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Our visit to the Caribbean comes to an end
Union Island (The Grenadines) to Miami (USA), April 2015

It is almost Easter when we arrive on Carriacou Island in Grenada. And Easter can be a hard time to travel in, in some countries. And that’s also true for Grenada. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and also Easter Monday are days that everything shuts down in Grenada. And with everything, we mean everything. All public transport comes to a halt, shops are closed and also restaurants stop operating. And that is important to know if you are depending on these businesses. We had no kitchen to our disposal in the hotel, so we had to find a different solution to ‘survive’ these days. We decided to buy enough bread, peanut butter, milk, cornflakes and canned vegetables to get through these days. Cans with black beans, pigeon peas, corn and tuna makes a delicious and healthy salad.

Like most island nations in the area, also Grenada consists of different islands, some inhabited and many not. We eventually visited two of them, quiet and rustic Carriacou, and developed and touristy Grenada. Most of the island nations in the southern part of Caribbean are comparable. Many of them have a green forested heart, and a developed coast, with towns, villages and lots of resorts. Grenada is no exception. Grenada is much more developed than for example St. Vincent & the Grenadines or St. Lucia. But at the end, it doesn’t really matter which island you visit, because they all have similar things to offer. Our last destination in the southern part of the Caribbean was Trinidad & Tobago. Not really the Caribbean, probably more South American. We had a high expectation of Trinidad & Tobago, and the country didn’t disappoint. Trinidad & Tobago isn’t that much investing in tourism, because of its huge gas and oil reserves. Besides that, the country’s safety reputation isn’t that good. And that means fewer tourists and a more authentic experience for the people who decide to come. And most of those who arrive here, go to Tobago.

Posing in front of an old Cubana plane on Grenada

Trinidad & Tobago is by far the most developed and influential country in the region. This has a lot to do with the gas and oil they have, but also the smaller business are quite good developed. Many of the products you can buy on the Caribbean islands are actually produced in Trinidad & Tobago. In Barbados we heard complaints from the local people that many rich people from Trinidad & Tobago are buying real estate on this holiday island. So there is money to spend. From all the tourist you see in Trinidad & Tobago, most of them are on Tobago, the holiday island of the two. Also for local people. It is difficult to judge for us if the country has a safety issue for travellers. The crime rate is high, but tourists are no specific target (yet). But that does not mean that nothing happens. In November 2014 the country had its last major incident. An older German couple was brutally murdered on a Tobago beach.

We eventually stay one week on Trinidad and five days on Tobago. At the end of April we leave the area and fly with Caribbean Airlines to Fort Lauderdale in the US. We got many times the questions if a visit to the Caribbean is worthwhile. We did not visit all the islands in the region, but after spending four months in the region we find it still difficult to answer this question. A visit to Cuba and Jamaica is definitely worthwhile. These countries have enough to offer and the culture is great. It is also quite easy to leave the beaten track in these countries. The answer for the small islands is a different matter. It probably all depends on what you expect to see or experience. The islands are focussed on tourism and that means that almost everything is related to tourism. That can be an advantage if you need for example public transport to one of the tourist sights. On the other hand is it difficult to avoid the tourists. Only if you take one of the hikes deeper into the forested interiors, you can beat the crowds. But if you like your vacations in nice resorts, with plenty of tours available, and around other people, these islands have a lot to offer. If you are prepared to spend some bucks, a lot of activities and experiences are on sale. But if you are a backpacker, used to do things on your own, looking for new and weird experiences, and travelling on a budget, you probably better skip these destinations. They are simply too expensive for what they offer is our opinion.

A beautiful bay on Carriacou Island (Grenada)

Most people you see on the Lesser Antillean Islands are north Americans escaping the cold winter and spending a few weeks in the area to recharge their batteries again. Most of them come on a pre booked resort tour and use day tours to see the sights around the island. You won’t see a lot of individual travellers. There are also a lot of ‘yachties’, people with a yacht travelling from island to island. It is probably a very nice way to see the islands if you have the money. Many of the sights are off shore or even below sea level, and that means that your own boat can be very handy.

We are now in the USA and spent last days to explore Miami and the Everglades. It will take another week before our cruise start. We decided to take a ship back to Europe. A transatlantic crossing is something we always wanted to do once. So now we are going to do it. The cruise will leave Tampa in Florida, and will arrive 14 days later in Zeebrugge in Belgium. Will it be too long 14 days on a boat? You will read it in our next weblog!

Edwin with local art in Grenada
Pelicans on a boat on Tobago
The road through the tropical rainforest in the heart of Tobago
The air taxi between Trinidad and Tobago
Miami Beach on a beautiful April morning
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