Grenada holiday guide
The most southerly of the Windward archipelago, and lying north of Venezuela, Grenada is a jewel-shaped, volcanic island. The interior is made up of rainforest-covered hills that rise to 840 metres at Mount Saint Catherine’s peak. During the colonial era, it changed hands between the French and the British numerous times, remaining British from 1877. Grenada gained independence in 1974, but many of the place names you will see on a Grenada holiday are still French. Another features of the island is its numerous waterfalls, including Concord Falls—a trio of cascades—and Annandale Falls, which has a plunge pool at its base.
Grenada’s capital, St. George, is a compact town with red-roofed merchant’s houses lining its waterfront. Beyond the horseshoe-shaped harbour, narrow, winding streets lead uphill from the produce market to Fort George. This 18th-century bastion gives sweeping views of the island. On Fridays, Gouyave—a rustic fishing village on the north-west coast—becomes the island’s social hub. A feast of cooked seafood is served at roadside stalls, the streets are closed to traffic, and live bands play at the weekly Fish Fry event.
Active pursuits in Grenada
Divers can enjoy wall, reef, and wreck dives off Grenada’s shores, including at the Bianca C, an Italian ocean liner known as the ‘Titanic of the Caribbean’. Snorkelling and glass-bottomed kayak trips head out to see the sunken statues of the Underwater Sculpture Park, at Moliniere Bay. Sunset catamaran cruises give views of the island’s west coast from the ocean and deep sea fishing charters hunt for tuna and marlin.
Arts and culture
Given that it is one of the world’s largest producers of cinnamon, cloves, all-spice, turmeric, and nutmeg, it is hardly surprising that Grenada is known as ‘the Spice Island’. During tours of the Nutmeg Processing Station in Gouyave, workers demonstrate how the spice is processed by hand. Tours at the Belmont Estate plantation show how cocoa beans are turned into chocolate bars. At Antoine River Rum Distillery, the liquor is produced in the traditional way by crushing the sugar cane with an 18th-century water wheel originally imported from Derbyshire.
Eating and drinking in Grenada
Food in Grenada is a fusion of French, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines—reflecting the island’s population. Light local snacks include roti, a soft, floury flatbread filled with curried meat or vegetables; the hearty national dish is oil down, a thick stew of salted meat, vegetables, and dumplings cooked in coconut-based gravy. Native nutmeg adds a sweet twist to traditional callallo soup, made from a green vegetable similar to spinach. Fresh juice squeezed from passion, papaya, mango, and soursop—a spiky green fruit with a delicious, tart kick—are popular in season.
By day, Grenada’s spas offer yoga and Pilates classes on wooden decks overlooking the ocean. A range of tropically-inspired treatments are also available including aloe vera facials and coconut body scrubs. At sunset, it is island tradition to enjoy a rum-based cocktail, such as the Grenadian Dream with cherry brandy and orange juice, while you admire the view from your terrace.
Visitors can arrange to assist the teams of conservationists on night patrols of the leatherback turtle hatching grounds at the Levera National Park. The park’s lagoon, on the northern tip of the island, is home to both waterfowl and wading birds such as grebes and egrets. Botanists can see torch and beehive ginger lilies, heliconia, and other exotic blooms at Bay Gardens near St. George. Whale- and dolphin-watching trips head out from the capital.
Grenada’s east coast is met by the Atlantic Ocean and its west by the calmer Caribbean Sea. The most popular beaches are on the south-western tip of the island, including Grand Anse, a stretch of white sand that slips into gently-shelving turquoise-blue water. Prickly Bay’s arc of sand surrounds a natural harbour where yachts anchor. Magazine Beach curves around the headland and is backed by palm trees.