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Carriacou is the second-largest island of the Caribbean nation of Grenada. It's about 12 miles long by 3 miles wide, and in 2022 had a population of 6081. It's a quiet relaxing place where the main attraction is scuba diving on its coral reefs.


  • 1 Hillsborough is the only significant town.
  • 2 Argyle, also called Harvey Vale, is a village on Tyrell Bay and nowadays the ferry port.
  • 3 Dover is a village on the northeast coast.


Carriacou is a product of the same volcanic activity that threw up Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean chain, and continues today. It was settled long before the Caribs arrived from South America from 500-1200 AD, but whether these people arrived as invaders or neighbours is unclear. They called it "Kayryouacou", meaning "surrounded by reefs". The first European known to set foot here was Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre in 1656, who documented many of the Lesser Antilles. The French were the first to colonise and they held it until 1763. Having lost the Seven Years War they ceded Grenada and Carriacou to the British, who developed plantations and populated both islands with African slave labour. The French returned in 1779, supporting the American Revolution against Britain and reclaiming their West Indies possessions, but were again ousted by the treaty of 1783. The largest land-owner and slave-owner on Carriacou during this interchange was Judith Philip, a free black woman. The islands remained British until independence in 1974, but French place-names and patois words persist.

Carriacou's main harbour is at Tyrell Bay / Argyle on the sheltered southwest coast. During the 20th century the port moved to Hillsborough, which became the main town, but with the construction of a new marina Tyrell Bay is again the port of arrival. The island's shoals and corals have done a good job of cramping transport and industry, but today are the main draw.

December to April is the best time to visit, as those months are somewhat cooler and drier. Carriacou is clear of the main hurricane belt, but was damaged in 1944, 1955, 2004 and 2005.

Get in[edit]

By air: SVG Air fly once a day from Grenada Maurice Bishop Airport to Carriacou, and continue to Saint Vincent Argyle Airport their hub. They connect in St Vincent with flights to Barbados and other islands, and some services between Grenada and Carriacou involve doubling back that way - a four hour journey for what should be a 20 min hop. The aircraft are small BNF Islander or Twin Otter turboprops.

Long distance flights to Grenada arrive too late to connect same day to Carriacou, so travellers need to factor in an overnight stay there.

1 Lauriston Airport (CRU IATA) is 2 miles west of Hillsborough. It's just a small simple terminal.

By boat: Osprey Lines (+1 473 440 8126) ply between the three inhabited islands. As of Jan 2023, they sail between St George's and Carriacou twice M W F, for a single fare of EC$ 80 adult, EC$ 50 child. A day-trip either way is easily possible. On a straight run it's 90 min, but some are triangular sailings via Petite Martinique.

There is one sailing M-F from Carriacou to Petite Martinique, connecting with the morning ferry from St George's and taking 30 min. There are two return sailings, with the afternoon ferry connecting to St George's. A day-trip only gives you two hours, enough for essential island business but not conducive to relaxed sightseeing.

A freight vessel / car ferry also plies three days a week between Grenada and Carriacou, taking 2 hr 30 min.

The ferry to Union Island in Saint Vincent leaves Mondays and Fridays only.

The ferry ticket office and pier are at Tyrell Bay Marina in Argyle / Harvey Vale.

Private vessels entering Grenada must first obtain immigration and customs clearance. That can be done at Tyrell Bay if not already completed on Grenada main island.

Get around[edit]

Beach at Hillsborough
  • You can walk around Hillsborough in half an hour. Even the airport isn't much further.
  • Minibuses run M-Sa 7AM-5PM from Hillsborough to all settlements on the island. The main routes (with a flat fare of EC$ 3.50) are
    • #10 southwest to Lauriston, L'Esterre, Tyrell Bay and Harvey Vale.
    • #11 northeast to Windward and Dover.
    • #12 east to Belair and Grand Bay.
  • Car and jeep rental is available from Wayne's (+1 473 443 6120) and R/C Auto Rental (+1 473 404 0293). See Grenada#Get around for rules on driving permits.
  • Taxis wait by the ferry pier, and their official rates are posted nearby. To Lauriston Airport would be EC$ 20.


