Business opening hours
As a general guide you can expect the following:
- Banks: 8am – 2pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8am – 5pm on Friday.
- Shops: 8.00/8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, and 8.30am – 1pm on Saturday. Some will also be open on Sunday in high season.
- Supermarkets: 8am – 6pm Monday – Saturday and Sunday mornings in high season.
- Pharmacy: 8am – 7pm Mon – Thurs; Friday 8am – sundown; Sat 6pm – 8pm approx; Sun 9am – 12pm.
Casual, light comfortable clothing is appropriate during the day as well as in the evening and the emphasis is on very casual clothing at all times.
Beachwear should not be worn in the streets or stores. You should also be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. Nude bathing is illegal.
Credit cards and currency
Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, car rental companies, and shops. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the local currency in Bequia and is tied in value to the US dollar. It is advisable to exchange currency at the bank, as the most favourable exchange rates may not be obtained elsewhere. Many establishments will accept payments in US Dollars with change being given in local currency. However please note that smaller establishments, especially in country areas, may only accept EC Dollars.
We suggest you take US$ or £GB and exchange them for local currency. Obviously, travellers cheques are safer than cash.
There are two 24-hour ATM machines in Port Elizabeth at the bank.
You can hire a vehicle from our local agents Gideon Rentals. Our car hire partners will arrange all the necessary permits and licences as well as third party insurance but there is no CDW insurance in Bequia. Your vehicle will be delivered to and collected from your accommodation.
While most of the main roads are in good condition, the quality can vary in more isolated locations, with steep hills and potholes quite commonplace. Please note that driving is on the left.
And remember to take your driving licence with you!
Bequia runs on 220 volts. Please consult your accommodation fact sheet (which we will send out with your tickets), for more details about plugs and sockets etc at your particular hotel or villa.
There is no hospital on Bequia, but there is a small basic clinic with a trained doctor in attendance. Your hotel/accommodation will offer any necessary assistance, as will our local ambassador Nicola Redway, in the case of illness or injury, but be aware that Bequia is a small and quite underdeveloped island without any sophisticated health care facilities. The nearest hospital is in St Vincent, which is a boat ride away. We advise you to take sufficient supplies of any medication that you normally take and as always, make sure you have adequate medical insurance before you travel.
Mosquitoes and other pests
While Bequia has very few creepy crawlies and the like, tropical places do produce tropical insects, and mosquitoes can be a nuisance. We suggest you take precautions by using repellent creams and sprays both day and night and also use nets at night if provided.
Safety and security
Virtually all the thousands of visitors to Bequia each year have happy and trouble-free holidays. This is a friendly island and visitors are very much welcomed. However, even in these idyllic surroundings you should not become complacent about safety and security. Isolated incidents, although very rare, can occur here as they can in any part of the world and visitors should exercise common sense wherever they travel. If you are staying in a villa, the owners or housekeeper may give you specific security instructions for that property when you arrive. We would advise visitors to use taxis at night whenever possible if you do not have a rental car. Restaurants will always offer help with calling taxis to and from their premises.
We also advise all our clients travelling anywhere in the world to consult the Foreign Office website for detailed up-to-date travel advice. Visit www.fco.gov.uk for information and feel free to talk to our staff for clarification of any information the web page contains.
Local calls are inexpensive and telephones are readily available. Many European mobile phones will work in Bequia however it is advisable to check with your service provider before travelling to confirm roaming facilities and texting options. Some villas provide cell phones for your use while you are on the island and the bigger hotels have in-room phones.
Tax and tipping
There is 15% VAT on meals at hotels and restaurants. Most also add a 10% service charge, but some do not, so check your bill before you settle. Additional gratuities are at your own discretion.
Lock up as you would at home. Most hotels have safety deposit boxes and we advise you to use them. It is sensible to only carry a minimum amount of cash with you when you are out and we would suggest that you do not take valuables to the beach or leave possessions on view in your hire car. The police emergency number is 911 in Bequia.