Possibly one of the most unspoilt islands in the Caribbean, if not the world, Carriacou, known as the Land of the Reefs, is just 13 square miles with a population of approximately 8,000 people, and is the largest most southerly island in the Grenadines. It is here and on sister isle Petite Martinique that your Spice Experience embraces a new perspective on time!
Warm, welcoming and willing to please, the people of Carriacou are the keepers of ancient traditions, historic folklore and spiritual beliefs rooted in African, European and indigenously Grenadian legends. Include a short ferry jaunt to Petite Martinique; and your Spice Experience gives a deeper glimpse of life where boat building and all things marine flourish.
From the many discoveries on Carriacou of pottery and tools, it is known that around 1000 AD; Arawaks, followed by Caribs, both from South America, settled on the island. The earliest written records go back to 1656 when the name was spelt Kayryouacou, originating, it is believed, from the Carib meaning "land surrounded by reef".
The island was settled by the French, but in 1763 was ceded with Grenada to the British. The majority of the inhabitants today are of African descent, with the influence in the island mainly British, such as driving on the left, though French names are still noticed, especially in the L'Esterre area. The village of Windward was home to a group of Scottish boatbuilders who settled here in the 19th century. The Scottish names and boatbuilding skills have been passed down through the generations. Many locally built boats from small fishing sloops to large trading schooners are seen in the Carriacou waters. Boat building is still carried out in the traditional way on the beaches but fewer have been built in recent years.
The island’s rich culture is expressed in the forms of Calypso, Big Drum Nation Dance and String Band Music and has now been developed into a burst of colourful activity all year round. Music and dance forms are handed down through generations as the people remember the African tribes they came from such as the Congo, Mandinka, Chamba, Kromati, Ibo and Temne.
The art of boat building is also a major tradition of the people of Carriacou and is highlighted in the July/August Regatta each year. At boat launchings, animals are killed and their blood would be sprinkled over these boats in a fascinating ceremony. Other unique customs include Shakespeare Mas, Village Maroons, Fisherman’s Birthday Celebrations and Tombstone Feast ‘Saraca’ Libations.
We welcome you to our beautiful islands!