Scuba diving in the lesser-known Caribbean

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 5-11, 1998
Skiing the slope at Elmendorf Base, Alaska
Whitewater rafting the Rio Grande in March
Scuba diving in the lesser-known Caribbean
Flying into Glacier Bay Nat'l Park to kayak
Self-guided bike tours of Tuscany, Italy

Scuba diving in the lesser-known Caribbean
Question: Would you be so kind as to make some suggestions of where to dive in the Caribbean this pre-hurricane season? I've dived in Belize, Honduras, the Caymans, St. Lucia, and Jamaica. I'm looking for a lower-trafficked destination with an excellent dive operation but not too remote. My wife will want to shop and bike.

Olshan Jodanski
Birmingham, AL

Divers search for a sunken ship in
the coral-filled Caribbean waters

Adventure Adviser: Well, south of the hurricane zone you'll find the funky island of Grenada overflowing with healthy coral reefs, solitary beaches, and mountainous rainforests. The perfect mix for those who like to spend their time half in the water and half out. Plus, there's the perfect balance between classy resort and undisturbed island charm that should keep your wife happily window shopping for at least a week.

As diving is a priority, I recommend you check in to the Grenada Renaissance Resort (800-444-4371). Though it's the island's biggest resort, the 186 rooms are spread among seven colonial style buildings on 20 acres of tropical gardens, giving each room a private feel.

Out the back door you'll find Grand Anse Beach, a primo spot for sunning and beachcombing, and reef diving just 2 miles offshore. The biggest draw, however, is Sanvics Scuba Watersports, the on-site superstore of water sports. Their PADI-certified shop rents all gear, runs certification courses, and will boat you out to some wrecks, such as the Bianca C, an Italian cruise ship that floundered to the bottom of the ocean back in 1961.

There's also the option of chartering a flight ($200) to Union Island, where you can snorkel remote reefs or have a picnic and pretend you're stranded. Another lodging option nearby is the still full-service, but smaller Coyaba Beach Resort (800-742-4276), which also has its own dive shop. On the south end of the beach (which makes it a better value, but also gives it better views) is the Flamboyant Hotel (800-322-1753) set up high on a hill.

For your wife, Grand Etang National Park provides miles of rugged trails to waterfalls that tumble into swimmable pools. You can even climb 2,373-foot Mount Qua Qua and take in a spectacular view that includes the island's eastern mountains, the northeast coast, and Grand Etang, one of the islands two volcanic-crater lakes.

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