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Trip Report Trip Report: Grenada made me disappointed..

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......that I wasted 25 perfectly good years of life before visiting! We just returned from our 10-day first anniversary trip (June 5-14) and had a wonderful time. We've visited Bermuda, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Kitts, and Nevis, and Grenada is now tied with Anguilla for our favorite island. We loved the friendly people and the variety of different activities combined with really beautiful beaches. We also loved how off-the-beaten-path it felt- of course it was particularly quiet due to low season, but it was so peaceful. I would totally recommend Grenada to anybody looking for a unique experience filled with hiking, exploring, and delicous food (and rum, of course!).

HOTEL: Laluna
We won our stay at Laluna through skyauction.com (thanks to ejcrowe for the suggestion!). After a long day of travel with weather delays, we finally arrived at Laluna around midnight. We were led to our room by the security guard, and a nice note and a tray full of much-welcomed food awaited us. We were in room 13, which is an attached cottage. Although it seems like it would be one of the least private rooms because you have a neighbor, in my opinion our room was more private that some of the detached cottages. There were at least two that could only be reached by walking directly in front of another cottage- seems like that would detract from the privacy and fun of the plunge pools and shower windows. One big downside, though, would be the stairs to the beach. I counted 92 stairs from our front door to get to the restaurant/beach area. We're both young and in fairly good shape, but it was still a pain in the butt (er- quads/calves) going back up several times a day. Regardless, our cottage was beautiful and just like it appears in the hotel photos. The open-air bathroom was so much fun and I have never taken so many showers just for the pleasure of looking out the windows and using the amazing, generously-sized Hortus Fratris products. Our plunge pool was a nice, cool temperature and perfect for sitting and watching the sunsets in the evenings. There were several lizard sightings a day in the room, particularly in the closet, but that never bothered us. We did have some problems with the A/C that were never quite resolved, even after a couple of attempts by the staff to fix it. I suppose we could have switched cottages, since they were only at less than half occupancy, but we were comfortable enough in the room to put up with the heat. We had an early morning flight out of Grenada, and they delivered a small breakfast (croissant, chocolate muffin, and banana) to us the evening before, which was thoughtful.

The staff at Laluna was very friendly and helpful, particularly Tracey, Listra, Nikki, and Kellon. We enjoyed getting to chat with them and hearing their recommendations for things to do around the island. The beach is not very long and does have some seaweed and rocks, but is still comfortable for walking. The water is very calm and great for light swimming. The Beach House restaurant is located at one end (to the left if you are looking at the ocean), but other than that, the beach is private. Again, it was low season, but we were always the only ones there- it was like being castaway on a deserted island with a comfortable bed and restaurant :) There were occasional vendors, but they aren't pushy.

CAR RENTAL: Sam Azar- couldn't have been easier. Sam showed up exactly on time with the car and we dropped it off at the airport. Driving is on the left and the steering wheel was on the right side of the car, but my husband said it wasn't too difficult to get used to.

Driving around the island was challenging, though. Roads are often in very bad condition, narrow, or both. The road through Grand Etang especially is a little harrowing because the buses and taxis speed through it like it's nothing. The roads are also generally not very well-marked, so it's tough to navigate. However, most roads lead somewhere eventually, so it all works out.

RESTAURANTS:
Breakfast:
We either ate at Laluna every morning, or ate some of the snacks we got from the grocery store at Grand Anse Shopping Center nearby. The honey/nut/yogurt parfait is delicious, as is the cinnamon french toast and the breakfast sandwich. The pancakes were okay, and I would not recommend the omelet as it was a bit heavier than I expected. All the breakfast items were between $5-12 US.

Lunch:
Most days, we actually didn't even eat lunch because we'd get a late breakfast and an early dinner, or we'd just grab a snack in our room.

Dodgy Dock- this is a pretty location on the marina by the True Blue Bay resort. The food was okay, but I get the impression this is a better place for drinks. I had the Flying Fish burger and my husband had the Coconut Curry Chicken.

Petite Anse Hotel- we found this place on accident. It's a brand new (3 months) hotel on the north side of Grenada, near Sauteurs. This was some of the best food we had on the island. The owner is a really nice Englishman named Phillip and he was happy to show us around the property. It was a rather late lunch (4pm), so we ordered from the dinner menu. I had an amazing callaloo and goat cheese ravioli and DH got a yummy mahi. It's a hike from Laluna, so only worth it if there are other things you want to see on that end of the island, but I highly recommend it.

