Day trip around Grenada - crator lake, rum distillery, nutmeg factory and lots more!

Grenada Travel Blog

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The view from outside my hotel room

I woke up the next day around 7am and went to the Sapphire rsnt for breakfast. Boy it was expensive.... but more than that, what struck me was how quiet and lazy the island was. In other parts of the world, well, Europe where I mostly travel, the breakfast rsnts and cafes are buzzing with people starting off at 7am itself and it's tough to find a seat... but here, the whole rsnt was for the taking.

Finished b'fast which was very shoddy for the price they were charging. You could tell that this is the Spice Isle, nutmeg and guava jams for b'fast with toast bread! The lady lazily said she had no fresh fruit to offer me despite it being on the menu as part of the continental b'fast. I decided that this was a rip-off, and to make my own b'fast going forth.

I was actually quite worried that I hadn't planned anything at all for this trip.

Grand Anse beach, one of the top 10 beaches in the world
Those of you that read my blogs will know that I normally plan and plan before I head out, I've got everything down to a tee - what, when and where I'll be doing and going. So for me to actually spend all that money and come to this island without even having booked a single day trip was not me. But it's not like it was my fault... most tour operators adopted a very lackadaisical "call us the evening before" attitude which, as I realised later, I really had nothing to worry out.

I saw the hotel in daylight today - and it reminded me of a lot of Indian and African resorts - ample sunshine, clouds, the "reception" area of the hotel was actually open with nice flat sofas and colourful cushions. The receptionist was very helpful and got me a booking onto a day trip around the island (which was decided that morning because the agency found more than 1 person willing to go).

port Louis
They would pick me up at 9am. I quickly ran to get the ATM. The so-called "buses"/public transportation in this place was merely minivans that have numbers 1 - 6 that seem to stop anywhere and pick/drop people so long as they're in the same route. Anyway withdrew money from The Blue Machine. ATM machines in Grenada are a bit overprotective - they're inside a little room that you can get into only by sliding your ATM card!

I went back to my room, showered and dressed (got to wear very little and no layered clothes, you sweat like a storm in this country even when it's windy and raining!) and the tour op came on time. There were 2 others on the minivan (British ladies, gosh this island is FULL of British tourists).

Our driver started driving towards the interior of the island and one thing's for sure - this island is very green, very very colourful.

View of St.Georges
I texted my parents during the drive to tell them I reached safe, having a good time, etc and the most instant thing that came to mind was "this reminds me SO much of Zambia"! It did.... the banana trees, the rough unmanaged yet warm greenery. One big blow that came to me during this trip was the fact that some landslide had blocked off the western highway which means a lot of waterfalls and attractions that tourists are taken to were "closed" and substitutes were chosen.

First stop of the day before going up the hill was the elegant Port Louis. This is a harbour next to the biggie - St.Georges but is equally colourful. My favourite here was the boardwalk with national flags. From here on up, we started going uphill - we stopped to get a vista view of the place I was staying at - The Grand Anse Beach which is home to the top hotels and resorts in Grenada.

The National Cricket Stadium
I personally didn't think much of it, perhaps because the waves weren't that high or dramatic. Almost reminded me of a green and azure lake! But still, beaches are beaches, always beautiful to look at. We had a photo stop at the Grenada National Stadium funded by the Chinese and hosted some cricket World Cup matches a couple of years ago... and then we went through winding roads with forests and plantations and houses nestled in between. The greenery's amazing (and brace yourselves, you'll hear me say this another 100 times in the course of this blog) - add the dramatic and difficult roads, the grey stormy clouds (rain lasts for about 15 minutes max?!), the hilly landscape... it really makes for wonderful viewing.

We reached Annadale Falls. We were given an option to swim but I wasn't too keen on it as the water looked a bit murky (and as luck would have it, I left my shorts back in the hotel anyway, by accident).

Greenery, greenery, greenery...
We spent about 15 minutes here, there really wasn't a lot to do besides taking photos, which also weren't all that. From here on, we headed to the Grand Etang Forest reserve, Grenada's crown tourist mark after the beaches. It's fabbo! You can see why it's built up such  a reputation in the last few years, the greenery is unsurpassable and it all looks so natural and effortlessly "created". This is not only the home to the crater lake, but home to the Mona Monkey! We got a chance to see a few that seemed friendly with visitors - one even was munching on bananas. We then drove down to the Crater lake which.... is excellent. I really wish there were enough people to do the trek though!

