Gavin visits Grenada

23/10/2015

Grenada… An island that really does encapsulate that dream Caribbean escape. A lush rainforest interior, encircled by stunning white beaches, that are lined with swaying palm trees, and where you’re always surrounded by an array of bright flowers and sweet smelling spices. Towns dot the island that are full of character and which buzz with life, the people are so charming and everyone always greets you with a smile.

When we disembarked the plane, it was late afternoon so the sun was setting, however the warmth still hit you, giving you that unmistakable feeling that you were far from home. As the airport was fairly small, we got through it fairly quickly and were at our first hotel within 30 minutes… the quick airport transfers a definite upside to visiting Grenada.

The first hotel we stayed at was Coyaba Beach Resort. We checked in, had a quick freshen up and went down to enjoy our first rum punch at the manager’s cocktail evening.  It was a lovely relaxed setting, however we were all quite tired after a long day travelling, so we made it to a local restaurant for a quick bit to eat, and then all called it a night.

Jet lag kicked it at about 4am, so after struggling for an hour to get back to sleep I went for a run… a great chance to take in the surroundings. The coastal road boasted some great views of Grand Anse Beach, I passed a mix of people heading out to work, all polite and most greeted me. I passed a picturesque harbour then as I got to the edge of the city the day was heating up so I headed back. By then school children were making their way to the bus stops, most waving at me which definitely made you feel at ease. Once back at the hotel I headed straight to the beach and in to the sea to cool down. The beach was stunning, definitely up there with the most stunning I’ve seen, the sea was gentle and it was a lovely way to start the day.

After breakfast we inspected the Coyaba Resort and I was impressed, it’s a great traditional property offering comfortable accommodation and a range of facilities – located in a prime setting on Grand Anse Beach. For someone looking for great value in a beach front setting it’s definitely one of the best options. We then headed out to visit Blue Horizons Garden Resort which was a definite surprise, it was never a property I’ve been quick to recommend, but it was impressive. Although not on the beach it was only a short walk away and they even have a section on the beach set out for their guests. It was set in picturesque gardens and the accommodation was lovely. 

We then headed to BB’s Crab Back for lunch. It’s set overlooking the sea in the heart of the city, what a great spot. I had the crab special which was delicious, one of the best seafood dishes I’ve ever had and the service was just what you’d expect, friendly, welcoming and relaxed. What a fab place! After lunch we headed back to the hotel and had a few hours to relax – the perfect chance to get in some beach time.

That evening we headed to Laluna for a hotel inspection and dinner. This was one of my favourite hotels, a small boutique property, peaceful and idyllic, set in its own private bay. The rooms were luxurious and after a look around the property I got to enjoy a nice glass of wine whilst watching the sunset – truly stunning! Dinner was amazing too, catch of the day in a tasty creole sauce. After dinner we headed to Dodgy Dock for some cocktails, live music and dancing. They also had street vendors there serving local street food, all set on the edge of a harbour – a great place with a really fab atmosphere.

The following day we went to the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort to inspect the property and for lunch. Although it’s unmistakably a chain hotel, I was impressed. The setting was breath-taking, the rooms were modern and done to a really high standard. The facilities were excellent including the best gym on the island, it had a great dive centre, a large lagoon style pool offering plenty of space to relax and the food was amazing.

Next we went for a site inspection at True Blue Bay which was actually next to Dodgy Dock where we were the previous evening. Although not on a beach, it’s based in a harbour so still offers a waterfront setting. The rooms were large and luxurious, and for someone in to activities this resort can’t be beaten. Cooking classes, water-sports galore, yoga, rum tasting the list is endless. You’re also next to Dodgy Dock which is a definite bonus!

The following day we checked out of the Coyaba and went on an Island tour. We headed through St George and headed in to the rainforest. The scenery quickly changed to a dense jungle-like interior. We passed people with machetes and our guide felt he should explain that they were simply working their patch, picking fresh avocados, bananas and a range of other fruits. We first stopped at a picturesque waterfall and one of our group even went for a swim. We then headed to a nutmeg factory and was walked through the processing plant and told about the benefits of nutmeg to your health. Next we headed further in to the rainforest and it lived up to its name with the heavens opening. It was the first rain we’d seen and our guide explained that around the south of the island where the beaches were it hardly ever rained, just the occasional light shower of ‘liquid sunshine’ as they call it.

