Driving around St. George’s, the Carenage:
I had read about a good restaurant on the north side of the island, so with a rental car at my disposal, I spent Saturday driving along the west coast to explore the northern end of the island.
Driving through St. George’s Town was much easier Saturday morning compared to Friday. What is depicted on the tourist map as the “main” road is a bit deceiving. At times it could pass as a main road, if a narrow two lane semi-paved road without shoulders could be considered a main road, and at other times it was little more than a trail. I headed north along the coast from St. George’s towards Sauteurs.
A vendor along the main road just north of St. George’s:
This part of the drive was pretty good until reaching Gouyave. The main road was impassable due to a washed out bridge. Road signs were mostly nonexistent, but there was a hand written detour which I followed. Only problem is that there was only one detour sign. I turned around and went back, followed a different road, found a “Y” with a one way, so naturally took the one way in the direction I was traveling. I ended up making a loop. With frustration starting to rear its ugly head, I stopped and asked some mechanics how to get past the detour. Everyone was very helpful, and it turns out I had to drive back to the “Y” and go down the one way in the wrong direction. Finally past Gouyave, with help, which is a consistent plus here, I was back on the main road.
The main road somewhere on the west coast of Grenada, going through a small town:
Where the road leaves the coast and heads into the hills is Duquesne Bay. There are some petroglyphs in the stone near the beach which a little local boy came out to show me. He was also helpful. A break from the car was needed and I walked along the beach.
The petroglyph is in the lower right hand corner of the next photograph:
Unfortunately, a staple of all the islands I have visited are the starving, mangy dogs and goats staked by the road. Grenada has them as well, and I had no food to hand out.
The only way to know what town you are in is to ask someone. The people who live here are very friendly and more than willing to help. I stopped many times to ask directions and find out where I was.
The restaurant I had read about is Armadillo. On Trip Advisor it was the only one on Grenada with 5 stars from every visitor. Andrea runs Armadillo, a guest house and restaurant. You must pick your meal from the menu a day before and give an arrival time. I had estimated my arrival at Armadillo to be between 1 and 2 pm, but made it around 12:30.
Armadillo is on top a hill on the north side of the island, just west of Sauteurs and has a stunning view. The day I had lunch you could see as far north as St. Vincent. There was a lovely breeze and lunch on her patio, surrounded by flowers, was wonderful.
I had a tuna appetizer with onion and a mustard dill sauce, lobster with pasta, and almond chocolate mousse. It was delightful.
I wanted to drive back a different route and completely avoid the detour is Gouyave, so I attempted to find the road heading south to Grenville. The complete absence of road signs by now was no surprise, but still aggravating and made it nearly impossible to figure out exactly where I was. I used general directions via the position of the sun and knowing I was on an island and could only get so lost, I continued. There was no other option.
I was hoping to stop at the Belmont Estate Grenada Chocolate Company because it looked like I would drive right by it. Again, no signs and I missed any sighting of the chocolate company.
I finally made it to Grenville and headed west into the interior and the Grand Etang Forest Reserve. The toughest and most treacherous part of the drive was between Grenville and Birch Grove, following what I can only guess was Road 6 (there were no signs), and up to the Grand Etang. The road can best be described as nearly single lane with hairpin turns, steep drop-offs, no shoulder and on a fairly steep grade. Many times I had to stop for oncoming cars, and at times even back up to a wide spot. Pedestrians and other drivers were helpful and act as impromptu traffic cops waving cars along or signalling to slow down.
The steady climb into the rain forest afforded cooler temperatures, but no improvement in the road conditions. At the top of the climb was the entrance to the Grand Etang Forest Reserve and a wide spot with a few smaller tourist buses. I would not have wanted to either drive one of the buses up to the top, or meet one on the road. From the reserve the road wound down into St. George’s, but it was not any wider until very near the bottom. It would have been nice to tour the rain forest but the drive was exhausting and my only desire at that point was to get back to Laluna in one piece and relax.
Typical street scene of the two lane main road with parked cars:
Buses do as they please:
Cars parked along a two lane main road with a blind corner. This is typical: