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Yello’s Bite-sized Guide to the Caribbean: Grenada

by Karen Rollins Feb 7, 2022

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St. George's Harbour, Grenada

Yello knows the Caribbean! We are based in 20 countries across the region, and each one of them is quintessentially Caribbean while also offering visitors a one-of-a-kind cultural experience.

Our British, French and Dutch colonial past can be seen in our food, art, fashion, music, and languages. Yet as a region, we are also slowly developing our own unique Caribbean identity based on our distinct geography, values, and experiences.

It’s time to appreciate our shared Caribbean culture and learn more about the islands in our region – let’s learn more about Grenada.

Independence Day: 7 February 1974

Capital: Saint George’s

Background: Grenada, also known as the Spice Isle, is the southernmost island of the Lesser Antilles. It is located in the eastern Caribbean Sea about 160 kilometres north of Venezuela. Grenada is volcanic in origin, with a ridge of mountains running from north and south, which creates a hilly and scenic landscape.

Grenada was initially inhabited by the Arawaks and then the Caribs. The island was sighted by Christopher Columbus on 15 August 1498, when he sailed past without landing, and he gave it the name Concepción. The name Grenada is believed to have come from Spanish sailors who thought the island was similar to their homeland.

The first Europeans arrived in 1650 when the French governor of Martinique, Jacques-Dyel du Parquet, bought Grenada from a French company and established a settlement. Grenada stayed under French control until 1762 when it was captured by the British. It was formally ceded to Britain in 1763 in the Treaty of Paris. The French recaptured it in 1779, but it was restored to Britain in 1783.

A slave uprising, known as Fédon’s rebellion, took place on the island between 1795 and 1796, led by a French planter and supported by the French in Martinique. Thousands of enslaved people and hundreds of British soldiers died in the fighting before the rebellion was eventually quelled.

On 3 March 1967, Grenada became a self-governing state within the UK. Full independence was achieved in February 1974.

Getting around: The best way to get around Grenada is by car. Hiring a car at the Maurice Bishop International Airport is the most convenient option, and then you can explore the island at your own pace. Just be aware that the terrain is hilly so there are plenty of bends and turns on the roads.

You can also get about quite easily on public minibuses, but the service is unreliable, and does not operate on the weekend. Taxis are another option but they can be expensive. The capital city of St George’s can be explored on foot.

Must-see place of interest: Fort George is located 175ft above the capital of St. George’s and offers stunning views of the harbour, the lagoon, and Grande Anse beach. The site also provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of Grenada.

Built from 1706-1710, the original 18th-century structure is one of the finest remaining examples of a Vauban-style masonry fortress in the world. The historic site includes the parade, two barracks, a guardroom, gunpowder magazine, water cistern, Sallyport and firing galleries.

A viewing section towards the inner harbour features plaques showing important nearby landmarks. The Fort also has several old cannons which are used on special occasions for a resounding salute.

Must-do annual event: Grenada Sailing Week (GSW) is one of the first regattas on the Caribbean Sailing Association’s annual calendar. It is an international keelboat regatta held at the end of January and used to be part of the Grenada Sailing Festival which takes place immediately afterwards.

GSW typically attracts around 40 participating boats with approximately 350 sailors from 20 countries. The racing takes place between two venues; Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina and Secret Harbour Marina.

As well as excitement on the water, the week also features plenty of land-based activities, including nightly parties. So, you don’t want to miss it!

Motto: ‘Ever conscious of God we aspire, build and advance as one people’

Little known fact: The Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park in St George’s, which was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, features 75 works, including a circle of life-size figures cast from local children who are linked by holding hands.

Grenada is open to visitors but COVID-19 restrictions are in effect. Visit the official Grenada tourism website for the latest travel information.

Sources: PureGrenada.com, Britannica.com, NowGrenada.com, The Commonwealth.org, Grenada Sailing Week and US News.com.