The southern Caribbean Island of Grenada is often the starting or ending point of a charter that includes St Vincent & the Grenadines to the north. However, this 135-square-mile Windward Island, along with its offshore islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, makes an incredible destination itself for a week-long charter.
“We have line-of-sight sailing so even though you will sail in open water. Most anchorages are wide-open and easy to navigate. Because Grenada is essentially undiscovered, secluded beaches and quiet anchorages are common. During COVID, some charter companies closed and some of the major players moved many of their inventory North. If you look at the number of bareboat charter companies in the Virgins compared to the number here, you just don’t have the competition for mooring balls and anchorages,” says Chrystal Young, co-owner with Chris Rundlett and marketing director, finance, and yacht broker at LTD (Living the Dream) Sailing, which operates a sailing school, bareboat and skippered yacht charters out of its Prickly Bay Marina location on Grenada’s south coast.
Grenada is as interesting ashore as it is on the water, adds Carol Hansen, head of marketing in the Americas for Dream Yacht Charter, which offers over 30 sailing monohull and multihull yachts from 39- to 52-feet, out of its base at Port Louis Marina, in St. Georges. “Take a day or two before or during your charter to explore inland with a visit to one of the island’s beautiful plantations, like Belmont Estate in St. Patrick, nestled between the mountains that surround the villages of Tivoli and Hermitage in Grenada’s north. It’s a great way to see the beauty and culture of the island. A hiking and waterfall tour is another great option before or after your charter. It’s also interesting to note that Grenada rarely sees hurricane activity, so it’s a nice option for summer sailing.”
Here’s a sample 7-day charter itinerary within Grenada:
Day 1: St. Georges to Dragon Bay.
Sail about 1 mile north to Dragon Bay, where you can anchor in sand or pick up a government mooring ball. The draw is a visit to nearby Moliniere Point. Snorkel or scuba dive at the Underwater Sculpture Park. Listed by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, there are 75 works of art covering nearly 1,000 square yards at a depth of 15 to 25 feet. One of the most iconic is called Vicissitudes. It features a ring of children holding hands and facing out towards the sea. Enjoy dinner on board.
Day 2: Dragon Bay to Tyrell Bay.
Get an early start for this 30-plus mile sail north, along Grenada’s west coast, to this quaint bay on 13-square-mile Carriacou. The anchorage here is popular, populated by both the local fishing fleet as well as cruisers who call this home for the season. Plan to go ashore. The white sand horseshoe-shaped beach is one draw. Then, hop to one of the many beach bars and restaurants that line the bay. There’s pizza, BBQ, and often live music at Lambi Queen, the Gallery Bistro is a hot spot for Sunday brunch and lunch, and Frog’s Ristorante Lounge & Beach Bar is the place for morning croissants and cappuccino, lunchtime paninis and happy hour tapas and Sundowners.
Day 3: Tyrell Bay to Petite Martinique.
Sail north to nearly Carriacou’s northernmost tip. This bay boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s an off-the-beaten spot for a swim. Snorkeling is excellent too over the coral reefs just offshore. Enjoy lunch onboard, then cast off for the northern end of Petite Martinique and anchor for the night. There’s more traffic by boat than on the roads of this 1-square-mile island where boatbuilding is the bread and butter of life. There are a few bars and restaurants ashore. Ask for a guide to the hidden cave at Darant Bay. It’s a hidden gem only accessible at low tide.
Day 4: Petite Martinique to Sandy Island.
A short sail north puts you at this tiny sandy spit nicknamed Umbrella Island because the only thing here is one thatched umbrella for shade. At only 100 feet long, it’s supposedly the Caribbean’s smallest island. Go ashore to snap an iconic picture, then hoist the sails and cruise south to Sandy Island. Located just east of Carriacou, this uninhabited island is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The abundant marine life here is thanks to this being a Marine Protected area. Pick up a mooring and spend the night.
Day 5: Sandy Island to Prickly Bay.
Start early for a beautiful sail down Grenada’s east shore to the island’s southern tip. Prickly Bay is a favorite seasonal destination for cruisers. There are a few marinas here, fuel, and several restaurants, many with live music in season. The Sand Bar in Lance Aux Epines, for example, is nice for a late lunch or early dinner with everything from burgers to lobster on the menu.
Day 6: Prickly Bay.
Overnighting is good here, although the swell can kick up if the wind is out of the southeast. This gives a day to explore ashore. Head to nearby picture postcard Grand Anse beach for a sand and sea lime. Or venture inland to hike the scenic trails in the Grand Etang National Park. Or drive an hour north to visit the River Antoine Rum Distillery for a taste and tour.
Day 7: Prickly Bay to St. George’s.
Sleep late and leisurely cruise back to the Port Louis Marina. Before heading to the airport, take a dip in the marina pool and tuck into lunch at the Victory Bar & Restaurant. While waiting, grab a paper napkin and jot down all the places you’d like to visit on your next charter in Grenada.