Four years ago (unless it involved a tractor of some sort) you wouldn’t find me deep within the lush interior of Grenada’s mountainous terrain on the road less travelled. There are two reasons, the first being the fact that I couldn’t get to them and the second is that no matter how grown I think I am, my mother would ban me from all off-the-beaten-path adventures if she knew.
That was until Sun Hunters introduced Dune Buggy Adventure Tours and most recently Bareback Jeep Tours to Grenada. Now, these roads are travelled more often because of the conviction of 32-year-old Managing Director Cherisse David-Hamid, a Grenadian, Wife and Mother of two. A total gamechanger and as they put it ‘adventurers to remember’, Sun Hunters allows you to see a side of Grenada that can only be accessed in a neat Polaris RZR utility recreational vehicle or a Jeep Wrangler.
I’ve personally experienced the Dune Buggy Annandale Waterfall and Forest Adventure and the Bareback Jeep River Lime, and I highly recommend them. From the orientation to tour, the immediate thrill, excitement and passion expressed by the office team to the certified tour guides filters down to every guest who returns to base with the same huge smile they left with. The customer service exceeds expectations; the tours are carefully and uniquely curated, and the real value is in being immersed in what makes us the proudest about Grenada, our verdant, unspoilt tropical paradise.
What makes me even more proud is that it is a business run by a Grenadian family and birthed from the desire to see variety, entertainment, retention and exciting possibilities in our islands tourism sector. They had my full support from the get go!
Now I’d usually do a full write up, but, I’ll share the interview with Cherisse because it was put so passionately, it deserves to be read in it rawest form, which reveals the genuine driving force (pun intended) behind this business.
A sit down with Cherisse…
Kiki: Three years of Sun Hunters what a journey it has been! How does it feel for you?
Cherisse: Some days it felt like we were at a standstill, other days 24 hours just wasn’t enough but most days witnessing our business grow was incredible. It was a lot more hard work than I thought I was capable of; my family stepped up to help me make it happen. It only became more than an idea because every step of the way there was someone with more experience than I had to show me the ropes. I was forced to ask for help; I hate asking for help, but I don’t regret it. The result was watching a dream become an incredible reality.
Kiki: You expressed very honestly that you took a step back to focus on your family. Was this a hard decision?
Cherisse: It was excruciating. It hurt in my bones. I felt like I was handing over my puppy. It was also a bit of a relief. When we first opened, I had a one-year-old, and I was very heavily pregnant. After my second was born, I didn’t have the brain waves to be mom and manager without falling painfully short at one or both roles. It was my family who got the business up and running with me, so they were more than capable of managing it without me. I still felt relegated to the back of the class and maintained some business tasks from home, so I didn’t feel entirely out of the loop. I tried popping into the office with the babies a couple of days a week, but they took over the entire space, so I was always promptly sent back home. Now that they’re both at school I spend a few hours a day in the office, and it feels great to put on nice clothes and feel like an adult again, but I’m still primarily mummy, taxi driver, boo boo healer, referee, cheerleader and on my best days teacher.
Kiki: So that family support is extremely important when you’re a Mompreneur, huh!
Cherisse: Yes! We have always been very close, sometimes too close. We don’t give each other any space but working with my family has given me a whole new level of respect for them. My parents, my sister and my husband all stepped in without hesitation to make my dream a reality. They juggled their goals and mine. They all still have their priorities and ventures, but when I needed them, Sun Hunters became numero uno to all of us. It taught me that family is everything, and it’s ok to lean on the ones who love you.
Kiki: How does it make you feel when guests share positive feedback?
Cherisse: I kid you not, three years in and still I want to inappropriately hug every single guest who gives us great feedback. I get genuine feelings of love for them hahaha. Even more so our team, we have a fantastic team of guides, mechanics and admin staff who work very hard every day to make sure that good feedback keeps rolling in. The pride I feel just thinking about it is unreal. I hope that never fades. It’s the best motivator for consistency.
Kiki: I’ve experienced that consistency! How much does the Sun Hunters team commit to ensuring that?
Cherisse: Listen, I cannot describe to you the blood-curdling screams that escape my body when I see where our guides go in search of new trails. It’s almost like a competition among them to see who can find the most exhilarating trails. I always have to remind them that we spent quite a lot of money training them so we can’t afford for them to get maimed. My mother still insists on going on every trail to make sure they’re “passable for reasonably aged ladies and young men alike”. So our trails are all immortal young man tested and mom-approved. To be super safe, our guides are all CPR and First Responder Certified, they’re all trained in mechanics, and they’ve all completed customer service training. They truly are the best of the best, and it shows when our guests come back and give them hugs and high fives.
Kiki: My mom would be so happy to hear the mom-approved part. She’s always nervous when I adventure to rural parts of the countryside. But that’s where I have the most authentic experiences.
Cherisse: Agreed! That’s why our adventures go all over the island into the most rural communities. As part of their training, our guides are taught to convey the history of every community we stop in. When creating our routes, we foster relationships with Grenadian vendors who sell their products to our guests. The stories that these vendors have and the shows they put on, the sheer joy on the faces of the guests and our vendors, it’s worth every penny. Grenadians are the friendliest people. Our guests always comment on how much their experience is enhanced by the locals they encounter. It’s another huge point of pride for me; knowing our presence is positively impacting families all over the island.
Kiki: Amazing! And what is your family vision for Sun Hunters?
Cherisse: A one-stop adventure shop! If you can dream it, we want to do it, and we want to be the best at it. We want to be among the reasons for choosing Grenada as your destination of choice. We’ve had guests say to us that we were the best part of their holiday. We also want to be the reason they return. Grenada has so much to offer, by tapping into our natural resources, our culture, our people we can make Grenada an adventure destination.
Getting to know you… and everything about you!
Kiki: What song/lyrics currently defines your life right now?
Cherisse: Baby Shark. Yes, Baby Shark. It’s a family of sharks being ordered around by the baby sharks. How is that not my life?!
Kiki: What can’t you live without?
Cherisse: WiFi, all I need is a solid WiFi connection and I can work from anywhere. Also so my kids can listen to Baby Shark long enough for me to get an email out.
Kiki: What’s in our online shopping basket right now?
Cherisse: Way too many things for my children and workout gear for me because it shouldn’t take almost three years to “snap back”
Kiki: Who do you Insta-stalk and why?
Cherisse: Other moms because the struggle dictates we stick together and check up on each other. Also other adventure companies and travel bloggers like you so I can keep abreast of what our guests expect.
Kiki: What’s the next thing on your bucket list?
Cherisse: A quick Safari holiday with my husband and kids to decompress then onward with rolling out new adventures. My family isn’t the lay around and relax type, there needs to be an element of danger to make it exciting for them… because boys.
Let’s get connected!
Facebook: Sun Hunters Grenada
Photography by Terel Moore