Sitting in my colourful little sunny garden, enjoying the breeze and jamming to the tunes from my new little flying feathery friends, it got me reminiscing about my recent trip to Carriacou – a true touch of paradise. I mean what else can you do in lockdown other than dream of endless space outside, true freedom and tropical vibes without losing your sanity, right?!
Carriacou is one of Grenada’s three islands in the Eastern Caribbean and despite some tourism still one of the most authentic and untouched spots of the islands. That’s why I love it so much and am drawn to go back every time I visit Grenada.
You can’t however experience everything in one trip so visiting the island this time round with my family made it all the more special to continue exploring and soaking in nature.
Imagine waking up to this view…..I mean seriously!
Since dry season is from January to June in Carriacou the sun is delighted to make an appearance from early morning until about 6.30pm and let me tell you – it is hot! Not complaining though – I’m the type of person that advocates for the hotter the better. The most sensible places to go when it is this hot of course is the pool, the ocean or an air conditioned van touring the island – the last one being my husband’s choice.
So unlike last time when we toured some of the little islands around Carriacou we decided to discover the serenity of lounging at the pool, splashing around in the ocean and cruising around the island.
Location location location
It is worth noting that not many villas on Carriacou actually have a pool let alone a decent sized one bigger than a bath tub. Seriously we have looked high and low. Locals normally pop down to the beach to cool off in their natural pool. So finding a villa with a suitable pool for six guests was a challenge but not impossible.
We found an amazing villa overlooking Sandy island and Paradise beach – Las Tortugas Villa.
The villa had a very Mexican vibe to it with an amazing balcony overlooking the ocean to have your breakfast on and sip your afternoon cocktails and an infinity pool that made you want to stay in forever and soak in the view.
Incredibly well stocked it really was a home from home experience except my home doesn’t have these amazing views in the middle of London.
With direct access to Paradise beach it was the perfect location for a little family retreat – private, peaceful and stunning. The housekeeper was extremely helpful and enthusiastic. Nothing was too much for him – sometimes I wish we had that sort of customer service here in England. Sigh. Anyway I digress.
There were a couple of things that weren’t quite my fortay….
The access to the villa is hidden – we just happened to see a small sign advertising the villa on a side road which actually looked like a dirt track. So driving up and down a very sandy, rocky, windy and at times narrow little path eventually took us to the villa – all part of the adventure though right?!
The villa is rustic and so the doors and shutters don’t close air tight so you will be visited by some flying friends throughout the evening and night. We saw a few cockroaches flying in to join the party – I must confess we will never be friends, sorry – access denied. Our bouncer aka Bop spray made sure of that.
As part of the Mexican charm the owner decided to flood the villa with crosses. Would have preferred more turtles true to its name but hey tastes do differ.
The pool made up for this though overlooking Paradise beach and Sandy island.
Easy social distancing
The one thing I love about Grenadian beaches is that they are usually super spacious, not overcrowded and clean! The perfect place to social distance, a word I never thought would enter into my vocabulary but there you go.
Paradise beach in Carriacou is no exception. A long white sandy beach near Carriacou airport (a little air strip) boasts clear, calm turquoise blue water and just few little bars and huts alongside entertaining you with cheerful reggae vibes and tantalising scents of curried lobster, fish and other delights. I almost thought I was on set in one of the BBCs “Death in Paradise” episodes. Except it wasn’t Saint Marie but Paradise beach.
If you need to escape it all I am telling you this is the place to be. You’ll end up being by yourself most of the day during weekdays until locals enjoy the well deserved cooling off after work and school in the late afternoon and at weekends. Everything is so chilled that it’s easy to forget time.
The adventure scale
Travelling around the island is not for the faint hearted. Generally the main roads around the main town, Hillsborough, and the port are surprisingly well kept however once you start exploring the rest of the island get ready for some serious driving skills on hills, narrow bends and dirt tracks. Hat off to my husband who mastered it in our little Noah van and managed to keep the family calm and cheerful.
The adventurous ride is well worth it though travelling to the north eastern side to soak in the view of Petite Martenique – the third and smallest of Grenada’s islands. It is literally just a short boat ride away.
During your trip you’ll come across all sorts of unusual sights unbeknown to us here in London:
- cemeteries on the beach – I still don’t understand the logic
- huge lizards
- being chased by cocks
- inquisitive goats
- Unusual garden designs and ornaments from recycled materials
- mountains of conch shells
To reward yourself after the drive I recommend popping by Big Citi in Tyrell Bay. It doesn’ have much choice in terms of cocktails but the wraps there are truly delicious. Just one snag you’ll only be able to sit indoors.
For a special treat you simply must reserve a table at The Green Roof Inn in Hillsborough.It’s a small boutique hotel with a restaurant on a little balcony offering a few tables with sea view and is open when in season. The cocktail menu is a dream and everything you would envisage the Caribbean to be. The food I must say was outstanding. With a refined menu it gave the chef the opportunity to really put her heart and soul into cooking the food which just left you wanting more. Just make sure you call ahead and reserve before you turn up!