Thursday, February 28, 2013

GRENADA

(includes Carriacou Island)

BEACHES

Grand Anse – between Quarantine & Ross Points (West); 2 white sand miles, along sheltered bay; calm and serene conditions because leeward location shelters from high waves, strong currents, and winds.
Morne Rouge – Morne Rouge Bay (West, just south of Quarantine Point); shallow and warm waters; secluded and family-oriented.
Sauteurs – St. Patrick’s (North, at Sauteurs Bay’s east side); perfect white sand beach; among lesser known Grenada beaches so often empty.



DIVES
M/V Bianca C – off Point Salines (South); divegrenada.com/biancac.htm; 600' former luxury cruise liner; will need Advanced Open Water diving credit.
Boss Reef – off St. George’s (West); divegrenada.com/sites2.htm; extends up to 5 miles from St. George’s harbor, to island’s southernmost aspect; lobster, green and spotted moray eels, trunkfish, green or hawksbill turtles; distinctive hole arising at around 14 ms and dropping down to 18 ms is popular barracuda hangout.
Hema 1 – 4 miles out; home to barracuda, eagle rays & sharks.
Kahonee Reef – off Point Salines (South); divegrenada.com/sites2.htm; shallow coral reef plateau; extensive array of chromis, wrasse, and squirrel fish; occasional feeding hawksbill concealed within barrel sponges and gorgonian sea fans.
King Mitch – 4 miles out; former U.S. Navy minesweeper; home to eagle rays.
Purple Rain – near Grand Anse Bay (West); grenadagrenadines.com/dive/dive-site-details/purple-rain; 20-80'; highly popular; named for large schools purple wrasse.
San Juan – 2 miles out; sunken, inter-island fishing vessel; huge number of nurse sharks.
Sculpture Park – Molinere Bay; grenadaunderwatersculpture.com; 65 statues.
Shakem – off Quarantine Point (West, St. George’s); grenadagrenadines.com/dive/dive-site-details/shakem-100-30m; 180' former inter-island freighter.
Shark Reef – off Glover Island (Southeast, off Point Salines); divegrenada.com/sites2.htm; nurse sharks; though shallow in depth, because located on Atlantic Ocean side, subject to strong currents and considerable surface swell; rugged; sizeable brain and pillar coral formations; lobster, nurse sharks, sting rays, queen trigger fish, and turtles.
Sharky’s Hideaway – off Mabouya Island (North, just west of Carriacou Island); deeferdiving.com/dive_sites.html or grenadaexplorer.com/Diving.htm; number of sites clumped together; this one known for nurse sharks.
Sister Rocks – Isle de Rhonde (Carriacou Island, off Jack Iron Point, about 15 minutes from beach launch in Tyrrel Bay); scubadivinggrenada.com/isle-de-ronda.htm; 2 guano-covered pinnacles; barracuda, lobster, stingray, and turtles.
Underwater Sculpture Garden – Molinere Bay (West, just north of St. George’s); underwatersculpture.com/pages/projects/grenada.htm; 10-30' deep; part reef and part underwater art exhibit; coral colonies attach to artworks; includes statues of Christ of Deep (gift from Costa Steamship line, replica of statue sunk in Naples Bay) and Siena, character created by local author.
Veronica L – off Grand Anse Beach; scubatech-grenada.com/en/diving-grenada/veronica-l; 120' former carbo barge sunk in 25-65'.



HOTELS
Bel Air Plantation – St. David’s Harbour (Southwest, St. David); 011-473-444-6305 or 866-504-3359; secluded, 11-cottage hideaway on 17 acres; lush, sloping, beautifully integrated into almost junglelike terraced waterfront landscape; vibrantly colored gingerbread cottages built up and down hillside overlooking harbor; surrounded by tropical gardens, each offers privacy and old-world charm, but also modern amenities; restaurant, bar, gift shop, and combination delicatessen and cafe; among best-furnished accommodations on island; try for 2-bedroom villas with spacious master bedrooms and living rooms furnished in wicker and Indonesian teak.
Calabash Hotel – L’Anse Aux Epines Beach (St. George’s); 011-473-444-4334; calabashhotel.com; long-established, old school, Caribbean classic; horse-shoe of low-rise buildings overlooking neat, palm-dotted lawns, lovely beach & pretty, sheltered bay.
Laluna – Morne Rouge (Southwest, Quarantine Point); 011-473-439-0001 or 866-452-5862; laluna.com; exclusive; on isolated, beautiful beach; designed along architectural lines you might expect in Indonesia; 16 thatch-covered, wood-&-stone-sided cottages, each with small pool, artwork, and fabric-swathed 4-poster beds imported from Bali; all within 2-minute walk of beach; bathrooms are light, airy, tropical affairs, often open to breezes; architectural centerpiece, clubhouse, consists of big verandas.
Spice Island Beach Resort – Grand Anse Beach (St. George’s); 011-473-444-6305; spiceislandbeachresort.com; most desirable resort on island, yardstick by which every other hotel on island compared; along 1.2K' Grand Anse Beach expanse; main house is rambling open-air arcade and veranda series; Sea Grape beach suites have best location, but intimate pool suites have better layout and are only few steps back from beach; least expensive are 2nd-floor suites, each of which has terrace overlooking garden and ocean; 17 units have private plunge pools and 4 offer private saunas.



