Banks: What are the local banks and their opening times?
We have two banks on the island:
- Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
P.O. Box 38, Port Elizabeth, Bequia. Tel: 784-458-3700
- RBTT — Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago
Bayshore Mall, Port Elizabeth, Bequia. Tel: 784-458-3845
Bugs and creepy crawlies: Do you have many bugs or mosquitoes?
You are in the tropics and there may be some animals or insects that you do not normally see at home. They are not usually a problem although some people find that a little bug spray around your ankles can reduce the sand flies on the beach. There are no poisonous snakes or animals on Bequia. Our rooms are screened and air-conditioned. All our beds have screens although this is more for atmosphere than necessity.
Car/Jeep Rental: I would like an extra car/jeep rental – who do I contact?
Please see our Useful Links page for a list of car/jeep rental companies.
Crime: What about crime on the island?
Thankfully, one of the joys of living on Bequia is the low crime rate. However, not all our residents and visitors are angels. That said, there is a safe provided in each room for your valuables. Please use it. We do not have a master key or combination so please remember your code. Spring House is not responsible for losses.
Earthquakes: Do you get earthquakes?
Despite that fact that the entire Caribbean chain of islands lie in the vicinity of a fault line and are primarily of volcanic origin, significant earthquakes are relatively rare. Of all the Leeward Islands, Barbados and the Grenadines are historically the least likely to suffer the effects of an earthquake. Despite this fact, Spring House conforms to the highest modern earthquake and hurricane building standards and codes with reinforced concrete footings and walls. Check out the U.S. Geological Survey website for a wealth of information pertaining to earthquakes in the Caribbean.
Electrical Voltage: What is the electrical voltage?
The main voltage on the island is 220v and the outlets are the UK 3-prong style. Spring House is also fully wired for 110v with outlets in the US style. In addition, although outages are rare, we have a large stand-by generator for the entire complex.
General gratuities: How much should I tip?
For good service, tip restaurant wait staff and taxi drivers about 10–15%. Some hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10–15% service charge to the bill, so check first as it is not necessary to leave more unless you feel the service was above average.
Getting around: How do I get around the island?
Your choices are the included jeep rental (All Inclusive Plan only), an additional vehicle or scooter rental may be an option. See Getting around on Bequia for a listing of car/jeep rental companies and other means of transportation on the island.
Hurricanes: Do you get hurricanes?
We are below the traditional hurricane belt. Check out the Caribbean Hurricane Network for a review of hurricane history in the Grenadines.
Money: What currencies are used?
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD), which is divided into 100 cents. Paper money runs in denominations of EC$5, EC$10, EC$20, EC$50 and EC$100 bills and coins in 1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and EC$1 pieces. The exchange rate is fixed at EC$2.67 to US$1. Current rates to Euros and Sterling can best be obtained from many websites.
The US Dollar is widely accepted, although you may get the official exchange rate only at banks. ATMs are available at all banks and many restaurants and most shops now accept major credit cards and traveller’s cheques, although less so on some of the smaller islands. To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
Post Office: Where’s the Post Office and when is it open?
The General Post Office is in Port Elizabeth and is housed in the yellow Government building across from the main jetty. It is is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3:00pm and Saturday from 8:30am to 11:30am.
Religion: What religions are represented?
Predominantly Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist and Wesleyan. Roman Catholic, Baha’ism, Hinduism and Mormon are also represented. You are always welcomed at local services.
Taxis: How much do they cost?
There are no taximeters. The government fixes all rates, but you should verify the fare with the driver prior to departure. Fares increase late at night and in the early morning. Expect to pay EC$25–$30 to get back to Spring House from the Harbour. We recommend Gideon Taxi and their phone number (458-3760) is programmed into your guest cell phone.
On Bequia, you can find taxis under the almond tree in Port Elizabeth during the day and around the main nightspots in the evening. You can obtain a rate sheet from the Bequia Tourism Association Office in Port Elizabeth (Tel: 458-3286). On St Vincent, the fare from the airport into Kingstown is about EC$25. Island tours cost about EC$40–$50 per hour for two to four passengers. A rate sheet is available from the Tourist Bureau Office in the Government Administration Building on Bay Street in Kingstown.
Staying in touch: Can my friends and family contact me?
The phone system in St Vincent & the Grenadines is modern and cellular and Internet services are available.
