Spice Island
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As a native Bermudian, I've certainly experienced my fair share of the Caribbean. I've criss-crossed the islands, in fact; spending time between Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica and all points in between. Yet the nation state of Grenada, in the West Indies, has remained a tiny parcel of the Caribbean I had yet to relish the opportunity to fully explore.
Yes, I do recall a quick stint in Grenada once – a stay that lasted all of one day. As a passenger on a Holland American Line Cruise some 20 years ago, we dropped anchor and took a tender into St. George, the island capital. A submerged volcanic crater forms St. George's naturally deep harbour. One of the most picturesque in the region, it is a port of call for several cruise lines, yachts, ferries, cargo and other boats. I do, of course, remember this as if it were present day because I have the scar on the bottom of my right foot to prove it.
As other passengers dashed off the Holland American to conduct their shopping and a trip to the local market, my eye caught a glimpse of the brilliant white, hot sand of the Grand Anse Beach. The two-mile beach was to become my first Grenada experience. I couldn't wait to stroll along Grand Anse and enjoy a dip in the cool blue waters before joining my fellow passengers shopping. Yet my agenda was quickly cut short as I suffered a slight injury – something sliced my foot and I knew in an instant that it couldn't be the work of a seashell. Looking down, I noticed a discharged and shredded 50-calibre shell casing.

Upon further inspection, of both my bloodied foot and the shell casing, my mind raced back to 1983 and 1984, when a military faction within Maurice Bishop's New Jewel Movement took control of Grenada. As a former solider in the British Army, I'm always fascinated with wartime activities. The turmoil and purported threat to the United States medical students stranded on the island served as the catalyst for the famed rescue mission by U.S. forces a short time later. The overwhelming support for the action by the Grenadine population was evident from the start and has not subsided today.
Grenada is one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean. The three-island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean is the most southerly of the Windward Islands, located between St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the north, and Trinidad and Tobago to the south. Once the homes to Arawaks, Ciboneys and Caribs, it was sighted by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage in 1498. Following colonial wars in the 18th century, when France and Britain traded the island back and forth, it became solely under British control in 1783, and achieved independence in 1974.
This time around, however, there was no rush for me to head to the Grenada beaches for I was prepared to spend a relaxing week on the island soaking up the sun in addition to Grenada's rich history, fine food and accommodations.
I quickly settled in for the majority of my stay at the Secret Harbour Resort. This tremendous facility has all the ingredients for a perfect tropical getaway, offering superb vistas of the sea from every deluxe suite. The Old World Mediterranean ambiance is felt in sweeping patio arches and sunny, tiled terraces bordered with bougainvillea. This is a hotel with atmosphere and charm; a hotel made for romance.
Close by is The Moorings, where people fly in from across the world to this spectacular marina and board their yachts for outstanding sailing. Sailors find themselves drawn by the picturesque harbours lined with sun-drenched beaches, waterfalls cascading amidst lofty mountains perfumed by fragrant spices. It is here at The Moorings you sense the pastoral country life of the people – an easy-going spirit that greets your first step on these sparkling sands. Grenada is one of the few Caribbean destinations where eco-tourism is a main attraction.
Every article I have every read concerning this beautiful destination makes reference to Grenada as “Spice Island” and yes, the smell of nutmeg does hang in the air. Grenada is the world's second-largest nutmeg producer, but aside from the spices, Grenada is so much more. It is the friendliness of the locals and the popular activities, ranging from savouring the local cuisine to the resounding sound of steel bands. A pastel rainbow of dockside warehouses surrounds St. George's harbour, while the Carenage on the waterfront has duty-free shops that offer great bargains. Other stops to note include the Concord Waterfall, Dougaldston Spice Boucan, Leaper's Hill, Morne Fendue Plantation House, the Levera National Park and the River Antoine Rum Distillery.
You mustn't forget to drop by Camerhogne Park on the Grand Anse Beach for “First Impressions” whale and dolphin tour. And if diving is more your style, the underwater scenery in Grenada is every bit as
breathtaking as it is above the waves. From lazy drift dives over coral gardens to an eerie and challenging exploration of the wrecks of the Bianca C, these waters are captivating more and more visitors each year. The farthest site is around Kick 'em Jenny and Isle de Rhonde, where the underwater visibility is unparalleled and the sea life magnificent. Divers can easily do two dives a day for a week without exhausting Grenada's dive sites.
Perhaps one of the finest resorts in Grenada is Laluna Hotel, where the manager will introduce you to this exclusive, Italian-owned romantic hideaway in Morne Rouge. Featuring 16 one and two-bedroom cottages, they combine Indonesian elements with open-style Italian architecture. Bedrooms with king-sized beds open onto large verandahs, creating unique indoor/outdoor living rooms. If enjoying the exclusive hand-made soaps and lotions from a monastery in the Italian Alps haven't kept you from venturing out, partake in a special dinner in the intimate environment of the thatched roof dining room. Situated directly on the beach, the restaurant offers a great experience, with tempting dishes prepared by the hotel's European chef, popular Italian wines and romantic views of the bay. Laluna has recently expanded their accommodation options by adding luxury villas. Laluna Estates adjoins the original Laluna Resorts.
Back home in Ontario recalling my Grenada adventures, I smile to myself as I sit in front of my laptop. Out of the corner of my eye I can see 50-calibre shell casing I stepped on years ago. From its original home on the Grand Anse Beach, the Grenada souvenir is now housed on my office bookcase. I guess I have come full circle, where Grenada is concerned. I'm just content to share my pleasant memories of this beautiful Caribbean Island instead of my first, more painful recollection.
Air Canada Vacations (ACV) Winter Program offers weekly direct flights. ACV holidays include round trip air transportation, accommodation and land transfers between airport and hotel, while ACV offers a selection of eight resorts in Grenada.

Bart Card is a food and travel writer.  
(905) 251-1258 or bartcard@rogers.com

For more information on Grenada, visit  



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