Our Grenada Blog has up-to-date posts about all the wonderful adventures we have in Grenada, West Indies.
Find out about the best activities in Grenada, our favourite Grenadian restaurants & bars, and fun things to do in Grenada!
Check out our Historic Sites & Sightseeing page for quick info on the main points of interest in Grenada.
Good luck finding this. Ask anyone where Walker is, and the reaction will vary from puzzlement to flat denial that it exists. It does exist. It is near Tuilleries (where?) Not too far from Mt Carmel, where you turn off the main east coast road and resist the hordes of people trying to persuade you to come on the short walk to the waterfall. Mind the speed bumps while you are avoiding them.
When you find Walker, after about two-and-a-bit miles (don't turn left for Munich), you will also find Mr. Rome's museum. Unless you blink. It occupies most of Walker. It is minute, but well worth the visit.
This, Mr. Rome will tell you, is not a museum about great civilisations, or historic migrations. It is to showcase the way that the rural poor lived about half a century ago: in other words, his boyhood life. The Way We Were.
The tiny but brightly painted shed is crammed to bursting with exhibits. Some bulky, like the stone-and-clay bread oven.
Others are tiny, like the horizontal yo-yo made of mango seeds, the coconut husk hairbrush, the charcoal toothpaste. In between, those frighteningly rigid boots, and the bit of very hard tree that a potential husband had to cut up with a blunt axe to persuade his intended's father that he would make a suitable husband, able to provide for a family.
There is a range of household appliances and items: stoves and a fridge powered by kerosene; irons that you fill with charcoal. Ovens made of oil cans. Devices for removing the insides from coconuts. A maize grater. And: why does that chicken have banana leaves tied to its tail? All will be revealed in Walker.
Outside, the show goes on. A device for crushing sugar cane to extract the juice, which ingeniously uses the side of a tree for leverage. After that, you get the whole still, made from oil drums. A home-made (but isn't everything?) rotary grater for shredding cassava; then the improvised weights for pressing the poisonous juice out of the pre-soaked, grated mass. A mock-up of a charcoal pit. And a model coffin filled with cocoa beans. (Yes, there is a reason.)
Then there's the 'medical' section.Why does that carved wooden foot have a tied toe? Why did people apply a dead cockroach to an open wound? Why is there a lizard imprisoned in a coconut, and what does it have to do with asthma? Would you rather not know?
And then there's transport. Scooter, bicycle, cart. All wooden. All with brakes of a sort. To return to reality, a bit, there's also a very, very early outboard motor.
As they say, there's a lot more. This place is more than the sum of its parts. It starts as an assortment of curios, and adds up to a lingering glimpse at a way of life, a culture that had a use for everything, however often it has been used before. Ingenuity seeps from every pore.
Mr. Rome has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his achievements as a sculptor. He has been artist in residence at Baltimore State University, and has been to Taiwan to hone his sculpting skills. As with his museum, there is more to Mr. Rome than meets the eye.
Writing & photography by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
Fort George was built from 1706 - 1710, on an early battery erected by the French in the 1600s, and originally named Fort Royal, it was renamed Fort George in 1763, in honour of King George III when the British took possession of the island, Consequently, 2006 - 2010 would be its 300th anniversary.
It is basically a small bastion tracer fort, which means that each level can give covering fire for the other level, and has been in constant use in one form or another since it has been built. It was once the heart of the town, but as the town has grown and times have changed, it has been relegated to being used as a simple extensive building.
Currently, it houses the Royal Grenada Police force, but has sections which are open to the public.
If you are looking for a fabulous view of the town and the harbour, then this is one site which should be on your list of places to visit.
There is a viewing section towards the inner harbour with plaques showing the important landmarks, and several of the old cannons. The stroll up to the fort from town is a bit of a climb, so its advisable to take your time and also, don't forget to bring your camera.
From the walls on the southern section of the fort, you can see along the southern coastline towards Grand Anse beach and the extreme tip of the island, where the international airport is located.
Just to the west, you can also see the new cruise ship terminal and overlook the heart of the town.
While it may not have the God's eye view that its counterpart, Fort Frederick, does, you will get the chance to see and feel a living fort which has not outlived its usefulness to this day. If the stones could talk, just imagine the stories they could tell, as many aspects of Grenada's political and historical life have happened here.
Its hard to miss Fort George with its commanding view of the town of St.George and the inner harbour.
Getting there is quite easy, as there is access from next to the exit to the Sendall tunnel via steps, or the main road which continues on to the General Hospital.
Up to now, the island has been good at presenting to the visitor the beauty of its nature (see above), and the reality of its present-day rum, nutmeg and spice production. The domestic and industrial past have been under-represented. Belmont offers not just a site, but an area with a number of attractions.
