BBC Beach, Grenada: The Locals’ Spot

Ben Britz and I were on an island. An island filled with beaches, monkeys, and spice… Grenada! We tiredly checked into The Flamboyant Hotel one evening, not feeling so flamboyant after our 16 hour commute to the island (Pittsburgh, Dallas, Miami, Grenada). We didn’t pay much attention to the admittedly beautiful beach directly in front of Flamboyant, Grand Anse Beach, the island’s claim to fame. It was dark and the water danced back and forth around the protruding rocks and layered sand, looking like ink drowning out a universe.

When the sun rose, the teal waters were glistening like they do in Corona commercials (one of those was actually shot in Carriacou, an even smaller island just off Grenada’s coast). I floated on my back in the crystal clear sea, staring up at the piercing blue sky. The Caribbean was warm, the air was warmer, and my memories of attempting to swim in the similarly crystalline but frigid Lake Superior earlier this summer were fortunately repressed. But we had a problem: Grand Anse just can’t be The Anti Tourists’ beach, as nice as it is. Although it boasts far fewer tourists than so many other resorty beaches I’ve been to, it’s still the island’s go-to beach for vacationers looking to explore the island as far as their resorts’ front yard. We had to find another beach, the one reserved for those lucky few in-the-know.

We drove all around the island. Up the north side and around to the south side. In and around and up and down and back and forth, we got lost. Driving on the left is fucked (Fun Fact: you can get in trouble with the police for saying ‘fuck’ in public in Grenada. The same rule applies to Virginia Beach, or it did the last time I was there, at least). Luckily, Ben handled the driving. We stayed in a villa at True Blue Bay Resort for a few nights and ruled out recommending the muddy harbor. We made a lot of wrong turns on the way to La Sagesse Beach–a beach we read was one of the most secluded and romantic on the island. Although La Sagesse was cool in that ‘this looks like the set of Lost’ kind of way, it wasn’t what we were looking for.

It turned out that what we were looking for was a stone’s throw away from Grand Anse. A local and now trusted Grenada travel resource, Roger, steered us in the right direction. “BBC is where you want to go”, he told us. “Yeah, but which beach would you say is the most pristine, the best beach on the island?” Ben pushed. “I say BBC is still where I’d go”, said Roger, firm on his choice. And so we had no choice. We had to go and see the beach just around the bend from Grand Anse.

We drove past Grand Anse and past the Flamboyant  and down the steep road that leads to BBC Beach, which is actually named Morne Rouge on maps, but is referred to by everyone, even the road signs, as BBC. That was apparently the name of a  night club that used to exist on the beach, I was told–the legacy lives on! With nowhere else to park other than Fantazia, a night club Roger loves, we bought ourselves some fruity drink at the bar and walked out onto the softest white sand I’ve ever felt. Ben squealed excitedly, and shrieked with delight as the warm Caribbean waters lapped at his feet. Seriously. He did.

A man tried to rent me a lounge chair on the beach but I wasn’t having it. Neither was anyone else–nearly all of them were empty. Populated only by a handful of locals, the beach was what Roger had said it was. It was beautiful, secluded, quiet, and perfect. The fluffy sand felt like powder beneath our feet and the palms provided shade not far off from the water’s crest.

I spread one of my towels out on the sand, stubbornly refusing to pay for a lounge chair when the softest sand in the world could hold me.

The beach’s drop-off, at least where we were, was a little sudden and the undertow was a little strong, but we like it a little rough. We played like little kids and rested when we were done, unaffected by the buzzing Grand Anse beach just around the corner. So Roger was right. BBC is where to be for the island feeling. One love!

By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos by: Ben Britz

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The Hotel Flamboyant – Great Place to Stay in Grenada

The Hotel Flamboyant clings to a steep hillside overlooking Grand Anse Beach on the Caribbean island of Grenada. I dug the place: simple, clean, inexpensive, and a largely helpful staff. It isn’t all that flamboyant; it is very much a laid-back beachside hotel and kind of smells like summer camp, but in a sweet and nostalgic way.

And, like everywhere else in Grenada, there is a hint of spice in the tropical sea air. The sun, so direct and so close, gives everything a silvery sheen, a burning effervescence. Now that I’m away, the memory seems like a dream, like a dream sequence shot over-exposed in a film.

With a decent pool and beach access down the hundreds of arduous feet of stairs, the Hotel Flamboyant is a good spot for a less ostentatious Grenada vacation; while not out-of-the-way or really that far off the beaten path and other clichés, it’s a good price on a clean suite on one of the Caribbean’s prettiest beaches—though perhaps second to BBC Beach, itself just a stone’s throw away.

The Owl Sports Bar, down by the beach in front of the Hotel Flamboyant, is what you’d expect—a low-end Caribbean beach bar, open late, patronized by locals and travelers alike. You can find a good cross section of the people of Grenada on any given day: locals mingling with Europeans, Americans, and South Americans in varying combinations, all drinking Carib or rum cocktails and watching ESPN or, perversely, Lifetime. You may even be lucky enough to talk to a gentleman who advises you to “stay cool” and provides an all-natural, healthful Caribbean herbal remedy to help with that, Jah willing!

By: Ben Britz