La Sagesse- super friendly service on a gorgeous beach. very fresh seafood.

Dinner:
Laluna- we ate here a few times because it was so convenient! The food was very good, though I always find Italian to be a bit heavy for a beach restaurant. The chef is always around and I can see why Laluna has started doing bachelorette parties because he is fairly young and attractive :) The pumpkin ginger soup is a must. We also tried a callaloo risotto, the pappardelle laluna, the seafood linguine, and grilled tuna. All were very good, though the seafood linguine at $37 was the most expensive item on the menu and probably not worth quite that much. The chocolate and almond cake for dessert is fantastic- the first time we ordered it, we actually ordered a second because it was so delicious, but then we toned it down and only had one per night after that :)

Aquarium- we came here for the barbecue on Sunday night. It is a really beautiful location and the barbecue is inexpensive but good. Delicious pina coladas!

Beach House- this is just on the other end of the beach from Laluna, and was in our top three restaurants (also Petite Anse and Laluna). I had the calamari salad and some sushi, and although I promise what DH ordered was delicious, I just can't recall what it was! I do, of course, remember dessert- banana rum flambe, which was quite good.

Olivers- this was a bit disappointing. The food was overpriced for the quality, we felt. We did the tasting menu for (I think) $75pp. Nice atmosphere, though. The best part was that after we finished eating, we decided to go check out the beach and came across a sea turtle just finishing up laying her eggs! She slowly patted down the nest and then waddled back into the ocean. It was a really wonderful surprise and one of the highlights of our trip.

Boots- we ran into ejcrowe and her husband here, which was a fun surprise :) It was as delicious as everyone said it would be, although neither DH nor I were fans of the Big Daddy at all. DH said it tasted like cough syrup. The callaloo soup and my lambie were particularly good. Boots and his wife, Ruby, were very friendly and welcoming.

Patrick's- this is another home-style restaurant that was recommended to us by the chef at Laluna. They should advertise that they serve the coldest drinks in town, which is a real treat! There's no menu, but you honestly get a small bowl of about 15-20 different dishes, so you have a chance to try everything! There was green papaya in a cheese sauce, mutton stew, grilled lambie, and fried dasheen, among many others! It's all pretty heavy food, but definitely worth the calories :)

ACTIVITIES:
We were a lot less adventurous on this trip than we were on our honeymoon, so we missed a lot of things that I would still like to do on a future trip. Some of these include Fish Friday, Tufton Hall waterfall, and a visit to some of the plantations. However, the activities we did do helped us fall in love with Grenada.

Waterfalls- we visited Mt. Carmel, Seven Sisters, Concord, Fountainbleu, and Annandale. They were all beautiful, though our experience at Seven Sisters was our favorite. Our guide led us up to the top waterfall and then walked back down with our camera and sunglasses while DH and I got to hop down the first five waterfalls. It was a truly incredible experience to be all alone in the middle of this rainforest sliding down all these falls! It was a little scary because it was rocky and hard to judge the depth of the water or where we might hit, but we were able to slowly climb down most of them in order to avoid the rocks. When we got to the 6th fall (which is the bigger of the first two that you get to), it was so high we were both scared to jump even though people below were cheering for us. It was actually an extremely difficult hike to get down from that fall without jumping, as it was nearly vertical rock-climbing with very little hand/foot holds. I almost turned around to just jump off because I was afraid I'd fall in on accident and have less control. When we got down safely, though, I was really happy for the experience :) Concord Falls were also lovely, but the hike through a really beautiful farm area to Fountainbleu falls is so worth it. Of the waterfalls we saw, I would say Seven Sisters and Fountainbleu are must-dos.

Grand Etang Lake- this was interesting to see. We hiked through Beausejour trail to get there. It was a fairly easy hike, though there are many stairs.

Westerhall Rum Distillery- pretty ruins from the original rum factory and an interesting museum inside. The rum tasting is fun, too :)

Sunset cruise through Starwind Sailing/First Impressions- we happened to go on a day when it was too cloudy to get much of a sunset, but it was still fun to get out on the boat and chat with the crew. Drinks (rum punch, beer, wine) and snacks (banana nut bread and chips) are included in the 45/pp charge.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Grenada and will certainly be back (although probably not until we cross a few more destinations off our travel wish list). I'm happy to answer any questions anybody has! Hope this is helpful :)

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