Also called the Spice Island or Isle of Spice, this almond-shaped Eastern Caribbean Island boasts 75 miles of gorgeous coastline and over 45 pure white sand beaches. It owes its name to the fragrant spice, Nutmeg, of which Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters. Grenada is also known for producing other spices such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves, among others. The main economic earner however is their tourism product. It is the largest out of a group of three volcanic Islands and is divided into six parishes. Carriacou and Petit Martinique are the other two smaller islands.
This tropical paradise enjoys a warm tropical climate year round, which is enhanced by the North East Trade Winds. Based on Grenada’s topography and location, it has not experienced quite as many hurricanes as other Caribbean Island have. In fact, in the last 50 years, it has only been affected by three hurricanes.
They boast a population of mixed ethnicities. The 93,000 inhabitants hail from African, East Indian and European roots, the African complement being in the majority. The island’s warm and hospitable people make visitors feel secure as they explore the beauty that is Grenada, whether on guided tours or independent exploring.
Grenada’s main music is Calypso, Soca, Reggae and Dancehall. This is a delicious mix showcasing true Caribbean flavour, and this is what you will predominantly hear as you traverse the streets and use public transportation. They boast the famous calypso artist, the Mighty Sparrow and reggae artist, David Emmanuel.
Many of the attractions can certainly be described as a nature lover’s paradise as there is a lot to do in the great outdoors. Grenada also caters for couples looking for a romantic getaway and families who want to bond and enjoy the world together. Going alone? Don’t be deterred; there is a lot for all to enjoy.
When To Travel
As one f the top vacation destination; Grenada experiences warm weather all year long. Having the advantage of only the dry and wet seasons, the best time to visit is in the drier months of January to May. The wet or rainy season runs from June to December. While these are also the cooler months, the rains are neither persistent nor torrential, so this will certainly not impede one’s ability to fully enjoy what the Island has to offer. If you are looking for the coolest months to travel there, then the period from November to February is prime time.
This kind of climate makes it perfect for visitors to don tropical summery clothing and certainly contributes to the relaxing atmosphere of Spice Island. With no harsh extremes of cold or heat, this little slice of paradise is a welcoming haven.
Food And Drink
Resorts and Restaurants will generally offer international cuisine. These include a mixture of Continental, West Indian, English and American dishes. The local food however has a very diverse background influence. Coming out in the flavours and types of dishes, you will find European, French, British and also African influence.
The main staple foods are rice, plantains (as a main or a side) and to a lesser extent potatoes. The national dish is Oil Down, which is a medley of cod or other meat, with dumplings, breadfruit, celery, carrots, onions, dasheens and various spices all deliciously stewed to perfection in coconut milk.
Olla de Santon, is another stew made with lima beans, blood sausage, pig’s ear and bacon.
Stews are quite a popular feature of Grenadian culture and cuisine as Olla Podrida, another stewed dish, is made from veal, chicken, pork, lamb, sausage, vegetables and interestingly, dried fruit.An array of tropical fish and crabs and conch, also known as lambi in Grenada, are commonly served.Calaloo soup is another popular dish, which is known in other Islands of the Caribbean as Pepperpot soup.
Grenada produces some locally made rum, which is often mixed with various juices. The local beer is the brand Carib, which is popular across the Caribbean. Mauby, which is a drink made from the bark of a local tree of the family Rhamnaceae, is strained and sweetened and is very popular with the locals and across the Eastern Caribbean. A try of this will make for an authentic cultural experience. It is bitter sweet on the palate and is an acquired liking for some. Wines and most other liquors are imported. Not surprisingly, Nutmeg ice-cream is a popular dessert, nutmeg being a big part of their economy.
Popular Vacation Spots
There are a myriad of romantic and adventure spots littered throughout Grenada. You will most certainly find activities and locations to suit your own particular taste.
The Grand Anse beach is the most renowned beach in Grenada which has magnificent white sand and sparkling blue waters. There are many resorts running along it, which offers greater variety for accommodation. If you are into surfing, Levera Bay offers fantastic waves for just that purpose. Another excellent beach option is Morne Rouge, which is located at the southern tip of the island in Saint George parish.
To get a cultural overview of the Islands, you might want to visit the Museum in Hillsborough, Carriacou. This island in itself offers a very relaxed and rustic Caribbean experience, as it not as developed as Grenada. Hillsborough is the largest town in Carriacou.
The Grand Etang Road is an intriguing uphill meandering road, flanked by rain forest, in which can be found very sociable monkeys. It offers viewing magnificence as you come in sight of the most mountainous areas of the Island.
The Grand Etang National Park offers a rest area where refreshment can be purchased and features hiking trails in the forested interior.
To the southern end of Grenada has a peninsula, on which can be found a beautiful beach and a marina called Lance aux `Epines. The location offers privacy and solace for those who desire tranquillity, and has exceptional cottages and villas for vacationers.
There are many resorts which offer amenities and services for weddings, dining, watersports and tours/excursions.
If accommodation is desired outside of the mainstream, the Grenada Board of Tourism will be able to provide information on the many villas and apartments located across the Island.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of Grenada’s offerings. This tiny Island is packed with fun-filled, relaxing and pleasurable activities to make the visit beyond worthwhile.
Grenada still operates under the British Commonwealth, however is an independent English speaking nation.
Their official currency is the East Caribbean dollar (EC), and is almost $3 EC to $1 US in value. Most major debit and credit cards are accepted, however it is important that it is always made clear whether prices are being quoted In EC or US$. Taxes range from 8-10% and a 10%service charge is generally added to service bills. If not added, a tip of 10% is customary.
To enter Grenada, a valid passport, as well as a travel ticket booked both ways is required. The requirements are a little different for American, British and Canadian nationals. Rather than a passport, they may enter using just a copy of their birth certificate and their proof of citizenship documents which should contain some form of picture identification.
The Island has a private hospital, a main hospital in the capital, St.Georges; another in Maribeau, and yet a fourth in Carriacou. Information can also be easily ascertained as to the many doctors and clinics available across the island.
Grenada offers quite diverse methods of getting around, and travel within the island is very accessible. There are local and tour buses, as well as taxis. There are also water taxis which are seasonal, as they only become available whenever ships come to dock in the harbour and transport visitors and patrons between St. George’s Harbour and Grand Anse Beach.
A ferry company also offers scheduled trips to the neighbouring islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, in an hour and a half scenic voyage across the waters. This is just one leg of the journey and it is guaranteed that the magnificent scenery will be a delight to take in as you traverse to waters of this three island nation.
There is always the option of being more adventurous by using a rental car, with map in hand or GPS to explore the island. There are quite a number of rental companies from which to choose as you embark on your adventure.