In my quest to explore all of the islands in the Caribbean, I put Grenada first on my list for 2018. I am pretty partial to the Windward islands but admittedly didn’t know what to expect before arriving. Each island has something special and you truly have to spend time on them to understand the history, culture, traditions and beauty.
As the plane approached the island, I peered out the window to see the most unusually jewel toned turquoise water. After passing through customs and collecting my bag, I stepped into the sweltering Grenadian heat to catch a taxi. It’s important to know conversions, established fare, and your hotel location because it’s a standard fare to Grand Anse/St. George.
As with any location, you have your choices of exquisite resorts, local run hotels, rentals, or bed and breakfast stays. When I’m going to the islands, proximity to the beach is the single most deciding factor in where I’ll stay. I quite literary shocked a Canadian ex-pat on my flight when I told her I was staying at Allamanda Beach Resort. It’s the best location on Grand Anse and rather understated compared to some of the luxurious options in the hills. You wouldn’t find a sweeter staff on the island if you ask me. Just don’t expect breakfast in bed as the restaurant is closed at the moment. The shopping mall with a grocery store and food court is a two minute walk, Grill Master is also a two minute walk across the street in the opposite direction. If on the beach (or not), I walked to Umbrella’s Beach Bar just on the other side of Coyaba. There isn’t a shortage of food options in the immediate walking area.
To really explore the island, you will need several days. Seven Sisters Waterfall is a day all by itself. Trying to take a tour up the island to get to Belmont Estate, the rum factory and so much more is stunningly beautiful but the winding roads that curve up, down, left and right through the rainforest can be downright exhausting. By the time I made it to Belmont Estate, I was famished but sleepy. After eating the buffet, all hope of staying awake was lost. I did wake up to stop and see where Justin Bieber had his birthday party but beyond that, it was a complete wash. It only means, I’ll return to explore Gouyave and Grenville another time.
Spend a Saturday morning at the St. George’s Market Square and be sure to speak to the locals! The aroma of the spices in the air and the stalls of fresh produce beat your local farmer’s market by a long shot. If I could do it again, I would spend more time talking to different people here. They are all so lovely and knowledgeable. I regret not buying spices from one lady because she had a pamphlet that told me recipes to use different spices with, including cocktails! With all of that said, it was surreal standing there because I knew hundreds of years ago slaves were auctioned there. As lively and jovial as everybody was that sunny Saturday morning, I was still cognizant of history’s transgressions.
The one adventure you must not skip is the underwater sculpture park. I was a fish or mermaid in a past life, obviously, because any opportunity to see sea life, I am going to seize it. This sculpture park is unlike anything I had ever seen while in the water. The fish were colorful and aplenty and the park is spread out over quite a distance. I’m not Michael Phelps by any means but I’m not scared of water either. With a life jacket on (and Blondie by my side), I was able to swim and snorkel the whole thing completely carefree. I also was with a group of St. George’s University Medical students so between the capable locals and future doctors, I was in good company. If you can book a trip with Carib Cats Tours, I highly recommend them.
If you prefer your adventures on land, go up to Grand Etang Lake and say hello to the extremely friendly Mona monkeys. The single most important piece of advice I can give here, wear clothing they cannot rip off. The guides, or handlers, will instruct you to remove earrings and things that could cause bodily injury if caught by accident. I was caught completely off guard when an overly friendly monkey ripped my swimsuit top off while climbing down only before deciding he wanted to climb right back up my back. Fortunately, I always travel with a good sense of humor so a little Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson moment didn’t ruin the day.
B.B.’s Crabback is the first place I went and I can’t recommend it enough. The “Brown Lady in the Ring” is something I’m still dreaming about.
Umbrella’s Beach Bar is a spot I visited several times. Whether you’re interested in a rum fused drink, a stag, or just a really quick but delicious bite to eat, this is the place to go! It’s never not a good time with great music and a fun staff. I danced and sang along to the playlist during the day and live music at night.
Dodgy Dock is another colorful location for live music, dinner and drinks. It’s located on the water and a nice slow pace place to unwind after playing on the beach or exploring all day.