Sometimes you just need to get off your boat and get to know the island you are visiting. If you are looking for something a little different during your stay in Grenada, why not don a crash helmet and try your hand at a dune buggy ride or a river tubing trip? Both are great ways to explore this tropical paradise.
I must admit, I was a little self-conscious in my big black helmet with orange bandana underneath when people stared somewhat bemused and then stepped to the side of the road to let our fleet of buggies go by. We had joined a group of 18 other tourists for a four hour buggy ride to Annandale Falls in the Grand Etang Rainforest in Grenada. Sim, my husband, is driving and I find myself hanging onto the grab rail as we bounce about in the open-top vehicle. Sim loves it; the driving is definitely his thing and the perfect way to enjoy seeing the island. Not driving frees me up to do what I like best – marvelling at the scenery and taking a million photos. There is no denying it is gorgeous.
The tour company picked us up from our nearest marina and took us back to their base. From there, they gave us a quick safety briefing and orientation of the vehicle, and got us to sign a disclaimer, before sending us off with their guides. The guides lead the fleet of twelve buggies, stopping every now and then to explain where we are, tell us a little history or point out some plant or point of interest. We drove through the back roads of Mount Hartman Dove Sanctuary, around Clarks Court and into the capital, St. George’s. The island had just celebrated Independence Day and all the little towns were dressed in red, yellow and green flags.
We drove over Mount Parnassus and past small villages until we picked up another off-road track that took us into the Grand Etang Forest Reserve. The air cooled and the vegetation changed, becoming more dense and green as we climbed higher until we reached our destination, Annandale Falls. The waterfall is beguiling, one of the island’s best. It is surrounded by enchanting tropical rainforest and as the guide will tell you, Grenada now relies heavily on tourism and this is a prize spot. The place is fairly busy with other tourists but it’s still worth the view and I got my photo ops. We spent a good half hour at the falls, time for a swim, a drink and a snack before we all get back in our buggies. On the return we pass the forts on the hill overlooking St. George’s and take the scenic route over the Morne Jaloux Ridge, with fantastic views out across the harbour. This is certainly a fun way to explore parts of the island you wouldn’t normally see. The road less travelled was definitely the reward.
Down the river by tube
Imagine yourself gently floating down a river surrounded by arches of bamboo and huge banana leaves gently swaying in the breeze. All you can hear is the sound of water and the rustle of wind through the foliage. You hit a boulder but the tube you are in just gently spins back into the flow and off you go again, careening down the river. We are at the Mellows Entertainment Complex at Birch Grove, in the Parish of St Andrews, almost in the center of Grenada. We are surrounded by lush, green, tropical rainforest. It’s beautiful. There are 26 of us in all, arriving together in an organised group from the southern bays.
The Mellows Entertainment Complex boasts the longest, smoothest, cheapest river rides in Grenada. There are not enough tubes for us all to go at once so the group divides in two and we wait. But there is a bar, so it’s okay. Finally it’s our turn. Guides help us into the tubes and propel us down the river. It’s wonderful being in the cool, crisp fresh water. We float along twisting and turning in the current. It’s peaceful and serene and far gentler than I expect. When we are finished we are picked up and driven back to the complex, where we have arranged to stay for the BBQ buffet we had organised in advance. It’s delicious.
WET AND DRY
The Annandale Falls buggy tour costs $130US/PP. Contact: Sun Hunters: +1473 423 4868 or www.sunhunters grenada.com
The Mellows Entertainment Complex offers river tube rides for US$25 per adult and US$15 per Child. We paid extra for the taxi to get there and the buffet lunch. For more info contact Mellows +1473 438 5872 or: www.mellows.gd or: Shademan taxi +1473402-5639