Best Things To Do in Grenada
Grenada boasts the same alluring qualities as any other Caribbean island. The soft sands of Grand Anse Beach call to sun-seekers, while the numerous diving sites beckon to those who prefer a day under the waves. But once you set foot in St. George's or on the smaller islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, you'll quickly realize that Grenada is not a cliché Caribbean getaway. To truly experience this one-of-a-kind place, sample some rum punch at the River Antoine Rum Distillery and savor the rich scent of nutmeg on a spice plantation tour.
Updated October 15, 2015
- #1View all PhotosfreeSt. George's#1 in GrenadaFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Many travelers that have wandered the narrow streets of St. George's say that it's almost like walking through an oil painting. The vivid, brightly painted houses exude an aura of colonialism. In fact, Grenada's capital city—located on Grenada Island's southwestern shore—has earned the unofficial title of the most beautiful harbor town in the Caribbean.
Devote an hour or two to exploring St. George's marina (known as the Carenage), where you'll find plenty of restaurants serving up local cuisine with a side of spectacular views. But there's much more to this city than its postcard-worthy appearance. St. George's serves as a great place to get a whirlwind introduction to Grenadian culture. Discover the islands' colonial history at Fort Frederick and Fort George and learn about local spices at Market Square.
- #2View all PhotosfreeGrand Anse Beach#2 in GrenadaBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Frommer's describes Grand Anse as "the granddaddy" of Grenada's 45 beaches, but that's an understatement. This two-mile stretch of creamy-white sand overlooks a sheltered, azure-hued bay where bright red and yellow fishing boats burst with color. Numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops act as a convenient backdrop to this postcard-perfect scene, making this a great home base for sun-seeking visitors.
Recent visitors love this beach, but they do warn that local vendors' aggressive sales pitches can put a damper on a relaxing day in the sun. To avoid any conflicts, just sternly say "No, thank you" (unless you actually want to make a purchase).
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You can only spend so many hours lounging on the beach before you start to get restless; when that time comes, stretch your legs along the hiking trails in Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve. Occupying a large portion of central Grenada Island, Grand Etang teems with exotic wildlife. Its full-time residents include armadillos, mona monkeys, and tropical mockingbirds. You're sure to encounter these magnificent creatures and more as you explore popular areas as Mount Qua Qua—known for its stunning views of the park—and the beautiful Grand Etang Lake. As one TripAdvisor user writes, "We've seen a lot of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and South Pacific, but hiking down a rainforest filled with the aroma of fresh spices was absolutely incredible."
One of the most popular hikes leads to Seven Sisters Falls, located about 1.25 miles north of the Grand Etang Visitors Center. Visitors describe both the trail and the falls as particularly scenic. However, many warn that the trail can be challenging, so bring sturdy footwear and plenty of stamina!
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When your tongue tingles for a taste of local libation, make your way to the River Antoine Rum Distillery. River Antoine has been churning out bottles of rum since 1785, making it the oldest functioning water-powered distillery in the Caribbean. Guided tours will lead you through the rum-making process, from the harvesting of sugar cane to the fermentation to the bottling process. After the tour, you'll be treated to a free sample, but be warned: This isn't your average liquor. "They make a rum so strong that it cannot be taken home on an airplane," writes one TripAdvisor user. "After trying it, I can understand why!" (River Antoine rum is produced in strengths of 138- and 150-proof. Should you want to bring some home, a less potent version is available for purchase.)
You'll find the River Antoine Rum Distillery on the northeast coast of Grenada Island near Lake Antoine, roughly an hour's drive from St. George's. Tours are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $5 XCD (about $2 USD).
- #5View all Photos#5 in GrenadaNatural Wonders, Recreation, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Recreation, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're spending your Grenada getaway above the surface rather than below it, you're missing out on some truly spectacular scenery. More than 30 dive sites can be found off the coasts of Grenada Island, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique, including shipwrecks and coral reefs. One of the most popular dive sites, the Bianca C Ship Wreck, sits near Carriacou's shores. The Bianca C—a cruise liner that sank in 1961—has earned the nickname "Titanic of the Caribbean" due to its massive size. Meanwhile, Flamingo Bay's vivid coral and abundant marine life make for a more colorful dive.
For a unique underwater experience, avid divers recommend visiting the Underwater Sculpture Park. Resting at the bottom of Moliniere Bay in St. George's, the Underwater Sculpture Park's subsea art installation depicts scenes from Grenadian culture and folklore. Although some divers describe the park's iconic "Ring of Children" as somewhat eerie, one TripAdvisor user writes that "If you want to get surprised about finding something new under water, this is a great way to achieve it."
- #6View all Photos#6 in GrenadaSightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
The Belmont Estate stands as just one of Grenada's many popular spice tours for those interested in learning about the island nation's rich flavors. This 300-year-old plantation specializes in such spices as ginger, pimento, turmeric, and nutmeg. While visiting the estate, you can see how these spices are processed, and wander through the 400-acre property's gardens, museum, and goat milk farm. And when the savory aromas start to make your tummy rumble, you can grab a bite to eat at the Belmont Estate restaurant.
If you've got a sweet tooth, plan to take a factory tour of the Grenada Chocolate Company. This modest cocoa processing center churns out organic chocolate bars that are sold all over the world. While touring the factory, you'll see how this delectable treat is made, from the cracking of cocoa pods to the pouring and molding of creamy chocolate. Recent visitors praise the factory's free samples and suggest buying sweets from the gift shop. According to one TripAdvisor user, "You can buy chocolate bars on site. I was glad to see that we can order more online, we've already eaten all of the ones that we brought home!"
- #7View all PhotosfreeMarket Square#7 in GrenadaShopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDShopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
When it comes to souvenir shopping, you can't go wrong with a visit to Market Square. Located in the heart of St. George's, Market Square welcomes visitors and locals alike looking for handmade crafts, fresh produce, and, of course, spices. One TripAdvisor user calls the spice market the "best smelling market that I have ever been to!" However, some recent visitors warn that the vendors can be fairly aggressive.
You'll find Market Square at the foot of Young Street. Weekends—Saturdays specifically—are the best times to go, as the marketplace bustles more than usual.
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Nature-lovers will fall in love with La Sagesse, a former plantation nestled along a private estuary. Just be sure to bring your binoculars: According to the Grenada Tourism Board, La Sagesse Nature Center has some of the best bird-watching on the island. This region houses unique species as the Caribbean coot, the green-back heron, and the northern Jacuna. If you're not an avian enthusiast, La Sagesse also boasts a beautiful beach and numerous hiking trails, not to mention a small hotel and a mouthwatering restaurant.
While you're hitting the trails, keep your eyes peeled for your fellow simians. "As part of our island tour, we stopped at the nature preserve," writes one TripAdvisor user. "Much to our surprise, a monkey literally climbed over my husband's shoulder."
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When you tire of touring Grenada Island, escape to Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Located north of the main island, Carriacou and Petit Martinique's two islets exude an even less touristy atmosphere than Grenada Island; in fact, don't be surprised if you never encounter another visitor.
Carriacou is the larger of the two islands and boasts several small hotels, restaurants, and even a local museum. Carriacou also serves as a great place to experience Grenadian culture, with events like the Carriacou Carnival and the Carriacou Regatta showcasing local music and the islands' connection to the sea. Meanwhile, Petit Martinique is as close to a desert-island escape that you'll ever want to experience. This tiny island just a few miles from Carriacou's northeast shore doesn't have much in the way of lodging and dining. But what it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in beautiful beaches.
- #10View all Photos#10 in GrenadaSightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, ToursTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Didn't get your fill of Grenada's flavors at the Belmont Estate? Then book your Spice Plantation tour with Travelgrenada. These four- to five-hour-long excursions will lead you to the quaint fishing village of Gouyave, where you'll spot the local spice factory and nutmeg processing station. Then, the tour heads into the mountains to the Belvedere Plantation, where you can sample fresh Grenadian banana. You'll also have the opportunity to hike in Grand Etang National Park before cooling down with a swim at Concord Falls.
Travelgrenada will pick you up from your hotel or cruise ship before hitting the road. Tours must be reserved in advance, and the cost is roughly $108 XCD (about $40 USD). To learn more, visit Travelgrenada.com.
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