Here’s the thing about Grenada.
It ticks every box you could want from a Caribbean destination: warm turquoise waters for swimming, white sand beaches for lounging, hiking trails, waterfalls peeping from verdant rain forests and fresh seafood meals at tables pushed into the sand.
But the 135-square-mile island that’s closer to South America than it is to Florida also holds the title as the Caribbean’s only true Spice Island, and that’s much more than a tourism moniker.
Let your senses delight to the scents of nutmeg, cloves and cocoa redolent on Grenada’s breezes; after all, the cash cows from the Colonial era still flourish here today.
“Grenada’s fertile soil yields the plants, herbs and fragrant spices that give it its nickname, the Spice Island of the Caribbean,” says travel writer and Caribbean expert, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, who names Grenadians among the most polite and friendly people she’s met. “It’s a destination that’s poised to go from less-traveled to must-visit very soon.”
It’s hard not to hum along to the famous Jimmy Buffett diddy, “One Particular Harbor,” when you first set eyes on Grenada, one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful colonial cities.
Few Caribbean capitals are as poised for their postcard cameo. On Grenada’s southwestern coast, colorful downtown Grenada cascades down a lush green hillside and sports a tidy waterfront promenade (the Carenage) lined with Georgian buildings overlooking a perfect, horseshoe-shaped harbor.
Follow your nose to downtown’s daily Spice Market in Market Square, where vendors smile behind mountains of ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, beckoning the crowds of locals and curious visitors hither with, “Spices! Spices! Spices!” You can shop for seasonal fruits here, too, like mangoes, bunches of tiny bananas and huge breadfruits.
Nearby, the Grenada National Museum has an interesting little collection of relics from the 1983 US-led invasion of Grenada, indigenous artifacts and slavery-era exhibits.
For the best vistas of Grenada from on high, Fort George — a French battery that dates to 1705 — can be reached via a steep hike (or quick cab ride) up the hill from downtown.
Spices and Everything Nice
Looking to stock your spice cabinet? There’s temptation at every turn in Grenada, where nutmeg is a staple on the tables of locals. In fact, more than a third of the world’s nutmeg is grown here, and if you leave the island without trying nutmeg ice cream (widely available at restaurants), you’ve missed a unique treat.
It’s fascinating to learn about the history of the spice and watch the sorting processes in action at Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station on the island’s west coast, where you can see how the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is dried and processed. After, shop for eggnog-ready freshly ground nutmeg, nutmeg jam and more.
Cacao, too, is big business in Grenada, home to five chocolate factories and revered for its delicious organic dark chocolate. Easy to find in the heart of Grenada, Tri Island Chocolate and House of Chocolate Grenada have onsite cafes where you can sample craft chocolates made from Grenadian cacao.
For a more immersive experience about an hour from Grenada, beautiful Belmont Estate — Grenada’s oldest working plantation that dates to the 17th century — is home to a restaurant, organic farm, goat dairy and cocoa processing facility, all of which visitors can explore.
Cooling Off in Grenada.
Not many Caribbean islands can claim as much to do on land as in the water, so you’d be forgiven for never even getting wet in Grenada. But there are many reasons to seek out a dip on a sultry Caribbean day, when nothing refreshes like a waterfall frolic or a swim at one of the island’s roughly 50 beaches.
Just south of downtown Grenada, Grand Anse beach is the island’s most popular stretch of sand; head to the southern end for the quietest section to bathe in its clear waters.
On the east side of Grenada, it’s an easy half-hour hike through plantation land to reach Royal Mount Carmel Waterfalls, which beckon swimmers to cool off in the natural rock pool at their base.
Marked trails through the tropical rainforest abound at Grand Etang National Park and Forest Preserve in Grenada’s rugged interior, where you may even spot elusive mona monkeys near the entrance. While swimming isn’t permitted in the park’s scenic crater lake, a moderate hike (less than two miles, out and back) brings you to Seven Sisters Waterfall, a perfect cascade that pools in a dip-worthy basin.
Wondering about the reward for your all efforts? A heaping scoop of velvety nutmeg ice cream, of course. Call it the Spice Island in a cone and seek it out upon making your way back to civilization.
Select a Caribbean itinerary carefully crafted by the experts at Regent Seven Seas Cruises® to reveal the astounding array of delights Grenada can offer.
We aspire to give you more than just the most luxurious ships, exquisite meals, refined service or exhilarating shore excursions. We aspire to give you more than any one of those things because a truly all-inclusive travel experience is about having every luxury included, just the way you like it.