Our Day on Grenada - The Spice Island
Saint George's Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
This day's port was St. George's, Grenada. This is the Spice Island known for their nutmeg and other spices. With no planned tour, a friend, my husband and I decided to hire a taxi and let the driver show us his island. How hard is it to find someone reliable? It is a process!
From where the ship is docked, passengers must pass through a building with a security check point (for returning passengers) and a small shopping mall. Inside this mall, there are "taxi/tour brokers." These gentlemen listen to what you would like to see, then work with a driver on price. Once a deal is made, you meet the guide who you should review details of what you want to do and see. We had approximately 3 1/2 hours before meeting our daughter and son-in-law.
Our driver began by telling us a little about Grenada. He showed us parts of the city, both modern and historic, before leaving the metro area for the sights of the island. The first thing I noticed was the devastation Hurricane Ivan brought to the island in 2004. There are homes without roofs that are uninhabited, churches with no roofs, blue tarps covering some buildings, and a lack of tall trees. The storm stayed over the area for a long time with high winds and lots of rain. Once the storm moved on, nearly all building sustained heavy damage. A few have been rebuilt, others are still in the process, and there are many yet to have the first bit of renovation done. Most all of the nutmeg trees were destroyed leaving many without a livelihood.
On our travels away from the city into the center of the island, we were given our guide's prospective of the area. He pointed out trees, fruits, and vegetables unique to this area. We saw a very old banyan tree not damaged by the hurricane, several small shops selling spices, local animals, and beautiful flowers growing in the wild. Our destination was the Grand Etang National Park. Our stop was at the visitor's center and museum and Crater Lake. The best view of the lake is just outside the visitor's center.
During the drive back to the city, our guide stopped by one of the spice vendors. There we were shown about the nutmeg.
One stop was in the Annadale area for a view of a waterfall. Several women were dressed in colorful costumes with head gear made of fruits, vegetables, and flowers just waiting for visitors to pose with them for a picture and a small tip. A short walk to the falls had several locals selling nutmeg strands to freshen your closets, spices packaged for cooking, and local jewelry and crafts from their tables.
From there we traveled to a high point overlooking the city. A newer stadium has been built commissioned for the government by the Chinese.
Our tour cost $60 for the three of us. Our guide/driver was very knowledgable having lived his whole life on the island. He had a nutmeg farm before the hurricane, and now acts as a tour guide and taxi driver.
To meet the others for the afternoon, we had to go back to the ship. The security check point was very busy, but was able to keep up with the number of people passing through. That morning, we had arranged for an afternoon trip to the rum distillery for the five of us. We met a driver/guide and loaded his van for our trip to the distillery. We passed through several different parts of the city, again listening to the guide relate interesting facts about the island.
The distillery is a short distance from town about 20 minutes. Upon arrival, I thought the place had closed. Instead, we were given a short tour from a long time worker of the plant. To my knowledge he never did tell us his association with the company, but I have a feeling he was more than just a casual worker.
On our way back to the pier, our driver showed us the local fire department (my husband is a firefighter), and gave us some more information about Grenada and St. George's. The fee was very reasonable at $10 per person, and we were back in plenty of time to board the ship.
A reflection of Grenada - definitely devastated from hurricane Ivan and another that closely followed. An island in need of industry and tourism to return to the area to help the economy get back on their feet. A very unique island with spices galore! Worth a visit? Oh my, YES!!!!!