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Bequia Island: Authentic Caribbean Experience

Gus Franklyn-Bute Editor-in-Chief

The Caribbean island of Bequia (pr. Bek’way), part of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dubai City share one common characteristic.  For certain, only one of these must see destinations is distinguished for its classically authentic Caribbean experience.

LOWER BAY HOUSE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

LOWER BAY HOUSE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International – FOR SALE
Exquisite 3 Bedroom Suite on waterfront. Incl. dream waterfall and cave. Set between two picture perfect beaches.

Bequia, largest gemstone in The Grenadines island chain

Bequia, the largest gemstone in the ribbon of islands that form The Grenadines, gently pulsate with charm and beauty only nature could fashion.  Beaches shimmer and sparkle in the Caribbean sun. Lush green hills in hues of jade and emerald frame Bequia’s natural harbour, Admiralty Bay. And the island’s well-established maritime traditions of sailing, boat-building and fishing continue to seduce the discerning yachting fraternity who arrive in search of their personal sliver of this definitive Caribbean paradise.

LOWER BAY HOUSE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

LOWER BAY HOUSE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

Grenadine Escape: Bequia, the on-trend fashionable Caribbean destination

From its early heyday in the 1950s, The Grenadines have been a prime luxury retreat and sanctuary for British royalty like Princess Margaret, after whom a beach on Bequia is named.  For over 60 years stars from pop, rock and film have mixed with affluent European and North Americans glitterati in the Grenadines, many setting up second homes in islands like Mustique.  But something is driving Bequia’s recent emergence as an on-trend, fashionable Caribbean destination in the realm of St. Barts, Grand Cayman and St. John (USVI).

The annual Bequia Easter Regatta is amongst the best in the Caribbean and one of the busiest times for tiny island, as visitors drop anchor for a week of fun, racing and frolic. Now in its 33rd year, Bequia Easter Regatta (April 17th – 21st 2014) mark the imminent arrival of the ‘high season’ (late April/early May) when skies are sunny, humidity is low and rainfall is at minimal.  New visitors to Bequia must be ready to adjust to the natural, unfussed warmth of Bequians who are always ready with bright, genuine hello and an open smile.  Is this perhaps an indication of Bequia’s elevation as a fashionable alternative to matured and overly manicured Caribbean destinations that are short on authenticity, sullied, and tired around the edges.

ADMIRALTY BAY, BEQUIA

ADMIRALTY BAY, BEQUIA

Where socialites, celebrities go to find their Mojo

Socialites, celebrities and discerning travellers in desperate need for an authentic escapade from Big City Life (throwback track by international recording artist Marlon Roudette, who hails from St. VIncent and The Grenadines) are making Bequia a fashionable hotspot.  In search of the natural mystic of the island, an authentic Caribbean experience and the double premium of privacy and freedom to relax in the luxury of nature have seen the likes of The Goldsmiths, actress, model and fashion designer Sienna Miller, musical provocateur M.I.A., Academy Award winning actress Rachel Wiez and Hollywood actors Michael Douglas and Johnny Depp find their mojo in Bequia.

COTE D’AZUR, HOPE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International – FOR RENT/SALE
6 Bedrooms (3 Master Suites in individual cottages, 3 Bedrooms in a Family Lodge). Incl Staff Lodge and Pool

 

COTE D'AZUR, HOPE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

COTE D’AZUR, HOPE, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

One may choose to do absolutely nothing and just recline on a deserted beach; perhaps explore Bequia’s verdant uplands by jeep; embark on a dive trip to one of 28 identified dive sites around Bequia; then spent the evening dining on the ‘catch of the day’ on the harbour front as the golden sun reluctantly cascades into tomorrow.  The crystal waters are replete with Hawksbill turtles, lobsters, Moray eels and hundreds of species of marine life and rare fish one may only encounter on a Caribbean dive.  The advanced dive adventurer may be also keen descend to a sucken wreck or into a shallow cave around the island.

Bequia’s authentic Caribbean experience is reflected in its media coverage by travel writers whose description generate intrigue: “As unspoilt as it gets: Bequia is one of the Caribbean’s true hidden gems” (Daily Mail); “Bequia: is this the perfect Caribbean island?” (Daily Telegraph); Island Paradise: The Best of Bequia (National Geographic: Intelligent Travel).

MANGWANA, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International Inspiring views over pristine beaches and islands, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, ocean view, infinity edge swimming pool, cutting edge architecture (v)

MANGWANA, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International – FOR RENT
Inspiring vista over pristine beaches and islands. 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms with infinity pool, cutting edge architecture

 

MANGWANA, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

MANGWANA, BEQUIA | Courtesy: Grenadine Escape International

But what characteristic does Bequia and Dubai City share? Simple: size. The island is a demure and personable 7 square miles (18 km2) in area – clearly punching way above it pint size.  Its counterpart in Dubai City increased from 18 km2 to 110 km2 between 1970 and 1985 and is now one of the most prosperous emirate in the UAE.  While, Bequia have no aspirations to possess an unsightly skyline and a population explosion like Dubai, its true value is perhaps in the friendliness of its people, the openness and welcome to expats and visitors at any time of year, and its radiant natural beauty, which combine to offer a classically authentic Caribbean experience.

Bequia Facts

Climate: Tropical
Population: 4,696
Percentage expats: 7 percent
Population of main town, Port Elizabeth: 2,500
Property prices: US$400,000 – 6,000,000
Price of local beer: US$1.50 for a ‘Hairoun’ or ‘Carib’ beer.
Language: English
ACCESS: Travel from UK/US to Barbados and connecting flight to Bequia, which cost c.US$440 per person round trip. The Mainland St. Vincent is constructing an international airport due for completion end of 2014.

Grenadine Escape International Realty Facts

Grenadine Escape International Realty is a Bequia and London-based real estate agency and development consultancy, renting and selling property in the Grenadines.  They manage the featured properties.  Mangwana is set on a 45-degree slope and was designed by award-winning British architect Jake Edgley.  Lower Bay House,completed six months ago is an exquisite, three bedroom-suite waterfront-home with a dream waterfall and a cave. Set between two, picture perfect, calm, west coast beaches.   Côte d’Azur, which opened two years ago, is set high above the surf of Hope Beach with six bedroom suites and a clubhouse decorated in neutral tones with verandahs with polished mahogany floors.  For more information visit www.grenadine-escape.com and contact Lara Cowan at lara.cowan@grenadine-escape.com

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