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Grenada

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Travel Guide Caribbean Grenada

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Introduction

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

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Grenada, along the southeastern reaches of the Lesser Antilles, is a home to numerous resorts, like most of its Caribbean island neighbours. But in Grenada, these resorts are not nearly as widespread as elsewhere. Travellers can easily stay at smaller, locally owned hotels where they will not feel like part of the crowd. That, coupled with a slow, dreamy pace of life, makes Grenada the ultimate relaxation island. Which is not to say that there is little to do here. You can head to the beach and dive, swim or snorkel in the water; stay dry and go on a sailing trip to one of the smaller nearby islands; or hike inland through dense rain forests. Excellent, cheap Creole food, accented by spice, winds every day up with a happy stomach. And if you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the main island, hop over to the smaller islands of Carriacou or Petite Martinique and see what relaxing is all about!

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Brief History

The recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498. At the time the indigenous Island Caribs (Kalinago) who lived there called it Camahogne. The Spaniards did not permanently settle on Camahogne. Later the English failed their first settlement attempts, but the French fought and conquered Grenada from the Caribs circa 1650. The French conquest resulted in the genocide of 17th century Caribs from present-day Grenada. The colony was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris. A century later, in 1877 Grenada was made a Crown Colony.
The island was a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962. In 1967, Grenada attained the status of “Associated State of the United Kingdom”, which meant that Grenada was now responsible for her own internal affairs, and the UK was responsible for her defence and foreign affairs. Independence was granted in 1974.

On October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop, who was placed under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. The overthrow of a moderate government by one which was strongly communist worried U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Of particular concern was the presence of Cuban construction workers and military personnel building a 10,000-foot airstrip on Grenada. Though Bishop had claimed the purpose of the airstrip was to allow commercial jets to land, Reagan believed its purpose was to allow military transport planes loaded with arms from Cuba to be transferred to Central American insurgents. On October 25 that same year, Grenada was invaded by combined forces from the United States, the Regional Security System (RSS) and Jamaica, in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury.
In 2004, after being hurricane-free for forty-nine years, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan (September 7). Ivan struck as a Category 3 hurricane and caused 90 percent of the homes to be damaged or destroyed.

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Geography

Grenada is a Caribbean island (one of the Grenadines) between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located at WikiMiniAtlas12°07′N 61°40′W / 12.117°N 61.667°W. There are no large inland bodies of water on the island, which consists entirely of the state of Grenada. The coastline is 121 kilometres long. The island Grenada is the largest island in the Grenadines; smaller islands are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island.Grenada and its territories occupy a total area of 433 square kilometres. Grenada, known as the Spice Isle because of its production of nutmeg and mace, is the largest at 310 square kilometres. The islands are of volcanic origin with extremely rich soil. Grenada’s interior is very mountainous with Mount St. Catherine being the highest at 840 metres. Several small rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea from these mountains.

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Regions/Parishes

Grenada is organised into 6 parishes.

  • Saint Andrew
  • Saint David
  • Saint George
  • Saint John
  • Saint Mark
  • Saint Patrick

Carriacou and Petite Martinique, two of the Grenadines have a status of dependency.

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Cities and Towns

  • Saint George's, the country's capital
  • Hillsborough on the island of Carriacou
  • Grenville

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Sights and Activities

Grand Etang National Park

Grand Etang National Park is Grenada's finest natural reserve. It is located in the central highlands and is centered around the Grand Etang Lake. It is a crater lake and functions as the starting point for several walking trails into the lush surrounding forest. There are walks for everyone, from short leisurely strolls to full day strenuous hikes. If you want to go for a longer hike, you can arrange for a guide at the visitor centre by the lake.

Annandale Falls

Annandale Falls is the perfect getaway for a romantic daytrip. The waterfall is not that high, about 9 meters, but the surrounding area is just great. The waterfall plunges into a green-ish pool where you can take a refreshing swim after the walk to the falls. Around the pond there is beautiful green lush vegetation. There is a big chance you won't be alone, especially on cruiseship days.

Grand Anse Beach

Grand Anse Beach is Grenada's main resort area. It is a fine white sand beach fronted by turquoise water and backed by hills. Unfortunately, it is also packed with hotels, bars and eateries. The beach is a popular place for water sports and although it might not be everyone's cup of tea, it sure is not ugly or boring here.

If you'd prefer somewhere a little quieter, there are better beaches elsewhere. Just cross the peninsula of Quarantine Point to Morne Rouge Bay, which is beautiful as well, at least the parts that have recovered since the 2004 Hurricane Ivan.

Northern Carriacou

Carriacou is Grenada's smaller sister island and most parts are much less developed than the main island. Still, the northern part of Carriacou is even better and more secluded than the southern parts. It used to be a plantation area for sugarcane, but nowadays most of those plantations are used for growing other crops or cattle. The area has some nice deserted beaches and picturesque villages. This actually makes Northern Carriacou one of the most quiet places in this part of the Caribbean.

Fort George

Fort George is the oldest and best known fort in Grenada and was built by the French in 1705. Near St. George's, the views from the top to the harbor and the lagoon and Grand Anse Beach are perfect. You can find the courtyard where Maurice Bishop was executed inside the inner fort - the bullet holes made by the firing squad can still be seen. This is one of the cultural highlights of Grenada.

