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Bequia - cheapest way to get there?

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I'm planning my first Carribean trip and have settled on Bequia as a likely destination. Looking for a quiet, relatively non-commercial destination with good beaches, snorekeling, diving and a laid-back atmosphere - not into glitz or night life and hoping to do this on a BUDGET. It appears that lodging prices there are very reasonable year round but the issue is airfare. I'm told that there may be alternate forms of transport (e.g. ferries or mailboats) that could get me there from Barbados or similar locales. Does anyone have experience to share on this? Is it really cheaper or will it take too large a chunk of time from my schedule (I'll have only 9 days total including travel time from the northeastern US). Also, if there are similar islands closer to US I'm open to suggestions........

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