To start with the unique part: not far from the ruins of a sugar mill (the estate change from its original sugar to nutmeg and cocoa production), there is a long wooden building housing furniture, kitchen equipment, estate ledgers, phone books, personal effects (diaries, clothing, trophies, photographs, toys, ornaments, old passports…) that belonged to the Nyack family, who bought the estate in 1944. It is sorted logically by area: roped off into 'rooms'. At last we get a glimpse of life 'the way it was' around the middle of the last century. A first for Grenada.
Outside, there is more tradition. There is an old hand-cranked whetstone, for sharpening 'cutlasses'. You may be able to see the 'cocoa dance', where the fermented beans are 'polished' by tipping them into a big old 'copper' basin, then trodden barefoot to remove the fermentation residue. There are a fair few farm animals about, too: a horse, donkeys, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks. And you might meet one very non-farm animal: a pet monkey is in residence. And then there’s the tortoises…
And there is the working cocoa fermentary. Cocoa beans are brought here by the growers, put into wooden bins, covered with banana leaves and sacking, and the beans ferment as the white 'slime' surrounding them dribbles away. Then the beans are dried on big wooden trays on wheels that can be pushed under cover if it rains. All this can be found elsewhere on the Island, but Belmont additionally has old steam equipment that was once used to 'polish' and dry the fermented beans. It has been rescued from decay, cleaned, painted, and presented for inspection. It is not (yet?) under steam, but it nonetheless a fascinating piece of industrial archaeology. The more modern version, electrically ignited and diesel fuelled, is also on site. (If this interests you, visit also Rivers Rum, not far away, and Clarke’s Court, 'down south'.)
The roadside area is being landscaped: visitors will be able to see a substantial number of flowers, trees, and shrubs of the island, planted under the guidance of Dawne Fletcher, past president of the Horticultural Society.
This already provides 'three attractions for the price of one', yet it is not all. There is plenty of scope for walking: up the hill to see a sumptuous view to the east (Atlantic) coast and some Grenadines islands. Part way uphill will take you to the grave of John Aitcheson of Scotland, one-time owner of the estate, who died in 1780. A walk down across the road, then across the river, will take you to a riverside garden with flowers, palms, fruit trees and foliage trees. A trail is planned.
Of course, there are refreshments available. Local fruit juices make a pleasant change from the ubiquitous bottled drinks, and are not over-sweetened as is so often the case. Lunch is first-rate. Local ingredients (such as fish, chicken, callaloo, cou-cou, alongside more familiar but imaginatively cooked ingredients) are kept hot over traditional coal pots. Although not primarily a restaurant, Belmont really sets a standard by which to judge local restaurants.
Today's Nyacks have a social conscience. They are establishing a library for the use of local children, organize a summer school for them, hold an annual kite-flying competition, and have held a health fair for estate workers and members off the local community. It is their aim that all agricultural production on the estate should be organic, and they are not far off that goal.
At last, a slice of colonial and post-colonial history has been sensitively and unsentimentally presented. Belmont Estate gives you a good feel of Grenada of today and yesteryear, of the interrelatedness of landscape and human activity. One impression is certain: everyone you meet is approachable, informative, and friendly; be they the proprietors or the estate workers and gardeners. You feel welcome.
For more information contact Belmont Estate direct on: +1 (473) 442 9524 or email: email@example.com
Writing & Photography by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
This is a little way off the beaten track, by Perdmontemps, but well worth beating a track to. Grenada Island of Spice, the island's sub-title or nickname says it all. Surely you didn't come here for sun, sea and sand alone? You should not miss out on our fourth 'S'... SPICES.
Practically every road on the island has nutmeg trees on view, but if you would like to see the lot, come to Laura's. On a short (1/2 km) walk, you will see nutmegs (of course), as well as cinnamon, cloves, pimento and bay trees. At a lower level, there are the spices that don't grow on trees, like ginger, pepper, tumeric (known here as saffron), thyme and lemon grass.
But that's not all. Laura has a wide selection of other plants as well, fruit trees (mango, cocoa, banana, orange, sour sop etc..) Grenada also has a tradition of herbal medicines. Most ills have botanical cures, and at Laura's, there is a section devoted to these. Weird and wonderful plants, with unusual names like, zebapique, ven-ven and jump-up-and-kiss-me, have a track record here of curing, or at least relieving, coughs, colds, rashes and many other ailments.
Many extracts from plants seen at Laura's are synthesized by the pharmaceutical industry. Lauras' Spice Garden is a fascinating place, and its guides are well informed.
