Google is bloody marvelous … most of the time, occasionally though its a silly little blighter. It thinks its being clever and helping you, but its not really. Good effort but shite performance. Dear google, I’d like some info on Grenada please, Grenada, GREN-ADA, GREN, with an E, there’s an E in it, no not an A an E, no I don’t want info on Granada, that’s in bloody Spain. ARGHHH. Turns out there wasn’t a lot of info of Grenada, apart from a few helpful posts by @hobonara and @goseewrite I was pretty much of my own for this one.
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Grenada is also known as the “Island of Spice” due to the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters. Cocoa and rum are also important exports. Its size is 344 square kilometres (133 sq mi), a propotion of which is rainforest, the estimated population is around 110,000. Its capital is St. George’s, located on the west of the island and close to the main beach of Grand Anse.
Taken from Wikipedia and edited by backpacksandbunkbeds.co.uk
MAP OF GRENADA
View Grenada in a larger map
Gatwick to Paradise
A 5am start and a lift from daddy cabs saw Esther and I arrive at Gatwick early doors and in good time for our flight, we were a little worried though that with all the snow we might be hit by a delay. We met up with 2 of Esther’s sisters who were along for the ride (Jen and Hannah), and her little nephew Ryan. 10 hours later having gotten away on schedule, we were greeted by Esther’s mum at Maurice Bishop Airport in Grenada. Two minutes later I was meeting uncle Claude who was driving us to Esther’s dads house. This was already a real family affair. The drive to the house was a epic twisty climb through the countrys perilous mountain roads. The views were spectacular, the driving terrifying. I loved it though. The warm evening air hitting my face as I tried to take in the blur of colours and smells that flew by the open window. Ah, paradise.
Around an hour later we arrived at the ‘farm’ better know as Prospect, its was located in the north east of the island, in a small village called La Digue which was not too far from the more major Grenville (look for the green house on the island map above). I wouldn’t have called it a farm as such, more an estate. The house was grand and surrounded by tall tropical looking trees which bore all sorts of tropical looking fruits that i’d never heard of, oh and some coconuts too. We were to eat most of these at some point over the next two weeks curtousy of Esthers mother, she was a feeder! Seconds and the dinner table were mandatory!
Esther’s dad and his dogs greeted us upon arrival, the later barking loudly but running away at the same time, seemingly the worst guard dogs ever, cute though. The house was different to how I imagine it, Esther had described it as very very basic, but I thought it was just great and more than comfortable. A lot can happen in 17 years and even Esther was a little taken aback by how much had changed. That night I went to sleep petrified of what the mozzies might do to me, to my surprise I didn’t actually get that many bites that night or over the 2 weeks we were in Grenada, and of the bites I did get most were from sandflys, not quite so bad.
Awakening on that first morning it took me a while to realize where I actually was, and why it was so damn hot. With my senses in check and the dry scrubbed from my mouth I wandered downstairs to be confronted by a wide awake francis family who excited exclaimed that we were going to get coconuts from the tree in the yard. Ryan was tasked with picking the coconuts and Rudi (Esthers dad) then proceeded to bring out his terrifying collection of cutlasses to hack away at each of the coconuts (or boyfriends if they step out of line), so that we could drink the juuice from inside. Once the juice was seen off round 2 of cutlass vs coconut would begin. It was a very one sided affair with the cutlass winning each time and providing us all with plenty of coconut jelly to scoff down for breaky.
Grenadians generally like to take their time with things, what’s the rush eh? Esther is a testament to this, I’m forever getting hours and hours worth of quality sky sports viewing whilst I’m waiting for her to get ready for a night out. HOURS! Driving however is one pursuit where time is seemingly of the essence, they do not mess around when it comes to the roads. The roads themselves have supposedly been improved of late, being flattened and with asplattering of safety barriers erected (giggidy), but from what I saw this only encouraged people to drive faster and more dangerously, Jenny included. Esther’s mum was kind enough to hire a 4×4 for the entire two weeks we were in Grenada ($1200 XCD for the two weeks, roughly £300), and whilst I was fully able to drive the Colin McCrae of the Francis family (Jenny) took to tearing up the road and tires or Grenada in perfect local style. Riding shotgun, I was forever slamming on the imaginary dual control break in my footweld, and I’m not a nervous or particularly slow driver normally. Things such as indicating, right of way, dipping your full beams are pretty much non existent. The roads are very slim, and you pass other motorist at high speed with only inches between you. Its even more interesting when driving through the mountains and driving around blind corners. Not for the faint hearted! We made it through the 2 weeks with only one near death incident.
