Why the Mail’s Travel Editor Mark Palmer is… dreaming of Bequia during lockdown


The best beach in the Caribbean, a gentle breeze wherever you go and heavenly seafood: Why the Mail’s Travel Editor Mark Palmer is dreaming of Bequia during lockdown

  • Bequia, part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, is a mere seven square miles
  • The posh place to stay is Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay, a 60-room resort owned by a Swedish lawyer
  • Princess Margaret Beach is possibly the best beach in the Caribbean, says The Daily Mail’s Mark Palmer 

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Sunday morning and I’m a little sluggish after the Jump Up the night before at Frangipani’s. 

But you would not want to miss Matins at the Anglican church (with its powder-blue shutters and stained-glass windows which Bob Dylan once admired when he was here overseeing a boat that was being made for him) in the capital Port Elizabeth.

Mind you, the service can go on for four hours in true evangelical fashion — although people seem to come and go as they please. Jesus has a presence on Bequia — pronounced ‘Beckwy’ by the way. 

Sundowner: The evening skies over the beach at Port Elizabeth on Bequia, which is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

One of the water taxis that takes you round to Lower Bay is called ‘Praise him!’; another goes by the name of ‘Forgive and forget’, which might not be strictly biblical but you get the point.

Bequia is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.

It’s a mere seven square miles, with a population of fewer than 5,000. The posh place to stay is Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay, where a Swedish lawyer, Bengt Mortstedt, let his heart rule his head a few years ago and built a 60-room resort that most people at the time thought was an act of folly. It has worked out just fine. 

Before lunch, I’ll take a dip on Princess Margaret Beach, possibly the best beach in the Caribbean, before a plate of jerk chicken and sweet potato fries in town.

It has been suggested that HRH popped over from nearby Mustique for a picnic and that was another to name the beach after her, but everyone I meet says she never came ashore.

After lunch, I call Gideon. He’s the local taxi driver.

‘Gideon, could you pick us up at 7pm and take us to Fernando’s Hideaway.’

Paradise: Princess Margaret Beach, above, is possibly the best beach in the Caribbean, says The Daily Mail's Mark Palmer

Paradise: Princess Margaret Beach, above, is possibly the best beach in the Caribbean, says The Daily Mail’s Mark Palmer

‘You bet but you had better book. In fact, consider it done.’

There are no menus at Fernando’s. Starter is ‘soup or soup’ as the waitress puts it, and then you choose between chicken, fish and lamb — but everyone goes for fish because Nando, as he is known by, will have caught it that morning.

There’s a gentle breeze wherever you go on Bequia. I can feel it now as I write this and look out the window at grey skies, the temperature just above freezing.

One day, please, have me back, Bequia. 

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