Other sights and activities

  • Grenada National Museum. St George's.
  • La Sagesse Nature Centre. A bay that great for swimming, relaxing, hiking and birdwatching.

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Weather

Grenada has a hot and humid tropical climate with average daytime temperatures between 28º C and 30º C and average nights around 23º C. Most rain falls between June and October with a chance of hurricanes from August onwards. Therefore, the drier (and slightly cooler) December to April period is the best time to visit weather-wise. Unfortunately prices rise sharply during this period and the months of November and May still have good weather. So budget-wise these later months may be a good option as well.

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Getting there

Plane

Point Salines International Airport is where international flights depart and arrive. Airlines serving Grenada directly are Air Jamaica from New York (sometimes via Montego Bay in Jamaica]] andCaribbean Airlines from several islands in the Caribbean like Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. British Airways flies there directly from London while Condor has weekly flights to and from Frankfurt. Toronto is served by Air Canada.
Virgin Atlantic has flights to Grenada via Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago. Other airlines flying to Grenada are American Eagle (San Juan) and SVG Air (Saint Vincent).

Boat

From Union Island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines there are ferries to and from the island of Carriacou, Grenada. The M.V. Jasper travels from Union Island to Carriacou at 6:00am on Mondays and Thursdays. In the other direction, it leaves Carriacou on the same day around noon. The costs is about EC$20.00, which is around US$7.50. In addition, various fishing boats leave Union Island at 7:30am and will drop passengers in Carriacou for about the same price. Expensive watertaxis ply the same route between Carriacou and Union Island.

From October 2009 onwards, BEDY Ocean Lines, will provide new ferry services for residents only between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago.

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Getting around

By Plane

SVG Air flies between the main island of Grenada and the island of Carriacou. Planes land here at Lauriston Airport (CRU).

By Car

Roads on Grenada are mostly tarred but narrow and winding. There are many rental agencies, both international and local ones and the latter have better daily deals but insurances are not as good. Driving is on the left. You need to buy a local Grenadian driver's permit, which you can buy at the rental offices or police station. Minimum age usually is 25.

Drive carefully and watch out for the buses.

By Bus

Buses are fun to get around in Grenada, and they are cheap but slow. It's good way to meet locals though.

Connections include services on the main island of Grenada to Annadale, Concorde, Grand Anse, Grand Etang, Grenville, Gouyave, La Sagesse, Sauters, Victoria and Westernhall, all from Saint George's. Even the longest trips don't take much longer than an hour or slightly more. On Carriacou, buses run from Hillsborough to Harvey Vale and Windward and minibuses run between Hillsborough, Windward and Tyrell Bay.

You can flag buses down or get of the bus everywhere you want. Note that on Sundays, services are limited.

To most other places where buses don't run, get a taxi which have fixed rates. Still, negotiate before you leave. Some taxis or minibuses double as tours/guides, and Mandoo's Taxi Service is recommended.

Boat

Ospreylines has ferry services connecting several islands in Grenada, including the main island, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Services between Grenada and Carriacou and Carriacou and Petit Martinique usually are twice a day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

There are also some options like small boats and private water taxis to travel between several islands.

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Red Tape

A visa is not required for citizens of the US, Canada, UK, the British Commonwealth countries, Caribbean countries (except Cuba), most European countries, South Korea, and Japan. For the first three countries, even proof of citizenship with a photo, is valid.
You can find the complete list at the Grenada Consulate website. Others can apply for one at the nearest embassy or consulate of Grenada.

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Money

The currency of Grenada is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, or EC$. It has existed since 1965 and is used by 7 other states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States as well. Only the British Virgin Islands (the ninth member) doesn't use it, but uses the US$ instead. The EC$ is subdivided into 100 cents and has been pegged to the United States dollar at US$1 = EC$2.7 since 1976. The EC$ comes in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cents and a coins of 1 dollar. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar.

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Health

See also Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Grenada. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Grenada) where that disease is widely prevalent.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Grenada. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and vaccination against hepatitis B and typhoid are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.

Dengue sometimes occurs as well. There is no vaccination, so buy mosquito repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net. Also wear long sleeves if possible.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.

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Safety

See also Travel Safety

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Quick Facts

Grenada flag

Map of Grenada

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Capital
Saint George's
Population
89,500
Government
Constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament
Religions
Christianity (Catholic, Protestant)
Languages
English, French patois
Calling Code
+1473
Nationality
Grenadian

Contributors

as well as Peter (13%), breaker (5%)

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Grenada Travel Helpers

  • chris862

    I can recommend a great place for anyone looking for a different (or intimate/romantic) holiday off the beaten track in Grenada - run by two very hospitable Europeans, private beach, comfortable rooms, marvellous views, peace and quiet.
    That's all my knowledge of Grenada so far!

    Ask chris862 a question about Grenada
  • mingler

    I've spent about a month on a couple of visits to Grenada and have seen most of the main island. I've also spent some time on Carriacou.

    Ask mingler a question about Grenada

Accommodation in Grenada

This is version 25. Last edited at 6:18 on Jun 3, 13 by Peter. 17 articles link to this page.

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