Grenada, known as the ‘Spice Isle’, is one of the most beautiful and lush islands in the West Indies. Unspoilt and exotic, Grenada’s dramatic scenery, tropical rain forests, waterfalls and golden beaches will appeal to visitors from around the world. Tourism is a recent phenomenon here, so you will find many deserted beaches and enchanting scenery.
The Islands….Grenada and its sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique offer a wide assortment of exotic scenery, varied activities and rich culture. And oh….! the charm and friendliness of these wonderful people just makes the difference! Enjoy with them a host of nature reserves, historical sites, fresh culinary delights and much more.
The beaches are idyllic and unspoilt with white sand, palm trees, cooling trade winds and the aroma of the Islands’ native spices. Carriacou is only a 90 minute boat ride from St. George’s and should definitely be on the agenda!
Grenada prides itself on it’s pristine beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. Swimming, snorkelling and diving are not only spectacular, but are safely protected by the existence of reef formations which shield the islands. There is fine game fishing around the Island for Marlin, Tuna and Sailfish. These diving waters are completely unspoilt with lots of fascinating shipwrecks and reefs to explore. A vast array of marine life can be found here including moray eels, angelfish, octopus, sea-horses, dolphins and many others. From November through May, over 15 species of whales are found here including Killer, Humpback and Sei.
Almost one quarter of the Island’s terrain is preserved as national parkland or wildlife sanctuaries. The land rises steeply from the coast to a peak of almost 3,000ft encompassing a profusion of flora and fauna within extensive tropical rainforests and as you climb higher, the views back to the sea or along the coast reward every step of your journey. There are cascading mountain streams, carpets of sweet scented wild lillies and 200ft water falls with perfectly formed natural bathing pools beneath them. Mango, avocado, papaya and coconut grow plentifully beside the trails and provide exotic refreshment along the way.
There are several areas that have been designated as preservation areas including Molinere Reef (the finest reef in Grenada), Canoe Bay (with Scoria and ash deposits), Annandale Falls National Park (the oldest rock formations), Grand Etang National Park (crater lakes and endemic vegetation), Mt. St. Catherine (mud flows, hot springs and the highest peak in Grenada at 2757ft), Mt. Hope Clabony (important high quality water supply) and Lake Antoine (herbaceous swamps.) After colonisation, the land was sold out to estates and cultivation was pushed to the highest praticable limits in most areas. The Government began consolidation of National Parks and the 3800 acre, Grand Etang National Park has been protected for 85 years, preserving one of the world’s great natural rain forests.
The slopes of Mt. St. Catherine are extremely steep and the central massif is clad only with palm brake. Elfin woodland caps the summit and there is a secondary, cut-over rain forest on the lower supporting ridges.
The Government and people of Grenada are dedicated to the preservation of their surroundings, as much of their wealth and culture is due to the fruit of this rich land.
The unspoilt, verdant landscape of Grenada is awash with magnificent fauna and flora. Locals recognise the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the country, as many to this day, rely on the land for their livelihoods. With much of the island designated as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, the tropical climate ensures a year-round, tropical blaze of colour. A diverse wealth of fruits, spices and vegetables are used in the local cuisine and are widely cultivated around the Island, including bananas, cocoa, mango, as well as lesser known herbs and spices such as black sage and lemon grass. The colourful national flower, bougainvillea is bountiful throughout the Island.
Grenada can be enjoyed throughout the year, quite simply offering one of the most delightful climates in the world and with an average annual temperature of around 28 °C, the sea temperature is always pleasant.
September is the warmest month with very light rainfall, but even in the wetter months, rainfall tends to be heavy and short lived. Being south of the hurricane belt, Grenada also escapes most of the depressions which can cause seasonal periods of oppressive grey skies and colder weather in the more northern Caribbean.
The gently cooling trade winds are typical and help to ensure that the climate of Grenada remains seductive and enjoyable all year round.
There are a number of fascinating mammals to be found on the Island including the Mouse Opossum or Manicou, a nocturnal animal which uses its prehensile tail for climbing and the Large Opossum, an omnivorous animal which preys upon poultry and is hunted for its meat.
In forested areas, the Nine Banded Armadillo or ‘Tatou’ can sometimes be seen despite widespread hunting. The Mongoose is still widely found after being introduced from Jamaica in the 19th Century to control vermin.
Grenada’s famous and handsome monkey, the African Mona, was introduced from West Africa during the slave period. They are seen often in Grand Etang and St. Catherine Montane Forests.
The Islands are on the Northern Antillean migratory route and as such the majority of the winged insects and birds are of North American origin. Unlike Trinidad and Tobago which was once joined to South America, Grenada is part of the Grenada Bank, a volcanic entity with deep water separating it from all the other islands. Therefore, all animal and plant migration would have occurred by flight, winds, or perhaps as part of a large vegetative mat, formed in the Orinoco River, floating randomly to Grenada.
There are only a small number of indigenous creatures in Grenada and the sister islands today due to their separation and also due to the bigger plantations clearing large tracts of land in the 19th Century.
There are still a good number of reptiles present however, including various types of geckos, Iguanas and Ground Lizards as well as the exotic Blue Garman which is now found almost exclusively in Grenada.
Numerous snakes also live on the Island (none are venomous), including the White-Headed Worm Snake, the Tree Boa and the Moon Snake.
Turtles can be found on the windward side of both Grenada and Carriacou where the females crawl up the beaches and lay their eggs in dry sand. There are various types to be found including Sea, Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Ridley turtles.
The Large Leatherback, weighing up to 500kgs is also present and the Red-Legged Tortoise that had been hunted to extinction and is indigenous to the Islands has now been re-introduced.
There are around 150 species of birds on the Islands. All wild birds and their eggs are given absolute protection, with the exception of 19 species of ducks, waterfowl, pigeon and doves which may be hunted from September to February, although the Grenada Dove is now protected as it is one of three endangered species on the island. There are three known seabirds breeding here, including the Shearwater Puffin, the Laughing Gull and the Roseate Tern.
The Grenada National Museum is a good starting point for any visit. There one can learn about the history of the Island and many interesting artefacts can be viewed. St. George’s, the capital, is filled with well-preserved examples of historic French and English architecture and the weekly Saturday market offers visitors and opportunity to buy local produce and join a centuries old tradition where locals sell an assortment of fresh produce, spices and handicrafts.
“The Carenage” is the inner harbour drive around a perfect horse-shoe bay which has been the centre of working marine activity in Grenada for many hundreds of years.
Other interesting places to visit include the 300 year-old Belmont Estate in St. Patrick’s. This museum and working planation provide the visitor with links to the past and present life of a traditional West Indian working plantation. The Dougaldston Spice Estate is another historical monument to Grenada’s past and also the primary processing ground for the spices sold today.
Fedon’s Camp is located in the central mountain range of Grand Etang. Reached only on foot, this is a pilgrimage to the site of historical uprising of 1795 inspired by Julien Fedon that brought an end to slavery in Grenada.
Built in the 1706, Fort George overlooks the harbour and is a spectacular vantage point for views back to St. George’s with its picturesque skyline and Georgian tiled building. Now the home of the Royal Grenada Police, the fort is open to the public.