Why not celebrate World Chocolate Day by paying a visit to one of these fantastic destinations?Read more...
Grenada - The author’s take
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) in Hillsborough’s botanical gardens © Celia Sorhaindo
Grenada is a scenic and interesting island. It has picture-postcard beaches where you can while away the hours by a turquoise sea, watching sailboats passing by, dreaming, relaxing with a book. There are plenty of comfortable resort hotels and self-catering villas to choose from and most are located along the shoreline or have ocean views. Restaurants are plentiful and the choice of cuisine is varied.
Inland the island is mountainous and forest-covered. Nature-lovers and hikers can explore trails to waterfalls, mountain peaks, and secret coves. The tropical countryside has lush rainforest, colourful plants, diverse fauna, and farmlands growing root crops, citrus, nutmegs and other spices for which this island has become famous.
I urge you to explore beyond the loungers and the beaches if you can, to discover more of these three alluring islands and to engage with their friendly and interesting people.
Watersports enthusiasts can scuba-dive to interesting shipwrecks and colourful coral reef systems. Sailing is big here. The islands host several international regattas each year, there are operators offering a range of day charters and tours, and well-equipped marinas and haul-out facilities are located in many of the natural anchorages, bays and inlets of Grenada’s south coast.
Cultural heritage comes alive in the form of historic rum distilleries, cocoa estates, nutmeg processing stations, plantation ruins, and village feasts. On next-door Carriacou the string band and maroon festivals, Big Drum Dance, traditional boat launchings, Amerindian artefacts, and community saracas offer a potent and intoxicating link to the past.
Carriacou and Petite Martinique should not be missed, and you should try to visit for longer than just a day. These magical islands of the southern Grenadines are not only steeped in history and tradition, they are also beautiful, remote, romantic and, in many senses, very carefree. When I am not there, I miss them.
People travel for many reasons and you may want to do as little as possible and recharge. In this day and age, it is understandable. Nevertheless I do urge you to explore beyond the loungers and the beaches if you can, to discover more of these three alluring islands and to engage with their friendly and interesting people. Have a memorable journey.
When Shadel from Belmont told me her visitors book was crammed with references to the Bradt guide I realised I was connecting with a lot of people, and so writing the second edition began to mean much more.
It was the 10th birthday of the Grenada Chocolate Factory and I had been invited by founder Mott Green and Belmont Estate owner Shadel Nyack Compton to celebrate with them on Bathway Beach. Everyone seemed to want to come and chat. I can’t recall ever feeling so at home with people I had only just met. The same happened when Philip and Annie invited me to lunch at Petite Anse, and also when I went up to see DJ at The Heights – it was as if I had known them all my life. On my first night back in Gouyave, Gurry came to see me.
He and I had spent the best part of ten hours cutting our way through landslides and fallen trees to get to the top of Morne Fédon and back down again from Belvidere in 2007. He showed me some of his archives – he collects photographs and other memorabilia from the parish of St John. Although I had only spent a few days with him when I was writing the first edition, it felt like we were old friends. In Carriacou I spent all morning with museum curator Clemencia talking about her dad, the artist Canute Caliste, and when I returned to Belair to see Becca and Michael, it seemed like I had never been away. If the experience of writing the first edition of the Bradt guide to Grenada had been about discovering new places then the second was certainly about meeting people and making friends. It is the dimension of travel that I think we often neglect, but it enriches our journeys and makes them far more rewarding.
And I think about the people who used the first edition of this guide for their Grenada travels. I received quite a few complimentary and funny emails: ‘Your description of the hike around Grand Etang Lake was spot on. We got stuck in the mud too!’ and ‘You would have been amused by the daily “Is Paul Crask in the car?”, “Where is Paul Crask?”, “What does Paul Crask say about that?”’. When Shadel from Belmont told me her visitors’ book was crammed with references to the Bradt guide I realised I was connecting with a lot of people, and so writing the second edition began to mean much more. And as for places, well I did retrace my steps around Grand Etang, of course, and I got stuck in the mud again. I laughed out loud and thought of you. I hope you enjoy these islands and their people as much as I do.