Beyond the beach in Grenada

Port Louis Marina Photo: Camper & Nicholsons

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Port Louis Marina Photo: Camper & Nicholsons

Journeys

Beyond the beach in Grenada

There’s more to this Caribbean island than meets the eye.

By Dominique Afacan | 26 February 2020

The Mediterranean and the Caribbean might be regulars on the superyachting circuit – but that doesn’t automatically mean that their destinations are tried, tested and predictable. Grenada is a prime example. Often called the Spice Island, thanks to its famed nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger production, Grenada lies at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain and north of Trinidad and Tobago. A laid back, tropical island with pristine beaches and turquoise waters? Yes. But there’s far more to it than that.

“Grenada is still a very authentic, pure destination,” says Charlotte Fairhead, marina manager at Port Louis, the island’s superyachting hub, which recently expanded in line with growing demand. “I think Grenada beach was once rated as the most beautiful in the Caribbean, but that’s only half the story. On land, there is great history and museums, as well as amazing, traditional rum distilleries.” There are also incredibly lush valleys, mountains and waterfalls to explore, thanks to Grenada’s rich volcanic soil and abundance of sunshine.

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Mount Qua Qua Photo: Kyle Wicomb

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Mount Qua Qua Photo: Kyle Wicomb

Even at sea, the island boasts out-of-the-ordinary attractions, namely the much-lauded Underwater Sculpture Park featuring 75 submerged creations, many of which are by British sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor. As well as looking incredibly beautiful, the sculptures, including “Vicissitudes” – a ring of 26 standing children holding hands – have been created with special materials that act as a platform for corals to attach. “The sculpture park is quite unique in that it raises awareness of the need to revive and sustain marine life,” explains Brian Hardy, general manager at Spice Island Resort, a much-loved and Green Globe-certified luxury hotel in Grenada.

The island is also home to the annual Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Transatlantic Race, which begins in Lanzarote and ends in Grenada. The race sees all sorts of yachts and sailors getting involved, including superyacht owners, who often hire professional racing crew to make the crossing. “In 2018 we had a superyacht called My Song taking part,” recalls Eddie Warden Owen, chief executive of the racing club. “The owner did it for a bit of an adventure but realised about three-quarters of the way across that they were going to break the record if they were careful – and they did. They broke it by quite a few hours and he was over the moon with that.”

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Underwater Sculpture Park Photo: Orlando K. Romain - Dive Grenada

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Underwater Sculpture Park Photo: Orlando K. Romain - Dive Grenada

Warden Owen is a frequent visitor to Grenada and has completed the race himself, arriving on the island after six and a half days of sailing across the Atlantic. “You go from Lanzaraote, which is a beautiful island but with very little vegetation and you arrive on this lush island – it’s this very stark contrast.” Beyond the verdant landscape, awash with nutmeg, cocoa, banana palms, bougainvillaea and everything in between, Warden Owen also appreciates the renowned Grenadian friendliness. “The welcome you get from the locals is special, whether you’re the first or last in,” he says.

It’s a view shared by Fairhead of Port Louis marina, who cites this friendliness as one of the many reasons that the island is often pitted as an exceptional family destination. “The Grenadians are absolutely open to the outside world; they are very friendly and great with children. You take the kids to the beach and the Grenadian kids and their parents are all there sharing the experience together.”

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Port Louis Marina Photo: Camper & Nicholsons

Beyond the beach in Grenada

Port Louis Marina Photo: Camper & Nicholsons

In recent years, there has been careful development, including an expansion of the marina and a smattering of new hotel openings. “Grenada is eco-conscious and environmental impact studies are done for new hotel developments and all new projects of a similar magnitude,” says Brian Hardy of the Spice Island Resort. “The ban on the use of styrofoam and on single-use plastic bags are only two recent initiatives added to our existing national sustainability programme.”

Most recently, the island has seen the opening of Silver Sands, a 43-room luxury hotel looking out onto the ocean. The Six Senses is also opening a resort on the island, its first in the Caribbean and offering the brand’s usual blend of wellness, sustainability and luxury. The island’s popularity is on the rise, it seems, particularly among the yachting crowd, who see it as both an excellent base and an excellent destination. “Grenada is becoming more of a starting point for charter – it’s easy for clients to reach,” explains Fairhead. “The crews and captains also enjoy their downtime here too. It’s truly safe and there’s so much to do.”

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