Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grand Anse Beach, The Complete Package. Grenada, West Indies.

From what I've collected, Grand Anse Beach is most favored and best all around with tourist, students, and locals alike.  Lined with resorts, water sports businesses, restaurants, and most importantly, beauty, Grand Anse Beach is truly your one stop center for everything there is to enjoy in life.  With it's convenient location next to the main road, you can get to and fro from place to place with ease.  Also, the main grocery and hardware store of the island, IGA Super Value and Creative Do it Your Best, is within walking distance for all your needs.    

Note:  Grand Anse beach, compared to all other Grenada Beaches will most of the time be the busiest beach around.  It's pretty quiet during off peak times away from holidays and weeks that cruise ships are in town.

From cruise landing, make your way to main bus terminal in town.  Take the #1 bus (2.50EC/3EC Holidays) and stop next to vendors (right next to roundabout and Gitten's Pharmacy, ~5-10min).  Walk toward lifeguard tower.  There are many access points to beach.  You can pretty much walk through any of the resorts to get through to the beach.

From SGU, take Grand Anse bus to last stop (pavilion right next to beach). 

What to Do on Grand Anse Beach
-relax on rental chairs placed on beach front by resorts for a little fee
-scuba dive with aquanauts (they offer snorkelling/water boat rentals and PADI internationally recognized certification courses)
-all resorts welcome people to come in and purchase cocktails (no need to be an actual guest)
-eat at their beach front restaurants (Umbrellas is the main spot to go offering burgers, fries, nachos, smoothies, fish, sandwiches, hot dogs, beef ribs, desserts, and alcoholic beverages).  Other restaurants include Ali Babas, and IGA Grocery food court options.
-purchase souvenirs from spice/craft market (information, adjacent to beach) or resort shops 
-resort dining open to outside, call for reservations
-get a massage
-jog or early walk along shoreline (beach is 2 1/2 miles long)
-hang out under shaded trees
-get married
-hire a boat guy to take you to some great snorkelling sites
-SGU Significant Others almost always hold their midterm social here

-don't forget to bring lots of sunscreen
-always stay hydrated
-depending on day, beach vendors may be active...  if not interested in what they're selling, a simple "no thank you," will often do the trick
-don't forget to bring your camera or waterproof camera

Grand Anse Beach Resort Information 
(For reviews on all resorts listed down below, visit TripAdvisor.  Most resorts also have their own website. Google them for more information).

Hotel Resorts Located on Grand Anse Beach
Spice Island
Siesta Hotel
Blue Horizons Garden
Grenada Grand
The Flamboyant
Grand Anse Beach Palace

A Little Ways from Grand Anse
Mt. Cinnamon
La Luna

Located at the Beginning of Lance Aux Epines

Next to Saint George's University
True Blue Bay

Next to Maurice Bishop International Airport
Grenadian by Rex Resorts

Ghost Rock Discovered by my Friend, Angela.

Categorized under "Things to do, Sights to See"

Yearly Event- Grenada Sailing Festival Workboat Regatta

Event Held: Late February-Beginning March

Information (sailing week 2014)

-two day event
-races within own classes: Gouyave Sloop, Gouyave Canoe, Sauteurs, Woburm, Petit Martinique, Carriacou
-big community celebration with performances, food, and lots of beer/fresh cut coconuts
-Location: Grand Anse Beach next to lifeguard tower. From SGU, take the Grand Anse bus to last stop (pavilion at beach).
-20th anniversary held in 2013

This event is one of my favorite annual events in Grenada because it, in my eyes, represents everything Grenada is: proud, hardworking, community/family oriented, a country that knows how to work the kitchen (men, women, and children alike), and beautiful.

Categorized under "Things to do, Sights to See"

Charles, the coconut guy, always has the best coconuts and is always on the field across IGA during weekends and major events.  I always request for the sweetest ones with lots of soft jelly. MmmMm.  I almost drank/ate a coconut a day while there in Grenada... I miss those coconuts so much.

He has straws if you ask for one and if you would like to taste the jelly inside, try finishing up your juice there so he can cut it open for you.  Unless you have a machete at home, these guys are so tough to open up.  Even throwing them off the second floor of your apartment building just won't do.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Carriacou, Petit Martinique, and Tobago Cays Adventure. Grenada, West Indies.

#The Best Grenada Adventure Ever
#Must See
#You Won't Be Sorry
#Truly Paradise
#A Whole New World
#Water so Clear I can see Boat Shawdows
#Mom, Can you Believe I swam with turtles!?!

For two years, I've participated in many island tours and activities organized by the Significant Others Organization of Saint George's University.  I felt like I pretty much nailed all major tourist attractions, but with precious time running out in the beautiful Caribbean, I was eager to engage in one more big adventure.  

