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Home > Destinations > Grenada > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Grenada - Trip Reports

Grenada and the Grenadines

Hi! We just got back last night from an 11 day vacation in Grenada over Christmas and New Year's 1999. We have too much to tell, but will say it was spectacular! We followed some advice and spent all our time on day tours with some excellent tour operators. Overall, we had a great experience in Grenada and the Grenadines, and can highly recommend it for a vacation. The weather was great, the islands beautiful, and the locals mostly quite friendly.

We began our exploration of Grenada with Mandoo, owner of Mandoo tours. Mandoo is a native Grenadian with an extremely professional manner and seemingly endless knowledge about every aspect of Grenada, from geology to politics. He seemed to know everyone on the island, and everyone we met (including his competitors) spoke highly of him. He offers lots of tours around the island, but we went with him on a hike to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. He led us through a somewhat difficult hike with ease, helping us along the way. On another day, we did a "design your own" tour to visit some spots not covered by other tours, such as the St. George's prison (excellent view for the inmates, located high on a hill above the city) and Ft. Frederick. Mandoo filled us in on all of the historical aspects of the island, from the French colonization to the 1983 U.S. invasion. An excellent experience.

We took several tours, both on and off the main island, with Sunsation Tours. We arranged all of our activities before we went (and mostly over the Internet) with Ian Blaikie, an English transplant who has lived in Grenada for five years. Ian worked with us continuously over our visit to keep us busy, even with intervening holidays that made some tours impossible. Sunsation's on-island tours each give you a pretty in-depth look at some of Grenada's natural and man-made attractions. We visited the two big crater lakes (Grand Etang and Antoine), as well as Concord and Marquis waterfalls. We also saw a nutmeg processing station, a cocoa fermentation plant, and a functioning rum distillery (which makes only 151 proof -- watch out!).

Sunsation also offers off-island tours. We took a whale & dolphin watching cruise on a catamaran (the Starwind III), seeing no whales but lots of dolphins. More importantly, however, we took two day trips to the Grenadines. The first was to Union Island to board the Scaramouche, an 80-foot wooden schooner for a day-long sail around various small islands -- Mayreau, the Tobago Cays, and Palm Island. These smaller islands boast wonderful beaches and clear water, and reportedly have excellent snorkeling. The Scaramouche did not take us to the best snorkeling spot, however, as we later learned.

We also took a day trip to Carriacou, a small island inhabited by about 5,000. We met up with Rosamond Cameron, another native of England who had retired early from a teaching job and sailed with her husband, Malcolm, across the Atlantic and taken up residence in Carriacou in around 1991. She showed us all of Carriacou, including several small villages, some abandoned sugar mills, a graveyard on the beach with graves dating back to the 1700's, and the local boat-building spots. Rosamond was an excellent guide and a pleasure to spend time with. After the tour and lunch in a small restaurant at the water's edge, we went to Sandy Island, an uninhabited strip of land a few hundred feet long. Sandy Island has a great beach, some palm trees for shade, and a wonderful snorkeling reef right off the beach. We spent several hours there and then returned to Carriacou for the plane ride home.

For those who want to visit Carriacou without riding in a 9-passenger propeller plane, there is a fast ferry, the Osprey, that runs daily to and from Carriacou, with each trip taking about 90 minutes.

Finally, we went on another day-long trip in Grenada, the Adventure Jeep Tour. This was more of a sightseeing trip than an in-depth tour of historical sites. The neatest thing about the Adventure Jeep Tour is the jeep itself -- a big Land Rover with an open back that lets you stand as the tour winds through rainforests, mountains and small towns for a great view. Definitely a worthwhile experience.

As far as accommodations go, Grenada has lots of hotels, ranging from high-end all-inclusive resorts (LaSource and the Rex Grenadian) to low-cost hotels. One consideration travelers should take into account is location. Grenada is big enough that some of the hotels are well off the beaten path; others are right in the thick of things on Grand Anse Beach or in St. George's. Depending on what kind of environment you want, you can choose a central or more remote location. We chose the latter and stayed at Secret Harbour, a resort of twenty villas situated on an isolated bay on the south side of Grenada. Secret Harbour had nice accommodations, and a great view of Mt. Hartman Bay, with lots of sailboats coming and going into the harbour, which houses a marina. There is no beach at Secret Harbour to speak of, and the watersports possibilites are much more limited than what is available at more "beachy" resorts like LaSource.

Grenada's climate is wonderful -- it was 85 degrees during the day and 75 at night. During our trip, it rained every day, but usually overnight or early in the morning, so our plans were generally unaffected by the weather. There was always a cooling breeze blowing to ease the heat generated by the tropical sun. Grenada suffered some damage from storm surges associated with Hurricane Lenny, and the Leeward side of the island had some ruined beaches and washed-out roads. Comparatively speaking, though, most of the island remained untouched by the storm -- there was no wind damage or flooding of other parts of the island.

The island itself is volcanic in origin, and it shows. The landscape is very hilly, giving great views of mountainous jungles around every corner. The entire island is lush with vegetation, and fruit and spice trees are everywhere.

There are a couple of attractions that are not featured on the major tours that we can recommend. The Bay Gardens is a wonderfully-maintained garden with examples of a myriad of island flora -- a tour takes about 30-45 minutes. We also recommend the forts -- Fort George and Fort Frederick. A visit to the prison will give you a great view of St. George's and its harbor, along with whatever cruise liner happens to be in port at the time. One attraction we do NOT recommend is Annadale Falls. The falls aren't all that spectacular, and the area is overrun with peddlers who aggressively try to sell you things. If you manage to get through their initial onslaught, there is an "Annadale Falls Jumping Association" that has guys who jump off the falls (35 feet high) and strongly and repeatedly encourage visitors to pay for this entertainment. We didn't have this kind of experience anywhere else on the island, and the other falls we visited (Concord and Marquis) were more interesting and more peaceful in terms of vendors.

The Isle of Spice had plenty to keep us entralled for our entire 11-day visit. Overall, we loved Grenada and its outlying islands and didn't want to come home!

Thanks to Chris & Ingrid Willis for this trip report ...
January 2000

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