Next stop was Douglaston Spice Plantation which used to process spices once upon a time, we got a demo on the various spices on how they're collected and processed.

another random shot of how green the country is
Some were on sale. We spent about 30 minutes here, it wasn't very impressive. And from here was the next big stop to the town of Gouyave (pronounced Guave). This is called the fish town, the town that never sleeps and holds Grenada's famous Fish Fridays where hundreds of fishermen sell the catch of the day and everyone has fun till midnight or till supplies end.

This town also houses the Gouyave Processing Station that processes and exports nutmegs, and has been doing this job for the nearly the last 60 years. I really liked our visit here - we saw how the nutmegs are cleaned, and which of those are used in food/spice/flavouring versus which of those are used for shampoos and non-edible purposes. Lunch break was at the northern most tip at Helena's Restaurant and Bar.

Annadale Falls
The food was good, and I'm loving the fruit here. The fruit juices are heavenly.

From here, we went to Leaper's Hill. The story goes that Grenada was originally inhabited by the Caribs and mid 17th Century they realised that they made a mistake by letting the French on the island. They waged war with the French who with their superior weapons killed the Caribs. The last of those alive, rather than surrendering lept off this hill and hence the name. The town that's sprung around it is called Sauteurs (jumpers in French). Again, nothing interesting about this place but a bunch of graves. But add in the history and it's quite interesting!

Final stop of the day was the River Antoine Rum Distillery which makes strong white rum.

Greenery @ The grand Etang Crater lake
This is the oldest distillery in Grenada and it still uses a water-wheel to power the rollers which squeeze the juice out of the sugar cane.  We were taken for a tour on how it's done, and I'll tell you this - offering free samples of white rum AFTER we see the process it goes through (yes, that's the brown liquid with bubbles) is not a good idea. Or maybe it is, it saves them heaps of money cos no one wants seconds!

It was about 4pm so it was time to head back... we drove down the East Coast to the South where the hotel of the other 2 guests was located. It was funny, we had to pass through the international airport and parked there was a Virgin Atlantic. God it looked so huge compared to the size of the building! I reached the hotel by 530pm and ran to catch sunset by the beach, as well as a dip in the swimming pool before dinner, and calling it a night by 1030pm.

Atop the Grand Etang Crater Lake
It was a good first day in Grenada, given that I started off with no agenda!

 

(to be continued)

 

 

YantiSoeparno says:
You really had a tight schedule, my favourite, many places in one day ;-)
Posted on: Jan 08, 2010
canuck_downunder05 says:
Wow, everything sounds so great and amazing! Makes me want to be there right now!
Posted on: Dec 19, 2009
YantiSoeparno says:
I read this only half... to be continued later ;-)
I don't know that you plan all of your trip. Do you make it in exel? :P
Posted on: Dec 14, 2009
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The view from outside my hotel room
The view from outside my hotel room
Grand Anse beach, one of the top 1…
Grand Anse beach, one of the top …
port Louis
port Louis
View of St.Georges
View of St.Georges
The National Cricket Stadium
The National Cricket Stadium
Greenery, greenery, greenery...
Greenery, greenery, greenery...
another random shot of how green t…
another random shot of how green …
Annadale Falls
Annadale Falls
Greenery @ The grand Etang Crater …
Greenery @ The grand Etang Crater…
Atop the Grand Etang Crater Lake
Atop the Grand Etang Crater Lake
the Mona monkey
the Mona monkey
Grand Etang Crater lake greenery
Grand Etang Crater lake greenery
Grand Etang Crater lake greenery
Grand Etang Crater lake greenery
Grand Etang Crater Lake
Grand Etang Crater Lake
By the lake
By the lake
Nutmeg and the outer mace
Nutmeg and the outer mace
Cocoa
Cocoa
Banana trees in one of the plantat…
Banana trees in one of the planta…
Bay leaves at a spice factory in D…
Bay leaves at a spice factory in …
Gouyave - the city that never slee…
Gouyave - the city that never sle…
At the nutmeg processing factory
At the nutmeg processing factory
Bags being packed for export
Bags being packed for export
lunch break
lunch break
Sauters/Leapers hill
Sauters'/Leaper's hill
The lake near Antoine Distillery
The lake near Antoine Distillery
Antoine Rum Distillery
Antoine Rum Distillery
Thats rum being produced...
That's rum being produced...
Maurice Bishop International Airpo…
Maurice Bishop International Airp…
Colalou - speciality soup/gravy ma…
Colalou - speciality soup/gravy m…