The best of Grenada's 45 beaches are in the southwestern part of the island. The granddaddy of them all is Grand Anse Beach, 3km (2 miles) of sugar-white sand fronting a sheltered bay. This beach is really the stuff of dreams -- it's no surprise that many of the major resort hotels are here. A lot of visitors never leave this part of the island. Protected from strong winds and currents, the waters here are relatively safe, making Grand Anse a family favorite. The clear, gentle waters are populated with schools of rainbow-hued fish. Palms and sea-grape trees offer shade. Watersports concessions include water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and scuba diving; vendors peddle coral jewelry, local crafts, and the inevitable T-shirts.
The beach at Morne Rouge Bay is less popular but just as nice, with white sands bordering clear waters. Morne Rouge, noted for its calm waters and some of the best snorkeling in Grenada, is about 2km (1 1/4 miles) south of Grand Anse Bay.
Pink Gin Beach lies near the airport at Point Salinas. This is also a white-sand beach with clear waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. (No one seems to know why it's called Pink Gin Beach.) You can find a restaurant and kayak rentals here.
Also on Grenada's southern coast, La Sagesse Beach is part of La Sagesse nature center. This strip of gray-and-black volcanic sand is a lovely, tranquil area; between sojourns on the beach, you can go for walks through the nearby countryside. A small restaurant, set beneath a veranda-style roof, opens onto the beach.
If you like your waters more turbulent, visit the dramatic Pearl's Beach, north of Grenville on the Atlantic coast. The light-gray sand stretches for miles and is lined with palm trees. You'll practically have the beach to yourself.
Part of Levera National Park, Levera Beach, at the northeastern tip of the island, is one of the most beautiful on Grenada. Its sands front the Atlantic, which usually means rough waters. Many locals come here for Sunday picnics.
Fishers visit from November to March in pursuit of both blue and white marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish, and more. Most of the bigger hotels have a sports desk that arranges fishing trips. The Spice Island BillFish Tournament, held in January, attracts a number of regional and international participants. For more information, call Chairman Richard McIntyre (tel. 473/440-3753 or 415-0157; www.sibtgrenada.com).
At the Grenada Golf Country Club, Woodlands (tel. 473/444-4128), you can tee off on a 9-hole course with views of both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic. Greens fees are only $23 for 9 holes, or $33 if you want to play it twice (to get 18 holes). Hours are Monday to Saturday 7:30am to 9pm.
Grenada's lushness and beauty make it one of the best Caribbean islands for hiking. If you have time for only one hike here, schedule it for points within the Grand Etang National Park and Forest Preserve ★ (tel. 473/440-6160). Its sheer scenic beauty makes the Lake Circle Trail our top choice on the island. The trail follows a 60-minute circuit along Grand Etang Lake, the crater of an extinct volcano, amid a forest preserve and bird sanctuary. You're likely to see the yellow-billed cuckoo and the emerald-throated hummingbird. The park is also a playground for Mona monkeys. Another easy hike, the Morne LeBaye Trail, originates at the park's center. The 15-minute trek affords a view of the 710m (2,329-ft.) Mount Sinai and the east coast. Of course, you can take longer hikes, perhaps to the peak of Mount Qua Qua at 712m (2,336 ft.), a trek which, round-trip, takes 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Carry insect repellent and plenty of water, and remember that trails can be slippery after a rainfall (especially June-Nov), so wear good hiking shoes and bring a sense of humor.
You can hike the shorter trails independently, but you might wish to hire a guide for the ascent to Mount Qua Qua or the even more demanding hike to Mount Catherine, at 827m (2,713 ft.). The former costs $25 per person for a 4-hour hike, while the latter is $35. For information, call Telfor Bedeau Hiking Tours (tel. 473/442-6200). Good hiking trails can also be found at Levera National Park.
Two large party boats, designed for 120 and 250 passengers, operate out of St. George's Harbour. The Rhum Runner and Rhum Runner II, c/o Best of Grenada, P.O. Box 188, St. George's, Grenada, W.I. (tel. 473/440-4386), make one to three trips daily, depending on the season, with lots of emphasis on liquor, steel-band music, and good times. Conducted every morning and afternoon, the 3-hour tours coincide with the arrival of cruise ships and, as such, tend to be packed with passengers, but independent travelers are welcome if space is available. Depending on advance bookings, evening tours on Friday and Saturday from 7:30pm to midnight are much more frequently attended by island locals and are more bare-boned, louder, and usually less restrained. The cost is $15 per person.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Grenada provides divers with submarine gardens, exotic fish, and coral formations, sometimes with visibility stretching to 36m (118 ft.). Off the coast is the wreck of the ocean liner Bianca C, which is nearly 180m (591 ft.) long. Novice divers can stick to the west coast of Grenada, while more experienced divers might search out sights along the rougher Atlantic side.
Aquanauts, in the True Blue Bay, Grand Anse Beach (tel. 473/444-1126; www.aquanautsgrenada.com), has night dives or two-tank dives for $55 to $95, respectively; PADI instructors offer an open-water certification program for $460 per person. They also offer snorkeling trips (1 1/2-2 hr.) for $26. You can rent snorkel gear as well, even if you don't take the boat ride. Giving Aquanuts serious competition is affable Eco-Dive, at the Coyaba Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach (tel. 473/444-7777; www.ecodiveandtrek.com). There's a PADI instructor on-site, and the dive boat is well equipped. Both scuba diving and snorkeling jaunts to panoramic reefs and shipwrecks teeming with marine life are offered. A single dive costs $50, and a five-dive package $225. A snorkeling trip can be arranged for $36. Diving instruction, including a resort course, is available. Dive Grenada, Flamboyant Hotel, Grande Anse Beach (tel. 473/444-1092; www.divegrenada.com), offers dives daily at 10am and 2pm, costing $50 for a one-tank dive and $95 for a two-tank dive. Snorkeling trips are also available for $35. The organization sank two rusted, terminally aged ships offshore as a catalyst for the creation of some underwater reefs.
If you'd rather strike out on your own, drive to Woburn and negotiate with a fisher for a ride to Glovers Island, an old whaling station, and snorkel away. Glovers Island is an uninhabited rock spit a few hundred yards offshore from the hamlet of Woburn.
Most big resorts have tennis courts. There are public courts, as well, both at Grand Anse and in Tanteen in St. George's.
Grenada is increasingly known for the number and size of its yacht regatta. As such, the island is home to yacht-racing events throughout the year, including the Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival in late January (www.grenadasailingfestival.com), the Easter Round-the-Island Regatta (www.aroundgrenada.com), and the Carriacou Regatta Festival in late July (www.carriacouregatta.com).
If you'd like to sail the waters yourself, Horizon Yacht Charters at True Blue Resort, Old Mill Road, True Blue (tel. 473/439-1000; www.horizonyachtcharters.com), specializes in bareboat or crewed charters, including 3-day trips to the Grenadines, arguably the best sailing waters in the Caribbean. Daily rates begin at $371, weekly rates at $2,395.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.