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Walking_and_Hiking_in_Grenada_Caribbean
By James Post

This article describes my recommendations of walks and hikes in Grenada, from easy to (very) challenging.

Beach to beach walks

The Southeast coast of the island is most suitable for this, in particular the area between Hope and la Sagesse. The hills are typically 80-200 ft high so by the time you get tired walking up, you're already at the top. You will enjoy continuously changing landscapes, from glowing hills, which remind to Ireland's Kerry coast, to mangroves. And -of course- beaches, one every 20 minutes on average. As the sun shines on the trails it is OK to do the walk even after a shower. As you are exposed to the sun, bring at least 2 liters/ gallon water (preferably frozen) on day trips and double that on full day trips.

The following short walks are suitable if your condition is not that great -or you want to break in before attempting a larger challenge-: Paradise Bay (La Tante) to Marlmount Beach or Paradise Bay to Cabier Beach (Crochu). Both return trips take about 1.5 hours, not counting breaks to eat and swim (recommended). When I join guests on these trips we usually stay away 3-4 hours.

A longer beach to beach walk is to go from Paradise Bay to Hope Beach or Mt Carmel Falls (or vice versa). This will take about 3 hours + breaks to Hope Beach and 4.5 hours to Mt Carmel Falls (via Hope Beach, the last part goes up and is more strenuous). If you are staying at Paradise Bay, they have a service to pick you up at Hope Beach and bring you to a point 10 minutes away from the Falls. Including breaks you should reserve the day for this trip. From Hope Beach and Mt Carmel Falls you can take a bus back.

The longest beach to beach walk is from Paradise Bay to La Sagesse (or vice versa) and takes about 5 hours. Although there are a few climbing parts I would still not classify this as a hike. Everybody with a reasonable condition can do it. But if you are in doubt, consider doing the shorter walks first. This walk lets you enjoy many different landscapes and beaches. Including breaks I recommend to leave after (early) breakfast and with ample breaks reach at Happy Hour. You can take the bus back, after walking back to the Eastern main road.

When you come by car, you can park your car at Paradise Bay Resort, La Sagesse Nature Center, Cabier Ocean Lodge (4 wheel drive recommended) and Hope Beach. When you come by bus to Paradise Bay, ask the driver to let you off at La Tante Junction on the Eastern Main Road and walk down to the beach (20 minutes). Paradise Bay, Cabier Beach and La Sagesse have a restaurant and bar. At the beginning of the access road to Mt Carmel Falls are 2 local bars.

Rain forest walks

As part of their Super Inclusive program, Paradise Bay Resort offers a rainforest walk that starts high in the mountains at a water reservoir. This is as close as you can get to a rainforest (10 minutes walk). You can then walk as far as you want. The deeper you go into the rainforest the more muddy it gets (that's why they are called RAIN forests...) but also the more beautiful. When you are lucky (in season) you will see hundreds of orchids growing on the base of the trees, in addition to the fern and moss that are always there.

Another rain forest walk that is doable for most -and does not require a guide- is the circular walk at Grand Etang Crater Lake in the centre of the island between St George's and Grenville (reachable by bus). From the lake you go up and follow the signs. It takes about 1.5 hour + breaks. This trip may not offer the same experience as the previous one as it is at the outskirts of the rainforest, but is a nice experience anyway. Close to the Grand Etang visitor centre is a parking lot where Mona monkeys are often spotted. The neighboring shop sells bananas...

A little bit more strenuous is the walk to the Seven Sisters Falls. Between Grand Etang and Grenville take the side road with a sign to St Margaret. If you come by car park at the designated area and walk from there. When you take the bus, walk on the side road for about mile; then take the first path to the left that leads into the forest. After about 200 feet (60 meter) the path makes a 90 degrees turn to the right. If you don't see the turn to the right you better go back... You will see the first two of the seven sisters, one of them is over 50 ft (15 meter) high. If you want to see the other five, check below: "Jump the Seven Sisters; the ultimate hike". As with the previous walk, this is not a 100% rainforest experience. I takes about 2 hours + breaks (power shower and swim in the falls recommended).

Rain Forest hikes

From Paradise Bay's "secret" starting point at the water reservoir high in the mountains (secret because of difficult access and narrow roads -passing is a challenge-) is a great rain forest experience, ending at Grand Etang. Your guide will cut the jungle bush for you with his machete in the centre part of the hike. After about 3 hours you will end close to Grand Etang Crater Lake. You could consider combining this trip with the Seven Sisters walk described above. The guide organizes the transport back to Paradise Bay Resort and other hotels.