I immediately thought about some raves written by another SO, Kelsey Coghill, about Tobago Cays and all I can remember is her phrase, "Seriously, go tomorrow."  If you know Kelsey, you'd know about her extensive knowledge and experience with Grenada. Taking credible "Miss Grenada's" word for it, I started conjuring up a game plan.  Along with my partners in crime Yunah, Grace, and Angela...after many Google searches and phone calls, we came up with a master plan (scroll down to "Itenerary"). 

During this trip we visited Petit Martinique and Carriacou, swam with turtles, explored the ultimate gem of the Grenadines (Tobago Cays), and relaxed on a cute secluded [Happy] Island with some new down to earth friends.  Did we mention that we discovered the best Lime Pie ever?!?  

Our Journey in a Nutshell
We took a water shuttle (Osprey) from Grenada to Carriacou (~1 1/2 hrs on bigger boat going to Carriacou, Osprey express took ~2hrs from Carriacou to Grenada).  From Carriacou, we ventured out on a  private boat with Cuthbert Snagg or Snagg Tours to Tobago Cays (departed morning, arrived evening).  From Carriaco's Paradise Beach, we took a short speedboat ride (few mins) to Sandy Island.  Everything else, we took a taxi. 

We all had such an unforgettable time on this trip.  We hope you have a chance to go out and see it with your own eyes. 

Details Below

Grenada is made up of 3 islands- Carriacou (population 5,000), Petit Martinique (population 1,000), and Grenada (popultion 110,000). 

Tobago Cays is a chain of uninhabited magnificent islands. 
Tobago Cays
Where is Tobago Cays in relation to Carriacou? (~40min boat ride)

*If it's not in your budget to visit Tobago Cays, Carriacou alone is worth visiting and exploring.  Though much more quiet than Grenada, Grenada, it does have many gems of its own that are totally worth seeing. 

*Hotels next to the dock on main street in "downtown" 
-Hotel Laurena - We stayed here. Laurena herself assisted us with everything and even gave us mini gift bags to take home.  Convenient location and great rates.  Laurena's Jerk center is also right next to the hotel and is probably the only eatery place that closes late night (food here similar to local food on the main island).

*(Must Eat) Eatery places in Carriacou
-Kayak Cafe- Good for lunch or dinner.  Sally, the chef of the restaurant has been living in Carriacou for 29 years. She's from Europe and always changes up her menu.  She even grows herbs and vegetables in her backyard for her restaurant to keep things interesting.  Lovely dinner, delicious fruit smoothies, and best LIME PIE EVER.  Located on mainstreet next to pier.

-Bogle's Roundhouses-  My Favorite Restaurant in all Grenada.  Honestly, I was happy thoughout my whole meal and by the looks of my friend's faces, they were pretty happy as well. ~ 5min drive from main street. I suggest taking a taxi. 

Our Carriacou food experiences was the cherry on top of our adventures. 

*Island Tour (on a bus) - 
We went during dry season so the island was pretty dry looking, monotonous in color.  The Island tour guide suggest taking the tour during wet season for better views.  If visiting during dry season, I would stick to visiting Carriacou's beaches and restaurants as there was nothing distinct and jaw dropping discovered on the island tour.

*Suggestions from others:
La Playa Beach Bar in Hillsborough and the Slipway in Tyrell Bay

*Day Trip to Tobago Cays- 
Destinations: Petit Martinique, pass by Petit St. Vincent, Myreau, Happy Island, Mopian, Swim with Turtles, Lunch point

Cuthbert Snagg provided us with a great tour.  He's my landlady's cousin and I love my landlady so he automatically won my trust. 

We didn't know where to go and simply requested for him to take us to the main tourist attractions.  He's really flexible so if there's a certain place you have in mind, you can definitely work it into your schedule.  

He also provides lunch for a small extra fee just in case you don't want the trouble of preparing one for yourself.  

If I were to go back, I would've requested an early return to Carriacou to catch Sandy Island (so we wouldn't have to pay extra fees for an extra speedboat).  

His boat was very reliable and best of all it had shade.  One thing I learned is you want to stick with someone who has experience and has a reliable boat just in case anything were to happen out in the open sea (which can be dangerous and intimidating at times).  

If you're prone to motion sickness, don't worry because his boat was more of a speedboat that cuts through water so you don't feel any wave rocking at all.  I'm very prone to motion sickness and did not get sick. 

The boat ride to the Cays was one of the group's highlights. We laughed and screamed the whole time as gigantic waves threw us up and down and constantly appeared to swallow us whole at time.  It was the best roller-coaster ride ever.  We thank Cuthbert for showing us a great time and keeping us safe.

If interested, call Cuthbert to work out all the details and make sure you request his bigger boat. Depending on the amount of people you have, you may find yourself with other tourist. 

