A local guide to Grenada
Savvy Grenada Sailing Charters owner Danny Donelan is on a mission to preserve Grenada’s sailing and boatbuilding heritage by providing authentic experiences aboard classic Carriacou sloops, wooden ships with a tradition of craftsmanship. almost disappeared 30 years ago.
This interview is part of The world is local, a worldwide collaboration between the seven international editions of Condé Nast Traveler in which 100 people in 100 countries tell us why their territory should be your next destination.
What exactly is a Carriacou sloop and why is it so important to Granada’s heritage?
Carriacou sloops were originally made for the inter-island trade by Scottish boat builders who were brought in by plantation owners almost 200 years ago. Grenada, Carriacou, Petite Martinique and Bequia were the mecca of boat building in the Caribbean at the time and over the years this tradition has become part of our cultural identity. Boat building is essential for these small islands as a large percentage of the population lives off the ocean, and the only way we can keep this tradition alive is for visitors to experience these sloops in the most authentic way possible. , that’s why I hire local boat builders from Carriacou for the captains.
What makes Grenada so special in the Caribbean?
Grenada has a bit of everything to offer: black and white sand beaches; waterfalls and rivers; 200-year-old spice plantations transformed into chocolate factories; good restaurants; a lively nightlife; and great snorkeling and diving. But I think what really sets us apart is our people. Granada has the friendliest people, so it’s not difficult for visitors to make friends and experience our culture through the eyes of the locals.
What should we do here?
Sail on a traditional Carriacou sloop with Savvy Grenade Sailing Charters, of course! Other must-sees include everything chocolate-related, from visiting the Belmont Estate for lunch to see how chocolate is made, to producing your own bars with Tri-Island Chocolate. On Saturdays, Granada Hash House Harriers has a walk through different locations, which always ends at a rum shop, where local food is cooked and rum is ready for thirsty hikers. Speaking of local rum shops, be sure to take a visit – there’s one around every corner and everyone has their own unique mood, characters, music, and vibe. Nimrod’s in Woburn is one of my favorites. For live music, a Sunday barbecue at the Aquarium is a must, as are Tuesday evenings at the Grenada Yacht Club, Wednesday evenings at Dodgy Dock, and Saturday nights at La Plywood Beach Bar. Foodies should sail to Carriacou for a long weekend and don’t forget to visit Anse La Roche Beach, Paradise Beach Club, Big Citi Grill, and Bogles Round House.
What are the best beaches and sailing spots off the beaten track?
Saline, White Island and Anse la Roche in Carriacou, and Bathway Beach in Grenada. For sailing, the west coast is the best as the waters are always calm, the winds are constant, and there are plenty of places to snorkel, like Underwater Sculpture Park, Flamingo Bay, Mango Bay and Calypso Island.
What makes Grenada such a great sailing destination?
We run three annual sailing events, including the Carriacou Regatta, for sloops and traditional dinghies, which is the oldest in the Caribbean. The waters of Granada are amazing, of course, but what really makes us unique is that we build our own boats. Yachting is traditionally a very elite sport, but in Granada everyone from boat builders and fishermen to ordinary people own handmade yachts and regatta them in our local regattas. When we compete we run like a village which means our regattas are a bit more colorful than most: the whole village comes to cheer you on and then we party – the Grenadians know how to party so our regattas are events very lively and authentic.