Food and Drink in Bequia
Bequia's small restaurant scene focuses mostly on West Indian cuisine with an emphasis on fresh-caught local seafood. Many of the best eateries can be found along the Belmont Walkway in Port Elizabeth.
Frangipani: Frangipani is one of the island's most popular hangouts, serving up excellent seafood and local favorites in a friendly waterfront bar within the Frangipani Hotel. It's well known for its Thursday night barbecue buffets, complete with dancing to a steel band; if you have a late port call that day, don't miss it. (Port Elizabeth; 784-458-3255; open daily 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.)
Mac's Pizzeria: Mac's Pizzeria is famous for its lobster pizza, but don't worry if you're not a seafood fan -- there are 18 other types of pizza to choose from, plus sandwiches, quiches, samosas and more. You'll find Mac's near the end of the busy Belmont Walkway. (Belmont; 784-458-3474; open 11 a.m.to 10 p.m.)
De Reef: De Reef is a laid-back beach bar overlooking Lower Bay. Lunch options, all reasonably priced, include seafood, homemade breads, sandwiches and a fabulous mutton curry. The restaurant also rents out kayaks. (Lower Bay; 784-458-3958; open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sunday)
Basil's Bar: Basil's Bar is the place to see and be seen (and eat and drink, of course!) on the ultra-posh island of Mustique. Housed in a casual wooden building that stretches out over the water, it's a prime gathering spot for sailors, folks staying in the island's seaside villas, and even the occasional visiting celebrity. The lunch menu includes light fare such as soups and sandwiches, but the pricier seafood dishes including grilled lobster and curried conch are worth the splurge. (Mustique; 784-488-8350; open from 8 a.m.)
Best Cocktail in Bequia
While rum punch mixed with locally made Sparrow's Premium Rum is ubiquitous across Bequia, head to Frangipani Restaurant to try one of their original concoctions, such as the Frangi Fever -- made with rum, orange juice, ginger ale, angostura bitters and cinnamon.
Beaches in Bequia
Best Beach for a Half-Day Visit: You can walk to Princess Margaret Beach from Port Elizabeth's Belmont Walkway in about 30 minutes, or take a quick cab or water taxi ride. This serene stretch of sand is a good place to sunbathe, swim or snorkel. Bring a picnic with you, or head back to the restaurants along the Belmont Walkway for lunch.
Best Beach for Families: Families can swim, kayak, snorkel or build sandcastles at Lower Bay, one of the island's broadest and loveliest beaches. There are several bars and restaurants there in case you need a snack or a restroom, and water sports equipment can also be rented nearby.
Best Beach for Scenery and Seclusion: If you really want to get away from it all, head to Hope Bay along the island's eastern coast. You'll need to take a cab and then hike about a mile down to the beach. (Don't forget that you'll have to hike back up that mile as well!) It's worth the trek for a wide stretch of white sand that you may have completely to yourself -- just remember to bring a picnic (there are no facilities) and to arrange to have your cab return for you at the end of the day.
Don't Miss in Bequia
Admiralty Bay: The small, colorful town of Port Elizabeth overlooks Admiralty Bay, where dozens of yachts come and go throughout the day. Go souvenir hunting or enjoy a meal along the Belmont Walkway, a lively waterfront path with small restaurants, bars and shops. At the opposite end of town is an open-air market that's worth a browse. Nearby are Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop and Mauvin's Model Boat Shop, both on Front Street; they offer handmade model boats that reflect Bequia's seafaring past.
Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary: A great stop for families is the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary (Belmont Road), where kids (and adults) can see conservation in action. The founder, Orton "Brother" King, has dedicated himself to saving hawksbill turtles from extinction by collecting hatchlings and caring for them until they are three years old, at which point he releases them into the wild. Call ahead to make an appointment. (784-458-3245; open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., November through April, with shorter hours during the offseason)
Hamilton Fort: There's virtually nothing left of the 18th-century Hamilton Fort, save for a few French and British cannons propped against a low stone wall. But this hilltop site overlooking Admiralty Bay is worth the visit for the spectacular views of the bay and beyond.
Scuba Diving or Snorkeling: Go scuba diving or snorkeling in Bequia's crystal-clear waters. Both Dive Bequia (784-458-3504) and Bequia Dive Adventures (784-458-3826) operate snorkeling and diving excursions out of Port Elizabeth's Belmont Walkway.
Friendship Rose: Set sail aboard the schooner Friendship Rose (784-457-3888) for a day trip to Mustique. If you've ever wanted a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, you can get it here: Mustique's spacious private villas, many perched atop promontories overlooking glittering seas and blinding white beaches, can cost as much as $45,000 per week to rent. Once you arrive after the two-hour sail from Port Elizabeth, you'll have time to tour the island, go snorkeling and eat lunch aboard the 100-ft. ship. Note: The sea can sometimes be choppy as you sail from island to island, so you'll want to bring your remedy of choice if you're prone to motion sickness.
Excursions to Mustique alternate with longer trips to the more-distant Tobago Cays, so check the schedule in advance. Trips to Mustique leave from Port Elizabeth at 8 a.m. and return around 5 p.m.