Caribbean Travelweb


Guide To Grenada

 


Description


This small nation consists of three islands: Grenada, Carriacou (pronounced Carry-a KOO), and Petite Martinique (pronounced Pitty Mar-ti-NEEK). Grenada is by far the largest of the three, with a width of twelve miles (18 km) and a length of twenty-one miles (34 km). Its 133 square miles are mountainous, volcanic terrain, reaching heights of over 2,750 feet atop Mount St. Catherine.

Grenada, known as "The Spice of the Caribbean" is a beautiful rolling and mountainous island abounding in tropical flowers and spices. Friendly people populate the picturesque tows that dot the island. Dozens of sandy beaches and quiet, secluded coves border the island providing a getaway from the hustle of the real world.

Grenada’s smaller sister island, Carriacou, is hilly but not mountainous. With smoother terrain, Carriacou is an ideal destination for walking. It possesses fine sand beaches and natural harbours, as well as excellent views of the northern Grenadine islands.

Petite Martinique, the third and smallest island in the state, consists of little more than the tip of a volcanic cone poking through the water. It lies 2.5 miles off the northeast coast of Carriacou. It is only now being developed for visitors.

Activities abound on Grenada. From hiking to horseback riding, golf to tennis, and of course diving and snorkeling.

Getting There

Airlines serving Point Salines Internatinal Airport, which is open daily 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM

In the UK, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic service Grenada with weekly direct flights. from London's Gatwick Airport.

From the U.S., American Airlines services Grenada with direct flights from Miami and connections in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Delta Air also provides non-stop flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Grenada. In addition, Caribbean Airlines also services Grenada with flights to Orlando, New York and Miami..

In Canada, Air Canada Vacations operates a weekly service from Toronto to Grenada during the Winter season (December to April) with easy connections from Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa. Year round, Air Canada operates regularly scheduled flights from Toronto and Montreal to Barbados and Trinidad respectively, with connections into Grenada via LIAT.

LIAT and Caribbean Airlines provide connections into Grenada's Point Salines International Airport, from various Caribbean islands along with connections to International flights from Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad.

Conviasa Airlines provides a twice weekly service from Porlamar, Margarita into Grenada.

Carriacou's Lauriston Airport is serviced by daily flights from Grenada and St. Vincent with SVG Air.


Helpful Visitor Tips

Getting Around

Once you've arrived, travelling around is just as easy, with a variety of car rental companies, taxis and buses. In the capital town of St. George's, there are even water taxis who will take you across the Carenage, to the Esplande or even as far as Grand Anse Beach.

Spend some time in Grenada's beautiful sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Daily Ferry services will carry you from Grenada to Carriacou and Petite Martinique and back all in one day. If you're in a hurry travel by air and get there within half an hour, or you can try out your sea legs on the ferry and enjoy the one and a half hour ride up the coast.

Driving

To obtain a local driving permit, a bona fide driver's license must be presented at the traffic department at the Central Police Station on the Carenage. The cost is EC$30.00. Most car rental firms also issue local permits. There is a network of approximately 650 miles of paved roads and most of the main roads are in good condition. Please note that driving is on the LEFT.

Tax & Tipping

There is an 8% Government Tax at hotels and restaurants. Most also add a 10% service charge. Additional gratuities are at your discretion.

Credit Cards & Currency

Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, car rental companies, and shops. Travellers cheques are accepted everywhere. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar, linked to the US Dollar, is the local currency. Banks will exchange EC$2.67 for US$1.00 cash, and EC$2.68 for US$1.00 in travellers cheques. It is advisable to exchange currency at the banks, as the most favourable exchange rates may not be obtained elsewhere.

Business Hours

Banking hours in Grenada are usually Monday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Shops are generally open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Supermarkets and shopping centers are usually open from 9:00 am. - 7 pm. And there are one or two who are even open on Sundays.

Often when cruise ships are in port, the craft and souvenir shops will open on a Sunday or Bank Holiday.

Government offices are generally open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, but closed from 12:00 to 1:00 pm for lunch.

Climate

Average temperatures range from 75ºF to 85ºF (24ºC to 30ºC), tempered by the steady and cooling trade winds. The lowest temperatures occur between November and February. Due to Grenada’s remarkable topography, the island also experiences climate changes according to altitude. The driest season is between January and May. Even during the rainy season, from June to December, it rarely rains for more than an hour at a time and generally not every day.

Churches

There is a good representation of many of the major religious denominations in most towns and villages including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodists.

Dress

Casual, light cottons are ideal during the day; in the evenings, elegantly casual attire is appropriate. Bathing suits or mini shorts should not be worn in the streets or stores. Long pants and hiking shoes are recommended for hiking.

Electricity

Voltage is 220 volts - 50 cycles. Appliances rated at 110 volts (US standard) normally work satisfactorily with a transformer. Most hotels provide dual voltage shaver units, but an adaptor plug is necessary for small appliances.

Language

English is the official language but it is not uncommon to hear a French-African patois spoken.

Medical Facilities

There is a General Hospital in St. George's, a smaller hospital in Mirabeau on the east coast, and one in Carriacou. Clinics and doctors can be found throughout the islands.

Postal Information
The General Post Office is on Lagoon Road by the Port in St. George's. There are sub-post offices in all towns and villages. Post Offices are open 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday; Fridays until 4:30 p.m. Efficient local, regional and international mailing is enhanced by international couriers, Federal Express, DHL and UPS; and the General Post Office has an Express Mail service.

Preservation
The barking of trees and taking of wildlife from the forest and rivers, and corals from the sea is strictly forbidden.

