St Vincent and Grenadines
An almost mythical utopia of virgin beaches, rustic rum shacks and bays so scenic you feel like you’re intruding - Bequia Island is an island mirage of Caribbean perfection. This is the real, unspoiled experience - and with just 6,000 locals living here, you quickly start to recognise the same smiling faces, welcoming you with outstretched arms. Offering glorious - often deserted - beaches of pure golden sand, and hillside sweeps of forest and almond trees, Bequia Island is an extraordinary feast for the senses.
Unlike some of the flashier Caribbean islands, Bequia - a part of the Grenadines - is a rustic, unassuming and off-the-beaten-path choice. The staggeringly picturesque natural harbour, Admiralty Bay, greets you on arrival, and is peppered with day-tripping yachts bobbing on the gentle waves. The island’s tiny capital, Port Elizabeth, sits behind, with its bustling fruit and vegetable market, turtle sanctuary, and stalls selling hand-crafted model ships.
This tiny, pretty island is ridged along the centre, and you can earn your beachside bliss with a gentle hike to the top of Mount Peggy, looking out over views of Grenada and St Vincent. At just seven miles long, you can discover the whole island in a few hours – but that would be to miss the point somewhat. Bequia Island coaxes you in to slow the pace and soothe your soul on blissful beaches, where you can revel in the uncomplicated joys of sitting, reading and swimming in heavenly shallow waters. The royally approved Princess Margaret Beach is one of the finest - an arching band of soft sand and cobalt-blue waters. As evening sets in, you may find you’re beckoned to share with communal barbecues of the day’s fresh catch with the locals, or to indulge in rum-heavy cocktails at beachside bars, lashed together from sea-blanched wooden limbs.