In Grenada, you will not find commercial world-branded accommodations, fast food outlets, and shopping malls. This is a country where entrepreneurs are the captains of industry, resulting in a destination that is low-key and unpretentious. Most of the United States, Canada, and European tourists who flock to Grenada prefer white sandy beaches and blue-green water, combined with a bit of adventure and tied together with gourmet–level cuisine and up-market accommodations – without the sizzle and feathers.
Not Many Tourists
Grenada does not attract many tourists, and this is good news for those of us who want warmth without the crowds. In January 2009, Grenada welcomed only 12,772 tourists as compared with Puerto Rico (116,237); Cancun, Mexico (212, 323); and the Dominican Republic (382, 055). This means that there is more room for those of us who are really smart and want exclusivity along with our tan.
Grenada’s tourism industry favors entrepreneurs, and they run the gamut from tour operators (Mandoo) to 70-year old trekking guides (Telfor Bedeau). Even the posh Spice Island Beach Resort is owned and operated by a local Grenadian family (Sir Royston O. Hopkin KCMG). New to Grenada and bringing modern farming and managerial skills to the island are the owners and operators of the Petite Anse Hotel, Phillip and Annie Cliff. The entrepreneurial spirit of Suzanne and Howard Clarke generates the energy propelling the fastest boat ride in Grenada (Grenada Seafaris Powerboat).
More Than Fish and Coral
Entrepreneurship can also be found in the underwater sculptures carefully placed in the clear shallow waters of Moliniere Bay. Jason de Caires Taylor, an internationally-recognized sculptor, uses the ocean as his venue to explore his passion between art and the environment. Easily viewed by snorkelers, divers, and visitors in Sean Dowden’s glass-bottomed boats, Taylor involves the community in the design and execution of his organic works.
Beginning of Time: Seven Sisters Waterfall
While some areas of Grenada have been developed for hotels, hospitals, shops, and homes, there are many unspoiled beaches, mountains, and waterfalls that look like the very beginning of the universe. Although billed as an easy climb to the beautiful 7 Sisters, this adventurous trek into the jungle should not be undertaken by the faint of heart or the physically challenged.
This is a venue where tour busses do not venture, and even the Royal Mounties and a St. Bernard dog would be unable to rescue the tired, lame, or hungry. Visitors who run marathons, climb the Alps as a lark, and meander through the mountains of Iceland as though it were a mall, will be rewarded for their efforts. No matter how many scout badges you have earned, wear hiking boots and socks, pants, and shirts with long sleeves; use plenty of bug repellant; and bring along at least one walking stick. There is no beaten path here; every step is yours and yours alone. (Were it not for Telfor Bedeau, I would never have made it to or from my visit to the Sisters).
Grenada is known as the spice island and holds second place in producing nutmeg and supplies approximately one–third of the world’s demand. It is possible to get up close and personal with the harvesting and processing of this spice through a visit to the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, which is the largest processing factory on the island.
The Grenada Chocolate Company was founded by Mott Green, and it is a cooperative owned by its 10 workers. This “tree to bar” chocolate company grows, ferments, roasts, and produces organic chocolate bars. Green has revolutionized the process of making chocolate by integrating the cocoa farmers into the production. Produced in small batches, the beans are grown organically in Grenada, the organic sugar is harvested in Paraguay, the organic vanilla beans come from Costa Rica, and organic soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier
Considered to be on the very best beach and a reclusive resort for the sophisticated traveler, Spice Island Beach Resort is designed to make guests feel like they stepped into a current edition of Caribbean Life; this is your home, not your hotel. Many of the suites are spacious (1,500 sq. ft.), and the interior designs are conservatively elegant.
Spend the second part of your holiday at Petite Anse Hotel. A small, personal property owned and operated by Philip and Annie Clift, this “hands on,” low-key, off-the-beaten-track property invites guests to enjoy a small pool, sandy beach, unique bedrooms, and fresh produce grown in nearby gardens or sourced from local producers.
Lunch: Mi Hacienda
If you can take your eyes away from the fabulous views of Grand Anse beach and try to stay alert while the Caribbean breezes cool your heated brow, dive into Green Callaloo soup. Entrees include a choice of barracuda, chicken, lobster, shrimp, snapper, roast beef, and chicken, plus desserts that range from homemade ice cream to a nutty gateau.
If your agenda includes seduction – the Sunset Bar at LaLuna will meet your purpose. Italian-born Bernardo Bertucci and his wife Wendy own and operate Laluna. Guests have a choice of bar stools, table-service, or Indonesian-style daybeds for maximum lounging. If the spirits moves you, the property offers 16 one- and two-bedroom cottages and an elegant spa.
Dinner: The Aquarium
Entrepreneur and Chef Ulrich Kühn and his artist wife, Rebecca Thompson, own and operate The Aquarium restaurant, and this is an experience that everyone wants to have time and time again. The winning combination of wonderful food, lively atmosphere, the charm and sophistication of Rebecca Thompson, plus an attentive staff makes the Aquarium a dining event must be repeated. In addition to running a world-class restaurant, Thompson offers her Maca Bana Villa guests painting and cooking classes.
Aquarium Restaurant www.aquarium-grenada.com
Grenada Chocolate Company, Ltd www.grenadachocolate.com/about.html
Grenada Seafaris www.grenadaseafaris.com
Grenada Tourism www.grenadagrenadines.com
Jason de Caires Taylor www.underwatersculpture.com
Mandoo Tours www.grenadatours.com
Mi Hacienda www.mihacienda.gd
Petite Anse Hotel www.petiteanse.com
Sean Dowden firstname.lastname@example.org
Spice Island Beach Resort www.speiceislandbeachresort.com
Telfor Bedeau. 473.442.6200