Spoilt for choice is what holiday companies and airlines keep advertising – no matter the season whether you want to fly, sail, take the train or drive; whether you fancy that relaxing beach trip or are more a city slicker and love to explore architecture, history or local cuisine and music vibes…I must agree.
This is no different when coming to Grenada. Being a huge fan of island hopping I definitely recommend giving it a go when you reach the Isle of Spice. Carriacou is literally 20 minutes by plane or as little as 2 hours by boat so whether it’s a day trip, a weekend or even a week give it a go.
Carriacou, one of the three islands that make up Grenada, is also called the “Land of Reefs” – engulfed by beautiful coral reefs and clear shallow waters. The island has around 8,000 inhabitants. Carriacouians are super traditional keeping musical customs of their African ancestors alive during the Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival in April for example. From personal experience they are very warm and friendly people.
One thing I must admit though was that the month we travelled there wasn’t necessarily the best time. Carriacou has a quiet season when loads of restaurants and even hotels seem to close. Call it an annual siesta.
We went early September so best to avoid that month if you can.
Wouldn’t want you to rock up a hotel to go eat at their restaurant and literally all the lights are out and you are met with silence (this was our unfortunate experience at The Green Roof Inn). Don’t depend on their websites or social media promotions….people here are super laid back. Once you have that expectation you’ll enjoy the island. Best to use the good old fashioned phone method.
So what is Carriacou all about you ask? If you are an energy junky and love to party this is not really the island. I can only describe it as very laidback, quaint and traditional. It is beautiful in that it has amazing small islands like Sandy Island, White Island and Saline island.
Gorgeous beaches, clear water and opportunities to explore sea life will take up your day for sure. Ok so you get to the island and the first thing you’ll probably look for is transport.
The island advertises a number of car rental places and the prices aren’t cheap considering the cars that are up for rental. Remember I said the island is laidback, right? So you most likely end up getting somebody’s private car to rent and have to pay cash in hand from our experience. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like the look of the car. Keep it friendly though,eh?! 😊 One plus is though that no deposit was taken by the company we hired from.
Remember you need a Grenadian drivers licence which you get at the police station for EC$60.
If you really want to drive but are a bit unsure about hiring a car there just hire a car in Grenada and take the Dolly C ferry from Grenada to Carriacou. More details in my #islandhopping post.
And if you are either on a budget or a bit of an adrenaline junky then try the local buses. They literally leave from Hillsborough to the rest of the island. Prices were around EC$2.50 for short trips.
The Tourist information centre outside of the port will confirm prices for taxis so you know exactly what you’re paying upfront which I thought was brilliant.
The island has a few hotels but recommend hiring a villa via Airbnb if you can. Frangipani villa was pretty cute. It was located on a small hillside overlooking the ocean – the view was stunning.
One of the only rental villas on the island with a pool. The sunsets were stunning – especially with a cool glass of vino in hand.
Surrounded by lush local flowers, plants and trees and not forgetting amazing iguanas (protected wild life) it sure was a haven of relaxation. Don’t worry – the iguanas don’t bite and will most likely run from you but may give you a quick eeek moment if you come across them. All adds to the charm of this island.
If you are looking for a hotel then I recommend The Bogles Roundhouse. The hotel literally consists of three self-contained cottages by the seafront. You still get breakfast as part of your stay of course and then there is the restaurant for dinner….keep reading for more details.
Going out to eat
As we seem to have come in quiet season we only managed to go and eat in four places. My top pick and recommendation would be to go to Bogles Roundhouse. The restaurant part of a quaint cottages right on the seafront has indoor and outdoor seating.
It usually gets busy fast so really recommend to book. I would probably say from our experience and feedback this is the poshest you’ll get it on the island.
The food is lush and includes a sorbet palette cleanser. On the menu was passion fruit – yummmmm my favourite.
Second recommendation would be Lazy Turtle in Tyrell Bay.
Again don’t bother going in September as it is about to close for 6 weeks and will be out of all sorts of ingredients including fish! Puzzling as they are surrounded by fish….still not quite understood that concept. Anyway. It does have friendly staff though and really nice pizzas.
The third place we visited was Callaloo next to The Mermaid Beach hotel. Hmmmmm – ok the view is lovely when you sit outside especially at sunset.
Mojitos are recommended but when it comes to the food…..I dunno. Wasn’t really my cup of tea. Chips (or fries as my American amigos would say) are really oily and super crispy like they’d been left in the fryer all day. Soooooo up to you.
A cool lunch spot in Hillsborough we found was called Kayak Cafe.
Looks tiny from outside and is…well kinda small once you walk through but you are literally right at the seafront and beach.
Food is nice especially fish of the day. It has free WiFi, always a bonus to check your latest Instagram posts or send off a quick email. Interestingly they are are also a one stop shop for property opportunities, buying jewellery…a bit of everything really. It closed at 3pm despite the menu saying something different though so definitely a lunch recommendation.
Not having done much shopping on this island I must give one shout out to Patty’s deli right in Hillsborough.
Super cute little grocery store with a lovely deli bar of different cured meats, cheeses, pies and breads. This is the place to come to if you are craving a crisp Pinot Grigio or some crisps. Please pop into this little store.
It’s not cheap cheap but well worth a trip (oh and it has air con – something you will cherish on this island as it is hot with a capital H).
Look out for some vendors selling from the back of their cars or along the roadside. You can catch some seriously good bargains from sun hats to bags to food to jewellery.
Things to see and do
This beach is an absolute must on your top 3 destination in Carriacou. Pretty untouched and quiet this beach near the airport boasts powdery white sand, calm and mesmerising blue waters with red and orange star fish peeking through as you swim or float along.
Overlooking Sandy Island it is a fab place to literally just chill out for the day. There are a number of small “cafes” or “bars” where you grab a drink, snack and sneak in a souvenir.
The beach is clean – something that is campaigned for by the locals here including school children and rightly so.
Drive along the road a bit further and then veer to the left and and you’ll come across the right hand turning towards “Off the hook” a bar restaurant right on the beach with a real local and interesting flare.
Catch your water taxi here to Sandy Island. Ask for Curtis – he will sort you out.
Carriacou has much more to offer which I can’t wait to explore next time.
Soon come Carriacou…