Travel and Leisure — September 26, 2016 at 5:00 am

Beautiful Bequia: Gem in the Grenadines

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Bequia St Vincent

©istockphoto/Dennis Sabo

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Soak up some sunshine. The second largest island in the Grenadines, Bequia, also known as Becouya, presents seven square miles of magnificent scenery, lush vegetation and white sugar sand isolated beaches.

An integral part of the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bequia is located approximately ten-miles from the nation’s capital city of Kingston. However, because the mountaintops of Bequai are lower than those of Kingston, it has less inclement rainy weather and a greater abundance of sun-blessed days.

In the ancient Arawak language, Bequia means the “island of the clouds”. If you are seeking solitude and serenity, Bequia is an ideal destination for a romantic getaway.

Rich History

Bequai is home to a population of approximately 4,300. The native population is a rich ethnic blend of people of Caribbean, Scottish and African descent. Many of the early settlers were shipwrecked or runaway slaves fleeing the African Slave Trade. During the 1860’s, a significant number of white Barbadians settled in the Mount Pleasant area of Bequai and a good many of their descendants continue to inhabit the island. The most highly populated areas include the capital of Port Elizabeth, Mount Pleasant, Hamilton, Belmont, and the villages at Lower Bay.

The pristine waters off the coast of Bequia are one of the few places left in the world where whaling is allowed. The tiny island has a rich historical heritage of whaling. Although natives of Bequia are allowed to catch up to four humpbacks each year, the quota is rarely met as only traditional methods such as hand-thrown harpoons launched from small open sailboats are allowed.

Bequia diving

©istockphoto/dsabo

Diver’s Paradise

A mecca for snorkelers and scuba divers, guided trips are available to more than 28 identified dive sites. Divers delight is seeing spectacular coral formations, unusual sponges, lobsters, moray eels, a diverse array of tropical fish, and an abundance of Hawksbill turtles. Bequai also draws experienced divers seeking to explore intriguing shipwreck sites and caves that dot the sea floor off the coast of the island.

Be sure to pack your camera, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy hiking boots for enjoyable hikes about the island.

Not Just for Deep Pockets

The island offers accommodations for every budget including hotels, apartments, guest villas and quaint bed and breakfast lodgings. The Bequia Board of Tourism advises, “Travel a short distance away from the heart of the island in Port Elizabeth, and you will find lush green meadows, deserted beaches, spectacular views down the Grenadine islands, densely wooded hillsides, fishing villages, boat-builders executing a skill passed down for generations, artists’ studios, windswept hillsides alive with sheep and goats, fabulous flora and fauna, and a real sense of history and heritage hidden just below the surface.”

Bequia can be easily reached by daily plane connections from surrounding islands that service the island’s airport at Paget Farm as well as via an international inter-island ferry servicing Port Elizabeth.

Bequia nature

©istockphoto/Ashley Olsen

Are you one of the lucky travelers that have visited Bequia? Please share travel tips and tales of your adventure below!

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