Bequia Island has a unique, magical charm which is hard to find anywhere else in the Caribbean. With fewer than six thousand inhabitants, it feels like home from the moment you arrive; friendliness is the watchword, and the pace is relaxed and easy-going. Don’t be surprised if you are greeted with a warm hello as you walk along the street – a centuries-old dependence on inter-island shipping and trading has meant that Bequians have been eagerly welcoming visitors to their shores for generations. The island’s enduring seafaring heritage is one of its most striking features. Virtually every Bequia family has some connection to the sea either past or present, and today’s fishermen, sailors and boat-builders are quietly proud to share their marine traditions with newcomers to the island.
Bequia fulfils many dreams of the perfect small Caribbean island: beautiful sandy beaches where more than ten people may constitute a crowd, lush green hillsides, attractive little villages, intimate, well run hotels and guest houses, hardly any traffic, places to get together and places in which to find that perfect solitude. Variety and choice on so small an island may come as a surprise – but there are both wherever you look.
Choose a holiday of total beach relaxation or exhilarating sailing and diving in some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Get to know the island on foot, or hire a car and discover so much more than just the golden beaches; take day or overnight trips to neighbouring isles or simply fill up another perfect day doing what is increasingly necessary to unwind – nothing!
Your choice of holiday home could be a luxury hilltop villa, air-conditioned self-catering apartment or first class small hotel, a friendly beachfront guesthouse or a privately chartered yacht swaying quietly at anchor off a deserted beach.
A choice of nightlife too awaits you – gourmet international cuisine, or delicious local cooking; elegant cocktails or sundowners in a local bar; a lively jump up to steel band music or a wonderfully romantic candlelit dinner far away from it all.
And then of course there are the warm tropical nights, with an orchestra of singing cicadas and gently murmuring surf, and the brilliance of the star-studded sky which tells you, if you didn’t already know, that this is where you have always wanted to be.
The Saint Vincent carnival know a Vinci-Mas the world over began in the 1890’s and was celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It was a time when the religious world said farewell to sins and begin the period of fasting called lent in which people refrained from loud behaviour. The 1900 saw the introduction of calypso, but the street parade was made up of mostly working class people. Not so today, as status, ethnic background employee as well as employer comes together in one major outburst of celebrating. 1947-1961 saw the carnival growing and by then consisted of the steelband and is now celebrated from the weekend to the Tuesday of the following week.
The Jaycees took control of the organising of the carnival during the period of 1962-76 and incorporated the different competitions and costumed bands as well as introducing Queen shows and calypso competitions.
1977 saw the changing of the date and the creation of a 10-day festival in July managed by the now organised Carnival Development committee. This date change in no way halted the carnival fever but in many ways made it a bigger and better event. The partying continued to a maximum with a fresh sense of abandonment. Calypso music provides the correct atmosphere and creating the right climate for the real bacchanal. This is a time for throwing away inhibitions and hang-ups to the wind and “freeing-up”. The streets of Kingstown become a hive of activity buzzing with round the clock excitement. During this season the society is classless, non-racial, a miniature United Nations held together by dance, a tower of Babel whose lingus franca is music. The community undergoes s distinct personality change. It is African market place, Mid-Eastern bazaar and downtown Brixton/Brooklyn rolled onto one. Always, there is a constant hammering in the streets to deafening Deejay music blaring out of temporary bars built without doors. A delightful pandemonium reigns supreme in Kingstown on Carnival Monday and Tuesday marking the climatic outbursts of this ten-day orgy of mirth and gaiety. One cannot help by being struck by the clash of music, riot of colour, display of talent and the general movement of a teeming mass of humanity. It is the grand finale, the last lap that builds up in a rising crescendo to the final explosion. The lengthened shadow of the festival lingers as plans are made for the next year. The sweet taste of the parties and fun filled days still in the mouth and the yearning begins and the hearts jumps ahead to the year ahead and plans are made to do it all over again.