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Cruises to Bequia

Bequia (Photo:Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock)

About Bequia

Deep in the Southern Caribbean is a tiny green island, just seven miles square, once known as "Island in the Clouds." Life moves slowly here; days are long, languid, leisurely. Most visitors arrive not by cruise ship but by sailboat, anchoring alongside fishing boats in natural bays fringed by white beaches and tangled foliage. Like their ancestors, many islanders still make their living from the sea -- fishing, lobster diving, boat building and working on yachts and cargo ships -- and live in small, sustainable homes with no running water. Shops offer not duty-free goods but genuine local handicrafts, from pottery to scrimshaw (etchings made in whale bone).

Where is this idyllic hideaway? It's not some Caribbean island of decades ago, before the onslaught of mass tourism and mega-ships; this is modern-day Bequia (pronounced BECK-way), the second-largest island in the nation known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Bequia does welcome some cruise visitors, but only from the likes of SeaDream Yacht Club, Island Windjammers, Silversea, Windstar and Star Clippers -- all lines with ships small enough to anchor alongside the yachts in Admiralty Bay and tender passengers to shore. With the construction of a small airport in 1992, the island is now more accessible to visitors than it was in the past, but it remains refreshingly unspoiled, just the way locals -- and visitors -- like it.

Bequia's "Island in the Clouds" moniker comes from its original Carib name, Becouya. The Caribs were the native tribe in control of the island when the French arrived in 1664, and they put up a fierce resistance to European colonization. But by the 1700s the French (and later the English) had gained control and set up a number of thriving sugar plantations. Today there are few remaining signs of Bequia's sugar-growing past; the trade largely died out in the mid-19th century and gave way to the marine industries that remain Bequia's main livelihood. The island was particularly prominent in the whaling industry for a time, though today's environmental regulations mean that Bequians are only allowed to harpoon two whales a year (an affair accompanied by great festivities throughout the island).

Bequian life remains inextricably tied to the sea -- from the fresh-caught fish and lobster of its restaurants to the revolving mix of sailors and cruise visitors who become welcome friends while they're here.

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Star Pride
Star Pride

7 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

109 Reviews
Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Dec 4, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Wind Surf
Wind Surf

14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

236 Reviews
Leaving:St. Maarten
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Wind Surf
Wind Surf

18 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:St. Maarten
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Dec 28, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Star Pride
Star Pride

14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Cruises Australia (CC)

14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 29, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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6 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Star Clippers
Jan 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Mar 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Mar 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Feb 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

2 Reviews
Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Nov 24, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Mar 8, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Mar 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Nov 23, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 26, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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9 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Nov 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

18 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:St. Maarten
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Dec 27, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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56 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:St. Maarten
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Nov 13, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Feb 26, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Nov 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Nov 17, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:San Juan
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Jan 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to BequiaDetails

Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Jan 15, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Bequia?

Pros:

Water babies enjoy white-sand beaches, clear waters for snorkeling or sailboat rides to Mustique

Cons:

Only the smallest luxury cruise ships actually call here

Bottom Line:

This tiny island is a picture-perfect spot for an uncrowded beach day

Bequia Cruise Port Facilities?

Port Elizabeth encompasses only a few streets and a pretty harbor area. Shops and restaurants border the waterfront path known as the Belmont Walkway. There is also an open-air market in town as well as Bequia Technology Center (Front Street; 784-458-3045) for Internet access. Princess Margaret Beach is a 30-minute walk (or quick cab ride) from Port Elizabeth. From town, the Belmont Walk joins the newer Princess Margaret Walk, which meanders along the rocky coastline in spectacular fashion. Even if you're not interested in going to the beach, this is a lovely walk.

Good to Know?

If you decide to use the local public transportation system, be aware that vans may sit and wait to depart until they're full, and that schedules may be erratic. Be sure you know how you're going to get back to the ship at the end of the day if your van stops running. Also beware of the Manchineel tree (some of which are planted near the Belmont Walkway); the fruit is poisonous and you can get a rash from touching the bark.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Port Elizabeth is very small and easily walkable, with Princess Margaret Beach 20 or 30 minutes away on foot, depending on distractions along the way.

By Taxi: Open-backed taxis can be found in Port Elizabeth -- usually "under the almond trees" near the harbor. Rates are fixed by the Bequia Tourism Association Office. You can pick up a rate card at the BTA's office in Port Elizabeth. Most cab drivers will be happy to give you a personalized tour of the island for about $30 U.S. per hour for up to four people, and $7 per person per hour for five or more. A typical short itinerary would include a trip to Fort Hamilton, perched above Port Elizabeth, as well as visits to the turtle sanctuary and the whaling museum.

Water taxis are also available from the Belmont Walkway and can drop you off at Lower Bay or Princess Margaret; the typical rate is $7 for several people in a boat.

By Rental Car: Several local companies offer car and 4x4 rentals, starting at about $55 a day. Try Bequia Jeep Rentals or Challenger Car Rentals. If you don't have an international driver's license, you'll need to purchase a temporary local permit (about $28) at the Revenue Office in Port Elizabeth. Note that Bequians drive on the left.

By Van: Bequia's public transportation system consists of "Dollar Vans" that shuttle folks around the island from as little as 40 cents per ride. This is the cheapest and most informal way of getting around Bequia, but from Port Elizabeth, they only travel south along the main road as far as the village of Paget Farm.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, valued at about $2.70 E.C. to $1 U.S. You can use American dollars around the island, though you'll receive change in the local currency. There are two banks with ATMs in Port Elizabeth: Bank of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago).

Language?

English is the language spoken in Bequia.

Where You're Docked?

Ships anchor in Admiralty Bay and passengers tender to Port Elizabeth, the island's only real town.


Bequia Cruise Reviews
Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to... Read More
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grandmaR
Bought a wonderful model whaling vessel.... Read More
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Smilingvillager
Quiet afternoon at Princess Margaret Beach... Read More
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Misty Morning
Beautiful little port with unique boutiques... Read More
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Smilingvillager

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