Carriacou lives up to its original Kalinago name, Kayryouacou, meaning “the land of reefs”, with spectacular clear waters, and some of the most pristine underwater flora and fauna we have seen in the Caribbean so far. Combine the underwater beauty with friendly locals, gleaming white beaches, and protected anchorages, and you get a sailing cruisers’ paradise. This small island with an equally small population is cozy, warm, inviting, and hard to leave.
Carriacou is only 12 square miles, is home to 8,000 people, has only one town, yet has more than 100 rum shops. At these small shops, one can get a lot more than rum. Local food is usually served, conversation is just a greeting away, and the pace is island slow. Some shops post business hours, although they never really stick to them. Others simply list they are open on island time. Fortunately, if one is closed, there are several more nearby. We often found ourselves to be the only guests, and it felt more like visiting a friend than being in a restaurant or bar.
Carriacou is not just one island, it’s a main island surrounded by numerous uninhabited tiny islands, each one postcard perfect. The beauty of the islands is matched by the beauty under the turquoise waters that surround them. We dove often, and always surfaced with a smile. At several of our anchorages, the dive sites were so close we could have jumped in right from ¡Pura Vida!
At every anchorage, locals stop by in small boats to offer you fresh fish, lobster, and fruits. We bought several “bugs” (a local slang for lobster) and planned an evening beach cookout over an open fire with our friends on stunning Sandy Island. We went diving early in the day and caught several Lionfish, adding to the evening’s fare. As the sun was starting to set, the few visitors on the beach left and we had this magnificent place all to ourselves for the rest of the night.
We plan to return south next year for hurricane season, and Carriacou will likely be our primary stopping port. We will of course go south to Grenada for Carnival, and for any major re-supply, but the crystal water in the land of reefs are too seductive to pass up.