So, back to Grenada, out little mini break to Lance Aux Epines and Carriacou was at an end, but we still had loads to look forward to! … its just a shame we bought the rain back with us. People we met were saying it was the worst they’d seen all season. Fran-freekin-tastic.
Anyway here’s a map of Grenada with a few of the attractions we visited marked out. A few of which i’ve written about below. Part 4, live and uninterupted … unless you’re reading this at work and closing the window down every time someone walks past. Cheeky!
View Grenada in a larger map
So, with the rain refusing to stop the beach really wasnt an ideal place to be spending our days. Instead we hoped in the motor and headed to a few of the indoor venues that Grenada has to offer, first stop was the Belmont Estate and cocoa plantantion, worth a stop even if it isnt raining.
We took a 45 min tour of the estate which cost just $10 XCD each (£2.50). This included a short but informative video on the Grenadan chocolate industry, and a few samples of dark choc, nom nom nom. A chocolate tea was also sipped and again was delicious.
Prior to watching the video, a nice lady called Lauren had been our tour guide and had talked us through the history of the Belmost Estate and how the cocoa is farmed, harvested and fermented before being made into what we all know as chocolate. Our visit was only short, but very worthwhile. Before we left though, we made sure we invested in some of the good stuff from the shop on site.
Next up on the lift of ‘things to do that cannot be spoilt by the rain’ was the local rum distilery. To be honest I wasnt that bothered about the distilary, and seemingly neither was our guide. The tour cost us next to nothing $5 XCD (£1.20), but our guide was most uninspiring. The best part of the tour for most people was the sampling at the end, the passionfruit rum seemed to go down very well. I myself am not a rum fan, where’s the beer?
The distilary itself was fairly interesting, the giant water wheel which aided the crushing of the sugar cane was pretty impressive.
Waterfall scam (Mt Carmel)
Before heading home of the eve, we thought we’d try hit one last site. We chose Grenada’s highest waterfall, Mt Carmel, but we never made it and this is why.
We found the place pretty easily and the path is even sign posted. But, as soon as we turned the trusty 4×4 into the road that contained the waterfall path we were flagged down (he stood right in our path) by the local jack the lad. It was obvious what he wanted … money, but I was in no mood to give him cash, i’d had enough of the game by this point, too many times people have tried to scam me for cash on the road. We debated whether or not to get out the car, only Esther and I did, but we soon back in it as the guy said that we’d have to pay to see ‘his’ waterfall.
Its a shame that we didnt get to see the waterfall, we could have argued the point but I was tired and didnt really fancy an argument. It just annoys me that people will just claim a natural wonder and their ‘turf’ (for lack of a better word), and try rip people off to see something that they have every right to see for free. Tres annoying.
Seven Sisters waterfall
Although the Mt Carmel waterfall scam was a disspointment, we didnt have to wait too long to see one of Grenada’s amazing waterfalls, and probably the most apt waterfall that the Francis family could see. Esther is number 6 of 7 sisters, hannah number 7. The waterfall we hiked to see was called the 7 sisters waterfall, the pools you could swim in were numbers 6 and 7. What are the feckin chances?
Anyways so the cost of entering the park to go see the waterfall was just $5 XCD each (£1.20 ish), an absolute bargain. That charge also got you a free walking stick which on the day we went was much needed. The rain had made mince meat out of the path and we were slipping and sliding all over the shop. We escaped without major injury, but the hike was hard going in parts, especially in the heat.
Like all the other waterfalls on the island, there are teams of divers located at the falls who do backflips for a bit of cash. They seemed nice enough and another tour group behind us lapped up the spectacular dives. We on the other hand were slowly coming to realise that not wearing swimwear was very foolish. Not wanting to miss out I jumped in anyway, I would just be wearing wet cargo shorts for the rest of the day. The waterself was freezing, but it felt sooooo good on my burns. I could easily have spent the day at the falls, but more and more tour groups starting turning up once it hit a more reasonable hour and so after some swimming and posing we made the long hike back to meet Jenny and Ryan at the car.
The hike to the waterfalls was one of the best things we experienced whilst on Grenada, its not all that clear where the falls are located. Look out for a sign saying St Margarets falls.
One of the major attractions I wanted to visit before even setting foot on Grenada was a sculpture park, but not your usual scultpure park, as this one was underwater.
Esther and I booked our trip through a company called EcoDrive at $50 USD (£35) for a 2 stop snorkling trip. Armed with flippers, life jackets, masks and snorkles, our first stop was on the west coast reef. Now it wasnt as colourful as some other reefs i’ve swam on, but there were sooo many fish, and they werent scared to come say hi, in fact they literally surrounded us. The only problem was, we had no underwater camera, they didnt sell them at the dive shop MAJOR ERROR on their part. It also meant we couldnt take pictures of the underwater sculptures at our second stop either. So instead you’ll have to do with a pic of Esther in her snorkling gear and some photo’s of a magazine article on the sculptures.
Grand Etang Lake
As (i think) mentioned early in this series, Grenada ia volcanic, owing to this, there are a couple of volcanic lakes knocking around, Grand Etang being the grandest. By day it is awash with tour groups, but we decided to stop by one evening on the way home from the beach and it was totally deserted. Not only that, but we got in for free. The area was pretty tranquil, it’d be a great place for a picnic i reckon.
Esthers dads other house
On our last full day in Grenada, we finally did something we’d been planning to do since day one, visit Esther’s dads new place in the hills. Now I thought the house we’d been staying in was nice, but the new place was something else. Atop a hill Rudi (Mr Francis) had a view of the beach from one side and the rainforest covered mountains on the other. With my somewhat limited vocab I’m struggling to come up with an adjective apt enough to describe the view from the roof to you.
The house was to be rented out soon after we left, but all the girls were glad to have a nose around. With a little more work it could easily have been self sustaning. Solar and wind in good supply, fertile soil, fresh water. If you wanted to hide away and write a novel or something, this wouldnt be the worst spot! It even has a front door shipped all the way from the uk, Rudi’s old house in fact … hence the photo.
Now Esther’s dad is a man of few words, he likes peace and quiet, and with 7 daughters who can blame him!? God knows how, but on the roof the subject of marriage came up, not exactly my favourite topic, and luckily esther agrees, we’re too young for that shizzle. But, just in case we were turning to the dark side and starting to contemplate such stupidity Rudi decided a not so quiet work in my ear should be spoken. Cue comic genius! …
*kisses teeth* – Neil, let me tell you something, its like hanging yourself mate!
I cant imagine many fathers would say that to their daughters fella with most of his family present, but thats how it went down on the rooftop that fine morning. Potentially the funniest thing i’ve ever heard. Legend!
So that was it really, we had one last afternoon at the beach and then packed the next morning. The 2 weeks were up.
2 weeks doesnt sound like a lot really, in terms of backpacking its nothing, but this felt like a loooooong two weeks and I loved that. I loved staying at the Francis house rather than a hotel, I loved that we had to travel if we were to do things, it wasnt all on our doorstep. This felt like another tick in the adventre box and as much as I love my weekends away and mini breaks I never really feel as if I completely escape my working life, the dreaded 9-5. This felt different and has somewhat re-ignited my thirst for longer trips, only question is how!? … well Hannah didnt have that problem and promtly decided that we didnt want to go home and changed her ticket so that she’d be spending another 5 weeks in Grenada, lucky so and so. For the rest of us it was off home though, here’s the obligtory photo of the family at the aiport.
Thanks for reading!
L to R – Esther, Hannahm Rudi, Ryan, Anne and Jenny.
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