RESTAURANTS
Bash by Mark B. – L’Anse Aux Epines Beach (St. George’s, at Calabash Hotel); 011-473-444-4334; calabashhotel.com.
Beach House – Airport Road (St. George’s, at Point Saline); 011-473-444-4455 or 011-473-444-5855; beachhousegrenada.com; casual but elegant; beautiful, beachside setting; seafood.
Belmont Restaurant – Belmont (St. Patrick, at Belmont Estate); 011-473-442-9524 or 011-473-442-9526; belmontestate.net; top-floor, open-air restaurant; heavenly nutmeg ice cream.
Le Chateau Restaurant & Bar – Mont Toute (St. George’s); 011-473-444-2552; lechateaugd.com; away from beaches, near St. George’s Shopping Center; relaxed.
Dodgy Dock Restaurant & Lounge – Old Mill Road (St. George’s, at True Blue Bay Resort); 011-473-443-8783; truebluebay.com.
Rick’s Cafe – Grand Anse Shopping Centre, Grand Anse Street (St. George’s); 011-473-444-4597; facebook.com/pages/Ricks-Cafe/242236472465540; good ice cream.



SHOPPING
Belmont Estate – Belmont (St. Patrick); 011-473-442-9524 or 011-473-442-9526; belmontestate.net; boutique.
Grenada Chocolate Company – Hermitage (St. Patrick’s); 011-473-442-0050; grenadachocolate.com.



SIGHTS & SITES
Belmont Estate – Belmont (St. Patrick); 011-473-442-9524 or 011-473-442-9526; belmontestate.net; 300-year plantation that harvests spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace & nutmeg; offers tours (Bean-to-Bar Tour well-worth it).
Dougaldston Spice Estate – Gouyave (St. George’s); grenadaexplorer.com/tip/dougladston; historic plantation, now primarily museum, still grows and processes spices old-fashioned way; see cloves, cocoa, mace, nutmeg & other spices laid out in boucan (drying shed) on giant racks; worker will explain process (small donation appreciated); can buy spices for about $5 bag; re getting there: about 2/3s way up west coast from St. George’s, just before Gouyave, there is right turn immediately before bridge (road has seen better decades so be careful, drive to little bridge, which is where boucan is.
Fort George National Historic Site – Church Street (St. George’s); forts.org; situated on volcanic spine 175' above harbour; built between 1705-10; seen by John Paul Jones in 1770; figured largely in 7 Years War, American Revolution, French Revolution, Grenadian Revolution & US-Caribbean Intervention (1983); original 18th Century structure is among world’s finest remaining Vauban-style masonry fortress examples.
Grand Etang National Park – St. Andrews (2.5 miles northeast of Constantine, after road winds steeply up to 1900'); 011-473-440-6160; grenadagrenadines.com/detail/grand-etang-national-park-forest-reserve; half mile past road sign, visitor center overlooks Grand Etang Lake (crater lake that forms park centerpiece); hiking trails in park: (1) Concord Falls (serious hikers branch off shortly before Mt. Qua Qua Trail end to pick up this 5-hour trek to Concord Falls, where can walk another 1.5 miles to Concord and take bus back to St George’s); (2) Fedon’s Camp (arduous, long hike that leads into forested interior, where rebel plantation owner Julien Fedon hid out after 1795 rebellion); (3) Grand Etang Shoreline (1½-hour loop walk around Grand Etang Lake is gentle, but can be muddy and doesn’t offer same views as higher trails); (4) Morne La Baye (easy walk starts behind visitors center and takes in few viewpoints, passing native vegetation along way); (5) Mt. Qua Qua (moderately difficult 3-hour round-trip hike that leads to ridge top, offering some of interior forest’s best views); (6) Honeymoon Falls; and (7) 7 Sisters Falls (considered best hike in Grenada, starting from tin shed used by banana association, 1.25 miles north of visitors center on Grand Etang Road’s right side, taking only about 2 hours round-trip).
Helvellyn House – east of Sauteurs; 011-473-442-9252; grenadagrenadines.com; spice plantation; tour gardens and on Sundays stay for brunch.

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