Escape to Bequia
If you happened across my 2015 Travel Bucketlist earlier this year, you might have spied a relatively unknown island on there… Bequia (pronounced ‘Beck-Way’) is a short hop, skip and 45-minute flight from Barbados but a world-away from the glossy, all-inclusive resorts. After dreaming of this little slice of paradise ever since I spied it in CN Traveller a year or so ago, I finally managed to get over there and experience it for myself (and take lots of photos of it while at it).
We flew into Barbados and seamlessly got on our SVG 12-seater plane to Bequia. As soon as we flew over the turquoise waters and landed at the hilariously tiny airport, I kew I’d like the place. And by the time we left, it had lived up to every expectation I had and beyond…
We stayed at Sugar Reef, an American-owned hotel on the Atlantic side of the island that was like a picture-perfect Swiss Family Robinson situation with shell-encrusted mantlepieces, candy-striped chairs and white-washed shutters, making it one of the prettiest places I’ve ever stayed. I heard about again through CN Traveller and a friend who’d been and turned me onto Bequia thanks to her insane instagram outage while there. Twelve rooms, the nicest staff, small, perfectly-formed menus at dinner and a barefoot, relaxed atmosphere only added the charm and all-round dreaminess of the place. If you look at the hotel’s website, it has a ‘Go or No’ section which aims to weed out those people who demand 24/7 room service, faultless phone reception and constant activities in the hope that those who end up here will truly relish ‘Caribean time’ and kick back. We most definitely did.
Pretty beautiful right.
The breakfasts were one of my favourite bits, every morning bringing different, homemade goodness. Passion fruit and banana bread, guava jam. fresh granola, pumpkin frittata and fresh pineapple juice were a few of the things we were lucky enough to start the day with while there….
On our first morning, we explored the hotel’s rugged but beautiful beach, reading on the wooden chairs by the shore and wandering down and finding a sandy nook to swim in. We loved how it felt slightly undone and natural, with hammocks strung between trees, hunks of driftwood littering the beach and faded sun loungers looking out to sea.
After the morning at Sugar Reef, we jumped in a taxi and headed 15 minutes across the island to the turquoise waters of Princess Margaret beach. Sugar Reef’s beach is lovely to look at but there is a lot of seaweed and it’s choppy at times, so if you want white sand and coral-filled seas to flat in, Princess Margaret beach is the place to head.
Oh and the taxis are pretty cool today… Uber has got nothing on these open-air pickup trucks.
And what a beach… I’ve been to quite a few good beaches in my time; Tulum, Zanzinbar, the Whitsundays, but I think Bequia’s might be the best yet. The kind of beach that makes you grin as soon as you spy that bright, sapphire sea through the palms… And even better, you basically have it all to yourself. Aside from a few ribs that come in from the boats moored in the bay, leisurely snorkelers and the odd friendly dog, you can pretty much live out the castaway dream in total peace.
There’s a couple of stalls selling rum punch, tote bags and jewellery and a shack at the furthest end with a couple of snoozing rastas that man a chest freezer full of cold sodas and water. Other than that, there’s one restaurant on the beach called Jack’s that’s a good spot for lunch or a sundowner with a view. Despite the perfect weather, anytime after Easter is deemed low season so the restaurants are erratic in their opening times. Ask the hotel to call ahead and see what’s open and make a reservation. Sometimes they’ll open just for you if you’re lucky.
The walk round to Port Elizabeth was a high point and definitely worth a wander… Walking on decking above the water and twisting round the headland will immediately put you in holiday if for some weird reason you weren’t already.
We stumbled upon an old, deserted allotment of time shares or holiday homes that were asking for photos Apparently it’s been empty and derelict for 20 years or more, but Jamie and I both agreed that the sugary pink and green wooden huts would have been a dream abode for the likes of us. On that note, if at some point in my life I can afford to a buy a house somewhere exotic and far away from it all, this would be where I’d do it…
After lots of swimming, reading and snorkelling all afternoon, we took out salty selves round to the other side of Princess Margaret beach to Lower Bay for a glass of rum punch before getting a cab back to a candlelit Sugar Reef for dinner.
More from beautiful Bequia soon…
White bikini | Melissa Odabash via Beach Cafe
Stripe blouse | Joie via Harrods
Denim shorts | Vintage (similar from Asos here)
Crochet beach bag | Vintage (similar here)
Hamman towel | Hammamas
Blue paisley dress | Faithfull the brand
Sunglasses | Celine
Leather sandals | Old Asos (similar here)
Ph. by yours truly and James Wright
Sony RX100 ii, Leica M Series, iPhone 6 and Lomo LC-A