Grenada & Carriacou
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Travel Guide, Winter 1995-1996
Grenada & Carriacou
The mention of Grenada usually recalls the Reagan-era invasion of this 133-square-mile island, whatever that was about. Not to worry–its welcoming atmosphere has returned, and this verdant, mountainous island about 100 miles north of Venezuela has reclaimed its reputation as a great place to hike, bike, dive, or just hit the beach.
Most people stay in the island’s southwest corner, where the best beaches, the airport, and most hotels are located. Also here is St. George’s, a hilly town of red-roofed houses surrounding a horseshoe-shaped harbor. To the north lie Grenada’s satellite isles, 13-square-mile Carriacou and 586-acre Petit Martinique, the de facto smuggling capital of the Grenadines (mostly
Head north and east out of St. George’s, and you’ll find relatively unspoiled terrain: the Central Mountain Range and the Grand Étang Forest Reserve, named for the large crater lake nestled at 1,740 feet on the slope of 2,300-foot Mount Qua Qua. The highest peak, 2,756-foot Mount St. Catherine, is just to the north of the reserve, where you can undertake several hikes.
In 1994, Levera National Park, in the northeast corner of the island, opened its 450 acres of coastal beaches and ponds, as well as the River Sallie Boiling Springs. The Forestry Department (809-440-2934) supplies detailed geologic maps that indicate hiking trails, but for the little-known trails that don’t show up on any map, call Henry’s Safari Tours ($30-$70 per person;
The rugged road that traces the island’s north coast takes you along a 60-mile stretch of the Central Range and through dozens of small villages, revealing vistas of windswept beaches and intensely green mountains. To see it from a mountain bike, call Ride Grenada on Grand Anse (809-444-3263), which rents 15-speed mountain bikes for $10 per day.
Off the west coast, divers explore Molinere Reef and its tropicals (yellow-headed and mottled jawfish, spotted drums) and morays, as well as the wreck of the Buccaneer, a two-masted sloop in 80 feet of water, and the Bianca C, a 600-foot cruise ship sunk in 167 feet of water. Another great west-coast dive site is
Most hotels are clustered south of St. George’s. On Grand Anse, the Grenada Renaissance Resort (doubles, $180 to $550; three- to seven-night dive packages, $343-$1,103; 800-468-3571) has a complete water-sports center for diving, boardsailing, and sailing. The smaller Flamboyant Hotel (doubles, $85; 809-444-4247), with 39 cottages on the beach’s southern end, is a low-key
One of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, Anse la Roche, is on Carriacou’s northwest corner at the base of 955-foot High North, the island’s tallest point, and is accessible only by boat or on foot (a 50-minute walk from Hillsborough). A longer walk heads north from Hillsborough, wrapping around High North and passing the bird-dense mangrove swamps of Petit Carenage Bay en
With a little haggling, you can hire a boat to take you to Petit Martinique, where there’s little to do but sit on the beach. To overnight there, stay at Sea Side View Holiday Cottages (doubles, $40; 809-443-9210), the only lodging on the island.
Carriacou’s best dive sites are Kick ’em Jenny, with 80-foot visibility and a wall with abundant coral; Sandy Island, full of turtles, a good night-dive site; and Bonaparti Rocks, on the Atlantic side, a drift dive for experienced divers only. Book your trips through Carriacou Silver Diving in Hillsborough (two-tank dive, $70; 809-443-7882).
The preferred place to stay is the Caribbee Inn (doubles, $110-$150; $35 extra for breakfast and dinner; 809-443-7380), on a bluff overlooking Hillsborough Bay, only a 20-minute walk from Anse la Roche.