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Five Equals Three Equals One

Five Day's into Three Days into One Great Vacation

    by Donald Anthony
Air Jamaica's Anniversary Cake
Air Jamaica's Anniversary Cake

In 2009 Air Jamaica is celebrating its tenth year of travel to the small Caribbean island of Grenada . With low prices and vacation-minded travel times, Grenada may be the new “close-to-home” vacation spot. It’s easy to get to, with no lines of traffic to the airport, easy late night check-in and a breezy trip through security. Here are my facts: I left New York at 12:50 a.m., slept on the plane, landed in Grenada at the Maurice Bishop International Airport at 5:30 a.m. (making the total flight time 4.5 hours), went to the hotel, and took a nap. By 12 noon, I was ready to go out, have a Grenadian lunch, try snorkeling, and then do some serious relaxing on the beach. After two more full days of activity (and relaxation), I got up early in the morning and flew back to New York, arriving in time for a late lunch.

No special hints for the plane. Just let Air Jamaica take care of you. If you reserve the window seat and bring your own travel blanket you can snuggle down and doze for the entire trip. If there were kids on my flight I didn’t hear them, and if you’re sleeping the staff won’t wake you for a drink. A carry-on bag is a must for convenience and for getting through security. Follow the rules, but pack light. Forget the fancy, bring the practical or just pack the fancy and leave the practical. The point is to have fun and not think about what others will say about your wardrobe. Bathing suit, shirt, sneakers, underwear, passport, and a high-SPF sunscreen pretty much covers it. Anything else you need is easily obtained in the gift shops.

Calabash Hotel Spa
The Spa at the Calabash Hotel

In Grenada, you can choose anything from an inclusive resort to an “a-la carte” vacation and still know you’re getting a deal. When you call or email for reservations ask the hotel if they will accommodate a super-early arrival and departure timeframe. Many will, and some may even be offering additional room discounts; you just have to ask. Choose to upgrade your room and, at the Calabash Hotel & Villas, you can get a private plunge pool! If you prefer a five-star hotel, be sure to consider the Spice Island Beach Resort. Chairman Sir Royston O. Hopkins, KCMG insists that quality will never be compromised, but even here discounts are possible. Families might like to try the True Blue Bay, where themed dinner nights provide lots of fun, and your hosts, the Fieldens, give you such a warm welcome that you’ll feel as if you are a part of the family. When we stayed there it was Mexican night, and they brought out the hot spices. At first I thought they had brought out the heat just for me, but then I noted some major-league diners in the room.

The island’s native cuisine is Eastern Caribbean but with a Grenadian twist. Be sure to try the Nutmeg Ice Cream! I did, and I came back for more! Dining at the Belmot Estate is most relaxing and we could watch workers dry spice while we ate lunch. However for a beach dining, the Grenada Grand Beach Resort has a very nice cool spot near the pool.

A visit to Grenada should include a tour of the River Antoine Rum Distillery. The full distilling process is on exhibit, from the harvesting of the sugar cane, to the manual filling of the bottles, and, of course, the final taste test. It is suggested that you hold on to the table when it is your turn to taste, because some say even a slight sip causes the earth to move and the forehead to sweat. I don't remember if this was the case, but I was told I smiled a lot! This is a privately owned manufacturing plant and a nominal admission is charged.

This vacation paradise that is Grenada today is the same island that was devastated several years ago by a hurricane. Homes were destroyed, roads wrecked, and the spice industry was devastated. The Grenadians, however, took the destruction as a challenge and from the ruins they built contemporary facilities for beaches, sports, diving and tourism. Check out the national tourism site, Grenada Tourism, and order the guidebook. There is simply too much to do and too many places to see to not plan ahead. One great opportunity is a snorkeling trip like with Sea Fun Adventure. They supply the equipment, an individual motorized boat, and a guide for two and a half hours of no-hassle relaxation.

When leaving Grenada, as one must eventually, don’t forget to pay the head tax near the airport ticket counter before getting in the security line. It saves a lot of time and puts you ahead of the crowd.

Flying back on Air Jamaica is just as easy as flying down there: hunker down in your seat, fall asleep and wake up at your home port. “Smooth and Easy” just might be Air Jamaica’s middle name. But “smooth and easy” does not only apply to how you begin and end your trip; it pretty much covers everything you will encounter in Grenada. And that makes a vacation that fits me just fine.

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