Diving Carriacou

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Carriacou, Grenada

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Beginner Intermediate Expert

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Family Friendly

Country: Grenada  Area: Grenada

Water Temp: 25 - 30°C (77 - 86°F)

Visibility: 10 - 20m (33 - 66 ft)

Depth Range: 6 - 40m (20 - 131 ft)

Hawksbill Turtles Nesting - Early Jun to Late July

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A gem among Caribbean islands; peaceful, quiet and unspoilt. Carriacou is volcanic in origin, with the island featuring rolling green hills, spectacular views of the surrounding sea and reefs and seemingly endless white sandy beaches. People are friendly and you can be assured of a warm welcome from the moment of your arrival.

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Carriacou’s coastline is fringed by miles of white sandy beaches, all of which are open to the public; this means that wherever you go you can be assured that there will be no crowds. Just off the coast of Carriacou is Sandy Island, true to its name this horseshoe shaped island is all beach, dotted with a few palm trees here and there. Sandy Island is popular for weddings, picnics, and snorkelling.

Easily reached by plane or ferry from Grenada, Carriacou offers a range of accommodation options. Perfect for a relaxing family holiday or a romantic getaway, Carriacou’s gentle climate and beautiful landscape make this island a true Caribbean paradise both above and below the surface.

Carriacou, Grenada, Credit

Climate & Sea Conditions

The climate in Carriacou and Grenada is gentle and diver-friendly all year round. We have sunshine most of the year with air temperatures between 27°C and 32°C, and water temperatures between 25°C and 30°C. The rainy season runs from June to August, during which we see between 2-3 hours of rain per day which mostly falls during the early hours of the morning.

Marine Conservation

Carriacou’s marine park is the Sandy Island/Oyster Bay Marine Protected Area. This is comprised of 7876 hectares, which stretch along the west coast from Tyrell Bay in the south to the coastal airport road in Lauriston, and encompasses Point Cistern, L’Esterre Bay and the Lauriston Point mangroves. The protected area also extends seaward beyond Sandy Island, Mabouya Island and the Sister Rocks. The MPA is home to a multitude of fish, coral and crustaceans, many of which are rarely observed elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Baby Trunkfish, Credit

Family Friendly

Family activities include hiking, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving (for children aged 10 or above). Day trips and tours of Marine conservation sites are available, as well as island tours of Carriacou.

The Carriacou museum shows exhibits of local art and history, and traditional building of wooden boats by hand is still carried out on the east side of the island. Day trips to other islands in the Grenadines are also available.

Content, Dive & Marine Life information and Some Photos kindly supplied by Deefer Diving Carriacou.

A gem among Caribbean islands; peaceful, quiet and unspoilt. Carriacou is volcanic in origin, with the island featuring rolling green hills, spectacular views of the surrounding sea and reefs and seemingly endless white sandy beaches. People are friendly and you can be assured of a warm welcome from the moment of your arrival.

 

Carriacou’s coastline is fringed by miles of white sandy beaches, all of which are open to the public; this means that wherever you go you can be assured that there will be no crowds. Just off the coast of Carriacou is Sandy Island, true to its name this horseshoe shaped island is all beach, dotted with a few palm trees here and there. Sandy Island is popular for weddings, picnics, and snorkelling.

 

Easily reached by plane or ferry from Grenada, Carriacou offers a range of accommodation options. Perfect for a relaxing family holiday or a romantic getaway, Carriacou’s gentle climate and beautiful landscape make this island a true Caribbean paradise both above and below the surface.

 

Shore Diving

 

Hillsborough Bay can be explored with a dive from the beach. Aquatic wildlife to see includes octopi, purplemouth morays, goldenspot morays, southern stingray, angelfish, queen triggerfish, spiny lobsters, wrasse, conch, blue and brown chromis, angelfish and lobsters. The dive must be led by an experienced local guide. Hillsborough Bay is also great for snorkelling.

 

A shore dive can also be made from Sandy Island: divers and equipment are taken to the island by boat for the first dive, then stop on the island for a picnic, and then do the second dive as a shore dive. Aquatic wildlife at Sandy Island includes large shoals of creole wrasse and ocean surgeonfish, at least 4 species of parrotfish, blue and brown chromis, the occasional turtle (both leatherback and hawksbill have been spotted there), moray eels, lobsters and angelfish.

 

Boat Diving

 

The word Carriacou means "Land of Reefs" and, true to its name, Carriacou features world class diving for beginners and experienced divers alike. The island features over 25 dive sites and more are being explored on an ongoing basis. Carriacou’s dive sites will delight divers from all backgrounds, offering beautiful unspoilt reefs and stunning rock gardens as well as a number of artificial wrecks.

