the bbq yards away from the sea – delicious!
Another highlight of the trip was a whistlestop tour of the super luxury ‘Star of the Sea’ -the resorts 35 metre Italian built Benetti Superyacht. Sleeping up to 12 guests, she can be chartered privately to explore the nearby islands of the Grenadines such as Canouan and Mustique with amazing snorkelling opportunities.
After a blissful few days, it was time to catch our Bequia Air return flight. It was a fond farewell to the wonderful team who looked after us so well as we boarded our 20-minute flight back to Barbados.
Reflecting on our trip, the overwhelming impression of Bequia was that it really is a hidden gem, with picture perfect beaches, friendly locals (who love babies!) and more to do than you would think for an island of its size – it was definitely worth the wait and we can’t wait to return!