Grand Etang National Park, also known as Grand Etang Forest Reserve, is a pristine and protected region on the Caribbean island of Grenada. If you’re a nature lover, visiting Grand Etang National Park is an absolute must. It was established in 1992. Grand Etang means “large lake” in French, and the national park is named for Grand Etang Lake.
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Even if you are the kind of person who might prefer lounging on Grenada’s white sand beaches, take at least a half day to explore the wonders of Grenada’s most popular national park. It’s an opportunity to see one reason why Grenada is so amazing: its wild jungles, stunning rainforests, and its ancient crater lakes.
It’s one part outdoor adventure and another part history lesson. You’ll be able to learn a little more about the geology of the island and how Grenada formed into the beautiful place that it is today. There are also great opportunities to go hiking and see incredible waterfalls.
Things to Do at Grand Etang National Park
Justin and I took a half day tour in Grenada, and Grand Etang National Park was one of our stops. It was great to have a little taste of this preserved area, but I would love to return to explore it even more. With our tour guide at the helm, we drove up winding roads higher and higher to reach the park, 1700ft above sea level.
The main attraction at Grand Etang National Park is Grand Etang Lake. This is one of the most interesting lakes in Grenada because it is a long extinct volcano crater filled with deep blue water. Admission to the national park is $2.50 USD per person, a small price to pay for the wonders that await.
Grand Etang Lake
Grand Etang Lake is a 36 acre crater lake inside an ancient volcano, one of two crater lakes in Grenada. This volcanic activity happened between 12,000-15,000 years ago. There is another nearby crater lake in Grenada as part of the same mountain range, Lake Antoine.
Our tour operator told us that the lake is so deep that no one has actually reached the bottom. If you hear this, it’s a bit of island lore. In actuality, Grand Etang Lake is only about 20 feet deep. There’s also a local legend that a mermaid lives in the lake and she tries to lure men to their death.
After viewing Grand Etang Lake from up above, we drove down below to actually be able to sit by the lake itself. We were the only ones down there; I didn’t see any of the larger tour groups drive down to see the lake up close! Perhaps the taxi drivers and private tour operators give this “extended” tour. It was equally as beautiful up close.
Peering into the lake, I noticed that there were many fish. We walked out on a small dock built over the lake with a protective railing so tourists don’t fall in. Some fish that live in Grand Etang Lake include freshwater lobster, barracuda, bonefish, crayfish, and others. The water is so clear so it’s possible to look down into the lake and spot these interesting creatures.
You can actually go hiking around the entire perimeter of Grand Etang Lake. It takes about an hour and a half. Add about 15 more minutes if you walk down from the Visitor Center. This is a relatively easy walk around the lake itself with pretty views all around.
If you’re looking for a more serious hike, you can walk from Grand Etang Lake to the top of Mount Qua Qua for one of the best views of the lake. This can be a muddy and slippery hike to the top of one of the highest peaks in Grenada, although there are some stairs to help you on the way. It will take about three hours total roundtrip.
Seven Sisters Waterfalls
Another great hike within Grand Etang National Park is one to visit the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. Most people hike to the first set of two waterfalls, which takes about 20 or 30 minutes. There are a lot of steps going down, but it isn’t a super difficult hike.
The journey to get there is almost as wonderful as the destination. You’ll hike through a lush, tropical rainforest with lots of pretty and colorful flowers. If you’d like to see more waterfalls, you can continue to hike to the next one (about a 30 minute hike from the first two).
It’s possible to go there on your own or you can book a tour to Seven Sisters Waterfalls that includes transportation and a guide.
Grand Etang National Park Visitor’s Centre and Shops
There is a visitor center with many photos and giant signs with explanations about the history of the lake, the flora and fauna of the island, and historical facts about Grenada. It’s definitely worth taking a peek to better understand the park. There’s a guestbook there that we signed (I love doing that!).
There are some little shops on the national park grounds, as well as vendors selling spice necklaces. In one of the shops, I found some locally produced Grenada dark chocolate bars using cocoa produced by the local farmers.
Wildlife at Grand Etang National Park
Grand Etang National Park is home to many species and varieties of flora and fauna. You’ll surely see at least one Mona Monkey, a protected species of monkey in Grenada. These monkeys arrived in Grenada during the slave trade from Africa. Now, they live throughout the rainforest and we were lucky enough to see one up close at the entrance to Grand Etang Lake.
