Hibiscus in front of our Grenada apartment.
Perfect beach for strolling.
Idyllic resort villas line the beach.
A path through thick vegetation
begged to be taken.
Looking back at Grand Anse beach.
Quarantine Point's picnic benches are kicked back.
Looking towards Magazine and Pink Sand beaches.
Morne Rouge Bay (BBC Beach).
Traffic Circle near True Blue Bay and St. George's
So this is where Carib beer comes from!
Both Brits and North
Exotic plants and trees are
Serengeti, 70-year-old wooden yacht that hosted
Frank Sinatra and other celebrities.
Rice Honeywell aboard Serengeti.
A catamaran out of the water makes a great car port.
Cruisers painting the bottom of their boat.
The buses have names.
Decked out for Christmas.
Gouyave town streets.
Osprey Ferry will take us to Carriacou.
Views from the ferry: The Carenage.
St. George's homes.
Government buildings in St. George's.
First glimpse of Hillsborough on Carriacou island.
Holy smokes, this is the view from our balcony!
We are literally ON the beach!!
The Islands of Grenada & Carriacou
Late December, 2009 - The flowers and plant life are very lush on
Grenada. The island has a volcanic origin, so it has a mountainous,
rain forest interior. Outside our apartment there were hibiscus flowers
that were the most luscious and subtle shade of light burgundy.
We took a walk down to Grand Anse beach one day and decided to
keep on going. The beach is two miles long and is lined with shrubs,
palm trees and low lying resort villas. The north end of the beach is
busier while the south end of the beach (closer to where we were
staying) is very quiet.
Occasional vendors strolling the beach offer goods ranging from sarongs and
fragrant spice necklaces "to hang in de kitchen" that are made of ginger,
saffron and nutmeg, to birds and baskets made of cleverly woven palm fronds.
One fellow even offered us a coconut he had picked, "The milk is good for your
heart and lungs and liver." Local families gather under the trees while the kids
play in the waves.
Keeping an eye on everything, security
people in crisp white shirts and
pressed pants, all employed by the
resorts, make a quiet presence in the
background. At first we were nervous
leaving the camera and cash in our
bag when we went swimming, but we
soon realized it was safe enough.
Tourism is the biggest source of foreign revenue for
this small nation, and I get the sense that all citizens
consider themselves participants in this industry.
From the homeless-looking fellow who eagerly gave
us detailed directions to the hurried professional
who stopped mid-stride to offer guidance, we found
that politeness and genuine friendliness were the
norm. The only hard part is understanding their
thick Caribbean accent. They hear the American
accent all the time on TV, but we never get a
chance to tune our ears to theirs.
We waltzed down the beach
admiring the beachfront resorts,
deciding which of the many
hundred dollar per night joints
would be our preference if we
had to choose. Passing a very
busy dive hotel at the far south
end of the beach we discovered a
narrow path up the hill through
we emerged on
the road at the
top of the hill
we looked back at Grand Anse. What a view.
Descending the other side of the hill we came across Quarantine Point, a
local park on a picture perfect bluff. Picnic tables strewn across the wide
lawn epitomize the relaxed atmosphere in Grenada: even the benches
were kicked back.
one side of the bluff. St. George's twinkled on the other side, as the bluff
dropped off to pounding surf on a beach below.
We strolled a
down the road
BBC Beach after a beach bar that used to be there.
A cruise ship
was tied off at
the beach. The
boat's loudspeakers were pumping out the jams with that intoxicating
Caribbean beat. The water was rippling with Italian tourists, the men in
impossibly small speedo bathing suits and the women in even smaller
bikinis. All were over 50. A tour host had a tray of drinks in his hand
and he waded through the water offering them to his guests. Not able to
sell the final few, he started doing tricks with his tray, delighting everyone
as he ducked under the water, tray held aloft, and then resurfaced. In
one corner a husband videoed his wife as she played in the water.
Struggling to understand the Caribbean accented English of the hosts,
and not having any hope of understanding the Italians, we laughed along with
the crowd, swept up in their happy spirit. It was a great day in a great place.
Climbing the very steep hill behind our apartment one morning, we saw
sailboat masts in the distance. That was enough of a lure to get us to walk
along the busy road to Prickly Bay in the neighborhood called True Blue. We
carefully picked our way along the sidewalk of the main thoroughfare as cars
flew by us and pedestrians hustled along.
Off the beach, Grenada is a very busy
Having enjoyed a few locally made beers,
we were pleasantly surprised as we
passed the Grenada Breweries. They
brew not only Carib but Heineken and
Guinness among others as well. We
popped our heads in and found out
they give tours and decided that
might be a good thing for a rainy
We got a kick out of the street
signs as we walked.
Turning down the road to the bay
we passed some wonderful
houses. One in particular had a
beautiful white fence loaded with
pink and white oleander flowers. On the plane coming to Grenada we
happened to meet the owner of the True Blue Bay Resort. We
wandered through his pretty property, but he wasn't in at the time.
Down on the docks we found more unusual plant-life and many bobbing charter sailboats.
At the end of the dock was a huge wooden sailboat. Pausing to take a photo, we suddenly
heard a voice calling out from the deck. "Come on aboard and have a look!" Wow. He didn't
have to ask us twice. This boat, named Serengeti, turned out to be a very special 75 foot yacht.
Used over the years by celebrities ranging from Frank Sinatra to Vivienne Leigh to Alan Alda,
the current owner was in the process of taking it westward to the Panama Canal and then up to Vancouver.
The deck was enormous, the wheelhouse even bigger,
and the accommodations below sprawled out in
comfort. Our host, Rice Honeywell, was a very happy
Canadian who was helping the owner move the boat.