- The country code is 784.
- Local phone numbers have seven digits.
- Local directory enquiries: dial 118.
- International directory enquiries: dial 119.
- Calls to the US and Canada: dial 01 + area code + local number.
- Calls to other countries: dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.
- Cable & Wireless (C&W) provide telecommunications services. Tel: 457-1901.
Public SmartPhones located around the island accept coins, SmartCards, which you insert into the slot on the phone, credit cards and prepaid calling cards, for which you dial a specified number and follow the voice prompts. Prepaid PhoneCards can be used with any Touch-Tone phone by dialling 111 and following the voice prompts. C&W SmartCards and prepaid PhoneCards are available at C&W offices and local agents around the islands.
To use American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa, dial 1-800-744-7777 and follow the voice prompts. You can also dial 1-800-CALL-USA to use US calling cards, major credit cards or to make collect calls.
- AT&T: Service is available from pay phones and/or selected hotels for calls to the US only using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards,American Express, Diner’s Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 1-800-872-2881 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts. Pay phones may require a coin payment for the duration of the call.
- BT: Dial 1-800-744-1144, input your account number and PIN, then dial the number you require.
- Canada Direct: Service is available on public pay phones only and can be used with calling cards from Bell, MTS, Aliant, SaskTel and Telus. Dial 1-800-744-2580 for direct access to a Canadian operator.
- Sprint: Dial 1-800-366-4663 and follow the voice prompts.
- MCI MinutePass: no service available.
Shopping: What are the best things to buy here?
For souvenirs with local flavour look for watercolour and oil paintings by local artists, indigenous jewellery, coconut and bamboo candles, locally designed clothing, stained-glass items, driftwood sculptures, coconut bracelets and hair ornaments, miniature boats made from local woods, crocheted and batik clothing, pottery and handmade straw baskets, place mats, handbags, hats and toys. You may be able to barter the price at local stalls and markets. Shops tend to close early and are almost never open on Sundays and holidays.
Sun safety: What precautions should I take against the sun?
The sun is hot! Don’t let sunburn ruin your vacation. By pool, beach or just walking around use plenty of sunscreen and limit time in the sun until your tan develops. Wear a hat. Drink a lot! It is easy to get dehydrated without realising it.
Time zone: What is the time zone?
The islands are on Atlantic Standard Time year round, which is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer the time is the same as on the east coast of North America and during the winter the time is one hour ahead. All this said, leave your watch at home because you are on vacation!
Travelling to Bequia: What documents do I need to bring and how long can I stay?
Citizens of the USA, Canada and the UK can spend up to 6 months in Bequia (St Vincent & The Grenadines) with a valid passport. All other visitors must present a valid passport and a visa. All visitors must present an on-going or return ticket.
Visitors to the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines may bring up to one quart of wine and spirits, 50 cigars and 200 cigarettes into the country without paying duty.
Vaccinations: Do I need a vaccination to visit Bequia?
Most travellers won’t need any special vaccinations. However, if you are arriving from an infected area, check theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention website for information.
Water Taxis: What are they?
Although they primarily service the yacht trade, water taxis are a popular method of quickly getting around the harbor or to a nearby beach. They are small, brightly coloured boats with an outboard engine. Be sure to agree the price first and make arrangements in advance to be picked up so they will be there when you are ready to return. All water taxis stand by on VHF Channel 68.
Weather: What’s the weather like?
The weather is reliably warm all year round: it’s in the 78°F to 82°F (26–28°C) range. Winter months (January to June) tend to be drier and summer months (July to October) have showers. Hurricanes are rare. See our Climate page for more information and today’s weather, or check out St Vincent & the Grenadines Meteorological Service or The Weather Underground.
What to bring: What should I bring with me?
We think that we live in paradise and have everything that you need, but in this modern world we see many people relaxing by the pool or on the beach with a computer on their lap! So here are a few ideas, in no particular order, that may or may not apply to you.
- Medicines, pills & potions that you may need.
- Sunscreens and lotions, including after sun sprays, bug repellents etc.
- Sunglasses and hat
- Personal toiletries, shampoo, soaps, lotions etc. We provide basic supplies but feel free to bring your own favorites.>
- Items for your child or baby including nappies, toys, special foods etc.