The next intermediate rain forest hike is from Apres Toute (not far from La Tante) to Grand Etang. You need a guide to prevent getting lost. This tour starts hiking through farms and plantations with a good chance to see the local spices that gave Grenada the name "Spice Isle". You will enjoy great views over the East coast. After passing Mt. Williams the trip ends at Grand Etang and takes about 3 hours + breaks, leaving ample time for other activities.

Mt Qua Qua is the highest peak (2,370 ft / 710 meter) within easy reach of Grand Etang (1,800 ft / 540 meter). This is a popular and well kept trail and there is no real need for a guide if you have hiking experience. After covered trails you continue over a ridge that goes almost straight to the top, where you enjoy panoramic views seeing part of the West, East and North coasts. Combining this trip with the Seven Sisters walk is also a popular option.

When you are a hiking expert and are very fit, the "ultimate hike" is to "jump the Seven Sisters Falls". It starts with the Seven Sisters walk and that is the easy part. You absolutely need a guide for this one as he will show you how to climb and where to jump. First you hike to the seventh Sister which is challenging with 45 and steeper climbs. However, as there is enough vegetation to hold on, it is not extremely difficult. Should you experience this climb to be at the edge of your possibilities, I recommend to go back (take your time). Your guide will understand and coach you on the way back.

At the top you first practice a bit of cliff hanging, albeit on average 10 ft over the water. There is no vegetation to hold on to, just rocks. In the beginning there are larger pieces that stick out what makes it easier, but the last part is very technical and requires extreme caution. Thereafter, he first jumps are not high, but the water is rather shallow. I found that jumping with the legs horizontally stretched is a good recipe for these jumps.

The most challenging part is where the water goes down 30-45 in a narrow (about 2 ft wide) gorge. Our local guide seemed to have a good grip on the slippery rocks with his bare feet and walked down with a smile. My mountain shoes did not have a grip at all so my only option was to maneuver my feet against the rocks until reaching a secure position. Then I moved my hands to a lower position, bending the knees, thus gaining about 1-2 ft. Thereafter, move the feet one by one until a stable position. This is very technical and requires applying a lot of force for more than half an hour.

After that you casually wander thru the river until the last jump. Before doing this hike I had personally checked that the water below this 15 meter (50 ft) high Waterfall was as deep as they say. And it was, I never touched the bottom during my 30 minutes evaluation, so it must be at least 30 ft (6 meter) deep, which is indeed safe.

When I looked at the Waterfall from a horizontal distance, it looked quite easy to do. When you're at the top looking down, there is a very distinct difference. The lake at the bottom seemed so small suddenly... After I gathered enough courage, I first climbed down about 4 feet (not steep) to get to a jumping position immediately over the water. This is supposed to be easy but so high out there it is a bit scary. With trembling knees I made the jump and -indeed- did not touch the bottom of the lake. Everybody feels really great after this. "I made it". I did this ultimate hike once as I must have firsthand experience on all tours I organize, but I would like to confess that I booked this hike under the 'experiences once in a lifetime" category. I am not sure whether I should recommend this to guests in my age category (57). Or, better said I should only recommend it to young, very fit and experienced hikers. To my knowledge there are no known serious casualties from hiking the Seven Sisters. Guests who hiked the Falls called this one of the most thrilling experiences they had in their life. I agree, bungy jumping is a piece of cake compared to the Ultimate Hike.

Did I leave any walks and hikes out? Certainly, there are many more in Grenada: lots of casual walks and also quite a few rain forest and waterfall hikes. However, most visitors to Grenada have limited vacation time, so I chose to select the best. If you would like to do them all, you would need at least 2 weeks, that is if you want to enjoy other great activities such as ocean kayaking, catamaran sailing, whale & dolphin watching, scuba diving & snorkeling, horseback riding and turtle watch (during the night; March - July). The best way to enjoy the beaches is to do the beach to beach walks. Bring your snorkeling gear!

About the Author

James Post moved to Grenada after a career in the high tech electronics industry in the Netherlands. In 2000 he felt it was time for a change and moved to the Caribbean to realize his dream: to build a small, sustainable resort http://www.paradisebayresort.net At age 14 he was the youngest member of the Austrian Alp Society and during his whole life he has always been an avid hiker. He considers Grenada to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world, which was an important reason to select this island, in addition to friendly, peaceful people.

More information on the hikes (including videos) can be found at: http://www.paradisebayresort.net/html/tours.html

He encourages readers to ask questions; he can be reached per email at jamespost@spiceisle.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Post

 

To learn more about Grenada see our other Grenada Pages;

bulletAn Introduction to Grenada
bulletGrenada Waterfalls
bulletGrenada Snorkelling
bulletGrenada Beaches
bulletPlaces of Interest on Grenada
bulletGrenada Other Attractions

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Last modified: April 15, 2009