My daughter will be visiting her friend at med school in Grenada for a week this March break. Dads always worry about their daughters and I would appreciate any comments or insights on whether she would feel safe going to the beach alone on those days when her friend is attending classes. As well, any recommendations as to group or private tours of the island would also be appreciated.
You might want to have a look at the Government of Canada travel website for further information on Grenada - https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/grenada . In the "Safety & Security" section, there are some comments on Women's safety and Women travelling alone. Some degree of caution would be prudent.
Also have a close look at the "Health" section and vaccinations that will be required. As several mosquito-borne diseases (including Zika and Dengue fever) are a risk there, mosquito repellent would be a really good idea.
You could also have a look at this website - https://www.iamat.org/country/grenada/risk/yellow-fever . You may be aware of the recent experience of a group from Toronto who were travelling in the same part of the world (Jamaica) - https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/it-s-the-most-horrible-experience-ontario-women-pick-up-parasite-from-beach-1.4159988 .
I assume your daughter will be travelling with a smartphone? You'll have to check to determine what roaming options are offered by your cell network in that area. You may want to have a look at this also - https://travel.gc.ca/mobile .
While all of this might sound rather alarming, it's always a good idea to be prepared with good information when visiting places for the first time.
As a concerned Dad, one gift you could give your daughter is a healthy start to her travels. Preparing her with vaccines of relevance for any travel is helpful. Hep A and B is given as Twinrix. I did read that Canada has a shortage of this as well, so start early trying to find a supplier. Yellow Fever isn't needed for Grenada, but is for many places south of the equator. It is now a 'one shot deal'
and better accepted by the young.
Good hand and foot hygiene could avoid some of the 'pests' mentioned. Wash feet and take a nail brush to both toe and finger nails after being barefoot or on the beach and cover any cuts with an antibiotic ointment and band aids.
Sunscreen and bug spray are a given.
As to feeling safe on the beach, she most likely has already developed some Spidey Sense living in Toronto and being a young woman of the times. Her friend can advise her on where and when to hang out. She is likely not going to be 'alone' on a beach as March Break and a Caribbean Island will have tourists around. I would be more concerned about drunk tourists hassling her than locals. A beach with a restaurant or beach bar means she can ask for help from the staff to call her a taxi or the police.
Get her a waterproof case for her phone and pocket money so she can take them with her swimming. I picked up mine at CAA store, but Amazon has them as well. I suspect she is more concerned about losing her phone than disease. These cases also keep sand out of cell phones. You can get larger ones that are like a fanny sack that could be more comfortable than the phone case. It floats and can get in the way even if tucked into a swimsuit.
- Bring half the clothes and twice the money
- boil it, peel it, or forget it (though again, friend can advise on the state of the water or food safety)
- only bring what you can afford to lose (this means that for the beach, minimum money, id or phone/camera, etc)
TripAdvisor will have lists of tours or things to do in Grenada. It is quite a nature island, so hikes or nature walks may be of interest. It was hit badly with the hurricanes a year or so ago, but nature has rebuilt. Some of the islands are still struggling with rebuilding their infrastructure, which might affect some of the tours. Ensure reviews are current. She might also be interested in doing some volunteer work while there if the island is still struggling.
I would suggest if she is going to the beach alone to not go to a deserted beach but rather stick to the main beaches that are frequented by the cruise ship day-trippers. Those beaches are safe and she won't be totally 'alone'. Because of the large numbers of cruise ship passengers there are numerous group or private tours to choose from. Just search online and make sure you can see a good number of reviews. I'm sure her friend who is going to school there must have some friends or acquaintances who can give her suggestions.
In addition to the cautions I mentioned on travel to Grenada, I also wanted to add some of the interesting points about travel there. I've thought of going there myself and have done a bit of research. You may have already looked at this, but if not - http://www.grenadagrenadines.com/ .
Grenada doesn't seem to have the same hordes of tourists as other locations in the Caribbean, however it seems to have been "discovered" and new hotels are being built. It's been described as having a "retro vibe" and a more laid-back atmosphere. In addition to the main island of Grenada, one can also explore Carriacou, perhaps on a day trip. One advantage your daughter will have is that her friend will be able to provide information on local conditions. It looks like Air Canada has direct flights from Toronto to Grenada at least three days a week.
Hope this helps.
Thank you Ken, Maria, Nancy for your comments and suggestions. I will definitely pass on these websites to my daughter.
We visited Grenada in 2012 on a cruise and loved the island. Friendly people, beautiful scenery.
It was more authentically Caribbean than places like St. Martin or St. Thomas.
US State Department:
Street crime occurs in Grenada. Tourists have been victims of armed robbery especially in isolated areas and thieves frequently steal credit cards, jewelry, U.S. passports, and money. Mugging, purse snatching, and other robberies may occur in areas near hotels, beaches and restaurants, particularly after dark. Visitors should exercise appropriate caution when walking after dark or when using the local bus system or taxis hired on the road. It is advisable to hire taxis to and from restaurants.
It doesn't appear on the list of most dangerous Caribbean countries, or one of the most safe either.