  • Hillsborough waterfront is atmospheric rather that picturesque - it's dilapidated and run down. The beach is sandy but narrow.
  • Carriacou Museum, Paterson St, Hillsborough (100 m inland from pier), +1 473 443 8288. Closed. Small museum of island life. It's shuttered as if against a hurricane, but it's termite damage that forced temporary closure. Its exhibits include findings from the dozen Amerindian sites identified around Carriacou.
  • Hillsborough Botanic Garden is a sorry mess in 2023, but work is at last under way to refurbish it.
  • Anglican Church of Christ the King on 2nd Avenue Hillsborough was built in 1856. It's closed in 2023, as is the Rectory and Garden.
  • 1 Sandy Island is the bootlace of sand and palm trees seen off Hillsborough. Boat trips putter out for picnics but there's no shade, water or other facilities here.
  • 2 Mabouye west of Sandy Island is scrubby and with not much beach, but this is a popular area for dive boats.
  • Paradise Beach is just west of the airport, with white sand and calm water sheltered by the barrier reef. The little settlement is called L'Esterre.
  • 3 High North Peak is the highest point on Carriacou at 291 m / 956 feet. The trails are poorly marked and in dense woodland, you might want a guide (who'll point out the wildlife), else head north from the junction on Bogles Rd and reckon 2 hours altogether. You might see iguanas, land tortoises, soldier crabs, humming birds and macaws.
View over Hillsborough
  • Anse La Roche Bay is on the northwest corner, reached by a coastal trail. There's a good beach (which you may have to yourself) and snorkelling. The "roche" is a prominent rock 10 yards offshore. South end of the bay are fort and plantation ruins.
  • 4 North Point has old gunnery positions and views towards Union Island, part of Saint Vincent. The British governed all these as a single colony, but when they became independent the tip of North Point was taken as the dividing latitude. This meant that Petite Martinique (seen east) became Grenadian but not Petit Saint Vincent only a mile north of it.
  • Petite Carenage Beach is the bay east of the Point, reached by a trail from the road. This beach is made up of tiny shells and turtles use it to lay their eggs: a guide conducts night tours in nesting season. The settlement's name "Windward" indicates that this is the exposed northeast coast, so the surf can be rough.
  • 5 Tibeau on the east coast has a macabre beach where an old cemetery is being washed away by the sea. Ningo Well here is one of the earliest wells built on Carriacou and is under archaeological excavation. There are plantation ruins nearby.
  • 6 Windmill Tower on Belair Road in the 8 m tower of an 18th / 19th century mill for crushing sugar cane.
  • 7 Dumfries by the south coast has the ruins of an old plantation, with machinery used to process cotton and limes, and a stone chimney.
  • 8 White Island off the south coast has sandy beaches so it's a picnic spot.
  • Saline Island near it is privately owned. Further south are Frigate Island and Large Island (which isn't, really).


  • Scuba diving and snorkelling are the main activities. Dive shacks are Deefer Diving in Hillsborough and Dive Carriacou and Lumba Dive in Tyrell Bay.
  • Carnival or Mardi Gras is held just before Lent, with the next on 20-21 Feb 2023. There are parades with oily jab-jabbers, Shakespeare recitation matches and a lot of rum-drinking. Don't expect much sense out of folk on Ash Wednesday morning.
  • Carriacou Maroon & String Band Festival is usually in April.
  • Carriacou Regatta is a race for locally-built boats on the first weekend in August. The shore-side festivities nowadays eclipse it.
  • Parang on the weekend before Christmas celebrates the island's traditional music and culture. "Parang" originated in Venezuela and involves promenading musicians; it became blended with Christmas carols and calypso satire.


  • Hillsborough has a bank with ATM. There's no supermarket, the main stores are Patty's Deli (M-Sa 8AM-4:30PM) and Family Store (M-Sa 8AM-4PM).
  • Argyle has Alexis Food Stores, open M-Th 7AM-10PM, F Sa 7AM-11PM.


Plantation family around 1810
  • Hillsborough has La Playa, Ocean Sunset, Snagg's and Ann's.
  • Bogles Round House serves dinner W-Sa 6:30PM to 8:30PM and gets great reviews. See Sleep for location and contact, they also have cottages.
  • Argyle and Tyrell Bay have Big Citi Grill, D'Empress, Tanty Mavis, Frogs, Lambi Queen, Crazy Beach Corner, Original Slipway (below) and Las Iguanas.
  • The Original Slipway, Tyrrell Bay, +1 473 443 6500. Tu-Sa 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–9PM, Su 11:30AM -2:30PM. Creative cuisine with fresh local ingredients, served at the water's edge.


  • Hillsborough has Wayne's and Excelcia's Butterfly Bar.
  • Off The Hook Bar & Grill, L'Esterre Bay, +1 473 533 5242. M-Th 9AM-10PM, F-Su 9AM-11PM. Relaxed beach place.
  • Argyle and Tyrell Bay have Swampy Jo and Sundowners.
  • Rum: there are no distilleries on Carriacou, but you'll find plenty on sale.




Stay safe[edit]

Sun protection, care of valuables and water safety are the main things to think about. Carriacou hospital is small and anything serious would mean a transfer to St George's and perhaps an airlift to the US mainland, so you must have adequate health insurance.


As of Jan 2023, Carriacou has 4G from Flow and Digicel. 5G has not rolled out in Grenada.

Go next[edit]

The ferry or plane will take you back to St. George's on Grenada.

Petite Martinique is a short ferry ride. It's little developed.

Direct flights go to Saint Vincent to the north.

This rural area travel guide to Carriacou is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.