Two week voyage in the Caribbean with a focus on the Grenadines.
Grenada is the fruit basket of the Caribbean. The fertile soils of the 'Spice Island' are perfect for growing cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa beans. Banana trees grow as tall as palms along the sides of the road. The scents of ginger, vanilla, almond and nutmeg linger in the air, while the countryside explodes with every tropical fruit imaginable. The bustling farmers' market in picturesque St. George is one of the Caribbean's liveliest and most replendent.
This old and busy small seaport is part of an 18th-century British West Indian colonial town climbing the steep hills. Small, stucco, stone and brick buildings with winding narrow cobblestone streets reflect both the French and English legacy of this island. Large fruit-ships are loading, small ships coming and going, inter-island "one spar" schooners making the run to Trinidad, fishing boats landing their catch, the town market selling spices and produce and engaging in lively banter, marathon domino games in back street shops and reggae music pulsing on every corner. Ancient rum factories at 17th-century cane plantations, island "jump ups" (dance parties). At Grenada you must take in the whole island: The Fishing Town of Guave, stunning blazing beauty of Grand Anse Beach, and spice plantations still using the equipment of plantation days. If there is a Calypso Competition advertised then we must attend. No mere contest, this is a rank-off competition of the first order. Beautiful jungle waterfalls, and you must try the grilled chicken at a roadside barbeque. Busy, bustling, and very, very West Indian.
Peaceful and removed describes this patch of paradise. Green rolling hills descend to sandy white beaches (typical of the Grenadines.) At Tyrrel Bay, under the shade of palms at the edge of the sea, you can watch local men building schooners by hand. Still unspoiled by mass tourism, this is the perfect spot for getting away-from-it-all.
Union Island, , Grenadines
The most southerly island of the Grenadines, Union Island is a mere three miles by one mile, garnished with two dramatic peaks and a population of 2000. Once you land on shore, you won’t want to leave. Union Island is a sailor’s delight offering pretty anchorages, a couple of rowdy bars and some good restaurants. There is mile after mile of undisturbed sand and wild mangoes for the taking.
Palm Island, Grenadines
Palm Island is a gem in the Grenadines, just 135 acres, and 5 lovely beaches. Those seeking exclusivity and privacy, from rock stars to movie stars, as well as Caribbean cognoscenti, vacation at one of the many villas on this little piece of Caribbean paradise.
Mayreau, Grenadine Islands
The island of Mayreau is a true break from reality, with only one road, virtually no development, and farm animals outnumbering the inhabitants. One of the Grenadines, in the larger chain of Windward Islands, it has beautiful beaches, and plenty of solitude. View it as your own private island.
Pretty as a picture describes our beloved Bequia. You’ll be captivated by the island’s charm while strolling along the lovely harbor with its shops, restaurants, and pastel-painted gingerbread homes. There’s a long tradition of boat building and you’ll find a slew of handcrafted model ships, old nautical charts, and rare sailing books to bring back home.
Canouan Island, Grenadines
Canouan is a tiny island, one of the Grenadines Islands belonging to St Vincent. Its capital village is Charlestown. A barrier reef runs along the Atlantic side of the dry island. It is outlined with rounded hills beneath the “Maho”, a 900-foot tall Mount Mahoult, the highest point on the island. Two bays, Glossy and Friendship, separate the southern side of the island.
Canouan's history goes back more than 200 years before Christ, when a cultivated tribe called the Arawaks arrived on the island. These new residents brought fire-burners, plants and animals, basic farming and fishing skills with them. They lived in peace for 1500 years until a tribe of fierce fighters called the Caribs, invaded and killed the Arawak men and took off with their woman.
More than 200 years after Columbus, Europeans established a kind of permanent settlement. The island's mountainous and heavily forested geography allowed the Caribs to defend against European settlement here longer than on almost any other island in the Caribbean. After the Caribs were defeated on other islands they joined slaves who had escaped repression on Barbados, as well as those who had survived shipwrecks near St. Vincent and Bequia, by following the current and trade winds westward to St. Vincent.
The mixed descendants of the island warriors and the freed Africans (who became known as the Black Caribs), with their common distrust and disgust for the Europeans, proved to be a fearsome foe. The Caribs feared complete domination so they allowed the French to construct a settlement on the island in 1719. The French brought slaves to work their plantations.
St. Vincent is the only Caribbean country where whale hunting is allowed. A small group of hunters carries on the tradition off the small island of Bequia.
St. Vincent, Grenadine Islands
St. Vincent glimmers like an emerald in the sea. A boat ride along the coast is the best way to appreciate the island’s volcanic origins; and visit the Falls of Baleine, a breath taking waterfall that spills from a mass of foliage into a rockbound pool. Kingstown, the capital, is an 18th century town worth exploring. A walking tour begins at the docks and leads to the farmers’ market (Saturday mornings), past shops, restaurants, and old churches. Beachcombers will find beautiful black sand on the leeward side, proof of the island’s volcanic birth. Its botanical gardens are the oldest in the hemisphere.
This island is a nature lover's paradise. Here, the dueling Piton peaks serve as an inspiring landmark for sailors. You'll have a chance to visit waterfalls, hot springs, botanical gardens, and the world's only 'drive-in' volcano. Hiking boots are what you'll need for trekking tails through the Rainforest Preserve, a favorite for bird watchers. The forest is loaded with wild orchids, giant ferns and towering stands of bamboo.
Return to Grenada to disembark.