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About the Island of Grenada:
Ah Grenada: lush and Green. Grenada is a rolling, mountainous island, covered with fragrant spice trees and rare tropical flowers. Bordered by stunning beaches, and dotted with picturesque towns, this verdant island has long been a major source of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cocoa. The seductive drifts through the colourful Saturday markets and Grenada's dense forests. In the interior of this volcanic island are cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush rainforests, and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain lakes imaginable. The capital, St. George's, is widely held to be the loveliest city in the Caribbean. Its horseshoe-shaped harbour is surrounded by a pastel rainbow of dockside warehouses and the red-tiled roofs of traditional shops and homes.
Grenada offeres Lush Landscape, waterfalls, hiking & georgeous beaches
For many visitors, of course, the measure of any island is taken by its beaches and coral reefs, and Grenada offers plenty of both. The island is ringed with miles of picture-perfect strands, including both entrancing black and sugar-fine white sand beaches. Grand Anse Beach, a smooth expanse stretching for two miles around the curve of a gentle bay, is world famous. Grenada has plenty to offer those interested in offshore pleasure as well, with easily accessible and pristine reefs off the coast of both Grenada and its sister island, Carriacou.
This small nation consists of three islands: Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique. Grenada is by far the largest of the three, with a width of twelve miles (18 km) and a length of twenty-one miles (34 km). Its 133 sq. miles (440 sq. km.) are mountainous, volcanic terrain, reaching heights of over 2,750 feet atop Mount St. Catherine. This topography provides Grenada with one of the loveliest and most varied environments in the Caribbean, including crater lakes as well as a startling variety of plant and animal life. Dwarf forests high atop Mount St. Catherine descend to the montane rainforests of middle altitudes, which give way in turn to the dry forests of the lowlands. Those forests shift to mangrove at the coast, giving way to stunning white sand beaches, brilliant blue water, and exquisite coral reefs.
Grenada's smaller sister island, Carriacou, is hilly but not mountainous. With smoother terrain, Carriacou is an ideal destination for walking. It possesses fine sand beaches and natural harbours, as well as offering excellent views out over the northern Grenadine islands. Petite Martinique, the third and by far the smallest island in the state, consists of little more than the tip of a volcanic cone poking through the water. It is only now being developed for visitors.
The three islands of Grenada are located in the Eastern Caribbean at the southern extremity of the Windward islands, only 100 miles north of Venezuala. To the north lie St. Vincent and the Grenadines; to the south Trinidad and Tobago.
Climate of Grenada:
Average temperatures range from 24C/75F to 30C/87F, tempered by the steady and cooling trade winds. The lowest temperatures occur between November and February. Because of Grenada's remarkable topography, the island also experiences climate changes according to altitude. The driest season is between January and May. Even during the rainy season, from June to December, it rarely rains for more than an hour at a time and generally not every day.
People of Grenada
Grenada's population numbers about 93,000, comprising citizens of African, East-Indian, and European descent. The largest proportion of the population, about 75%, is of African descent.
WHAT TO EXPLORE IN GRENADA?
Grand Etang Lake and Forest Reserve
The most popular area in Grenada for hiking and trekking is undoubtedly the rainforest around the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, high up in the mountains of the island's interior. Grand Etang's varied elevations and terrains maintain several different ecological subsystems, culminating in the elfin woodlands high up the slopes of the reserve's central mountains. The focal point of the forest reserve is Grand Etang Lake, which fills the crater of one of the island's extinct volcanos. The rainforest around the lake holds a stupendously rich diversity of flora and fauna. Colourful tropical birds, tiny frogs and lizards, and rare orchids punctuate the dense rainforest vegetation, and the trails meander around the area's stunning waterfalls as well as the azure waters of Grand Etang Lake.
Grand Etang's flora includes towering mahogany and giant gommier trees as well as a multitude of ferns, tropical flowers, and other indigenous plants. The lush vegetation provides shelter for a wide variety of animals, particularly for the island's many species of birds. The broad-winged hawk (known here as the gree-gree), Lesser Antillean swift, Antillean euphonia, purple-throated carib, Antillean crested hummingbird (known as the little doctor bird), and the Lesser Antillean tanager (known as the soursop) are all common sights. In addition, the Grand Etang is populated by plenty of frogs and lizards, as well as playing host to opossums, armadillos, mongooses, and the mona monkey.
