Just to make your holiday a little smoother..take a read…Grenada’s pretty relaxed in reality, but, as my mother would say..Prevention is better than cure!
Useful laws and conventions that are useful to know about.
- Pornography is relatively uncommon and frowned upon. Even soft porn magazines are not available to purchase, and may raise eyebrows at customs. Sex with a minor (under 16) is illegal.
- Camouflage gear of any kind is prohibited, as are toy guns (including water guns in the shape of actual guns). The police have recently become strict about prohibiting baggy trousers worn with a low or no belt. Men wearing sleeveless shirts can be turned away from places like the General Hospital or upmarket bars or nightclubs. Business owners don’t appreciate you coming into their establishments with bare feet, unless you’re in a beach bar!
- Drugs, including marijuana are prohibited. Though you may smell marijuana smoke in the air now and again, remember there are stiff fines and jail sentences for use, possession and trafficking. Of course that goes for all other prohibited drugs such as cocaine.
- Sodomy is still actually illegal, with a prison sentence of up to 10 years, probably due to the influence of the Church; but Grenada is still more tolerant than some other Caribbean countries, e.g. Jamaica.
- Abortion is illegal.
Health issues and facilities
- Dengue fever has been reported in Grenada but is very rare. There are no cases of malaria. The Caribbean area is known for having fairly high rates of HIV infection. Getting vaccinated against tetanus and rabies before you come might be a good idea. Stay away from mongooses, as they have been known to carry rabies.
- There are three hospitals in Grenada, the General Hospital in St.George’s, the small Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St.Andrew’s, and the Princess Royal Hospital in Belair, Carriacou. There are small, primary-care Health Centres in all parishes, including Petite Martinique. Emergency vaccinations are available from the nurses at the Health Centres. Cash payments need to be made at the hospital, unless it is routine emergency treatment.
- Water is routinely chlorinated, and safe to drink. Bottled water is readily available.
- Divers, be aware that there are no decompression chambers in Grenada. The nearest one is in Barbados or Trinidad.
- General Hospital, St.George’s 440 2050
- Princess Alice Hospital, Mirabeau 442 7251
- Princess Royal Hospital, Carriacou 443 7400
- St.Augustine’s Private Hospital, St.Paul’s 440 6173
- Old Trafford Medical Services, Tanteen, St.George’s 440 7780
Money and Banking
The Eastern Caribbean dollar (E.C. dollar) is tied to the US dollar at a rate of 2.67 to 1. You may find the rate fluctuates between 2.6 and 2.7 depending on where you change or use your US dollars. Personal bank cheques in another currency take 6 weeks to clear. Banks are open from 8AM-3PM Mon-Thurs, 8AM-5PM. There are ATMs open 24 hrs, outside most banks and at the airport. US bills are sometimes accepted, especially in the major shopping centres in St.George’s and Grand Anse, but your change will be in EC dollars. There are various Western Union outlets dotted around the island. You will need photo ID to send and receive money.
The climate is generally hot and humid, especially during the rainy season. Temperatures generally range from 27 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius. Light cotton clothing is adequate, with a light sweater in case of cool evenings around Christmas time. Long trousers are useful both for hiking and for formal occasions. The rainy season runs typically from May through November, and the dry season from December through April. Grenada does not get routinely battered by hurricanes, but since hurricane Ivan in 2004 and hurricane Emily 2005 had such a devastating impact on the infrastructure and agriculture, disaster preparedness is taken much more seriously. There is a series of designated shelters throughout the tri-island state.
Mosquitoes and other pests
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, as can the tiny sand flies that frequent the country areas. There are centipedes that can give a painful bite, but they are not particularly dangerous. The black ants can also give an annoying bite. There are wasps, known locally as ‘marabone’which can also give a painful sting. Look out for small green ‘apple-like fruits’ known as ‘manchineel’. They grow on beaches on the trees, and if they get anywhere near your mouth they will blister you very badly as they are highly acidic. Do not sit directly under a coconut tree if there are coconuts on it, as they may fall off and knock you unconscious at the very least.
Grenada is generally a safe destination, especially Carriacou and Petite Martinique. You may need to be careful in St.George’s and Grand Anse and lonely areas, particularly after dark. There have been some incidents of robbery at the Sulphur Spring in Claboney, St.Andrew’s.
There are not always adequate sidewalks, so you may end up walking on the side of the road. Drivers drive on the left hand side of the road, but sometimes have to swerve to avoid potholes. Bus drivers can be a little reckless with their driving, especially with regard to speed. If you drive a vehicle locally, you must have a local licence, alongside your home license, available from police stations and car rental agencies, which costs EC$30 for three months.
Shopping hours in St.George’s are 8PM to 4PM Monday to Friday, and 8AM to 1PM on Saturday. Grenville has extended hours on a Saturday, and the streets and shops are lively until the early evening. The shops in the malls in Grand Anse are open later, from 9 or 10AM to 5 to 7 PM, or sometimes even later. On Sundays almost all shops are closed, except for Real Value Supermarket in the Spiceland Mall, Grand Anse that opens from 10AM to 6PM. There are also a few small community shops that open until 9PM, selling basic goods and liquor. The fruit and vegetable markets are open very early, from about 5AM.
The postal service in Grenada is fairly efficient. The Grenada Postal Corporation in Burns Point, St.George’s, is open from 8AM to 4PM Monday through Thursday and 8AM to 4:30PM Friday. There are also courier services like Fedex and DHL.
Electricity outlets are almost always 220v, so UK appliances work just fine. American appliances work on 110v, so would need a transformer to prevent your electrical gadgets from getting wrecked. Some homes are wired for both voltages. The time in Grenada is -4 GMT. The country dialing code is +473.
Checklist of things to bring
- Prescription medication
- High SPF sunscreen
- Light rain jacket
- Hiking boots
- Long pants
- Mosquito repellent
Importation of goods – Allowances and Restrictions
- 50 cigars/200 cigarettes/1/2 lb tobacco
- One quart of liquor or wine
- No fruit, vegetables, meat or soil
- No recreational drugs
- No firearms or ammunition
If you are planning on bringing a pet with you, you would need health documents, an import permit, and contact with the Government Veterinary Officer before arrival.
Exportation of goods – Restrictions
- No exportation of bark, wildlife or coral
Further information can be obtained from the following:
Grenada Customs and Excise Department
- Carenage, St.George’s 440 2239
- Maurice Bishop International Airport 444 4137
- Grenville and Carriacou 417 6093