Known as the Spice Island, Grenada grows more spices per square mile than any other place in the world — but that’s not all this lush, friendly island is known for. Traveling to Grenada isn’t for gamblers or people who like to party, but if you’re looking for a place where you can sunbathe on lovely secluded beaches, snorkel, fish or just relax, this is the island for you.
Grenada Basic Travel InformationLocation: Between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Size: 133 square miles. See Map
Capital: Saint George's
Language: English (official), French patois
Religions: Roman Catholic, Anglican
Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar, which trades at a fixed rate of about 2.68 to the U.S. dollar
Area Code: 473
Tipping: 10 percent is usually added to the bill.
Weather: Average temperatures range from 75 to 87 degrees. Rainy season is June-Dec. The hurricane season runs June-Nov.
Grenada Activities and AttractionsAfter you’ve finished diving the various shipwrecks, such as the 580-foot ocean liner known as “the Titanic of the Caribbean,” and admiring the soft corals and sea horses off sister island Carriacou, you may be ready for a change of pace. Strap on your hiking shoes and strike out for the rainforest and scenic trails of Grand Etang National Park, which offers some of the best hiking in the Caribbean. Also worth seeing is St. George’s, with its colorful buildings, such as a pink 18th century church. Market Square is a great place to shop for gifts.
Grenada Hotels and ResortsWhile accommodations range from large resorts and inns to villas and apartments with kitchens, almost everyone stays somewhere along Grenada’s most popular beach, Grand Anse. Top resort picks include Calabash and Spice Island Beach Resort, while Gem Holiday Resort on Morne Rouge Bay has apartments with small kitchenettes that are good for kids and a relative bargain.
Grenada BeachesLook for Grenada’s nicest beaches in the southwestern part of the island. The best known is the two-mile Grand Anse beach with soft white sands and a sheltered bay. This is where most of the island’s resort hotels are located. Morne Rouge Bay is also lovely. Less crowded than Grand Anse, it lacks that beach’s water sports operators. Sauteurs Beach is often deserted and has wonderful views of nearby islands.
Grenada Restaurants and CuisineNot surprisingly, food prepared on the Spice Island is flavored with plenty of nutmeg, bay leaf, allspice, capsicum, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and ginger. Chicken and fresh local fish are popular. The national dish, oildown, is made with salted meat, breadfruit, onion, carrot, celery, dasheen (a local root vegetable) and dumplings, all slowly stewed in coconut milk. For authentic Grenadian dishes, try Deyna’s Tasty Food in St. George’s or Rhodes Restaurant in the Calabash Hotel, which focuses on fresh, local produce.
Grenada Culture and HistoryColumbus discovered Grenada in 1498, but the resident Carib Indians resisted colonization until the French arrived in the 17th century. The French ceded Grenada to the British in 1783. Grenada achieved full independence in 1974. In 1979 a Marxist military council seized power; four years later, the U.S. and six other Caribbean nations invaded the island, capturing the ringleaders. An election in 1984 re-established democracy.
An intriguing mixture of African, East Indian, French and British influences can be seen in Grenada’s folklore, dialect, music (calypso and reggae), dance, and way of life.