Hikes at Grand Etang range from easy 15-minute jaunts to rigorous expeditions of several hours. The trails are quite good, and the Forest Reserve provides excellent guides (both written and human). The reserve's hikes include:
The Morne LaBaye Trail
This brief and easy walk, which takes about fifteen minutes and is suitable for the whole family, features twelve points of interest intended to acquaint the visitor with the area's ecology.
The Ridge and Lake Circle Trail
The Lake Circle Trail, which takes about half an hour, winds down to and around the perimeter of Grand Etang Lake. In addition to allowing outstanding views of the lake itself, which is so stunning that it really cannot be missed, this trail wends down through trees bedecked with hibiscus and the island's many varieties of wild orchids, which grow on the trees for support.
Mt. Qua Qua Trail
One of the central mountains of Grenada's interior range, Mt. Qua Qua rises to a height of over 2,370 ft (720 m). The trail to and along its ridge passes by Grand Etang Lake and then rises up to the higher altitudes, cooler temperatures, and elfin mountain forests of the upper slopes. Hiking the trail takes about an hour and a half, with frequently steep and sometimes slippery sections that require some caution. One of the primary attractions of this walk, in addition to the panoramic prospects available from its occasional clearings, is that it provides a comprehensive introduction to the varied plant and animal life of both the rainforest and mountain ecosystems of Grand Etang.
Seven Sisters Trail
So named because it passes by seven of Grand Etang's beautiful mountain waterfalls, which are nestled in the profuse emerald vegetation of the rainforest. The trail takes about three hours, even for experienced hikers, but for those who are up to it the Seven Sisters is well worth the effort. Starting in an area of banana and nutmeg cultivation, the trail quickly plunges into some of the most attractive virgin forest on the island. As this hike can be difficult, the accompaniment of a guide is recommended.
Fedon's Mountain & Concord Falls
Advanced hikers and trekkers should not forego the opportunity to take these two more substantial hikes, which link to the Mt. Qua Qua Trail in Grand Etang. The Concord Falls trail branches off from the Mt. Qua Qua Trail after about an hour, leading down through rainforest canopy, over hilltops and gurgling brooks, to bring you to the triple cascades of the Concord Falls. The lowest of the three is a very popular swimming area, camping spot, and tourist attraction, with modern facilities surrounding its generous swimming area. The upper falls, about twenty minutes' hike up the river, are definitely worth the short walk, as they are much less visited and even more beautiful. The 40 ft/12 m cascade plunges down through the thick vegetation to an inviting pool that offers a much more tranquil swim than you will find at the lower falls. The third and uppermost of the three cascades of Concord Falls lies considerably higher up the mountain and requires about two hours further hiking.
Levera National Park
The 450-acre Levera National Park holds a strong reputation as Grenada's most scenic and spectacular coastal area. Its picture-perfect beach is quite popular on weekends, and its lagoon is one of the most important wildlife habitats on the island. Consisting of an extensive mangrove swamp, the lagoon is a haven for an abundance of bird species, including many herons, black-necked stilts, common snipes, and other waterfowl. Levera's marine areas are equally esteemed, with outstanding coral reefs and sea grass beds that shelter lobsters and beautiful reef fishes. The beaches are also a hatchery for sea turtles, which are protected from May to September. Among the pleasant walks at Levera is a trail that circles the lagoon.
La Sagesse Nature Centre
This quiet mangrove estuary along the southwestern coast is one of the best bird-watching locales on Grenada. In addition to the estuary, La Sagesse includes three fine beaches edged with palm trees, a very good coral reef for snorkeling, a pristine example of dry thorn scrub and cactus woodland, and a salt pond. Of course, a good salt pond is the avian equivalent to a stunning beach, and this is one very inviting salt pond. It attracts an abundance of different species, including the brown-crested flycatcher, Caribbean coot, green-backed and little blue heron, and the northern jacuna. La Sagesse also maintains a small, four-room guesthouse and a restaurant that serves very tasty lunch fare.
Grenada Nightlife :
Several bars and most hotels provide some form of entertainment, including Steel Band Music. Other nighttime offerings include folk music, drama, and cultural performances. Grenada's musical calendar features several events for jazz enthusiasts, which are scheduled on short notice, so be on the lookout while you're there. The Village Hotel, near Grand Anse Beach, has Wednesday night jazz sessions, with local and visiting musicians and recorded music; the Grenada Jazz Society holds concerts several times a year at hotels and other venues; and the Hall of Fame Jazz Assembly has Sunday outdoor performances at the Botanical Gardens.
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