During the month of May I literally filled my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts with stunning images of my trip to the island of Bequia. If you have been following my blog for a while you may recall me posting about the destination under “Bridal Diaries”, when I was in the middle of planning my nuptials. Unfortunately, my fiance and I broke up and the wedding never happened BUT 45 family and close friends decided to still take the trek with me to spend my birthday on the secluded island, which ended up being the trip of a lifetime for all those who came but a tiny bit bittersweet for me.
Bequia (pronounced Bek-Way), which means “Island of Clouds” is the largest of the islands in the Grenadines – a string of islands that stretch roughly 60 miles between St. Vincent and Grenada. The island is only 7 square miles with a population of around 4,300 and is relatively quiet majority of the year, with the exception of the annual International Easter Sailing Regatta, which draws visitors and yachtsmen from all over the world during that long weekend. So if you’re looking for nightclubs and casinos, sorry this NOT the place for you. This island is so keen on keeping the island water clean and eliminate unnecessary noise pollution, you won’t find jet-skis or sea-doo’s speeding around the harbours as they are banned. I always refer to the destination as a location for the “well-heeled” traveler (no pun intended) as it’s very far off the beaten travel path, doesn’t have any commercial flights coming in and out of the airport or any gargantuan all-inclusive hotels. But what you will get when you’re there is extreme luxury, privacy and some of the warmest people you will ever meet in your life.
Amitabah Villa – Lower Bay Beach
Seeing as though I no longer needed the mega mansion I had rented for the entire bridal party, a few friends and I shacked up with my parents in their 12,000 sqft rental digs, Amitabah Villa, overlooking Lower Bay which included a tennis court, gym, infinity pool, pool table, 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, full house staff including butler, maid, chef and house manager – so not too shabby of a backup plan. During our family vacays we usually steer towards renting private villas rather than staying in hotels. To be honest, once you have a good villa experience, its so hard to go back to hotels. I really enjoy the enhanced privacy of villa life and love that whatever you want to do is on your own terms.
Booking a villa in Bequia is a lot easier and sometimes can be cheaper, than what you may think. In my opinion, I can’t think of a better type of accommodation when you are traveling with a group of people. You can find plenty of options for any budget ranging from as low as $1,500 to $20,000 per week. The best variety of property choices can be found on www.grenadinevillas.com and www.grenadine-escape.com.
Jack’s Bar – Princess Margaret Beach
Although we enjoyed fresh and delish food prepared by the villa chef, its always nice to venture into town to experience some local food and restaurants. Jack’s Bar has always been a favourite of my family. It sits on the water at Bequia’s most famous beach, Princess Margaret, where many yachtsmen anchor their boats and the view is beyond amazing. The architecture is really unique and open with no walls enclosing the space and a makeshift ceiling made to resemble the sails on a boat. Open day and night, its offers an extensive menu with Mediterranean influences. Although a bit on the pricey side, they have the best burgers around and the beach side eating and drinking, doesn’t get any better than this.
Beach view from Jack’s Bar
Another foodie fave during this trip was the Thursday night Frangi BBQ and Jump Up at the Frangipani Hotel & Restaurant. Their phenomenal buffet features your choice of either an 8 oz striploin steak or fish with unlimited sides that literally seem to go on for miles. Make sure to try Frangi’s famous lime pie. The recipe has been a guarded secret for over 35 years…if you have a sweet tooth you would definitely appreciate the smoothest limey filling, fluffiest of meringue and it’s mouthwatering shortbread crust. I am 100% certain I left that evening a type-two diabetic after eating multiple slices. The buffet is more than reasonably priced at just $35 USD/person. Reservations for dinner are required.
Boarding in Bequia onto “My Fantasea” power cat
So people keep asking me what the highlight of the trip was and without second guessing it, it had to be taking the group on this 60ft catamaran on a sailing trip through the Tobago Cays in the Grenadines. The Cays, pronounced Keys, is an archipelago of five small islands sheltered behind a horseshoe reef…far from civilization and only accessible by sea meaning it is never overrun by an influx of annoying tourists. Our friends and owners of Fantasea Tours, Kim and Earl Halbich, took us to our first stop which was in Canouan, swear to you it has the whitest of sand and the bluest water known to man before docking to eat, swim, drink copious amounts of rum punch and dance on our very own private beach for the day – Salt Whistle Bay. Fantasea Tours has always done a superb job with private chartered land/sea tours and have a variety of boats to suit any needs; a 28 ft Bowen, 38ft Bowen, 42 ft custom built snorkel/dive boat and of course the 60 ft power catamaran.
Canouan Photo Credit: In & Outs of St. Vincent
If you’re heading to Bequia or any other island in the Grenadines, this is an experience that cannot be missed. One would think that after traveling to the island so many times, the novelty would eventually wear off for me, but let me tell you, the views never gets old and to be able to experience it with people who are seeing it for the first time during this trip, made it that much more exciting.
How to get there: Due to the size of the island and its teeny tiny airport, commercial airlines cannot fly directly into Bequia and must connect through Barbados – this is probably the only reason why this island is still lush and untouched. Most airlines from North America and Europe fly to Barbados and you will need to purchase connecting flights on www.mustiqueairways.com. Just a heads up, because Mustique Airlines is a tiny operation, your travel agent will not be able to book you straight through to Bequia and will have to be booked separately on their website. There are only two flights that depart Barbados each day for Bequia and really only one that makes sense for connecting passengers. If you are traveling with a group of people, it actually makes sense to do a private charter. Mustique Airways has aircrafts that can accommodate anywhere from 9-19 passengers for private charters.
1/2 of the Exeter family
This was no doubt a trip of a lifetime for myself and everyone who joined me. It is forever etched in our memories…see you next year Bequia! Big thanks to Fantasea Tours, the entire house staff at Amitabah villa and Grenadine Villas. For more information on Bequia and the Grenadines, head to www.discoversvg.com.