Written by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
You will find Rivers Rum 'up north', near the beautiful (but treacherous) north east coast. Not far from Tivoli, not far from Lake Antoine. The place dates from 1785, though there may have been distilling activity there even further back... This is a distillery that runs all year.
A bit of a contradiction: the concentration of sugar in cane is at its highest during the dry season (January to May, in theory), but the water wheel which powers the cane press is obviously more likely to work when there is plenty of water in the river, i.e. in the rainy season (June - Dec., also in theory.)
The simplicity and the antiquity of the place beggar description. Bundles of cane are crushed twice, then placed in the island's only railway truck which is trundled along the island's only railway line for the very short trip to a tip. Here the cane dries in the sun and, now known as 'bagasse', is used as fertiliser for the cane fields (and elsewhere.)
The juice is roughly filtered by scooping up the 'bits' and letting them drain through a wicker mat. The juice flows into the main building, where it is 'ladled' through a succession of big metal basins ('coppers') until it is brought to the boil in the last one. The ladling process looks just like rowing a boat. The fire below the boiling cane juice uses bagasse as fuel: nothing is wasted!
Once the right sugar concentration has been reached, the hot juice is spooned into cooing tanks at the back of the building. It spends two days there, during which time it is invaded by natural yeast's in the air: fermentation starts spontaneously: no yeast is needed.
The fermenting juice is then pumped upstairs into concrete fermentation tanks, where it bubbles away for eight days. After this, it is ready for distillation. Here, the fire below the boiler is heated with wood, because bagasse does not burn hot enough to (super-) heat the liquid.
A visit to Rivers Rum will keep you amazed as you continue to follow the progress of the manufacture of rum in a manner that has not changed for generations.
The apparent 'hi tech' of the hydrometer / thermometer installation that tells the distiller the strength of the brew is immediately contradicted by the 'low tech' of the hand pump used (under customs supervision) to remove the rum from its sealed tank.
Then there is the 'no tech' of the bottling process. After all this, your credulity is stretched to bursting point as you sample the product. Words fail most people, partly as they fight to describe the impact of a factory that refused to be dragged into the nineteenth century, partly because the vocal chords are rendered incapable for a while by the 70% potion. Never mind. You can always buy the T shirt.
For more information, contact River Antoine direct on +1 (473) 442 7109
Written by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
Sun, sea and sand, of course, to name but three of the "s" that come to mind. But let's slip back a letter in the Caribbean alphabet, to one that's just about as well-known: RUM.
Grenada has several distilleries, and each has its own character (and its own product!) But, at this time of year (March - May) in particular, Clarke's Court ("The Sugar Factory") stands out.
This is old steam technology, shipped over (somehow) from Scotland in the 1930's, and still very much in use.
Sugar cane is cut up by steam-driven knives, conveyed to the presses by a steam-driven conveyor belt, and, after the last drop of juice has been squeezed out of it, it is conveyed (guess how ?) to the boiler, where it is burned to produce more steam. (The boiler has a steam-driven "extractor fan" to make it more efficient).
All this is very well: there are several museums in Europe with huge steam engines on display, and some of them working: but where can you see one still used for the purpose for which it was designed: and making a range of rums, two of which were judged to be among the best in the Caribbean in a 1993 tasting?
Of course, there's more to be seen: the condensers (where cane juice is boiled to syrup, which can be stored until needed, the vast metal vats in which the diluted juice is fermented, the "spin dryer" in which the last drop of useful juice is filtered out from sediment, which is used as fertilizer in the cane fields. It's a clever, self-contained system, where everything is put to some use, and there is precious little waste.
It is hot in there, though. Fortunately, after you've seen the distilling apparatus, it's just a short walk to an air-conditioned hospitality centre, where you can sample as many of the rums as you like. (The prize winners are "Special Dark" and " Superior Light": but "Old Grog" and "Agricultural" are also well worth a taste. And there's rum punch, and a liqueur, and packs of miniatures that make excellent souvenirs or presents... All these, and a range of other products, can be bought, and the rums in particular are very attractively priced.) Just make sure your driver doesn't join you in the sampling.
Written by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
This site really has something for everyone. History, landscape, sea, views, and more views.
If you are interested in history, in the changes,in power that the Caribbean islands underwent so often, then this place symbolises it.
Along with three other forts, one just next door and eminently visitable, though not in good condition (the Americans bombed it in 1983), Fort Frederick was started by the French to secure their position after they had so easily captured the island from the British in 1779.
The French had confounded the British (who had been anticipating a naval attack) by attacking from inland. Not wanting to be caught out in the same way, the French constructed Fort Frederick with its cannons facing inland, rather than out to sea, earning it the nickname "Backwards facing fort."