He was thrilled at his good fortune of landing this
crewing gig and being able to get away from work long
enough to take advantage of the opportunity. We
chatted at length about sailing in the islands and making
ocean passages on this spacious 100 ton yacht. We
later checked out the yacht's website:
Walking back we discovered one of the main boat
storage facilities in Grenada. Sailboats of every
description were waiting for their owners to come down
to Grenada for a little wintertime fun. I'd never thought
of it, but catamarans make perfect carports, and
several cats had cars under them (probably the rental
cars of their
they worked on
the boats to get
them ready to
A hard working
crew was busy
another boat. As they rolled the paint on with very long-handled rollers we
joked with them, "So this is what the cruising life is all about!"
For bad economic times, there was a lot of house construction activity in the
area. Walking back, we passed a group of guys painting houses. One guy's
black pants and shirt were covered in paint splatters just like a Jackson Pollack
painting. He must have been doing house painting as a side-job to running a
bus, or vice versa, and he appropriately named his bus "Wet Paint." All of the
buses have names, some funny and some that make you scratch your head.
"Rookie," "Irish Hour," "First Class," and "Spit it Out" caught our eyes.
Fish Friday is a big
event held every
Friday night in the
to rhyme with
"suave") halfway up
the west coast of the
island. Hopping on a bus into St. George's, we squeezed in. As we
approached town, the guy I was squashed up against suddenly said,
"You're the lady from the beach." I turned and recognized his face. He
had actually approached us on two different days, selling spice necklaces
that were, of course, better than anyone else's. What a small place
Grenada is. Here I found myself pressed up against this beach vendor in a sardine-can
minibus, thigh to thigh and arm to arm. He introduced himself as John, and we shook
hands, but the bus was at the terminal so we didn't get a chance to talk any further.
The second bus, up to Gouyave, was a 45 minute roller coaster ride up and down and
around impossibly steep, narrow and twisting roads at breakneck speed with 18 adults
and two lap-sitting children packed on board. Little pockets of homes tucked into richly
forested coves and hillsides greeted us at every turn. Considering Hurricane Ivan took
out most of these homes just five years ago, I was amazed at how little evidence
remained of that maelstrom. Just a rare home here or there had been abandoned,
roofless, windowless, and sometimes wallless too. We learned later that when the
corrugated metal roof of your house wound up in a tree down the block after the storm,
you just went down there and
got it and nailed it back on.
Grenadians banded together to
Gouyave is a fishing town, and the
homes were packed together,
separated by skinny streets. Stalls
were set up everywhere to sell fish
tacos, fried fish, baked fish, fish
stew and soup as well as other
goodies to make a great meal. The
cooking was well underway when
we got there and the whole town
had a yummy aroma. This town of
9,000 people, a little less than 10% of the country's total population, sits on the shore backed
up to a tropical jungle. The thick palm trees, banana trees and other lush vegetation covered the hillsides all around town. A cop
greeted us as we got off the bus, the lone white people in town. He showed us the police station and assured us that the event
would be well patrolled. He wasn't the only one watching us, though. When a slightly deranged fellow came up and started talking
gibberish to us, several locals made gestures to us and lured the man away. Fish Friday is an event that Grenada wants to share
with tourists, and I got the distinct feeling quite a few people in town had an eye on us to make sure we enjoyed ourselves.
The real festivities don't get underway until well after dark, and not
being night owls and being nervous about catching late buses back to
our apartment, we didn't stay into the heart of the evening. However,
we met a couple of Minnesotans on Grand Anse beach the next day
who had stayed quite late and enjoyed themselves very much.
We did catch an early bus to the ferry a few days later, however.
Osprey Ferry Lines runs between Grenada's three main islands, and
we were headed to Carriacou to the north.
Leaving St. George's we had a great view of the Carenage, where
the homes run up the hillsides almost to the top.
Catching a bus at 7 a.m. Sunday morning we had another example of
the efforts Grenadians make to accommodate tourists. As we walked
down the driveway a bus driver noticed us and stopped. He was
headed the wrong way, however, so I waved and yelled to him and
we walked over towards another bus that was headed in the right
direction on the other side of the street. As we approached that bus,
however, we saw it had the word "taxi" on the back, which meant
we'd pay about eight times as much for the ride. We stopped in our tracks, but the taxi driver got out to encourage us into his van.
When we said "No, we want a bus," he suddenly waved to the bus that was still parked headed in the wrong direction. "Ferry
Terminal" he yelled out to the bus driver, leading us over to the bus. The bus did a u-turn in the street and picked us up. When we
got to the ferry terminal, the taxi that had helped us was right behind us, assisting passengers out of the van.
The ferry ride to
Carriacou was a
pleasant hour and
a half cruise
west coast. Most
of the passengers
were up on deck,
a group of locals imbibing their first Carib beers of the
day. Carriacou's big Christmas music festival, Parang,
was on its third and last day, and undoubtedly some of
these fellows were going to enjoy a long night of
partying. Hillsborough, the main town on Carriacou,
looked utterly inviting and charming as we pulled in.
This tiny island is just a few miles long and is very laid back compared to bustling Grenada. I had struggled back in Arizona to find
a cheap place to book for us, but when we arrived at our apartment we were stunned. It was right on the beach, with a brochure-
quality view and gentle waves lapping the shore. In no time we were in our bathing suits and checking out the glorious setting.
For me, this was exactly what comes to mind when someone says "tropical island:" clear, calm, inviting water, lush green thick-
leaved vegetation, virgin sand, peace and tranquility with the occasional exotic bird call from a tree. And there it all was, right off
our deck. Simple, no-frills accommodations, to be sure, but what a place Carriacou proved to be.