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Visit Grenada The Island that Adds Spice

Visitors to Grenada are rewarded with a healthy mix of interesting sights, natural wonders and friendly people. For cruisers another compelling ingredient is added to this cocktail: plenty of comfortable and gorgeous anchorages. The island of Grenada and its sister island Carriacou both provide enough wet and dry activities to keep you entertained, whether it is during the quieter hurricane season or the bustling winter months.

Renting a car to explore Grenada’s interior is easily done from one of the southern anchorages or the capital St. Georges. By asking some friends along for the ride, you not only share the cost, but also the wonderful experiences. Most of the island’s sights can be visited in a day or two. With a free tourist map, and directions from friendly locals, you’re on your way to a fun day of historic sites, waterfalls, pretty beaches and—if time permits—glorious jungle walks. Inquiring whether a cruise ship is in town during the high season helps you avoid the crowds.

Grenada’s attractions are numerous. Depending on your mood and physical condition, you can take your pick. Saint Georges shows off a picturesque waterfront, many churches, and a fort housing the police station. The fish market is very affordable and the souvenir and produce market colorful and well stocked. Grocery stores are plentiful. It is also easy and cheap to take the bus into the capital or swing by with your boat. The Grand Etang Forest Reserve pulls you in with serene Grand Etang Lake, refreshing waterfalls and hikes. On the way there, Annandale Falls is a popular and easy to reach stop. You can venture behind the falls if you like.

Towards the north of the ‘Isle of Spice’, one passes historical Belmont Estate, an authentic 17th century plantation where visitors can take tours of the grounds and observe the organic farm, gardens, heritage museum and cocoa processing facilities. An exquisite and breezy restaurant whips up tasty dishes, and organic chocolate can be obtained from the Grenada Chocolate Company, located on site. A stop at attractive Bathway Beach, with food and drink booths and a reef-protected swimming area, and at Levera Bay, with a pretty view of Sugar Loaf, Green Island and Sandy Island, is not to be missed. The area of Sauteurs commemorates the indigenous Carib  people. At Caribs’ Leap (also called Leapers’ Hill), on the north side of the island, scores of Caribs jumped to their deaths to avoid being enslaved.

Scattered around the island are numerous rum factories and nutmeg plants that tease and please your senses. Gouyave is the fish capital of Grenada and on Friday night the weekly fish fry offers something for every seafood fan(atic). Concord Falls is another refreshing and beautiful attraction worthy of a stop.

For cruisers, anchoring possibilities abound, from the well protected southern bays, of which Prickly Bay, Clarke’s Court Bay, Mt. Hartman Bay and Hog Island are the most popular, to the less frequented and smaller west coast harbors. If you are looking for marine services, happy hour bars, restaurants and other amenities (like propane, fuel and diesel); Prickly Bay, Clarke’s Court Bay and St. Georges are your best bets. Peaceful and good-looking Morne Rouge Bay keeps the deeper draft vessels away. Free moorings off Molinière Point invite you to snorkel through the underwater sculpture park, while the many local fishing boats further north indicate that you are approaching Gouyave.

In settled weather, a stop at Ronde Island on the way to Carriacou is a must. The water is crystal clear and the snorkeling brilliant. If you are lucky, nobody else is around and you’re comfortable enough to spend the night under a brilliant star-filled sky. The main anchorage in Carriacou is Tyrell Bay, which appears busy at first sight, but the pace and atmosphere ashore is very Caribbean: relaxed, friendly and no rush allowed. Admire the boat builders in Windward or take a walk to Paradise Beach for yet another pretty white strand and a good view of Sandy Island. Anchoring is no longer allowed at Sandy Island but moorings are available for rent.

Arriving in Carriacou, the capital Hillsborough is where you check in.

The country of Grenada consists of another biggish island: Petit Martinique. It has a different vibe and stocking up here is said to be affordable. The pace is slow and there’s not much more to do than watch the handful of cars drive back and forth over the mile-long road.

By now most of Grenada’s offerings are checked off, explored and enjoyed, but do not despair. A short sail from Carriacou brings you to the gorgeous Grenadines.

Liesbet Collaert is a former teacher and freelance writer who lives and cruises on S/V Irie with her partner, Mark, and their dog, Darwin. For more stories and pictures, check out their website: www.itsirie.com

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