Fort George, the Island's main fortificartion; the ruined hotel which was bombed in 1983 (another one!), having been taken over by Maurice Bishop's party, thus housing his assassins at the time of the American "intervention"...
The reason so many people remember Fort Frederick, though, is for its location. It really does afford a world class view in every direction.
Go in the morning to look down onto St. George's, the picturesque Carenage, the harbour, and Fort George.
Go in the evening, with the sun over the sea, to see (maybe) a spectacular sunset, with the hills behind you floodlit by the glow.
Go at any time of day to see the south-western peninsula, the airport, the roofs of St. George's University, Grand Anse Beach, tiny Glover Island, used briefly for whaling in the 1920's ......
Go in July - August to see the entrance adorned with the scarlet blossom of Flamboyant trees. Look across to the building with the second-best view of the southern part of the island: our prison!
Fort Frederick is easily accessible, being about 2 km. from the centre of St. George's, though very, very uphill of it.
Writing & Photos by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
The name rolls off the tongue. But what of the spices?
Well, we have quite a selection. Cinnamon, tumeric (known here as saffron) cloves, bay leaves, tonka beans (eh?), pepper, ginger, pimento (allspice), vanilla... But far and away the most important, and the most prominent, are the twin spices of nutmeg and mace.
You cannot really miss nutmegs on Grenada. Drive anywhere north (or east) of St.George's, and you'll find yourself among nutmeg trees. If you do not know what you are looking at, you may well think they are apricots, though. We have thousands and thousands of trees, and Grenada is second only to Indonesia in nutmeg exports.
And there they are, in our national flag, too. That's the nutmeg fruit that's split open to reveal the red mace, covering the seed. (Nutmegs are not nuts, but the kernels of a fruit.) Then there's the Nutmeg restaurant in St.George's, and the bags and T-shirts with nutmeg emblems.
"So what is so special about a nutmeg?" we are sometimes asked. "Not a very interesting spice, is it?"
Let's see. The fruit is made into jam. And liqueur. And syrup, without which a Grenadian rum punch just would not be Grenadian. Or add the syrup to fruit salads, eat it with pancakes, baste chicken with it...
Mace turns up in lipstick and nail varnish, as well as in most of the world's sausages. The shell of the kernel is used as mulch, as gravel, and as fuel for burning.
The nutmeg itself yields an essential oil as well as being a spice. It is used in aromatherapy massages for rheumatism and arthritis, and as an inhalation oil. (Look at the small print on 'Vicks' vapo-rub.) Not bad for one fruit!
And nutmegs have a long tradition in folk medicine. In the early seventeenth century, a nutmeg, swallowed whole, then grated after it had passed through you (!) into the beer or wine of the woman of your desire, was said to make her compliant to your wishes. (No evidence to say whether it worked for women as well.)
Nutmeg oil was the viagra of the day, though it had to be applied externally. And anyone receiving a nutmeg on New Year's Day who carried it in his/her pocket all year was protected from broken bones, strokes, haemorrhoids, scarlet fever and boils on the spleen. (Presumably, the effect will be even stronger on New Millennium's Day: better order your Grenadian nutmeg now.)
To get the most out of out nutmegs, you really need to visit a factory. You can find these at Grenville, at Victoria, and the most visit able of all is at Gouyave, on the west coast.
For just $US2, you get a comprehensive guided tour around the processing: storage, cracking, sorting, the water test, grading by size. You will know when you are approaching a factory: just follow your nose!
The tour lasts about 20 minutes, and leaves you with a lasting impression of the versatility of nutmegs, and of the reality of Grenadian working conditions.
Writing & Photos by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
Yes, we do have a few!
As Grenada is volcanic in origin, there are a few reminders of this, still accessible to the general public.
One of the easier sites to get to, is the Claboney hot springs in Grenville. It is open to everyone and several tour companies offer guided tours there.
You can drive to within about a hundred yards of the actual springs themselves, but will have to walk the final bit.
We can give directions as to how to get there, but for your own peace of mind, we would suggest that you hire a local tour guide.
There are a great many sidetracks and branchings to the road, and you can go astray quite easily. This is generally not a problem, as you just stop and ask someone for directions.
The springs are not sulfurous, but actually contain a type of iron oxide. During the rainy season, the outflow from the spring is usually twice what it normally is and the water can be just warm, rather than hot.
However, this minor difference in temperature does not take away from the pleasure of relaxing in the small pool at the spring.
There is no charge to visit the spring, and it is usually deserted during the week. The trail to the spring can be a little muddy when it rains, but you cannot get lost, just follow the stream from the road.
If you are staying in the south of the island and wish to try finding it on your own, then take the central main road which goes via Grand Etang towards Grenville.
