We had an excellent guide, Mr. Edwin Frank who was a public relations officer for the Grenada Board of Tourism for many years before retiring to do his own tours.
Starting with St. George’s, we got to visit the harbor area and go through many of the narrow streets learning the names, the history and the relevance to local politics and events. Having a guide who had spent his life in Grenada gave us a unique perspective from a local’s standpoint that was informative and even scary.He talked of his role as a young man of 25, protecting the radio tower for Radio Free Grenada at a time when many were killed storming the forts on the hill. This was in 1983—not long ago and hard to imagine.
As we made our way up the coast we learned about the various suburbs and their history. About how the Chinese had pledged to build 1000 homes, and how they had rebuilt the football stadium. We learned that Canadians had helped to restore parts of Fort Frederick. We were fortunate to have such a knowledgeable guide.
We made our way up the coast to Beausejour Bay to experience a volcanic black sand beach like the ones we had first seen in Tahiti and Hawaii. The dark black sand gives the beach a completely different look. Edwin told us more about troop landings and movements in these areas and it was a reminder about how precious our freedom is. Our ability to enjoy this picturesque nature scene is a gift and it wasn’t always so serene…
From here we turned inland to go into the rainforest. Being a clear day we had splendid views of the coastline from high atop the mountains at 1900 feet.
We were also fortunate to see the endemic Mona monkeys; one came out to Edwin’s monkey calls (and a promise of bananas I guess). Cute little guys but oh my what sharp teeth and claws they have!
With three cruise ships in port the scene at Grand Etang Lake was a bit hustle-bustle but we managed to park and do the short hike to the lookout overlooking the lake. Once 30 acres, there has been a lot of growth of an aggressive reed which has covered much of the banks of the lake making it seem perhaps half the size it once was. The powers that be have introduced fish to the lake that were supposed to eat these reeds but the fish seem more intent on eating what the tourists throw over the dock to attract them. By the way, there’s no fishing allowed!
We then headed over to Annandale Waterfalls, one of many in Grenada. Some require a lengthy hike but the one we chose was close to the road and an easy descent. There were traditional cliff divers asking for donations to jump off the rocks into the stream below. Courageous fellows.
Our final stop was Fort Frederick to the south of the island, with its breathtaking vistas. High up on a hill we learned the history of how the French had landed behind the town and marched overland to take Grenada from the British. This led to the building of these ‘back facing’ forts, which could defend against such attacks! While the fort itself (and many of the sites) are in disrepair and need a little love (signage has been broken or lost, vandalized and not repaired, etc.) the entrance fees were all only $2 per person to get in. I think the cruise passengers would all gladly pay $3 for $4 if the sites could be better maintained.
Returning to the resort we were happy to have seen some of the ‘dry attractions’ of Grenada as well as the underwater ones. It was a nice tour and one that can easily be done as a cruise ship excursion or organized by a taxi driver or hotel. If you need a guide, we would highly recommend Edwin…