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Bequia/Barbados trip report

We just returned from an almost 3 week vacation in Bequia and Barbados. The first 2 nights of our vacation were spent at the Sandy Beach Hotel (prior to Bequia) on the south coast of Barbados. Sandy Beach is not a place I'd recommend unless you like large, noisy, busy hotels with surly employees and overpriced food and drinks. We also had problems with mosquitos here as our room was at ground level. The beach is very nice there however and the pool area would appeal to families. We flew to Bequia on TIA and stayed at the Village Apts which was a perfect location since it is close to the dive shop. If you're looking for a quiet, pristine beach, away from the town, I would recommend Lower Bay, in my opinion the nicest beach on the island. It's about a 35 minute walk or a quick taxi ride away. There are several nice places there to choose from in Lower Bay (DeReef and Kingsville Apts are both supposed to be nice). We went scuba diving every day with Dive Adventures, an outfit I would highly recommend. Their equipment is brand new and comes with dive computers which is rare when renting. Bequia is a beautiful island and the people are very friendly as they haven't been inundated with tourists yet. The island is very laid back with beautiful, almost deserted beaches and an abundance of healthy coral reefs. The pace here is slow so relax and enjoy. Passion, takes groups for daytrips to Tobago Cays, Mustique or St. Vincent. We went to Tobago Cays and did some amazing snorkelling. There are several great restaurants to choose from too, which we took full advantage of, our favourite being Fernando's Hideaway. The reason to make a reservation here is to let the chef know you're coming, otherwise he may not be cooking. The mosquitos come out at night, so bring repellent or make use of the mosquito netting supplied by most hotels/apts.
The last part of our vacation was spent in Barbados, the first 3 days at the Woodville Apts. on the SW coast. The staff at the Woodville was excellent and the accomodations very nice. I would highly recommend it if you're staying on the sw coast. Woodville has a very nice swimming pool and is reasonably priced. We spent the last 4 days in Holetown on the west coast in the Sunswept Hotel. The rooms at Sunswept are quite nice and have full kitchens. All the rooms overlook the beach. It is directly across the street from a large supermarket/mall which came in very handy . It is one of the few reasonably priced hotels in the Holetown area. It is in a great location, close to many great restaurants and beautiful beaches with calm, clear water. The diving in Barbados was very disappointing compared to Bequia as a lot of the coral was dead. Wreck diving is probably your best bet. We rented a car for our last 3 days and toured the island. We loved the east coast, Bathsheba in particular and enjoyed combing through the tidal pools. The east coast is beautiful and not at all touristy. The Atlantis hotel serves a great Bajan lunch. We enjoyed Barbados but wouldn't stay on the southwest coast again. The Holetown area is so much nicer. The streets aren't as busy, it's less noisy and we found the restaurants were cosier and more interesting. It was kind of like going on two vacations the Bequia and Barbados are so different from each other. Barbados might appeal more to families because there's more to entertain kids and also more in the way of restaurants and accomodation. Bequia is far more rustic and would appeal more to those really wanting to get away from it all and relax. It's a very unique place. The customs agent at the airport (when we were leaving) tried to sell us some Mother's Day cards she had made.

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