Continue on this road until you get to the turn off which leads to Clabony. Once there, just ask anyone for directions to the hot spring. Once you leave the main road at Clabony, you will be taking one of the many partially paved 'farm roads'.
Grenada's market is one of the most colourful in the Caribbean.
It is at its very most colourful on Saturday mornings: full to bursting, bustling, all tables laden with fruit ,vegetables and, this being Grenada, spices. All set out on (usually) rickety tables, shaded (more or less) by colourful umbrellas.
A man who appears to be wearing a basket is selling immature coconuts to drink the water from. In the middle of it all, just to add to the chaos, there is an unsigned bus station. Crabs are writhing around, their legs tied. And surely that cannot be charcoal? Yes, it can. The things like fat yellow caterpillars are turmeric root, known here as 'saffron' (and definitely not the saffron).
It is not a quiet affair. Set foot near it, and a dozen hands will reach out offering you things. "Nutmegs, nutmegs" you will be told, "Spices, spices" (nothing is ever said once). Much is familiar. There are bananas in abundance (but when is a banana a banana, and when is it plantain, or green fig, or bluggoe?) Tomatoes and cabbage look reassuringly normal, but what are the inflated light green hedgehogs? (Answer: soursops, from which a wonderful drink can be made.) And the huge assortment of vast hairy potatoes? (They could be yams, or sweet potatoes, or dasheen, or tannia, or...)
Even familiar fruits do not always look as they should. Cucumbers are abbreviated. Grapefruit are undecided about being yellow, settling for dirty greenish-yellow instead. (And they are much nicer than the flawless yellow ones you get at home.) Oranges are quite likely to be Seville, delicious for jam, less so for eating raw. Limes, guavas, nutmegs (yes, nutmegs!) and passion fruit can all be confused. Avocados are called 'pears', and are as likely to be purple as green.
Look for what you eat in your hotel. You must have had callaloo soup. Did your fruit salad contain carambola (also used for cleaning brass?) Was the soup thickened with okra? Do you know an unsliced pawpaw when you use it? Be daring. If they are in season, try french cashews, or sugar apples (looking like light green hand grenades.) The little fat bananas (rock fig) are delicious. Golden apples (not golden, and nothing like apples) are good, but beware the built-in dental floss.
You need to watch your step: the ground is not even, and seldom visible: it is not a place for wheelchairs. Determined vendors somehow manage to push supermarket trolleys full of carrots, drinks and toilet paper around, seemingly eternally. The Saturday market is quite an experience.
Take your camera, but be careful: adults (understandably) do not like their picture taken without being asked. Take some local money ($EC) or some small denomination $US - then you can sample the fruit and buy spices.
Big Market photo courtesy of Mr. Niermann
Written by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
The 'Little Dipper' is a small local restaurant located in the Woburn area of St. George, which we frequent from time to time. It is about 15 minute drive from the Tourist belt (Grand Anse) along the south east coast heading north. Taking a taxi to get there would cost about US$20 from the Grand Anse area.
It is not what you would expect of a 'typical' restaurant, but more of the type of Grenadian construction which is common throughout the island. If you are driving by, you would most likely not give it a second thought, as it is a small grey nondescript wooden building just off the main road, on an incline.
This is one of the charms of the place as its location gives it an unobstructed view over the bay and over to the two islands on Grenada's southeast coast, Calivigny and Hog island. In fact, it is one of the best views to have while enjoying a great dinner, especially around the full moon, as the bay is silver from the moonlight.
We had heard about it via word of mouth and driving by one day, realised that it was a cute building which we had admired previously....the sign outside saying 'Little Dipper' also helped somewhat.
As a restaurant, it barely qualifies, as it only has about four tables in the entire place and appears quite rustic at first glance. However, this is where you would forget about the surroundings and concentrate on what is important...the FOOD!
The owner and cook, Joan, who knows us pretty well by now as we have been a fixture at her place over the past year or so, tends to you personally and is an excellent cook!
There are only 3 dishes on the menu, and these are chicken, fish or lambi. There is no pretention to gourmet cooking. These are the dishes which she does well, and which everyone flocks to the place for.
If you are looking for typical restaurant fare, then this is definitely the wrong place. It is local Grenadian cooking at its best!
Needless to say, the place is so popular that you have to phone ahead and make a reservation to ensure that you actually can get a seat.
Local fruits and vegetables are used, and the tastes are very distinct and form an unsurpassed medley on your palette. Visitors and locals alike, visit here on a regular basis and it is well known in the yachting community as the best place for a Lambi (conch) dinner.
We both have our personal favourites, with my husband preferring the fish dinner, which he says is excellent, while I prefer the Lambi dish. They are mouth watering examples of local fare, and you will not go wrong ordering any of them.
