Grenada: Places To Go
Grenada claims 45 beaches, all beautiful, and all free to the public. The most famous is long and stunning Grand Anse, home to many of the island's resorts and hotels. Also in the south are Calabash and Horseshoe. If you are looking to pack a picnic lunch, head for Levera Beach on the northeastern shore, where you can find swaying palms and deserted stretches. Other good beaches are near L'Anse aux Epines, where the Atlantic and the Caribbean meet.
Dive sites in Grenada are some of the last great places to be discovered. Grenada's divers and snorkelers can take advantage of the submerged coral reef which lines most of the western coast as well as the 180-meter (594-foot) wreck, the Bianca, a cruise liner that went up in flames and sank in 1961 in the harbor at St. George's.
Good snorkeling is found at offshore reefs within swimming distance south of Grand Anse Beach and the nearby Morne Rouge Bay. The coral has not been maintained well and the fish are small. There are, however, numerous sea fans of enormous size, some of the largest in the Caribbean. Many divers sail around the reefs of Carriacou and Petit Martinique and simply use their own honing instincts in deciding where to anchor.
Your first stop before setting out on a trek should be the Grand Etang Forest Center to pick up brochures and information for self-guided walkers. The Grand Etang Forest Reserve includes the spine of mountains that make up most of Grenada's interior. Hikes from the Forest Center range from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Anyone who intends to climb volcanic peaks or do serious hiking in remote areas must have a guide.
The trails in the Forest Reserve are quite good. Rainforest flora, such as rare orchids and heliconias, are present; among the animals to be seen are mongoose, many species of frogs, lizard, and birds, armadillo, and opossum. The 15-minute LaBaye Trail begins by the visitor center and features twelve interesting points of interest, including a lookout over the east coast. Mt. Qua Qua, a one and a half-hour trail, leads over level, well-defined tracks as far as the Grand Etang Lake Trail junction. From here, the trail gets steeper and often becomes slippery. Sometimes the trail becomes so narrow that it can be dangerous. Perhaps the finest trail here is the Seven Sisters Trail, which leads to an unbelievable seven waterfalls and pools, with a profuse collection of animals and flora. The trail can get difficult as it crosses dense bush; good balance is needed along the steep ridges. It's recommended to take along a guide.
Advanced hikers should consider a trek to Concord Falls, a triple-tiered cascade deep in the central mountains. Above Concord Village, the road stops directly in front of the first stage of the falls, where you will find a bathhouse and concrete steps down to a swimming area. Lots of scout troops and groups of children often stop here on excursions, but real hikers should proceed on the footpath along the river, where large boulders have been placed in the riverbed to make crossing the river easier to reach the second cascade. Here the terrain can get a bit treacherous, especially during the rainy season. After about 45 minutes, you will reach a tremendous falls dropping 12 meters (40 feet) through jungle-dense vegetation to a pool where you can have a sensuous dip. (The trip back takes only about 25 minutes.) The last cascade, about a three-hour climb away, should only be attempted by the most experienced hikers in need of a memorable challenge.
Fedon's Camp is the name of a trek on Mt. Fedon, a five-hour arduous climb, which takes you along an ancient Indian path into the heart of the rain forest in the Grand Etang National Park. It was the outpost where Julian Fedon, a Grenadian of French birth, led a rebellion against the British in 1795.
A new national park at Levera Bay, east of Sauteurs, encompasses 180 hectares (450 acres) including a beach, pond, boiling springs, and hill, where dozens of tropical birds make their nests. The area is one of the most scenic in Grenada, with white sand beaches fringed with palms. Hiking in the lagoon area can be done on a trail that circles the lagoon. A guide might be needed if the trail has not been improved upon of late. Ask first, otherwise you will be alone, cutting through the forest with a machete.
At the Lake Antoine National Landmark, south of Levera Park, there's a crater formed by volcanic eruption. A circular trail around the crater makes an excellent hike to see the large variety of bird life, which includes snail kite, whistling duck, gray kingbird, and large-billed seed-finch.
On the far southeastern coast, La Sagesse Nature Centre, a four-room guesthouse and restaurant, lures nature-loving escapists and locals who come to veg out on weekends and beat the crowd on the busier beaches. After hiking on one of the nearby trails through cactus-strewn woodlands, you arrive at beaches even more secluded than Sagesse itself. Finally you return to the center's restaurant for fresh fruit smoothies and a delicious seafood lunch. If you want to spend the day at La Sagesse (Tel. 809-444-6458), you can pay US$26 plus a 10 percent service charge per person for round-trip transportation from your hotel, a guided nature tour, lunch, and a bout of beach bumming.