Thursday, March 26, 2015

Still Cold, So Grenada

We're enjoying our spring at 39 degrees and rain in New England, so I thought I would talk about someplace a lot warmer, and at this point in time, a lot prettier.  I love a good sunset, and despite my angst about beaches as a vacation location, sunsets over the ocean are beautiful.  One of those pretty sunset spots lies just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean...Grenada.  Grenada sports six smaller islands, some of them technically uninhabited, but most of the fun is to be had on the island of Grenada itself.  I'll just get the easy ones out of the way.  They have amazing beaches, great snorkeling and diving, resorts, great food, a petting zoo, sailing vessels for rent or tour, shopping, hiking, biking, and those gorgeous sunsets.  But, there are some really cool things about Grenada that you don't always hear about.

Let's start with a little history.  Grenada was "discovered" by Columbus and originally was called Concepcion.  Over the years the island was fought over by the French and British and was called not only Concepcion, but also Grenade, before it finally landed as Grenada.  In the 1970's the country became independent, and a few years later communists from Cuba tried to take it over.  After several countries helped them battle this problem, they went to a parliamentary government with the Queen as head of state.  Today, it is a tourist haven and a tax haven for people from all over the world.  There are forts that are hundreds of years old, with cannon still pointing out to sea.  There are spices grown all over the island which it has become famous for, especially the nutmeg.  The waters are clear, the skies are big, the people are friendly, and the views are amazing.  The weather is nice, especially if you avoid the hurricane season from June through November.  There's really no downside here.

St. George's is the capital of this island nation, and it's epicenter for activity.  This is where you will catch most of the tours and find most of the resorts.  This is where your cruise will stop if you come out this way.  You can even come here with Disney.  It's a regular stop for a lot of ships.  Now, as you know, I normally pick a place because it has something unique.  Well, Grenada does.  It has a couple of things.

It has some great outdoors.  There are several waterfalls in Grenada, such as Concord Falls and the Seven Sisters, and some of them are not long hikes.  Some of them are not far from the roads you take through the parks where they live.  Grenada also has hot springs because they also have a volcano.  Mount St. Catherine is over 4500 feet high and not dead.  It's not active right now, which makes for great hiking and the hot springs are great for a soak.  One way to access all this stuff and more is to take a Jeep tour, which come in both half and full day tours and take you to some amazing places with great vistas and good activities.

Jeep tours will take you through rainforest areas and along coastal areas as well.  It's like a best of both worlds.  Some tours stop way out in the middle of the rainforest area for lunch at Morne Fendue Plantation House.  This is an old colonial style plantation house turned restaurant.  It provides atmosphere as well as good food.  Also on these tours, you can book an inner tubing trip down the river or a biking trip through the rainforest and along the coast.  there are several choices and it's a lot of fun.

One of the really fun things to do is go on a sunset cruise with Savvy Sailing.  They take you out on the ocean for some dinner and a fabulous sunset view.  It's a definite Adventure for Anyone, and if you have a someone special with you, that's perfect.  These schooners are one of the most affordable ways to spend a little time out on the water.  You can take longer tours than three hours, but it will get pricey.

Here it is, the reason that Grenada is an Adventure for Anyone.  No, that's not an actual Beetle.  What that is, is a sculpture in the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park.  It's the only one of it's kind and it's amazing.  This place was created to combat damaged reefs after Hurricanes Ivan and Emily came blasting through the area a few years back.

This park is a growing project with new sculptures being added all the time.  What they do is create reef area for the sea life, and they make a great tourist attraction.  It's about 14 feet deep where you find these statues, so you can dive or snorkel down to see them.  It's a very creative way to enhance the wildlife in the area.  Some places are using wrecked ships, but in Grenada, it's become an art project.  The best part is that if you don't dive or swim, you can come out in a glass bottom kayak and just take a look.  The good folks over at S & S Kayaking will help you do just that.

So, if you want to have some fun, get some sun, and see something really amazing, check out Grenada.  The spice islands have some really great things to see and do.  They also have a sense of responsibility for the nature around them and a genuinely creative way to help the sea life survive.  It does the body good to see artists from all over taking part in such an amazing conservation project.  The fish like it too. So, join in the fun and come and see the world's prettiest underwater conservation project.


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