 

Outstanding among these are the dive sites within the Sandy Island / Oyster Bay Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA). The majority of these 15 dive sites can be reached within a 10 minute boat ride of Carriacou’s capital of Hillsborough. Notable dive sites are Sisters Rocks with its profusion of black coral and teeming aquatic life, Sharky’s Hideaway (so called for its sleeping nurse sharks), Whirlpool with its curtains of volcanic bubbles, and the wrecks of the large tugboats Westsider and Boris, which will delight wreck aficionados.

 

Dive site depths range from 6m to around 40m. Dive site conditions tend to be very calm with little or no current, although we also have 3 sites where we can promise you an exciting drift dive. Both Boris and Westsider wrecks were sunk as artificial reefs and were made safe to allow penetration for wreck divers.

 

Commonly observed aquatic wildlife includes Southern Stingrays, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, filefish, angelfish, 5 species of moray eels, scorpion fish, lobsters, queen triggerfish, black durgeon, turtles, conch, and barracuda, as well as huge shoals of blue and brown chromis, snappers, and creole wrasse.      

 

Marine Conservation

 

Carriacou’s marine park is the Sandy Island/Oyster Bay Marine Protected Area. This is comprised of 7876 hectares, which stretch along the west coast from Tyrell Bay in the south to the coastal airport road in Lauriston, and encompasses Point Cistern, L’Esterre Bay and the Lauriston Point mangroves. The protected area also extends seaward beyond Sandy Island, Mabouya Island and the Sister Rocks. The MPA is home to a multitude of fish, coral and crustaceans, many of which are rarely observed elsewhere in the Caribbean.

 

How to get there

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Carriacou is a small island 23 miles north of Grenada. Grenada (GND) is connected to international airports by major airlines - from Grenada it is then a short hop to Carriacou.

 

There are direct flights to Grenada from Europe, the US and Canada using American Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. There are also flights from across the Caribbean using LIAT, Caribbean Airways, SVG Air, and American Eagle.

 

Once you are in Grenada you can easily get to Carriacou by air. SVG Air, an operator out of St Vincent, provides a service from Grenada to Lauriston Airport, Carriacou. The flights leave Grenada 3 times per day, on most days there are also 3 return flights from Carriacou to Grenada (only 2 flights on Sunday). Flight time is approximately 20 minutes in an 8-seater BN2 Islander turbo-prop plane.

 

The cost of a return flight is US$90 per adult, with concessions for children (under 12). Flights can either be booked direct with SVG Air, or we can facilitate purchasing the tickets for collection at the SVG check in desk. Baggage allowance is limited to only 1 checked bag weighing up to 20kg (44lbs) per person. Excess baggage is charges at EC$5 per kilo (2.2lbs). There is an EC$10 departure tax charged for each passenger leaving Carriacou.

 

Upon arrival at Lauriston Airport, it is a 5 minute taxi ride to Hillsborough, where you will find the majority of accommodation, bars and restaurants and diving centres. Taxis can be arranged in advance and cost approximately EC$20 to Hillsborough depending on number of passengers and bags.

 

You can also reach Carriacou by sea and the island is serviced by a fast Catamaran service from St Georges in Grenada, using the Osprey Express. This is a great way to relax into your journey and see the amazing landscapes of Grenada, Isle du Ronde and Carriacou as you make your journey northwards. Sailing time is between 75-90 minutes depending on sea conditions, but you can use this time to relax on the sun-deck, enjoy the air-conditioned salon (where food & drink can be purchased) and relax. The crew is very helpful and there is no extra charge for large baggage.

 

The sailing schedule is; Grenada to Carriacou daily 9.00am & 5.30pm (except SAT only 9.00 am and SUN 8.00 am & 5.30 pm). Carriacou to Grenada daily 6.00am (not Sundays) & 3.30pm.

 

Climate

 

The climate in Carriacou and Grenada is gentle and diver-friendly all year round. We have sunshine most of the year with air temperatures between 27°C and 32°C, and water temperatures between 25°C and 30°C. The rainy season runs from June to August, during which we see between 2-3 hours of rain per day which mostly falls during the early hours of the morning.

 

Where to eat and drink

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Carriacou has a number of restaurants and bars. Popular amongst these are the Round House with a Caribbean & Mediterranean menu, Seawave for Creole chicken, fish and ice cream, Laurena II for jerk chicken and fish, La Playa Beach Bar for panini's and burgers, and Butterfly Bar or Lazy Turtle for amazing pizza. Deefer Diner (adjacent to Deefer Diving in Hillsborough) serves food & drinks, a variety of snacks, cakes, pastries, cookies & chat about diving. Kayak Café provides cooked breakfasts and lunches.

