Nicknamed “The Spice Isle,” Grenada has far more to offer than just sandy white beaches. It’s actually made up of several small islands, and they are located southwest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and northeast of Trinidad and Tobago. The nickname is derived by the many spices that are produced here, including nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cocoa and cloves. English is the official language, the East Caribbean dollar is the official currency, and St. George’s is the capital. With average year-round temperatures between 75 and 87 degrees and cooling trade winds, Grenada is a lovely place to visit at many times of year. Airplane travelers typically arrive at Maurice Bishop International Airport and can then take ferries to various islands, including Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Grenada is awash with amazing things to see, including waterfalls, lakes, forts, spice estates, spice gardens, floral gardens, plantation houses and rum distilleries. Activities include hiking, sailing, snorkeling and diving. Before leaving, make sure to buy some nutmeg, rum, chocolate and vanilla, which is sublime and incredibly affordable.
- Capital city – Saint George’s
- Language – English
Saint George’s, capital city of Grenada
Saint George’s is the capital of Grenada, and the city’s harbor looks like the inspiration for an old watercolor painting. Brightly-colored buildings painted in shades of guava pink, lime green and mango orange sit next to charming historical Colonial buildings, stone churches and the fort that towers over the town. The city feels European but has a distinctly Caribbean appearance, and the inner harbor is the region’s most beautiful.
The inner harbor is actually landlocked; it is a water-filled crater left by a long-dead volcano. Strolling along the waterfront is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the capital. Spend an afternoon walking the Carenage, the waterfront boardwalk, then relax in the flower-lined pedestrian plaza.
At the corner of Monckton and Young streets is the Grenada National Museum, housed in a French prison and army barracks constructed in 1704. Although the collection is small, it contains many interesting treasures that outline Grenada’s history, including the island’s first telegraph, native fauna, finds from archaeological digs, a rum still, petroglyphs and more. The most comprehensive exhibit is dedicated to the island’s native culture.
Drive up Richmond Hill to take in Fort Frederick, an impressive fort begun in 1779 by the French and finished in 1791 by the English. The present restoration is the result of the Canadian government’s ambitious program in the 1990s. The fort holds many superb surprises for visitors, including outstanding views of the harbor, a quaint yacht marina and many battlements to explore.
Grenada is a small island, and the areas outside of St. George’s are also worth exploring. Fifteen minutes from the city is the tropical wonderland of Annandale Falls, with cascades that reach nearly 30 feet high. Relax and picnic among the elephant ears, tangles of liana vines and other vibrant tropical flora, then take a refreshing swim in the cool waters and sample indigenous spices at the Annandale Falls Center.
If you head along the western coast, you will discover spice plantations, beaches and the picturesque fishing villages that are icons of Grenada. Take an afternoon to visit Gouyave, a small town that is the capital of the mace and nutmeg industry. Huge amounts of spices are aged, processed and graded at the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Cooperative, and visitors are treated to views of them being readied for market.
Palm-lined Levera Beach stretches through the northeast corner of the island. The idyll of sand is where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, and it is a perfect place for a picnic lunch. The nearby Levera National Park’s 445 acres are home to many white-sand beaches that welcome snorkelers and swimmers. The area is also a hiker’s paradise, containing a mangrove swamp, bird sanctuary and lake.
The River Antoine Rum Distillery is a favorite attraction for many visitors to Grenada. North of the capital, the distillery offers a wealth of visuals taken from the mid-19th century Industrial Revolution that rocked the colonial Caribbean. It is the world’s oldest rum distillery, and much of its original machinery is still on display. The tours are free, and visitors are more than welcome to sample the finished product.