Introduction to Carriacou
Carriacou is a small island ( l3 square miles) in the Grenadines, north of Grenada. The name, ‘Carriacou’, is said to mean, "land of many reefs" in the language of the indigenous Caribs.
Carriacou is a larger yet an even less developed version of Bequia - a very laid back undeveloped piece of paradise encompassed by wonderful beaches and reef. It is just a five minute water taxi from the extraordinarily beautiful Sandy Island an idyllic picnic paradise island.
For those who enjoy cycling or hiking, Carriacou offers miles of abandoned roadways, many of which offer superb views of outlying keys and the myriad of reefs that rim the island. There are ruins of plantation houses, windmills and fortifications. You can go fishing in a small, speedy runabout boat, or sails to the Tobago Keys for a day of beachcombing snorkeling and lobster barbecue, or to Palm Island or Petit St. Vincent, for lunch either via modern sailing yacht or traditional Carriacou sailing vessel. Arrange to scuba dive at Carriacou Silver Dive in Hillsborough, or snorkel the reefs to your heart’s content.
The tiny Museum in Hillsborough has an excellant exhibition of Arawak and Carib pottery and artifacts, and maps and information on the unique history of Carriacou. While in Hillsborough and sample the local restaurants for an indigenous or internationally influenced lunch or dinner. Soak up the ambience of a real old West Indian town, - just like it used to be in other islands (about 70 years ago!)
Windward, on the East coast of the island, is the center of the local boat building industry, is one of the last places in the world where you can actually see sailing vessels being careened in the old way. Talk to the locals. They are pleasant people, eager to share their knowledge.
Featured Villa: Las Tortugas
Las Tortugas - 2 bedrooms, seafront holiday villa.
Access to the Islands
Just a short flight away, stunning anchorages everywhere. Find out more about access to the islands here...
Banks-- The commercial banks in Carriacou, open 9am to 3pm, will change US cash and traveler’s checks, or give you EC cash on your credit card, but personal checks are not accepted. There is now an ATM on the island, at the NCB bank in Hillsborough, which will accept Visa Cards and give you EC cash..
Banks in St. George's, the capital of Grenada include First Caribbean International Bank, at Church and Halifax streets (tel. 473/440-3232); Scotiabank, on Halifax Street (tel. 473/440-3274); the National Commercial Bank (NCB), at Halifax and Hillsborough streets (tel. 473/440-3566); the Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago (RBTT), at Halifax and Cross streets (tel. 473/440-3521); and the Grenada Cooperative Bank, on Church Street (tel. 473/440-2111). Most have ATMs. Hours are usually Monday through Thursday from 8am to 3pm and Friday from 8am to 5pm.
Currency-- The official Carriacou currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), although $US cash and major credit cards are welcome at some restaurants, hotels etc. The rate of exchange is $1.00US = $2.67EC, or for quick mental calculations, approximately 3 to 1.
Always determine which dollars, EC or U.S., you're talking about when someone quotes you a price.
Documents-- A valid passport is required of U.S., British, and Canadian citizens entering Carriacou / Grenada, plus a return or ongoing ticket.
Electricity-- Electricity is 220-240-volt AC (50 cycles), so transformers and adapters will be needed for U.S.-made appliances. The outlets (plugs) in Las Tortugas Villa villas are wired for 120V, with standard American style fittings. North American visitors will not need to bring any adapters, but our European guests should take note.
Embassies & High Commissions-- The U.S. Embassy is located at L'Anse aux Epines Salines, St. George's Grenada (tel. 473/444-1173). The British High Commission is on Church Street, St. George's (tel. 473/440-3536).
Emergencies-- Dial tel. 911 for police, fire, or an ambulance.
Hospital-- Grenada St. George's General Hospital (tel. 473/440-2051), has an X-ray department and operating room. Private doctors and nurses are available on call.
Language-- English is commonly spoken. Creole English, a mixture of several African dialects, English, and French, is spoken informally by most.
Pharmacies-- Several small supermarkets located in Hillsborough offer a surprising variety of medical supplies as well as food provisions.
Post Office-- The general post office, in Hillsborough is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3:30pm.
Safety- Carriacou is a quiet island which has not yet felt some of the negative aspects of life in more developed countries. Generally, personal security is not an issue, but common sense should be applied.
Taxes-- A 10% VAT (value-added tax) is imposed on food and beverages, and there's an 8% room tax. You'll pay a departure tax of US$20 when you leave.
Telephone-- The area code for all of Carriacou is 473. You can call to or from Carriacou as you would to or from any other area code in North America. Public phone and fax services are available in Hillsborough.
Time-- Carriacou is on Atlantic Standard Time year-round, which means it's usually 1 hour ahead of the U.S. East Coast -- except during daylight saving time, when the clocks are the same.
Tipping-- A 10% service charge is added to most restaurant and hotel bills. No additional tip is expected.
Water-- Stick to bottled water. There is no government water supply on Carriacou. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in tanks on which the house is built. During the dry season (January to June), there is little rain, and water must be used carefully and sparingly.
Weather-- Carriacou has two distinct seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season is from January to May; the rest of the year is the rainy season, although the rainfall doesn't last long. The average temperature is 80°F (27°C). Because of constant trade winds, there's little humidity.