Next was lunch at Petite Anse which is a great hotel if you want to get back to nature, and get away from it all.  In the afternoon we then went to River Antoine Rum Distillery and explored the plant and was told about how the rum was manufactured. They still even use the original machinery which came from Derby (UK) in 1785, which is also still powered by the river. Next we visited Belmont Estate and got to see how they manufactured chocolate, before heading back to Grand Anse.

The next hotel we checked in to was Mount Cinnamon, set on a hillside overlooking Grand Anse with the resort rolling down to the sea. The rooms were huge with everything you could ever need, and they boasted the best views on the island, overlooking the whole of Grand Anse with St George in the distance. That evening we went to their Friday night barbeque on the beach, with a bonfire roaring in the background and a local band playing it was the perfect setting for a great evening. It got us that much in the mood, that after it had finished we headed down the beach to some local bars, and even tried a club, Grenadian style – amazing!

A little jaded the following day we headed out to explore St George and it lived up to its name as the most picturesque town in the Caribbean. The locals say it’s a ‘Tale of 2 Cities’, as one side is a bustling harbour, with historic buildings and businesses spread over the hillside, then through a tunnel taking you to the other side of the peninsula is the market and shops which hum with life. It’s winding streets and enchanting buildings give this place great character, the choice of places to visit and explore definitely keep you entertained, it’s no wonder the locals are so proud of it.  We next went up to Fort Frederick which boasts a great vantage point where you can take in some amazing views of St George, and we also learned about the history of Grenada and it’s turbulent past.

Next it was in to the rainforest for some river tubing, the sun was shining in the forest today, so we were set for a great afternoon. The river was full from the rain the previous day and it was such a fun experience, I would definitely recommend it. Next we headed for lunch at Patrick’s on the edge of St George, which was small local restaurant serving local dishes tapas style. What a great place as we got to try a range of local and Caribbean dishes. That evening we had dinner on the beach at the Flamboyant Hotel and whilst enjoying our meal a sea turtle came and laid its eggs just a few feet from us, an unbelievable thing to witness.

The following morning we headed out on a snorkelling trip. The diving was amazing, with such an array of fish, all just a short distance off the coast – no long boat trips needed here.  We also visited the underwater sculpture park which is amazing and very unique. After our dive trip we headed to the Aquarium Restaurant for a barbeque lunch, where we enjoyed some great food and an amazing setting.

After lunch we headed to check-in to our final hotel, Spice Island, where we’d be staying for our final 2 nights. We had some time to freshen up and I had a pool suite so managed to squeeze in a quick dip before meeting for an inspection of the hotel. This is a small and tranquil property, offering a level of service above what you’d expect from a 5 star deluxe property. They take care of every detail to make your stay as comfortable and as relaxed as possible, it truly is luxury at its finest.

The following day we went for a gentle rainforest trek which was beautiful. We had lunch at Sandals La Source and had a look around the resort. If you’re in to the all-singing all-dancing all-inclusive resorts where you don’t leave the complex this is great, it offers everything on site and is definitely one of the liveliest action packed hotels on the island.

That evening our visit to Grenada was coming to an end. Sir Royston hosted a meal in their main restaurant and I have to say the food at Spice Island was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. We enjoyed some live music in their bar and then our final night in Grenada came to an end.

I have to say a big thanks to all the hotels and restaurants for welcoming us… and also a huge thanks to the Grenada Tourism Authority for arranging the trip which was such an amazing experience. The island is beautiful and offers everything you could want from a Caribbean holiday and I would definitely recommend it. It’s also worth considering adding it on to the end of a trip to the USA or combining it with other Caribbean islands. Contact us and we can help ensure you make the most out of your visit to Grenada. 

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