Instead of booking an excursion offered by Celebrity Cruises, my husband arranged for a private tour. Total cost price didn’t differ that much, but as it was just the seven of us we could pick our own program, which is always a plus.
We had a great friendly guide, who was really eager to tell us all about his island, which he was clearly very proud of. Although we started with some rain, luckily the weather turned after about 2 hours and we had a great day – Caribbean style
Our first stop – just a short drive from the capital St George, was the Annandale waterfill, hidden in an oasis of green. An obvious stop for tourists, but all right – good setting for some first pictures. It’s very easily accessible, with stairs taking you down to the water. Just be aware – it’s slippery.
One of the well-known products that Grenada is exporting is nutmeg. A visit to the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station – one of the biggest on the island – revealed the very basic conditions the workers are operating in.
Next to being used as a spice, nutmeg also used to make oil, jam, liqueur and syrup. For only a dollar or two you’re being told everything you need to know about it, while looking around the factory.
This is actually a very sad place to go to. Leapers Hill is a cliff, where legend has it that indigenous Carib families have leapt from instead of submitting to the French forces. There used to be a museum, but now it’s only the lookout point that can be visited. It’s close to a Catholic cemetery and a school.
Food factories & lunch
Next stop was a still active distillery where sugar cane was processed into syrup. The distillery is part of an estate that also has a restaurant, where we had the best lunch.
Right next door, the Grenada Chocolate Company is located, which is famous for the award winning organic dark chocolate it produces from the Trinitario cocoa beans growing all around the place. Can it get any fresher than that?
Grand Etang Forest Lake
The Grand Etang Forest Lake is a natural water crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by rainforest. It’s apparently a great place to do some hiking, with trails leading to stunning waterfalls. We only made a quick stop, given the fact we had to push it all in one day. The rainforest captures a great variety of ecological subsystems, including tropical flowers and a wide range of animals – mostly birds, frogs and lizards, but also opossums, armadillos and of course the Mona monkey.
An absolute must – animal freaks as we are – was to see the Mona monkey, which was actually transported to the island from western Africa, with the slave trade. They live in group and eat (a lot of) fruit, preferably bananas.
Our lovely guide well understood our desire to see these funny guys with our own eyes, so he took us to a place where they usually appear. We had to be patient for a while, but all of a sudden we saw one. The fact that our guide had just bought some bananas and was waving with a few of them probably helped, but hey – we got what we wanted! Before we knew it, a bunch of other tourists were attracted to our enthusiast screams and bananas were flying all over the place.
Although they typically stay deeper in the rain forest, this one clearly wasn’t too shy. He came closer with every minute passing and before we well realised, he was sitting on the shoulder of my husband.