Join Crystal Insider Joe Kita as he hikes to this special spot on Grenada and divulges a whole new strategy for island exploration.
The next time your Crystal ship stops at an island, do a little investigating to see if there are any waterfalls nearby. This is an island strategy that has served me well over the years by providing relief from the heat, a little exercise, and an authentic taste of a place.
Crystal Serenity, which is nearing the end of its 2017 World Cruise, visited the Spice Isle of Grenada recently. Part of the West Indies, it lies at the southeast edge of the Caribbean, not far from Barbados. Most Americans recall Grenada vaguely, if at all, as that place where President Reagan sent U.S. Marines in the early 1980s to squelch a Communist uprising. Today, Grenada is a stable democracy with a thriving agricultural and tourist economy. And if you know where to go it is breathtakingly beautiful.
After consulting with the Shore Excursions team on board, I employed my strategy by signing up for a trip to St. Margaret Falls. More commonly known as Seven Sisters, it consists of a succession of seven waterfalls. Our guide, Terry, picked up our small group at the dock in St. George’s and drove us about eight miles out of town along narrow, switch-backing roads. As we climbed into the island’s central highlands through the Grand Etang National Park – eventually cresting 1,900 feet – we felt the heat and humidity gradually give way to luscious cool.
This was the end of the dry season in Grenada, but you’d never guess it. The rainforest we embarked into was satisfyingly green and thick. We began our trek along a dirt road through farmland. We saw nutmeg, banana, avocado, cocoa, cinnamon, mango, guava, cashew, pineapple and many other types of trees and plants. Shortly, we arrived at the trailhead where we were advised to each grab a stout walking stick. And then we entered the jungle.
Have you ever stood beside a massive stand of bamboo and listened to it creak and moan in the wind? It makes a music all its own.
You know that sad philodendron plant on the sill at home you’re always forgetting to water? Well, here philodendron leaves grow as big as your chest and as thick as a paperback book cover.
Have you ever watched a hummingbird flit and pause, flit and pause through the hyacinths? Or been studied by a family of Mona monkeys high in the trees?
And have you ever heard the rush of cascading water somewhere in the distance? So soft at first that it’s but a murmur. But as you hike farther it grows until it’s all you hear, and then the valley floor opens, and you look up.
I don’t care how old you are, waterfalls are forever fascinating. Unless you’re at Niagara or Iguazu, they immediately compel you to strip down to your swimsuit and dive into the cool pools below. They’re summer vacation, ice cream, and giggling all rolled into one.
Seven Sisters is exactly that. Two sets of sizeable falls are accessible where the main trail ends. The more adventurous can continue hiking up a very steep path to the five additional but smaller falls. Instead of returning the way you came, you can “ride” the falls back down. Note, however, that although waterfalls may make you feel like 12 years old again, this last activity is in fact better suited for actual 12 year olds.
Keep in mind, too, that the approximate mile-long hike to the Seven Sisters is significantly easier than the hike out. So play and swim and clamber but save some energy for the nearly thousand feet of climbing you’ll need to do to return to civilization.
Crystal Serenity returns to Grenada in December during the “Caribbean Impressions” voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston.
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