The island (Carriacou) – and what to do there

Carriacou, ‘the isle of reefs’, is a spectacular and largely undiscovered island in the Caribbean, bordering the Grenadines. It is located in the southeastern Caribbean, not far from Grenada and the north coast of South America. The island’s name is derived from the Carib language Kayryouacou. It is a two-hour ferry ride or 20-minute flight from Grenada.

Like many of the nearby Grenadine islands, Carriacou boasts startlingly clear waters, spectacular reefs and white sandy beaches. It is favoured by yachtsmen, kite boarders and scuba divers. Carriacou’s white sand beaches, coral reefs and a lush, hilly interior offer wonderful diving and snorkelling, trekking and excursions to nearby deserted islands. The neighbouring island of Union offers some of the best kite-boarding conditions in the Grenadines and and has two kite-boarding schools.

Carriacou is surrounded by easy-to-reach desert islands and beauty spots. The best-known and most popular boat trip is to the Tobago Cays made famous by its appearance in the film “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. Here, visitors can swim with turtles and explore the stunning coal reefs in pristine clear aqua waters. Other excursions include White Island, a deserted island and great lunch spot, the oyster mangroves swamps, and the magical island of Mayreau to name a few.

Carriacou is not a place of cruise ships, big resorts or souvenir shops. The island represents Caribbean life the way it was 50 years ago; friendly, laid back and relaxed, but with plenty to do. The locals are known for their warmth, enjoyment of life and kindness to neighbours and foreigners.

Aside from the yearly carnival, the island offers food festivals, live music, a regatta, fine and casual dining, a bustling main town, Hillsborough, and inter-island cricket tournaments. For international test cricket fans, the world’s top teams make stops to play in Grenada.

Those who arrive from Grenada by the Osprey ferry alight on a charming old wooden pier and will find Hillsborough buzzing with expectant merchants waiting for goods and local business people returning from the ‘big island’ or ‘spice island’ as it is often called. The town, like the island, has its own personality and is not impacted by huge daily tourist influx.

Arriving by air is equally enchanting with the eight-seater Dash 8 planes give passengers a stunning view of the island as they land at the tiny airport of Carriacou, a 10-minute drive from Hillsborough.