Prices are geared towards the local clientele, but for the quality and taste of the food, you would expect it to be twice the price. Needless to say, you can have a wonderful dinner for 2, with appetizer and drinks for under EC$100 (US$35).
Would we recommend it? Absolutely! We vote with our stomachs and go there regularly ourselves.
The Little Dipper is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday. Phone: +1 (473) 444 5136
OK all you racing enthusiasts out there, it's time to get ready for the nail biting, hair pulling, knock down, drag out event of any holiday here. Yep, its time to go crab racing!
This event is not for the faint of heart, and it is highly advisable to have some type of 'alcoholic' drink at hand (for medicinal purposes,of course). Don't forget to bring along some cash, as there is money to be made or lost at this event. Bets are cash only, and you cannot use your spouse as collateral (begging the race official to accept this type of deposit will only result in you being sent to your room). Cheering and otherwise encouraging your racer is quite o.k., just bear in mind that the crabs are deaf and won't hear anything anyway. The crab racing is usually held at several of the hotels, but we recommend The Flamboyant Hotel, where it is orchestrated by the manager, who is also the referee, bookie and race official. Mainly held in the high season (the crabs are turned out to pasture, which means thrown back in the sea, unharmed, till needed again), on a monday night, it is well attended, and everyone is welcome.
At the start of the race, everyone is given a chance to inspect the racers and choose the one which they feel will beat the shell off of all the rest. The racers are then christened (this just means you shout out the name you would like your choice to have, and if it is well liked, then the poor crab is stuck with it for the rest of the night) and put in the middle of a large circle, held in place by an overturned bowl so that no one tries to get a head start on the others. Once everyone is ready, the race coordinator (bookie) removes the bowl and then... LET THE RACE BEGIN!! The first crab to pass the circle wins the race, and for those lucky enough to have placed a wager on that particular crab, winnings are given out accordingly. It may not be as highly regarded as the Kentucky Derby, but if you have the time, definitely fun to watch and participate in.
To find out the times and days when races are held, I would suggest that you just give the hotel front desk a call. They are quite helpful, and will gladly answer any questions you may have.
Location: The Flamboyant Hotel - Grand Anse
Day: Mondays after 9.00PM
Contact: Tel. 444 4247
One of the things which we recommend to anyone visiting our island, is to rent a vehicle and go exploring.
It is the best way to get a feel for the island and the people. Of the several car rental companies available here, the one which we recommend the most, is 'Y & R car-rental'. They have been described as "Grenada's most reliable, customer sensitive, car rental service."
The efficient, professional and courteous staff are always happy to assist you in making your choice an easy one.
It has operated as a family owned business, since 1985, with a full understanding of commitment and loyalty to their clients and the service they provide.
The rates are affordable and the vehicles are kept in the best condition possible.
As part of their customer service, they will deliver the rental vehicle to wherever the customer chooses, and will take care of any problems in a fast and efficient manner. Contact via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
No vacation is complete without the purchase of a few souvenirs to remember it by. Ordinarily, these items would end up in the back of some forgotten cupboard, taking up space and providing wonderful nesting material for that colony of spiders which always seem to enjoy it more than you do.
Why not get a souvenir which you can put to some good use? It is said that some of the most enduring memories are associated with the sense of smell, and what could be more pleasant than associating the smell of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice with warm sunshine, white sandy beaches and a wonderful time?
That is why we strongly suggest that you take the time (only an hour or so) from your hectic schedule of soaking up that sunshine and sipping cocktails, to visit Arawak Islands.
Arawak Islands is a small privately run factory which specializes in products made from what our island is famous for. From hermetically sealed packets of spices, to perfumes made from the local flowers, you can even put together a special gift pack of your own.
At Arawak Islands, they feature a good selection of souvenirs which will tantalize the senses and encourage you to return to the island.
Situated at the Frequente Industrial Park on the main road to the Aiirport, their friendly staff will take you around the facility and gladly answer any and all questions, as well as explain all the different spices/perfumes or gifts which they make on the premises. Everything is handmade, and at VERY reasonable prices.
It would be so much nicer to get someone a small gift which you know was actually made on the island you visited, rather than some mass produced trinket which may say "Grenada" on one side, but has "Made in Taiwan" embossed on the back. That is why, for something authentically 'Grenadian', we would recommend Arawak Islands.
The government finally came up with a promising idea to get the vendors off of the beach, but still give them a great way to display their craft and souvenirs.
This was to build a 'Vendor's Market' where they could display their wares attractively. The new market is quite colourful, and is located on the Grand Anse beach, alongside the Grand Beach Resort, just a short walk from the water taxi floating dock.