Radio & Television

There are currently four radio stations (AM 535 kHz; AM 1400 kHz / FM90 kHz / FM96.3 kHz; FM 101.7 kHz; FM105.5 kHz) and three television stations. Many hotels have satellite/cable television.


Activities and Attractions

With its lush and mountainous interior, Grenada, "The Spice of the Caribbean", is being steadily discovered by nature lovers of all types including hikers, mountain bikers, birdwatchers and waterfall buffs. Recreational sports enthusiasts will find the island offers an abundance of activities and facilities to keep them entertained - scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, sailing and cruising. And for those looking to experience the true essence and character of Grenada, sightseeing and historical sites abound as well as unique shops and outstanding cuisine.

Golf
The Grenada Golf & Country Club is a nine-hole course located near Grand Anse. Facilities include club rental, instruction, a clubhouse offering snacks and a bar, and caddy service. For more information, call 473-444-4128.

Tennis
Visitors interested in a few sets of tennis needn't look far, as many hotels have tennis facilities. Even if your hotel doesn't, it is quite easy to make arrangements for a court with another that does. There are also public courts in the Grand Anse area which are easily accessible.


Shopping

From exotic spices to duty-free bargains, shopping in Grenada offers something of interest for everyone. Offering a wide assortment of fresh produce, spices and handicrafts, St. George’s market is the center of island life. Souvenir, gift and handicraft shops are also prevalent in the St. George’s district, especially on Young Street and the Carenage. The best buys in Grenada are batik and screen printed textiles, locally made handicraft, leather craft, and wood carvings.

If you like the larger shopping centers, the Grand Anse Shopping Centre and LeMarquis Complex offer shops, clothing stores, restaurants and art galleries. The new Spiceland Mall also has a wide variety of shops and boutiques.

Restaurants

As for cuisine, visitors can indulge in some of the most exciting in the region, from native Grenadian fare, made from the fresh bountiful produce that is found in the bustling markets to some of the finest creations in international cuisine. West Indian cuisine is of course popular, with restaurants featuring creative local cuisine such as callaloo soup, a melange of fresh local seafood, and meats prepared with a true West Indian flare.

Beaches

Due to its mountainous interior, Grenada possesses an irregular coastline, marked by many small bays and inlets. As a result, it offers several secluded and private beaches, many of which seem to have been untouched since the island rose from the sea. The white sand beaches are formed from pulversied coral "rock" and tiny fragments of mollusk shells. There are a number of black sand beaches as well, where the sand is of a finer, softer quality.

Most of the better-known beaches are in the southwestern part of Grenada.This is also the location of Grenada’s most famous stretch of sand, the two-mile long Grand Anse. Located just south of St. George’s, this stunning soft white sand beach has attracted many of the island’s hotels and resorts. Unlike other islands, however, Grenada has made sure that the development is unobtrusive. By law, no hotel on the island can exceed three stories or the height of the palm trees.

Hiking, Biking, Kayaking, Birdwatching

The last decade and a half has been a period of considerable development in Grenada. While the expansion of the tourist industry has proceeded rapidly, the island nation has taken great care to protect its magnificent natural environment. A number of national parks have been developed, and the protection of both the rain forest and the coral reefs continues to be a high priority. One-ninth of Grenada's land mass is preserved in the way of parks, natural sanctuaries and wildlife preserves. Ranging from the magnificent Grand Etang Forest Reserve to the tranquil intimacy of the La Sagesse estuary, these areas hold considerable attraction for nature enthusiasts as well as those who want to simply become better acquainted with the peerless natural beauty of the island. This, combined with Grenada's lush and mountainous interior and abundant wildlife, makes the island a haven for outdoor lovers of all types.

Fishing

There are plenty of charter companies that offer half-day and full-day deep-sea fishing packages. Billfish, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and wahoo are all found in Grenadian waters, along with yellowfin tuna and dolphin (also known as dorado or mahi-mahi). Don't miss the Annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament held in mid January each year. The tournament attracts pros from all over the world.

Sailing

Grenada's surrounding waters offer some of the best sailing in the Caribbean, and the island is, as a result, one of the premier yachting centers in the region. You can have your pick of pre-arranged tours or crewed yacht and bare boat rentals. Even if you're not a sailor, you shouldn't miss an opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of a day or evening cruise.

Local tour companies offer day cruises with various itineraries: Watch the whales or cruise up the islands. If you feel adventurous you can hire a crewed yacht or bare boat and sail around at your leisure.

Diving

The underwater scenery in Grenada is every bit as breathtaking as it is above the waves, and just as accessable. Most of the diving facilities in Grenada are located in the south of the island, and most of the dives sites are within 15 minutes of the Grand Anse Beach.

The diving in Grenada is some of the best in the Caribbean, and boasts the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean as well as an underwater volcano!

From lazy drift dives over coral gardens to an eerie and challenging exploration of the wrecks of the Bianca C, these waters are captivating more and more visitors each year.

Grenada has at least 30 dive sites including, reefs, wrecks and walls most within 15-20 minutes from the dive shops. Sites vary from 20 feet/ 8 meters to 120 feet/ 40 meters.

Grenada Carnival
Carnival in Grenada is held in the second week of August. It's a great time to be on the island, but if you intend to come, book early! There are lots of exciting shows - Calypso Monarch, Carnival Queen, Steelband Competition, etc, culminating on Carnival Sunday with Dimanche Gras. The following morning is J'ouvert, when tens of thousands of people take to the streets of St George's from around 4 am. Later in the day is Monday Night Mas, with steelbands and masqueraders parading through the streets to the latest Calypso hits. Tuesday afternoon features steelbands and mas bands, their colourful costumes adding to the natural beauty of St George's. It's a fantastic atmosphere, if you've never danced behind a steelband you just don't know what you're missing!

 
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