In order to be able to drive in the first place, I first had to go get a tourist license from the local police station. Grenville, Grenada’s second largest town, hosted the nearest police station so along with Jenny and Esther’s mum Anne, we toddled off down to the station. Once the traffic officer eventually turned up, obtaining a licensee was relatively straight forward and very cheap, just £8 ($30 XCD – Caribbean dollars,).
Grenville itself was an interesting place. It reminded me a lot of Labassa in Fiji. There was a grand fish market and meat market, lots of bakeries and an abundance of mobile phone related shops. KFC also lurked, but I never actually visited … that particular restaurant What do you think of Grenville, here’s a few photos …
Grand Anse Beach
With our own mode of transport and a couple of licenses to drive the battered old thing, it didn’t take us long to set out for the beach. The main beach in Grenada is Grand Anse beach, located on the west coast of the island. It’s a glorious 2 mile stretch of white sand and turquoise sea. The drive from our base in La Digue took roughly 1 hours each way through the mountains, but it was a very scenic and enjoyable drive (when there were no other cars for Jen to race). We passed through the rain forest and a monkey sanctuary, passed volcanic lakes and gernally got some amazing views from atop of the mountains.
Once of the beach, we quickly established our favorite bar (aptly names Esthers bar) and favorite sun bed vender. The people on the beach were all very friendly, and not overly forceful with their water sports business, they did try and sell me drugs though, so if that’s not your thing just say no and walk away. Beers near the beach were around £1.20 each ($5 XCD) and sun loungers the same for a day’s rental. The sun bed rental market went mad about 2pm each day when folk from the big ol’ cruise ships would hit the beach for an hour or two. It wasnt so bad though, plenty of room for everyone.
Being west facing, the sea wasn’t too rough, no massive atlantic waves here. There were a few rocks to watch out for though, oh and the nutters on jet ski’s. The water itself was just about right, not too cold, but cold enough to sooth any burns, of which we had many, even with factor 50 on and only going to the beach from 2pm onwards. It was bloody hot!
Sadly, a week or so we departed for Grenada, one of Esthers nan’s passed away, she was one of the people Esther desperately wanted to visit upon her first return to the island in 17 years. Sadly it was not meant to be, but in some way a small consolation was that Esther and her family got to pay their respects at the funeral. I wont go into details as its obviously a private matter, but I was totally blown away with the row of popcorn stands outside the cemetery. Very odd in my opinion, but its not my country so Iguess I really shouldnt judge.
Island tour with uncle Claude
A popular method of travel in Grenada is bus. The buses are a little different to what i’m used to, more minibus than big red bus with annoying chavs sitting at the back blairing out sh*t ‘urban’ music, but they’re cheap, regular and do a job, even if they do bomb around the island at alarming speeds and with far to many passengers than is safe. Esthers uncle Claude drives one such bus for a living, the number 6 bus. He’s commonly know in certain parts of the island as ‘Uprising’, which was the name of his old bus. Most of the buses sport cool and radical names, a form of identity. Claude was yet to decide the name of his shiny new bus, but he did take us all on a family tour of the island one friday.
We visited Grand Etang monkey reserve, had a picnic in beach side park, drove through the capital city of St George, watched the waterfall divers of Anandale waterfall and then finally a drive around the north of the island to the Sulpher lakes and Antoine lake. A busy day, but a great way to see a huge amount of the island. A perfect day to round off the first part of our holiday, for the day after Claudes tour Esther and I were on the move.
Want to know what happens next? Want to cheat and skip to the end? Do you just want to look at pretty pictures of Grenada rather than read about how many beers I drank. Well here you go then, here are all the links to all my Grenada posts, all of them. You dont ask for much do you!?
(They’ll turn red when they’re live)
Part 1 – Welcome to Grenada
Part 2 – Lance Aux Epines
Part 3 – Valentines in Carriacou
Part 4 – Chocolate, Rum and Waterfalls
Photo Essay: Belmont Cocoa Plantation
Photo Essay: Seven Sisters Waterfall