Exploring Grenada's natural offerings

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 13-19, 1997
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Exploring Grenada's natural offerings
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Exploring Grenada's natural offerings
Question: I am interested in a low-cost adventure vacation which includes snorkeling pristine reefs and exploring tropical rainforest ecosystems. So far I have found possible destinations in Honduras or out of the Caribbean Islands such as Grenada seem most interesting to me. I am interested in doing a trip in the late spring of '97. I enjoy planning my own itinerary and would rather not go with an organized tour company. What are your thoughts on a good destination for me? I will be traveling with my wife, who has similar interests.

Brian Kellmann
Pittsburgh, PA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: On an island like Grenada, with palm-tree-high buildings and rutted roads, the pace of life is slow and easy--and so are the extracurricular activities. Considering how easy it is to get to there (American flies direct through San Juan and BWIA flies direct from Miami), Grenada has somehow managed to stay well off the tourist's beaten path. Which means plenty of solitary beaches, healthy coral reefs, and untracked rainforest to explore.

For water activities, base yourself on the southwestern tip of the island, near the capital of St. Georges. The Flamboyant Hotel, on a hill overlooking Grand Anse Beach, is your best bet for not-so-outrageous accommodations (doubles, $125; 800-322-1753). Dive Grenada (809-444-1092) will arrange snorkeling and dive trips to offshore wrecks and reefs--particularly noteworthy is Molinere Reef, with its shallow, snorkel-friendly coral and 40-foot valleys for the oxygen-equipped. Grand Anse Beach itself isn't too shabby either: 2 miles of wide, white sand fringed by coconut palms.

If you're looking for something even farther afield on Grenada, consider staying at the less expensive La Sagesse Nature Reserve, on the southeastern end of the island. Low-key lodging comes in the form of two rooms in the main building (a Victorian manor) or a new two-room cottage next door. They've got an open-air restaurant on the premises and a virtually secluded beach out front. Hiking trails right out the front door will take you across the headlands to nearby snorkeling beaches. A double room here will cost you $80 per night; call 809-444-6458. The good news is that from either place you'll only be about a half-hour drive from the edge of the tangled jungle interior.

Make Grand Etang National Park your destination, starting first at the park's Annandale Falls (a generous swimming hole makes the short walk from your car worth it) and then heading inland farther to the visitor center, supplier of trail maps and a jumping-off point to a handful of hikes. Try the trail to Grand Etang, a volcanic lake, and beyond to the summit of 2,373-foot Mount Qua Qua (allow about 90 minutes). Also worth the schlep is the Seven Sisters, a septet of waterfalls at the center of a confusing maze of unmarked trails. Your best bet: Hire a guide from Henry's Safari Tours ($40 per person; 809-444-5313) and have him lead you across several stream crossings to Honeymoon Falls.

Whatever you do, be prepared for a hot, muggy rainforest, as well as unexpected downpours. If you get too clammy, there's always the clear-blue Caribbean a quick drive away. For more info, consult "The Grenadian Spell" in the Destinations section of Outside's December 1996 issue.

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