Off-season hiking and diving in Grenada

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 17-23, 1997
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Vacations for working with animals
Off-season hiking and diving in Grenada
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Off-season hiking and diving in Grenada
Question: I'm planning a seven- to 10-day trip to the Caribbean in mid-June. I want to scuba dive (for the first time), but I also want to hike a forest. Where can I go in the Caribbean that will offer me a bit of both worlds?

Jessica Angell
Boston, MA

Adventure Adviser: Most people flock south just in time to escape the insanity of a stateside winter, which means that in June you'll find attractive bargains, nearly deserted beaches, and perfectly consistent, balmy tradewinds for the ultimate in beach lazing.

To answer your question, I highly recommend Grenada. Well out of the hurricane and cruise-ship circuit, Grenada is a true island paradise, with a bonus 3,800 acres of mountainous rainforest set aside as a national park. According to one source, divers could do two-a-days for a whole week and still not exhaust Grenada's abundance of coral reefs. To make your introduction to scuba diving extra painless, plan to stay on Grand Anse Beach, where a handful of resorts will set you up with an instructor from an on-site dive shop. Two to consider are the Renaissance Grenada ( 809-444-4371) or Coyaba Beach Resort (800-742-4276).

When you feel like your brain is going to explode from underwater overload, head inland to Grand Etang National Park, where you can hike among mona monkeys and lush tropical rainforest to cascading water and hidden swimming holes. For a natural high, hike to the top of Mount Qua Qua where the panoramic view includes Grand Etang, a volcanic crater lake. Henry of Henry's Safari Tours (809-444-5313) knows the lay of the land like the back of his hand.

For the same tropical feeling a little closer to home, consider Puerto Rico. Remember the mudslide scene in "Romancing the Stone"? Rumor has it that most of it was filmed in the 28,000-acre Caribbean National Forest, a lush, tropical haven for 66 species of birds including the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. Puerto Rico's best diving is in the waters off Fajardo, a town approximately 25 miles east of San Juan. Call Sea Ventures at the Puerto del Rey Marina (809-863-3483).

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