The Caribbean Defined

Grenada: The Life of Spice

Nov 15, 2001
Outside Magazine

A milk cow tethered to a rusting Air Cubana prop plane, a relic from the Cold War, watches with regal boredom as we spin doughnuts on the old airstrip of Grenada's long-defunct Pearls Airport. The runway stops at the edge of the deep blue Caribbean Sea, where I toss my last bite of lambi roti (a sort of conch burrito) to a foraging billy goat. I'm exploring Grenada with Anna Magni, an Italian expat who has offered to show me around the island for the day. We've just come from soaking in a hot spring up in the lush hills near the village of Bylands, having pulled ourselves away from the seductive sands along the tourist strip of Grande Anse Bay just long enough to hike the primeval mountains dominating the 21-mile-long island. At the hot spring, we met a reefer-puffing Rasta man, who thrust his cutlass at the surrounding jungle and told us, "Jes' look aroun' you, mon, dis is Greeen-a-da. You got to park de car, hike into de hills, and you will freak." Taking his advice, we made our way along a one-and-a-half-mile muddy trail in 3,000-acre Grand Etang Forest Reserve through groves of fruit-heavy nutmeg trees and creaking bamboo to visit the Seven Sisters, a series of tumbling waterfalls east of Grand Etang Lake. Swimming in the rushing water, the scent of nutmeg wafting through the air, we got the Rasta man's gist, and, well, I freaked.

The Sporting Life
The attractions aren't all topside here—dive the wreck of the Bianca C, an enormous, 600-foot-long Italian cruise liner sunk in 165 feet of water (Ecodive, 473-444-7777;, swim among nurse sharks, stingrays, barracuda, and moray eels off the scrubby nearby island of Carriacou (Carriacou Silver Diving Ltd., in Hillsborough, 473-443-7882;, or watch humpback whales cruise by Grenada between December and April (First Impressions Ltd., 473-440-3678; Anna Magni of The Wandering Gecko Marketing and Management Ltd. can arrange any number of hiking and diving itineraries (473-444-2662;
The Beach
The sweeping sands of two-mile Grande Anse beach are Grenada's version of Waikiki. Here you'll find the majority of sun-damage-seeking visitors. Find more space and ditch your tourist stigma at Bathway Beach, on the island's northeastern tip, an inviting half-mile, palm-lined strip—but beware of dangerous currents out past the reef.

After the Sun Goes Down
Everyone from cabinet ministers to beach vendors dances a sexy little number known as "wining" (imported from nearby Trinidad) at Fantazia 2001, a popular nightclub at Morne Rouge Beach. Brush up on "jamming"—a move as erotic as you'd care to get in public—in your bedroom mirror before attempting it on the dance floor.

Lay Your Sunburned Head At...
It's hard to beat La Sagesse Nature Center. The small, secluded hotel is tucked away on the southeast coast above a quiet beach with great snorkeling. Stay in a restored manor house or in either of two cottages with wraparound verandas overlooking the ocean (doubles $75Ð0; 473-444-6458; Farther afield on the southeast coast is Cabier Vision, a hip, beautifully designed new ten-room guest house, built on a rock overlooking the ocean (doubles $70; 473-444-6013;

The Price of Paradise
Check your brakes and practice blowing your horn, because navigating Grenada's narrow, winding, guardrail-free roads is not for the timid. "Hit Me Easy" and other evocative local nicknames for particularly hairy bends give you an idea of what to expect.

Très Grenada
Place bets at the Flamboyant Hotel's Monday-night hermit-crab races; haggle for nutmeg and cloves at the Saturday-morning market in St. GeorgeÕs; avoid partying anatomy students from the island's infamous and very social medical school.

Resources: Grenada Tourist Board, 800-927-9554;

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