Postcard From Grenada

Jim Rudin and Alister Hughes on how to relax and unwind in the Caribbean's Spice Island

Bataway (left), and a boat launching in Carriacou (right). Photograph by Jim RudinGrand Anse beach. Photograph by Jim RudinGrand Anse beach. Photograph by Jim RudinGrand Etang lake. Photograph by Jim RudinGrenada holds its annual Carnival in August. Photograph by Jim RudinMount Carmel Falls. Photograph by Jim RudinSt George’s, the capital of Grenada. Photograph by Jim RudinSt. George’s, the capital of Grenada. Photograph by Jim Rudin

Dear Jackie,

They say Grenada is the “original Caribbean”. You can see why. The place oozes history. St George’s, the capital, hugs the hillsides around what I’m told is the crater of an extinct volcano: the houses flow up the gentle slopes like a tropical mosaic. The older buildings in St George’s are brick and weathered stone, many of them still with their original tiled roofs.

We’re staying near Grand Anse beach, one of the best beaches I have ever seen. It’s over a mile long, with lovely white sand. The water is calm and crystal clear. There are several hotels along the beach but they don’t spoil the natural beauty of the place. The architecture blends with the background and there is a standing rule that buildings must not rise higher than the tops of the coconut trees. You can water-ski to your heart’s content, or rent those cute little sail-fish. But, for the time being, I have been happy just to slap on my suntan lotion, sprawl on the beach and revel in the beauty and peace.

A day or two ago we went on a tour which included the Grand Etang lake near the centre of the island. It’s an extinct volcanic crater. You drive through the rain forest to a height of nearly two thousand feet; the views are spectacular. We learned a lot about the island at the Interpretation Centre, and explored the nature trails around the lake.

The tour also took us to a pretty waterfall which has only recently been opened up for visitors. We have still to go to the better-known waterfalls at Annandale and Concord, but this one at Mount Carmel had a special charm of its own. We spent a lovely half-hour swimming in the natural pool at the foot of the falls.

We went on to Batway in the north – there, you can choose between Atlantic surf and a lovely, calm, natural pool. It’s the headquarters of the Levera National Park, with interesting displays and photographs. We explored some of the nature trails around Lake Levera.

Long before old Christopher Columbus came this way a few centuries ago, it seems that Grenada was settled by Amerindian tribes from South America who set up their villages all over the island. We saw some amazing stone carvings done by these people with very primitive tools.

I hadn’t realised that “Grenada” is made up of three islands – Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Carriacou is a lovely little island, and some of the best boat builders in the world are to be found there. We’re going to come back to Grenada next year and we’ll spend a bit more time exploring Carriacou and Petit Martinique. We also have to see the Carnival in August. We were too late for it this year but it sounds like a spectacular event. The costumes are fantastic, and the street dancing (Grenadians call it “jumping up”) to the music of the steelbands is something we have to experience.

I guess you can see we’ve fallen in love with Grenada. We’ll tell you more about it when we get back. If we decide to come back, that is.

Lots of love,

Pru