January 27, 2015
Taking a dip in the hot springs and tumbling waterfalls of Grenada is a long-standing wellness tradition. Choose from rocky pools set in rugged mountains, gin-clear streams and 70ft cascades plunging to bubbling natural hot tubs that froth and spout steam.
Fresh, pure water sparkles in bright sunshine sending silvery shafts of light upwards towards the heavens. After rising up from underground streams, it emerges in trickles, spurts or gushing torrents – as cold as a bone-chilling Arctic wind and laden with health-giving properties. On the hottest Grenadian summer afternoon, this refreshing freshwater flow provides some surprising wellbeing benefits for mind, body and soul. Ask any island-born octogenarian the secret of their longevity and the Grenadian water is sure to form part of their reply. Cold, fresh water is believed to increase mental alertness through improved oxygen intake, releasing a rush of blood through the entire body. It’s also thought to tighten cuticles and pores; cleanse the skin; lower blood pressure; give circulation a boost and strengthen immunities. Weight loss is also often stimulated; sore muscles soothed and the body treated to an instant and invigorating pick-me-up with a gentle analgesic effect.
Similarly, immersing the body into hot natural water sources is believed to aid robust health. Regular dips in Grenada’s hot springs have been used to treat to aches, pains, fatigues and allergies for centuries. Some use twice-weekly dips in the mineral-rich volcanic springs to stave off coughs, colds and infection and as therapy to alleviate dermatological ailments, including eczema, acne and itchy skin conditions such as psoriasis. The geothermal subterranean source contains bountiful amounts of iron oxide with pools swelling to double-size during the island’s wettest months.
Some of the easiest to reach are a half-hour trek in the northeast section of the River Sallee area to the south of Levera National Park. Six hot water springs bubble up to a temperature of 35°C from the island’s fiery depths through a crust of soft porous volcanic rock. Holes of varying sizes reach five-meters in circumference and two-meters deep and are filled with briny, hot, brackish liquid lipped with orange-yellow sulphur deposits. The springs are also used in baptism services and other local customs and rituals – visitors are invited to take a dip or toss in coins and make a wish.
For a cold-water session, head to one of the lesser known waterfalls in Grenada with more than a dozen cascades that are reachable on foot – from a gentle stroll through well-tended gardens to get to Annadale Falls to a twenty-minute slog through dense rainforest to the Seven Sisters and Honeymoon Falls. Most visited are the cascading waters found at Annadale Waterfall, accessed via a pathway hemmed with vibrant blooms, shrubs and fruiting trees close to a secret unnamed waterfall that few people notice when it’s dry. In wet weather, this cascade can eclipse the Annandale with truly spectacular gushes. Another snaking trail on the island’s western side leads to the trio of falls that make up the Concorde Waterfalls, where an ice-cold stream rewards hikers with a skin-shrinking dip after a hot, muggy trek.
The second of the three falls, Au Coin is a monster reached via a sweet-smelling nutmeg plantation. Fontainbleu – the third waterfall – is a theatrical cascade that tips 65 ft. down a cliff into a deep, clear pond. Marquis Falls, two miles south of Grenville, easily tops 70 ft. with a downpour of sparkling water that crashes onto a series of boulder-strewn lakes below. Feeling adventurous? Then enjoy a regenerative jump, swim and dip in the well-hidden falls at Honeymoon close by – easily one of Grenada’s least visited water spectacles. An outdoor shower directly under the waterfall itself offers a powerful, pummelling hydro-massage that can turn skin tingly pink in seconds.
Virgin Atlantic operates frequent flights to Grenada, meaning exploring wild swimming spots and waterfalls in Grenada is easier than you think.
Have you been wild swimming in waterfalls in Grenada? Tell us about it in the comments section below.