There is a wide variety of spices, jewellery, crafts, souvenirs, local food and much much more. From drinks and small snacks, to souvenirs and beach chairs.
Each vendor has their own booth where they can display their goods. A lot of the local crafts are represented, including the blind workshop.
To give the cruise ship visitors a chance to visit it if they wished, all the water taxis were instructed to make this the place to disembark passengers, and the arrangement seems to have worked quite well. Of course, once on the beach, you are free to go wherever you wish.
The market itself is well maintained, with booths and small shops around the perimeter. Wonder in there and you can get your hair braided, have a cool drink and a snack and sample the local fruits. Of course, there are a few things for the souvenir hunter. Whether you like printed wraps made here on the island, or just the generic T-shirt with the the word 'Grenada' on it (which you will most likely give to some poor unsuspecting relative, just to point out to them that you were roughing it in the Caribbean while they were sweating at a hot desk doing 9 - 5) you'll find that and more.
For those who would just like to browse, there are benches and tables conveniently located around the market for you to linger. Don't know what something costs? Just go ahead and ask. The vendors would be happy to help.
Of course, the market is also open to visitors staying on the island with adequate parking along the exterior. As it's not open all of the time, i would suggest you plan to visit during the morning.
Location: Vendor Market - Grand Anse Beach
Day: Mondays - Sundays from 9.00AM - 5.00PM
If you look up 'hashing' on the Internet, you'll find some participants defined as 'drinkers with a running problem'. This is only partly true... Hashing is alive and well in Grenada, and can become as addictive as the other kind of 'hash'.
Members and hangers-on of the Grenadian Hash House Harriers meet every Saturday at 4.00 p.m. for a kind of paper chase for adults. Well, not just for adults!
It is quite simply the best way to get stuck in to Grenada on foot, to get to grips with the terrain, the vegetation, the scenery, and some of the people. You walk and / or run for 60 - 90 minutes, going wherever a trail of shredded paper laid by 'hares' leads you.
After an aerobic challenge, or an invigorating stroll (hashing is NOT competitive), participants return to the starting point, usually a 'rum shop'; occasionally a restaurant, a private house, or simply a tree in the middle of nowhere.
There is always refreshment available: local beers, soft drinks, and a meal that can vary from a substantial buffet to a simple 'cook up' , and priced accordingly. And so you meet locals and visitors, in an atmosphere of achievement, sweat and camaraderie.
If you would like to 'hash' during your time in Grenada, contact the hashmaster Ken Sylvester, on 473 440 2615, or Rahel or Ian at Sunsation Tours (email@example.com) or visit the Grenada Hash House Harriers website. Venues / starting points are only made known a day or two in advance of each hash.
Bear in mind that the terrain is likely to be muddy and slippery in part, (certainly in the rainy season, June - December), and there are always steep bits, so you will need appropriate footwear (substantial trainers are OK). Your clothes will stain and may get torn: bring an extra T shirt. A little rucksack for a drink en route is sensible.
Do not come unless you are reasonably fit: a walk in heat and humidity is considerably more taxing than it is in a cooler climate. But that's as far as the 'health warnings' go - for me, a lifelong avoider of sport, hashing is the best afternoon of the week.
When you are in the Isle of Spice, you should not miss the opportunity to visit our sister islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The best, cheapest and fastest way to get there, is with the ferry service, Osprey Lines Ltd. The Osprey is a modern ferry, which departs from the Carenage in St. George's. You can enjoy a wonderful sightseeing ride along the west coast.
The trip to Carriacou usually takes about 90 minutes and costs approximately $160EC return. Of course, if you should wish to visit all the islands in our tri island state, then the Osprey can also take you to Petit Martinique.
Osprey Lines Ltd also offers day tours. For more information please visit the website: http://www.ospreylines.com
Buses in Grenada are a useful way of getting about: they are an excellent local supplement to more long distance island tours that stop at specific destinations. For getting from the hotel to the strikingly beautiful St. George's, they are ideal. (On weekdays , that is. Buses disappear on Sundays. Like most Grenadians and their dogs, I think they go to church.) If you come from Europe or America, our buses may take a bit of getting used to. They may even take a bit of recognising.
To start with, they are minibuses, not ‘big’ buses. And then they do not have any signs that tell you where they are going. And they do not have any route number, either. Nor are they all the same colour, nor do they run to a timetable. And, quite often, they do not stop at bus stops (though they are meant to.) But they do have names, and they can sort of be identified by the number plate. If it starts with an ‘H’, then it’s a bus or a taxi. (A bus must have a conductor, so if the driver is alone, it is a taxi. Taxis cost more.)