 

There are two markets in Hillsborough where you can find local spices, fruit & nuts, and, in the fish market, locally caught fresh fish is available every day. All restaurants have bars which serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and beach bars such as Hardwood Café and La Playa are popular places to enjoy a cold Carib (local lager) while watching the sunset.

 

Other activities

Book A Dive Center Online

 

Carriacou has other activities to take part in other than diving. Carriacou features beautiful hills criss-crossed by little pathways which are perfect for hiking up. From the top of most hills you can see the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other with stunning views of the surrounding reef.

 

Kayaking along the coast of Carriacou will open up new vistas and allow you to find secluded beaches.        

 

Carriacou features shallow reefs perfect for snorkelling. A snorkel trip can be combined with a picnic on Sandy Island or lunch in the Grenadines.

 

Carriacou is also a popular starting point for tours to the Tobago Cays Marine Park. This is a famous turtle sanctuary which attracts visitors from all over the world.

 

Family Friendly

Book A Dive Center Online

 

Family activities include hiking, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving (for children aged 10 or above). Day trips and tours of Marine conservation sites are available, as well as island tours of Carriacou.

 

The Carriacou museum shows exhibits of local art and history, and traditional building of wooden boats by hand is still carried out on the east side of the island. Day trips to other islands in the Grenadines are also available.

 

Tips

Book A Dive Center Online

 

All beaches on Carriacou are public, most of the island is surrounded by sandy beach, and the people at the tourist information or your hotel will be happy to direct you to places where you’re likely to have the beach all to yourself!

 

To protect the aquatic life and reef, the Marine National parks in Grenada and Carriacou are constantly patrolled. Therefore all divers must be accompanied by a recognised local dive guide, with every diver having a Marine Park tag.

 
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Shore Diving

Hillsborough Bay can be explored with a dive from the beach. Aquatic wildlife to see includes octopi, purplemouth morays, goldenspot morays, southern stingray, angelfish, queen triggerfish, spiny lobsters, wrasse, conch, blue and brown chromis, angelfish and lobsters. The dive must be led by an experienced local guide. Hillsborough Bay is also great for snorkelling.

A shore dive can also be made from Sandy Island: divers and equipment are taken to the island by boat for the first dive, then stop on the island for a picnic, and then do the second dive as a shore dive. Aquatic wildlife at Sandy Island includes large shoals of creole wrasse and ocean surgeonfish, at least 4 species of parrotfish, blue and brown chromis, the occasional turtle (both leatherback and hawksbill have been spotted there), moray eels, lobsters and angelfish.

Spotted Moray, Credit

Boat Diving

The word Carriacou means "Land of Reefs" and, true to its name, Carriacou features world class diving for beginners and experienced divers alike. The island features over 25 dive sites and more are being explored on an ongoing basis. Carriacou’s dive sites will delight divers from all backgrounds, offering beautiful unspoilt reefs and stunning rock gardens as well as a number of artificial wrecks.

Outstanding among these are the dive sites within the Sandy Island / Oyster Bay Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA). The majority of these 15 dive sites can be reached within a 10 minute boat ride of Carriacou’s capital of Hillsborough. Notable dive sites are Sisters Rocks with its profusion of black coral and teeming aquatic life, Sharky’s Hideaway (so called for its sleeping nurse sharks), Whirlpool with its curtains of volcanic bubbles, and the wrecks of the large tugboats Westsider and Boris, which will delight wreck aficionados.

Dive site depths range from 6m to around 40m. Dive site conditions tend to be very calm with little or no current, although we also have 3 sites where we can promise you an exciting drift dive. Both Boris and Westsider wrecks were sunk as artificial reefs and were made safe to allow penetration for wreck divers.

Baby Trigger, Credit

Commonly observed aquatic wildlife includes Southern Stingrays, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, filefish, angelfish, 5 species of moray eels, scorpion fish, lobsters, queen triggerfish, black durgeon, turtles, conch, and barracuda, as well as huge shoals of blue and brown chromis, snappers, and creole wrasse.

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How to Get there

Carriacou is a small island 23 miles north of Grenada. Grenada (GND) is connected to international airports by major airlines - from Grenada it is then a short hop to Carriacou.

There are direct flights to Grenada from Europe, the US and Canada using American Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. There are also flights from across the Caribbean using LIAT, Caribbean Airways, SVG Air, and American Eagle.

Carriacou Coast, Credit

Once you are in Grenada you can easily get to Carriacou by air. SVG Air, an operator out of St Vincent, provides a service from Grenada to Lauriston Airport, Carriacou. The flights leave Grenada 3 times per day, on most days there are also 3 return flights from Carriacou to Grenada (only 2 flights on Sunday). Flight time is approximately 20 minutes in an 8-seater BN2 Islander turbo-prop plane.

