Petit Martinique and Carriacou
Concierge.com's insider take:
The two smaller islands that form the tri-island nation of Grenada are well worth a side trip for their secluded beaches, quaint cottages, and untouristed atmosphere.
An easy 90-minute catamaran ride from St. George's, the 12-square-mile Carriacou is where locals escape from the stress of big-island life (Osprey Lines; 473-440-8126; www.ospreylines.com; $54 round-trip) and shop for duty-free appliances smuggled from the nearby Grenadines. Make your base at the Silver Beach Hotel in Carriacou's main town of Hillsborough. The retreat was damaged badly by Hurricane Emily in 2005, but two suites and two cottages on a secluded sliver of beach are still available for rent (473-443-7337; www.silverbeachhotel.net; email@example.com). Ann's Eating Delight in Hillsborough is far from fancy but serves simple, tasty lunch fare, such as roti, conch stew, and fresh fruit juices (Main St.; 473-443-6991). The menu's more ambitious at the Garden Restaurant (Main St.; 473-443-7979), with grilled mahi mahi and lobster Thermidor. Crystal-clear waters and nesting pelicans are the draw at Anse La Roche beach on Carriacou's leeward (western) side, while Sandy Island Marine Park (1 mile off Hillsborough) attracts snorkelers with its coral reefs. Nearby Magic Garden, a bubbling underwater vent, and the area around Kick 'em Jenny, a submarine volcano in the channel between Carriacou and Grenada, are best for scuba excursions (Arawak Divers; 473-443-6906; www.arawak.de). The High North Peak National Park is a newly protected 600-acre eco-reserve stretching from coastal mangrove swamps to the island's tallest point (955 feet) and supporting some seriously eclectic wildlife, such as iguanas, tree boas, and 2,000-pound leatherback turtles.
During the spring, take a day trip to Petite Martinique (three miles away) aboard the Osprey Lnes ferry that runs daily from Carriacou. The 586-acre island is tiny, but big enough for its own beach gems as well as a pre-Lent Carnival and Easter regatta. Here and at Windward, a Carriacou village just across the channel, you're liable to find local shipwrights building traditional wooden boats right on the sand.