Cruisers to the Caribbean tend to be more travelers than tourists, often having several weeks or a season to stop and smell the flowers along the way. This many times translates into getting to know residents, learning about the local culture, and getting involved in ways to help out island communities. Now, Grenada has made this easier with the launch of its Voluntourism Program. The program offers year-round opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, health, education, and the environment. Environmental projects include Beach & Reef Cleanups and the Grand Anse Artificial Reef Project
“What makes nautical voluntourism so great in Grenada is the fact that so many yachtsmen and women have given back to Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique over the years, even we did not have this philanthropic program in place. Now, however, with Grenada’s new Voluntourism Program, yacht owners, their families, and crew who have previously donated books and their time in various schools around the island to share the joys of reading and learning new cultural practices, can volunteer to assist with new activities,” says Nikoyan Roberts, manager of nautical development, marketing and sales for the Grenada Tourism Authority.
The Reef Clean Ups and the Grand Anse Artificial Reef Project take place Monday to Friday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., depending on the weather. The Beach Clean-up is a more opportunistic activity depending on the season and beach condition. The Reef Clean Ups are teamed with local dive shops, while the Artificial Reef Project is led by Phil Saye at Dive Grenada, who spearheads building and placing artificial reefs in the island’s Marine Protected Areas. Once placed, there are opportunities for volunteers to monitor and maintain the reefs, including underwater cleanups, urchin and fish counts, ID tag placement, and cleaning. The Grand Anse Artificial Reef Project especially needs strong swimmers and snorkelers, with PADI Certification a bonus. For more information and to register, visit www.puregrenada.com/voluntourism