- Banks: 8 am to 2 pm, Monday to Thursday; Friday 8 am to 4 pm.
- Government offices: 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.
- Post office (called The Grenada Postal Corporation): 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday. (Located near the pier at Burns Point, South of the Carenage.) There are sub-post offices in all towns and villages.
Voltage is 220, 50 cycles. Dual voltage shaver units are provided at most hotels. Also available at hotels are transformers and adapter plugs for appliances rated at 110 volts. Most power sockets use a standard 3 pin British plug however 2 pin US sockets are also used.
Festivals & Events
The most exuberant of all is Carnival (held on the second Monday and Tuesday in August), a giant street party where brilliantly costumed revelers dance to the local music. Watch out for the Jab Jab Molassi, who wear, devilish costumes daubed with charcoal, engine oil and paint; you may not want to bump into them, literally. The week leading up to Carnival is filled with steel band and calypso competitions. Carriacou’s Carnival, held in February is on a smaller scale but has a more neighbourly atmosphere. The Parang Festival there in mid-December features music with considerable bite, highlighting local rumours provocatively fashioned into song. Almost every parish has a celebration of it’s own at sometime during the year and residents from all over the island and visitors converge to join in the celebration. There is Rainbow City Festival in Grenville, Fisherman’s Birthday in Gouyave, St. Patrick’s Day and St. David’s Day celebrations, as well as the Carriacou Regatta. All of these festivals are infused with the history of the Parishes.
The Spice Island’s reputation as the ultimate yacht spot has inspired various regattas and the annual La Source Grenada Sailing Festival. The Spice Island Bill Fish Tournament lends another competitive focus to water sports. Day and night partying accompany these events, marked by genuine Grenadian friendliness.
Grenada offers a number of alternatives for getting around; taxis, buses, and rental cars are easily obtained. All of the main roads in Grenada are paved and most are maintained and in good condition. Local driving permits are issued by most car rental companies, or you can get one by presenting a valid driver’s license at the Traffic Department or the Inland Revenue Department, both on the Carenage.
Some of the souvenirs you buy in the Caribbean, including Grenada, could end up costing you a lot more than you paid for them, as many souvenirs are made from protected plant and animal species and are illegal to export. You also undermine wildlife and conservation efforts. BUYERS BEWARE! Think twice about buying the following items:
- Products made from sea turtles
- Animals, especially parrots
- Corals, including black coral
- Amerindian artifacts
If you are offered souvenirs made from any of these products and you are tempted to buy, ask questions about the product’s origin and the species status. If the vendor seems poorly informed, think twice about your actions. When in doubt – don’t buy.
Pack cool, casual clothing for daytime and expect to dress up just a bit more in the evenings, as many hotel restaurants require men to wear long pants at night. Jackets and ties are not required. Out of respect for the local sense of propriety, bathing suits and similarly revealing clothing should not be worn in the streets, in stores, or for dining. For hiking and off-road exploring, long jeans and appropriate shoes are recommended.
The official language of Grenada is English, but you may also hear a French-based patois.
Grenada offers access to numerous good doctors and clinics located throughout the islands. There is also the General Hospital in St. George’s, a smaller hospital in Mirabeau, St.Andrew and a very basic one on the sister island of Carriacou.
For those taking prescribed medicines, it is wise to bring more than you think you will need for your time in Grenada, as well as a copy of the prescription itself. You may or may not be able to find your specific medicine in Grenada’s pharmacies.
Grenada’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar, which is linked to the US dollar at approximately $2.67 EC to $1 US. It is advisable to exchange money at the banks, where rates may be better than at hotels. Both local and international Banks are open daily between 8 am and 2 pm, Monday through Thursday, and from 8 am to 4 pm on Friday.
Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, car rental companies and shops. Traveller’s checks are accepted everywhere. Practice the same safety measures for your money and valuables as you would at home: avoid taking valuables or large amounts of cash to the beach or on hiking trips; leave some in safekeeping at your hotel. We mention this not to scare you, but because people on holiday often forget normal precautions.
Places of Worship
Numerous Christian denominations are represented by churches on the islands: Roman Catholic, Christian Scientist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mennonite, Pentecostal, and Church of Christ among others. Also present are the Interdenominational Living Word World Outreach, Islam, and Bahai. Most hotels can provide the time and locations of services. Alternatively, check the telephone directory for numbers to call.
Grenada’s population is just under 100,000. About 75 % are of African descent; the remainder are of European, East Indian and Middle Eastern decent.
Taxes & Tipping
Expect to pay more than the listed price. A 10% Value Added Tax (VAT) – Government tax – is added for accommodations. However, 15% VAT will be added to restaurants. The restaurant will also add a 10% service charge, not all of which will necessarily go to your waiter. Additional gratuities are at your discretion and would of course be appreciated.
Telecoms & Internet
The area code for Grenada is 473. Telecommunications are provided mainly by Cable and Wireless, and operate 24 hours a day. Coin and card phones are available for both local and overseas calls. Prepaid cards can be purchased at Cable & Wireless offices and agents, and at the Grenada Board of Tourism. Most hotel rooms provide international direct dialing, with calls on a per-minute basis plus a 10% government tax and hotel surcharge. Most hotels also provide fax and wireless broadband internet service.
Inbound roaming for mobile users is provided by Cable & Wireless and Digicel Grenada. Internet and fax services are available at Cable & Wireless located on the Carenage Grand Anse and Hillsborough, Carriacou. Digicel is headquartered close to Point Salines Airport with outlets located in most towns and on the islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Business hours are generally Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday from 8:00 am to 1 pm.
All visitors must present a valid passport and a return or onward ticket. It is acceptable for British, Canadian, and US citizens to present two documents proving citizenship, including at least one with photo identification. These can include a driver’s license, voter registration card, expired passport, or birth certificate. Visas are not required from citizens of Canada, the USA, UK, British Commonwealth, Caribbean countries, member countries of the European Union, Japan and South Korea. A passport is required of travelers in transit through Grenada.
- Sun protection: Sunburn can occur well before you know it, even on cloudy days. Be sure to apply lotion before going outdoors for any length of time.
- Plant life: Coconuts do fall off trees so avoid sitting under ripe ones. Found on most beaches, the Manchineel has fruit that looks like tiny green apples. Both the fruit and sap of this tree are poisonous, causing painful blisters. Don’t shelter under Manchineels in the rain.
- Insects: Centipedes (distinctly segmented and flatter than the harmless millipedes) do bite. Although they are not lethal, these bites cause pain and swelling. Antihistamine tablets or creams help. In serious cases, see a doctor. Sand flies and mosquitoes are most active in the evening and early morning. Repellents, such as mosquito coils (a repelling incense) and vapour mats (the electrical version) can be purchased at supermarkets.
- Dengue fever is carried by some (not all) mosquitoes. It rarely occurs, but can be serious. Symptoms include fever, rash, headache and muscle and joint pain. Do NOT use aspirin if you suspect you have dengue fever. See a doctor immediately, as this condition can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
- Sea urchin spines: If broken under the skin, these spines will dissolve in time. To remove protruding ones, apply soft candle wax, let it harden, then pull out. Some people recommend urinating on the wound to relieve the pain!
Tap water is safe to drink however a wide variety of bottled water is available.