The Mona Monkey has a distinctive trait: chubby cheeks where he can store food for later, much like a chipmunk. A man with another tour group had some bananas and called out to the monkey. Suddenly, the Mona Monkey appeared from the forest and jumped towards us.
He swung from branches to the fence and happily took chunks of banana from the man’s hand. The monkey quickly stored the whole pieces of banana in his cheeks. He swung back into a tree and consumed the banana safely away from the large group of spectators that had formed.
Other animals that you may be able to spot are mongooses and armadillos. While not exactly exotic, we managed to make friends with a cat. One of the shop owners had some cat food out, so it must be their cat (or they at least fed it every day). I love seeing cats wherever we visit!
Plenty of birds also live at Grand Etang National Park. You might see a broad winged hawk (the gree-gree), purple throated carib, Antillean crested hummingbird (the Doctor Bird) and more. Here’s a fantastic catalog of the birds living at the national park.
Visiting Nearby Annandale Falls
Justin and I took a half day tour around Grenada. This excursion included stops at both Grand Etang National Park, Annandale Falls, and some other places around the island. You might be able to visit Annandale Falls and Grand Etang Lake in one day on a tour.
However, if you are driving around on your own, I suggest popping by Annandale Falls on your way to Grand Etang National Park. It’s not terribly far away, and it’s worth the short hike to this beautiful waterfall.
To enter Annandale Falls, you’ll need to pay a small admission fee (equivalent to a few US dollars). We were surrounded by lush, tropical plants as we hiked down to the waterfall. After a short walk, we admired this gently flowing waterfall. It has a 30 foot drop down to a pool below. It’s possible to go for a swim in the small natural pool if you’re feeling up to it.
The Cliff Jumpers at Annandale Falls
There were a variety of performers surrounding the falls, and I’m sure there will be an assortment when you visit. Feel free to tip when you’re impressed! The first busker was a man who played the guitar and sang to the visitors.
He started comparing the various tourists to famous people in his songs. He called me “Jennifer Aniston” and called Justin “Antonio Banderas”! Haha! We were laughing quite a bit over his lyrics and those compliments earned him a tip. He sang a song to one lady in our group and kept calling her “Lady Gaga”, which I don’t think she appreciated very much.
Another group of performers there were the Daredevil Cliff Divers. These men took turns jumping off the edge of the cliff down to the water below. This is pretty impressive because the cliffs are pretty high up. There are also lots of jagged rocks and boulders down below, so they need to jump with great precision.
How to Get to Grand Etang National Park
Most half day and full day island tours will stop at Grand Etang Lake and Grand Etang National Park. I can recommend this Grenada half day island tour. This is a great option if you’d like to explore at a more leisurely pace, learn some things about the island from your tour guide, and not have to worry about transportation. We also got to do more fun activities during our island tour, like learning about the local spices and drinking “under the counter” rum.
Another option to get to Grand Etang National Park is to rent a car in Grenada and go there on your own. You’ll have more freedom to explore, and it might end up being a cheaper option. I suggest reserving a car ahead of time and picking up your vehicle at the airport. You can compare car rental prices here to ensure that you get the best rate.
Where to Stay in Grenada
There are so many fantastic places to stay in Grenada for a memorable tropical island getaway. Here are our top picks for every budget.
Luxury Hotel: Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel
The Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel in Saint George’s, Grenada, provides that wow factor in a getaway to paradise. You’ll get the celebrity treatment at this highly rated hotel. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, a high end spa, and Grand Etang National Park is only a 20 minute drive away. Breakfast on your balcony overlooking lush gardens…doesn’t that sound good right about now?
You can read more reviews of the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel written by guests who have stayed there and experienced the resort.
Mid-Range Hotel: Petit Anse Hotel
Petit Anse Hotel is a mid-range accommodation with tons of modern amenities and stunning waterfront scenery. Every room has views of the sea, and there’s also a tropical garden and a swimming pool. It’s a beautiful property that you’ll surely love, and it’s at a fraction of the price compared to other resorts.
You can read more reviews of the Petit Anse Hotel written by guests who have stayed there and fully experienced the hotel.
Airbnbs in Grenada
If you prefer to have your own apartment or share a home, there are lots of Airbnb accommodations in Grenada. You might be able to find an even better deal on Airbnb with the chance to have a unique travel experience. Browse the map below to find an Airbnb that’s right for you.