Names? Oh yes. Most buses are privately owned, and are embellished with a name, and sometimes with slogans, front, rear, or both. Some current southern buses include: Humble they self - Too much ah dem - Nothing yet - My enemy is not necessary - Final Assassin(I am not aware of any penultimate assassin) - Scare dem - Bite dem - Celebrate - Take that and push it. You get the idea. Bus spotting here is much more fun than train spotting. Party game, not just for children: make sentences linking what is written on buses?
So how do you get a bus? Bad question. A bus gets you. All you have to do is be near the main road that links the Grand Anse hotel area with St. George's, look like a tourist (that bit is optional, but not difficult), and a bus will slow down, possibly hoot, and certainly shout something at you. The something means ‘Do you want to get on this bus and go to St. George's’, whatever it sounds like. It’s a bit like going to an auction sale. If you twitch, the bus stops, opens its door, and you're in. You sit where you're told to by the conductor (a youth wearing baseball cap and trainers, who will not speak, but will wave vaguely at where he wants you to sit, while staring in some other direction.)
If the bus seems too full to get into, then get into it anyway. If it has stopped, there is room. The bus knows best. You may be gestured to fit into the gap between two seats, for which a little bridging cushion is provided. There is unlikely to be any conversation, unless the sound system has broken down.
If you want to get out before the terminus, knock on the tin roof. NOT with a ring finger: if you scratch the paint, you'll never hear the last of it. If the music in the bus is so loud that it is impossible for the driver to have heard the knock, do not despair. The knock will be relayed on by the conductor (he’s the one nearest the door), and / or by other passengers. And the bus will stop, sooner or later, i.e. maybe instantly, maybe at the next bus stop, probably depending on whether the police are watching. As you get out, put a $EC 2.50 into the hand of the conductor. The fare for any length journey between Grand Anse and St. George's is currently $EC 2.50.
For the return journey, the Grand Anse (hotel belt) buses can be found at the bus terminal, on Melville Street in St. George. As soon as you approach, eager conductors will try to get you on their vehicles: the first full bus is the first to leave. The queuing system is more abused than used.
If you want to go further afield by bus, then you can, but buses thin out north of St. George's, and it is worth starting (and finishing) your journey early: buses back to St. George's stop running at about 4.00 p.m. The Grand Anse route continues to operate up to more like 8.00 p.m.
If you are staying at Rex, Calabash, La Source, Secret Harbour, or any of the L’Ance aux Epines (‘Lancer Peen’) accommodations, you need to get to Grand Anse before ‘plugging into’ the bus service: they only run along main roads. Sorry!
So: get out there and enjoy. For the hotel to town journey, they are cheap, quick, colourful, plentiful and fun. Just don't take too much luggage on them, and do not expect any legroom. If you are at the front, you may have to keep getting out to let others out / on. The very front, by the driver, is a good place, though you do get a grandstand view of the roads and the other traffic, so it's not for the faint-hearted.
Written by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours
Many visitors to Grenada ask about art: they are interested is seeing what is painted, or sculpted, or carved, or drawn, or photographed ....here, and where they may view it. Or they wonder where they can get artistic gifts and momentoes to take home ... The reply to this could well become a mini-series.
Mainstream art is here in abundance, but needs to be tracked down. One place well worth tracking down is the Yellow Poui Art Gallery.
In town (town means St. George's) at the Lucas Street, next to the Art Fabrik. You will find the Yellow Poui by walking round the back of a shop, and then up some steps. It is signed: just keep your eyes open. Having rung the bell to gain admission, you are usually let in by the proprietor, Jim Rudin. He, with his wife, opened Yellow Poui in 1968.
You step inside to find an Aladdin's quirky room, bit of corridor and balcony, all dripping with exhibits. Yellow Poui is a showcase for 50 or so artists from Trinidad, Barbados, France, America, Britain, ...and of course from Grenada. The criteria is that work must have a Caribbean feel to it.
You will find paintings, naive, abstract, and sophisticated. Browse among oils on cardboard paintings by self-taught Elinus Cato; watercolours by Jackie Miller; local scenes by Joseph Browne; prints of Canute Calliste's work; stylised, fantasy Caribbean scenes by Catherine Gallian St. Clair and many others. There are antique maps, sculptures (some in local woods: breadfruit, blue mahoe, mahogany, pitch pine...) Engravings, photographs, postcards. And always a few surprises: I liked the rasta faces crafted from hairy coconut shells, but you may find sculptures of feathers, buttons, and even crab shells.
Come to browse, learn, chat to Jim about local art, and / or come to buy. Either way, you will enjoy the welcome, the variety, and the cultured informality.
Writing and photography by Ian Blaikie - Sunsation Tours