Contact Information:
*Cuthbert Snagg:  1 (473) 403-2121

*Hotel Laurena: 
Tel : 1 (473) 443-8759
US Toll Free: 1 (877) 755-4386
US Local: 1 (909) 547-5047


*Ade's Dream:
1 (473) 443-7317

*Osprey Express:
1 (473) 440-8126

*Bogle's Roundhouses Restaurant
1 (473) 443-7841
Reviews on TripAdvisor

*SVG Airlines
Feel like skipping out of the boatride?
Caribbean:  1 (800) 624-1843
Canada & USA: 1 (315) 507-8258

*Kayak Cafe
Reviews on TripAdvisor

Map of Carriacou (click to enlarge or print)
Bus and Taxi Day Tour Price List (click to enlarge or print)
Places of interest in Carriacou (click to enlarge or print)

Itinerary for this 3 day, 2 night trip
*Depart Grenada from Carenage on Osprey Express
*Arrive Port of Carriacou
*Check in Hotel Laurena 
*Lunch at Laurena's Jerk Center
*1 Hour Island Tour
*Dinner at Kayak Cafe

*Day Trip to Tobago Cays (stops - Petit Martinique, Petit St. Vincent, Myreau, Mopion, Happy Island, swimming with turtles, lunch on a scenic shoreline)
*Dinner at Bogle's Roundhouses

*Sandy Island
*Lunch on Paradise Beach
*Depart Port of Carriacou 

Expenses (To give you an idea) 4 People 
(Thanks Grace for always keeping track of our expenses.  You're the best treasurer.)

Note: We're food fanatics so we always indulge in eating the most delicious food we can find.  We searched for eatery places everyone was raving about and choose to eat at those spots.  Well worth it!

160EC/person round trip ticket on Osprey
100EC total island tour
~150EC Taxi Fare Total (for 3 days and 2 nights)
210EC Lunch + Boat to and from Sandy Island
160EC 2 nights stay Hotel Laurena
105EC/person dinner at Bogles
70EC Breakfast + Tip at Hotel Laurena 
270EC/person Day Trip Tobago Cays
100EC/person Lunch at Laurena's and Kayak Cafe

Total per person for entire trip:
~805EC/person or $300USD

Important Tips:
-bring lots of cash, especially if you're travelling with a big group.  It will make paying for things much easier. 
-stay hydrated
-take motion sickness pills before osprey ride if you're prone.  While in motion, try staying in one place and keep your eyes on the horizon.  Boat men advise motion sickness prone people to stay up top, but if you're looking to not get sun burned, the back of the boat on the lower level is good too. 
-I didn't take motion sickness pills for my day tour to Tobago Cays and I was completely fine.
-Bring lots of good quality body and lip sunscreen and apply religiously.  All of us got sunburn everywhere, even some of our heads too.   
-don't forget to empty out your memory card, charge your battery, and  bring an underwater camera if you plan on swimming with our turtle friends
-bring your own snorkelling gear for maximum comfort
-tobago cays is so amazing. hope you don't miss out on this gem.
-make sure you go with good company.  This trip wouldn't have topped off as my all time favorite trip without the good company of my friends. 
-Your may use your Lime and Digicel cell phones in Carriacou without extra charge.

The Bigger Osprey of the 2.
This trip wouldn't have topped off as number 1 trip of all time in Grenada if not for these wonderful ladies. 
Lower Deck
Upper Deck
Port of Carriacou
Inside Carriacou tourism office.
Lunch at Lauren's Jerk Center
Jerk Chicken
Laurena's Hotel check in
Island Tour

End Island Tour
Kayak Cafe
Dinner at Kayak Cafe MmMmmm.  Lobster and Butternut squash

Waiting for  our Captain Cuthbert Snagg.  Day Trip to Tobago Cays and various islands.
The best rollercoaster ever with the best company.
Cuthbert Snagg our captain of the day.
Dock of Petit Martinique

We were fortunate to have toured around Tobago with these adorable, hilarious, beautiful women, Jean and Fran.
Mopian Island
Mopian Island

Swimming with Turtles at another island.
View from our picnic table. Eating lunch in Paradise.
Docking at Myreau Island.
Happy Island

As we were sitting and chatting amongst ourselves, Anka (below) approached us and introduced herself.  She's venturing the world with her whole family in a sailing boat.  Isn't that amazing.  To top things of, her and her friend (she randomly ran into him) totally look like Ralph Lauren models.  She has a blog of her own, you can check it out HERE.  Running into people like her is a big part of what makes life amazing. 
Friends we met at Happy Island
 Pirates of the Caribbean. 
Dinner at Bogles Roundhouses after a long and adventurous day trip to the Cays. 
In between course tamarind slush.
Lava Cake and Nutmeg Ice Cream
Paradise Beach 
Do you see that fine strip of white sand in between two green masses?  That's Sandy Island.
Be prepared to get splashed on the speed boat.
Sandy Island
Carriacou's Bus Terminal