The cost of a return flight is US$90 per adult, with concessions for children (under 12). Flights can either be booked direct with SVG Air, or we can facilitate purchasing the tickets for collection at the SVG check in desk. Baggage allowance is limited to only 1 checked bag weighing up to 20kg (44lbs) per person. Excess baggage is charges at EC$5 per kilo (2.2lbs). There is an EC$10 departure tax charged for each passenger leaving Carriacou.

Sailing, Credit

Upon arrival at Lauriston Airport, it is a 5 minute taxi ride to Hillsborough, where you will find the majority of accommodation, bars and restaurants and diving centres. Taxis can be arranged in advance and cost approximately EC$20 to Hillsborough depending on number of passengers and bags.

You can also reach Carriacou by sea and the island is serviced by a fast Catamaran service from St Georges in Grenada, using the Osprey Express. This is a great way to relax into your journey and see the amazing landscapes of Grenada, Isle du Ronde and Carriacou as you make your journey northwards. Sailing time is between 75-90 minutes depending on sea conditions, but you can use this time to relax on the sun-deck, enjoy the air-conditioned salon (where food & drink can be purchased) and relax. The crew is very helpful and there is no extra charge for large baggage.

The sailing schedule is; Grenada to Carriacou daily 9.00am & 5.30pm (except SAT only 9.00 am and SUN 8.00 am & 5.30 pm). Carriacou to Grenada daily 6.00am (not Sundays) & 3.30pm.

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you we're looking for?

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Where to eat and drink

Carriacou has a number of restaurants and bars. Popular amongst these are the Round House with a Caribbean & Mediterranean menu, Seawave for Creole chicken, fish and ice cream, Laurena II for jerk chicken and fish, La Playa Beach Bar for panini's and burgers, and Butterfly Bar or Lazy Turtle for amazing pizza. Deefer Diner (adjacent to Deefer Diving in Hillsborough) serves food & drinks, a variety of snacks, cakes, pastries, cookies & chat about diving. Kayak Café provides cooked breakfasts and lunches.

Food & a bottle of wine! Credit

There are two markets in Hillsborough where you can find local spices, fruit & nuts, and, in the fish market, locally caught fresh fish is available every day. All restaurants have bars which serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and beach bars such as Hardwood Café and La Playa are popular places to enjoy a cold Carib (local lager) while watching the sunset.

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you we're looking for?

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Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

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Other Activities

Carriacou has other activities to take part in other than diving. Carriacou features beautiful hills criss-crossed by little pathways which are perfect for hiking up. From the top of most hills you can see the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other with stunning views of the surrounding reef.

Kayaking along the coast of Carriacou will open up new vistas and allow you to find secluded beaches.

Tobago Cays, Credit

Carriacou features shallow reefs perfect for snorkelling. A snorkel trip can be combined with a picnic on Sandy Island or lunch in the Grenadines.

Carriacou is also a popular starting point for tours to the Tobago Cays Marine Park. This is a famous turtle sanctuary which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Tips

All beaches on Carriacou are public, most of the island is surrounded by sandy beach, and the people at the tourist information or your hotel will be happy to direct you to places where you’re likely to have the beach all to yourself!

To protect the aquatic life and reef, the Marine National parks in Grenada and Carriacou are constantly patrolled. Therefore all divers must be accompanied by a recognised local dive guide, with every diver having a Marine Park tag.

At Hillsborough, Carriacou, Credit

It is considered good manners on the islands to wish people a good day when passing in the street or on the beach, so don’t be surprised to be greeted by total strangers!

 A passport is required to exchange currencies at the bank.

Most places will take both US Dollars and EC Dollars. If paying by credit or debit card a card processing fee is likely to be applied.

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Ask the dive community a Question

Can you dive here at any time of year?

When is the peak season? (Also is this best to avoid due to it being really busy or is it genuinely the best time to dive?)

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Alexandra Holler

1 vote

Hi Leanne, Carriacou is a very peaceful island and a little bit off the beaten track, so peak season here does not get super-busy... Most people come here between October (after the end of the rainy season) and June, as the weather tends to be sunny throughout and temperatures are milder and humidity is lower during these months. Water temperatures are between 26° - 29°C (78°-84°F) and a shortie wetsuit is all that's needed most of the time. Carriacou is beautiful any time of year, and as it's so close to Grenada, you may wish to consider a holiday taking in both Grenada's underwater sights and Carriacou's amazing reef life. All the best, Alex

mexicotravel

Leanne Howard

0 votes

Hi Alex - thanks for you reply! Really useful - thanks! :) Hoping to get out there later next year! x

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