Grenada is the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere. During my trip to the Eastern Caribbean, I paid a visit to this small island that I knew nothing about, except for the invasion of the US Army in 1983.The big island is a mix of tropical landscapes and rivers that fall away to white-sand beaches. Add to that the underwater coral paradise and there you have a great place to escape to.

The first thing you notice as the boat approaches St. George is “the Carenage”, the most beautiful harbor in the Caribbean, surrounded by 19th-century buildings that rise up the hillsides. St. George was the base for all my explorations, both under and over the water. The locals in their majority are West Indian, Black African, most of them living simple lives by tilling their gardens, fishing or, as they told me, just limin’ around (wander around in local English).A big part of the population also makes a living by working abroad, on local ships and cruise boats. I have to mention here that the cheapest accommodation caters mostly to the locals, with the expensive resorts being the only other accommodation option. On the boat to Grenada, I met someone who suggested I should stay right on the edge of the capital, at a family house, which helps the local economy much more. I stayed at the Maffikes, a great family that helped me understand some things about the local life. One of the highlights of my stay was little Mary, a five-year-old girl that wanted to know everything about me. Other things to remember are the white-sand beach of Grand Ance and my dive into the Bianca C. The Bianca C was an Italian liner that was sunk in 1961 and is now the biggest shipwreck in the Caribbean. The cause of the explosion that sunk it is still a mystery. I spent the days eating grilled corn and watching people go by. The rest of the island, still untouched, lives in the rhythm of everyday life.

The tourism industry is smaller and quieter in Grenada than in any of the other Caribbean holiday destinations. The warm welcome of its people makes Grenada the perfect place to get to know the West Indian culture.

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