Diving in Grenada
The wreck capital of the Caribbean,
Grenada hosts an impressive collection of artificial reefs. Of course, the crown jewel in Grenada’s wreck crown is the largest wreck in the Caribbean, the mighty Bianca C. This 600-foot ex-cruise liner has been called the “Titanic of the Caribbean,” and it’s actually a real shipwreck. It caught fire off St. Georges Harbor in 1961 and sunk in 165-feet of water. The years have been both kind (the wreck is covered in corals and sponges) and unkind (it’s slowly collapsing upon itself). However, there are still some holds open for penetration, and dozens of dives worth of things to experience on this wreck. And, although the mast reaches up to about 75 feet, the main deck starts at 125-feet, so it’s definitely an advanced dive.
That said, there are plenty of shallower wrecks that offer plenty of action. The 70-foot long Veronica L, a fully intact ex-coastal freighter in 50 feet of water, literally has tornadoes of marine life on it. Shoals of brown chromis, baitfish, rainbow runners, and more. It also has a thick coat of growth and at night become a fiesta of orange when all the cup corals open up to feed. Like the Veronica L, the 180-foot MV Shakem, which has been on the seafloor since 2001, ripples with life. The cargo hold and pilothouse are quickly becoming lively artificial reefs under the weight of soft corals and sponges.
Other must do wrecks include the 170-foot Hema 1, another natural wreck, which sunk about three miles off Grenada’s south coast; the King Mitch has been attracting a lot of attention lately as a top wreck for spotted eagle rays (schools), resident sea turtles and other pelagic passersby.
The reefs off Grenada can be as active and breathtaking as the wrecks. Isle de Rhonde is worth skipping a wreck or two. This reefs around this little island offer stunning underwater ecosystem, with lots to experience from the macro world up to passing eagle rays. Purple Rain teems with macro life and is frequently coursed by its namesake as rivers of Creole wrasse course over the seascape. The nearby island of Carriacou has a plethora of prolific reefs and two nice little wrecks of its own, the Wreck and the Tugboat.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: All U.S. citizens are required to present a passport, but do not need to obtain a visa. EXIT REQUIREMENTS: All persons leaving the Grenada, pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $19, which may be included in your ticket.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into the Grenada. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.org.
Culture and Customs
If you come by boat to Grenada, you will smell the aromas of spice on the wind that give this high, lush, green island its nickname, the Spice Island. Numerous nutmeg processing plants, as well as cocoa, cloves, cinnamon, mace, ginger, allspice, and more are all cultivated on this small island. Music and dance fuel the culture here and Grenada has numerous festivals to celebrate both. The island retains a strong African influence fused with French undertones. The French comes out in the selection of food and in the local Patios (dialect). And where there’s music, dancing and food, you’ll always find rum, and Grenada has a family distillery at the River Antoine Estate that has been working since 1785. Carnival is celebrated throughout the island, and grows each year. Grenada also has numerous lovely waterfalls throughout the island.
Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access
Electricity in Grenada is 220 volts, 50 cycles, so no adapter will be needed for US visitors. The country code for Grenada is 473 and direct dial service is fast and clear. Check with your service provider for long distance/roaming information and costs. Internet service is available at hotels and internet cafes.
The water is safe to drink in most hotels in Grenada, but bottled water is recommended elsewhere.
Language & Currency
English is the official language, and the local, French-based Patios is widely spoken. The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) but U.S. dollars are accepted in most places. Check the currency rate
History, Art, and Culture
Grenada has had an interesting history to say the least, particularly in the last 30 years. However, the recorded history begins all the way back to 1498, when the Carib Indians inhabited what they called Camahogne. The Caribs, which were a fierce Indian nation, successfully fought back all comers until the French conquered them in 1650. The French named the island and turned it into a sugar producing satellite. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ceded the island to the British and in 1877; it was made a crown colony. Independence was granted in 1974, which was quickly followed by a civil revolution, and a revolutionary government took control of the island. A pro-communist government took over by coup in 1983. In cold war paranoia, President Reagan worried that Grenada would become a Soviet stepping-stone, and in October 1983, the US along with Jamaica, invaded the island in Operation Urgent Fury to much condemnation. A pre-revolutionary constitution was resumed and eventually tourism and spice has taken over the pulse and flow of the island. Read more about Grenada’s history here.