Carriacou, known as ‘the island surrounded by reefs,’ is officially part of Grenada. It is the second largest island in that country, following Grenada itself. The population of 8,000 can trace their ancestry to England, Africa and France and the capital of this province is Hillsborough, which is also the largest settlement in the area. To the benefit of visitors, the island is considered to be the healthiest, safest and friendliest in the Caribbean.
Carriacou was first discovered along with Grenada in 1498 by Christopher Colombus. At that time, it was populated by the Carib Indians. In 1649, the French invaded from Martinique and colonized the island. Over the next few decades, the French effectively dismantled the local population, but after the Seven Years’ War, the British took over the territory in 1763. Independence was not granted until 1974 and from 1979 until 1983, the island was party to Grenada’s two military coups as well as an invasion by the United States. Fortunately, since 1983, the island country of Grenada has survived in sustained peace.
Sadly, recent years have brought disastrous hurricanes to Carriacou’s shores. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan damaged a majority of the island’s structures and Hurricane Emily in 2005 hindered recovery efforts. Today, 96% of the buildings have been repaired and strengthened for future storms. It is hoped that the island nation will soon return to being a major supplier of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cocoa.
The above the water paradise known as Carriacou is just as interesting as its under water environments. Expect this tiny yet friendly island to keep you busy during your stay.
Exploring the island’s 100 rum distilleries is a must as is exploring the island’s lush nature. Belair National Park offers a network of hiking trails as well as well-preserved windmills. Both Paradise Beach and Anse La Roche Beach are brilliantly white and wonderful for a day of relaxation and Dumfries Historical Site will give you insight into the island’s colonial past. If you happen to be in Carriacou for a special occasion, don’t miss the opportunity to take part in the Big Drum dance.
The island’s airport, Lauriston Airport, welcomes small aircraft flights from Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport. There are also irregular flights to Carriacou from Barbados and St. Vincent.
The island can be travelled around by bus, rental car or taxi.