- Laptop computer and cables — wireless and Ethernet connections available
- Camera and video camera
- Music: iPods, CD’s etc
- DVD’s — all region player available
- Playstation, Xbox, games etc. and the wires to hook it to the television
- Electrical plug converters to either the 220v UK style or the 110v US style (Spring House is wired for both systems)
- Books — we have a small library. Take a book, leave a book
- Tennis or badminton racquets and related equipment — a few available but you may wish your own
- Special foods — if you can’t live without wasabi flavoured nuts or some other special or favorite food while you are here, then consider bringing it with you.
- Money — The local currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars but US Dollars are also widely accepted. Local banks will change almost any currency and have machines that you can use to withdraw funds using your debit or credit cards. Many restaurants and shops accept MasterCard and Visa although smaller shops, markets and tour operators may prefer cash.
- Duty free — while you are in Barbados waiting for your connecting flight, you may wish to take advantage of the duty free stores and stock up on your favourite gin, vodka, scotch whisky, brandy etc. Customs in Bequia allows one quart per person, which loosely translates into two standard size bottles.
What not to bring: What shouldn’t I bring with me?
- Too many clothes — most people bring far too many clothes. Casual, warm weather, clothes, shorts, sports clothing, swimsuits and a couple of nicer outfits for going to a restaurant are all you need. Dress is resort casual. Still, it is generally unacceptable to wear bathing suits, short shorts and short tank tops in public, although we do sometimes see some unusual wear from the cruise ship visitors wandering around the harbour. Men should wear shirts in public. Casually elegant is appropriate for evening outings. You may want to bring a light sweater/jacket for evenings if you feel the cold. The weather every day is reliably warm all year round: it’s in the 26–28°C / 78–82°F range almost all the time.
- Towels. We provide bath, pool and beach towels.
- Camouflage apparel — it is an offence, even for children, to wear camouflage clothing.
- Drugs — the Government of St Vincent & the Grenadines is very strict about this. There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs.
Emergency Phone Numbers:
- American Express: lost or stolen card, 336-393-1111 (call collect)
- American Express: lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 800-393-1876
- Discover Card: 801-902-3100
- MasterCard: 636-722-7111 (call collect)
- Visa: 410-902-8022 (call collect)
- British High Commission: 457-1701 (Kingstown)
- High Commission of Canada: 246-429-3550 (Barbados, also for after-hours emergencies)
- High Commission of Canada: 800-387-3124 (toll-free to Ottawa)
- US Embassy: 246-436-4950 (Barbados), 246-431-0225 (Consular Section, Barbados)
In an emergency, dial 999 or 911.
There are a number of public and private hospitals, as well as numerous health centres/clinics throughout the country. Facilities include:
The Port Elizabeth Hospital (Tel: 458-3294)
The Kingstown General Hospital (Tel: 456-1955),
Chateaubelair Hospital (Tel: 458-2228),
Georgetown Health Centre (Tel: 458-6652) and
The Maryfield Hospital (private) (Tel: 457-8991) in Kingstown
The Canouan Health Centre (Tel: 458-8305)
The Union Island Health Centre (Tel: 458-8339)
A small clinic in Station Hill
Clinic across from the airport (Tel: 488-8000)
A public Dental Clinic (Tel: 456-1185)
Medical facilities are limited, however, and serious cases may require air evacuation to another island. The nearest hyperbaric chamber is located in Barbados. Doctors and medical facilities often require immediate payment. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
There are a number of pharmacies, including:
Normal hours: Tel: 451-2448
After-hours: Tel: 528-5408
Located in Bemtick Square on Hospital Road, Kingstown
Open Mon–Fri 8am–6pm, Sat 8:30am–4pm and Sun 9am–12 noon
Normal hours: Tel: 457-0212
After-hours: Tel 494-1621
Located on Arnos Vale Main Road, Kingstown
Normal hours: Tel: 451-1477
Located in Georgetown
Do not touch manchineel trees or stand under them when it’s raining.
Their poisonous white sap contains an acid that severely burns skin and their fruit, which resembles small apples, is poisonous. Some manchineel trees are located on the beach near De Reef Restaurant on Bequia and at Richmond Bay on Union Island.
When swimming be cautious of strong currents and undertow, especially around Trinity Falls, Warriacou and Mount Wynne.