If you’re looking to spice up your life, then Grenada is the place for you. The intoxicating aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves fill the air wherever you go and remind you of the destination that’s like no other. Take your pick of 45 sun-kissed beaches to lounge on, or hit the jungle-covered mountain range for more rugged adventures. Stroll through the 125-year-old Sendall Tunnel to reach the Carenage waterfront promenade. You can even grab a seat at an open-air cafe and admire the steep streets lined with colonial buildings and colourful 18th-century warehouses. And holding true to its nickname of Spice Island, you’ll find several spice plantations and estates here too to explore.
Why cruise Grenada
When booking a cruise, Grenada may well be just the place you're looking for. As Caribbean cruise stops go, gentle-paced Grenada gets just about everything right. Its historic capital, St George's, a jumble of red-roofed buildings rising up above a natural harbour, is a strong contender for the region's prettiest port. A gorgeous beach, Grand Anse, lies a short bus, taxi or water taxi ride away from St George's. The island's mountainous and rainforest-covered interior is easily accessible, with waterfalls to discover and manageable trails to hike. And while Grenada doesn't really have any must-see sights, it does have some absorbing attractions related to its produce – of nutmeg, cocoa and rum. A further USP is an intriguing underwater sculpture park. For Caribbean itineraries, most of the major cruise lines stop off in Grenada, including Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Oceania and Royal Caribbean.
Best places to visit in Grenada
Grand Anse beach
Fringed by sea grapes, almond trees, and coconut palms, Grand Anse is Grenada's most famous beach. Cruise ship visitors flock to this three-kilometre arc of golden sand and gentle surf. Water hues range from clear turquoise in the shallows to deep cobalt blue, and the calm waters are perfect for swimming. If you feel like indulging in a little shopping, midway along the beach is the Grande Anse Craft and Spice Market, another popular stop for cruise ship visitors.
Often called one of the prettiest port towns in the Caribbean, St George's curves along a horseshoe-shaped harbour backed by volcanic hills. This colourful capital of Grenada is popular with boaters, who dock in the busy harbour of Carenage. Brick and stone buildings with red-tiled roofs line the streets, where locals sell spices and crafts. Two of the main historical attractions in the city are Fort George, built by the French in the early 18th century, and Fort Frederick. Both offer beautiful views over the town and sea. Housed in a 1704 French barracks and former prison, the Grenada National Museum displays a hodgepodge of historical items, including Carib and Arawak artefacts and exhibits on the sugar and whaling industries. Right nearby, the House of Chocolate is a must-visit for cocoa fans, with exhibits on the local cocoa industry and decadent sweet treats.
Underwater Sculpture Park
On the west coast of Grenada, a short drive north of St George's at Moliniere Bay, the Underwater Sculpture Park is a unique submerged gallery that also serves as an artificial reef in a marine protected area. Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, the sculptures range from Amerindian petroglyphs to life-size figures cast from local children. Divers, snorkelers, and glass bottom boat passengers can admire this underwater exhibition, although coming face-to-face with these sculptures below sea level is the best way to appreciate their artistry.
The inner harbour and anchorage, known as the Carenage, is a lovely place to wander along the waterfront, browse the shops, and watch the dockside activities. Wooden schooners are loaded and unloaded here, and you can chat with the locals or relax at one of the restaurants selling fresh seafood and snacks. Wharf Road runs along the harboir offering great views of the area. Look for the bronze Christ of the Deep statue donated by the owners of a luxury liner in gratitude for local rescue efforts after the ship exploded off Grand Anse.
In the mountains north of St George's, Annandale Falls is a 10-meter waterfall plunging to a pool tucked in tropical foliage. The short trail to the falls begins at the Annandale Falls Centre. Visitors can swim at the base of the cascades and watch local divers leaping into the water from the top.
Known as the 'Land of Reefs', the island of Carriacou (carry-a-cou), northeast of Grenada, offers visitors a pleasing taste of the old Caribbean. Both white and black sand beaches fringe the coast, and coral reefs lie offshore with great opportunities for diving and snorkelling. Nearby Sandy Island, in a Marine Protected Area, is also excellent for snorkelling. The island has a number of small villages but the main population center is Hillsborough. The Carriacou Museum here displays Carib, European and African artifacts, and the island offers several hiking trails. Visitors can access Carriacou via high-speed ferry from St. George's Carenage or flights from Grenada's Point Saline International Airport
Best things to do in Grenada
Set on a 395-acre plot in the northern reaches of Grenada, the authentic 17th-century working plantation known as Belmont Estate is an organic cocoa farm complete with a craft market and gift shop. There is an on-site heritage museum dedicated to the estate’s illustrious history, but most impressive is the open-air dining room where guests can savour freshly-prepared signature Grenadian dishes and the Bon Bon Chocolate Shop that sells sumptuous organic chocolate delights. Take a plantation tour that brings the story of the cocoa bean to life by explaining how raw cocoa is fermented and processed using centuries-old techniques.
Visit the national park
Home to a rich diversity of plants and animals, Grand Etang National Park, in the interior of the island, offers some beautiful rainforest scenery and rewarding hikes. One of the focal points of the park is the beautiful crater-formed Grand Etang Lake. From the Grand Etang visitor center, several trails lead through the park, ranging from the 30-minute self-guided Morne LaBaye Trail with many specimens of native plants to the more challenging Concord Falls Trail, which passes a trio of cascades with swimming areas. Other popular hikes include the Shoreline Trail around the Grand Etang Lake, the Seven Sisters Falls hike, and the Mount Qua Qua Trail, a three-hour uphill trek with views over the forest. Along the trails, visitors can spot many species of birds, orchids, and towering rainforest trees.
The longest continuously running rum distillery in the entire Caribbean region, River Antione remains one of the most fascinating attractions on the Spice Isle. Drawing both history buffs and rum lovers, it can be found between the fields of Saint Patrick in the north. Today, the original distillery buildings from the 18th century are age-stained and half-ruined, but the same machinery used to crush and refine the sugarcane all those years ago is still in use, from the creaking water wheel (powered with the waters of the River Antoine) to the timber conveyor belts that transport the sugar crops straight from the field.
Visit a spice estate
Grenada is hailed as the Spice Isle for its vast output of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and clove over the centuries, there are still plenty of places here to see the tradition and heritage of spice cultivation in motion. The Dougaldston Estate in St George’s is arguably the best, with its vast depots and industrial halls complete with cocoa-drying machines and nutmeg processing conveyors. Regular guided tours will reveal the processes behind the mass production of Grenada’s most iconic export, and there are plenty of chances to purchase local spices.
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