Not only does the 'Spice Island' produce nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, this rugged land of mountains, rainforests, waterfalls and secluded beaches has also given birth to an intriguing history and people.
The capital, St George's, is located on Grenada Island and has one of the prettiest harbor settings in the Caribbean. Carriacou is dotted with traditional East Caribbean towns and friendly locals, while Petit Martinique offers the chance to unwind in a little-known corner of the world.
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After St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada is the second-smallest nation in the Western Hemisphere, claiming just 891 sq km (344 sq mi) of territory, 100km (60mi) north of the South American mainland. Grenada is so close to St Vincent and the Grenadines that, from certain areas, it is possible to see the other island nation with the bare eye. Although Grenada comprises a handful of volcanic and coral islands, just three of these are inhabited: Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. The majority of the population and tourist facilities are on Grenada.
What To Do
Take a ferry to Carriacou and soak up its vibrant culture; snooze by the white sand and turquoise seas of Grand Anse; hike through the rainforest in Grand Etang National Park; savor the tranquility of Petit Martinique; then jump on a crowded minibus, with reggae blaring and island music thumping.
What To See
The secret to a successful visit to Grenada is mixing up the beach (in)activity with getting to know some Grenadians and having a good look around the island - hiking boots required. If you're interested in history, check out the fort and the local museum.
Grenada's main resort area is a lovely sweep of white sand fronted by turquoise water and backed by hills. Packed with hotels, bars, eateries and watersports, it's the essential Grenadian experience for many. If you want some peace and quiet, cross the peninsula of Quarantine Point (once a leper colony) to the picturesque Morne Rouge Bay. The area took a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 - some places may still be under reconstruction.
Grenada’s oldest fort was established by the French in 1705 and is the centerpiece of the St George’s skyline. The police headquarters now occupies the interior, but you can wander freely among the stone structure, explore the dank tunnels and climb to the top to see the cannons and a bird’s-eye view over the town and the hills of the Grand Etang Forest Reserve. A plaque in the parade ground marks the spot where revolutionary leader Maurice Bishop was executed. Well worth the steep uphill walk via the new Sally Port entrance from the Esplanade.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Sitting pretty at the top of the capital’s hill, St George’s Roman Catholic cathedral provides a great vantage point over the town.
A shallow crater lake in an extinct volcano, Lake Antoine hosts a large variety of wildlife. The perimeter trail makes for a beautiful walk, and it’s excellent for bird-watchers. It’s accessed via a signposted road about a mile north of River Antoine.
The Carenage is a great place for a stroll along the water’s edge, taking in the gift shops, indulging in some people-watching and smelling the fresh seafood wafting from the dockside restaurants. Colorful fishing boats bob around in the clear, fish-filled waters, and the wharfside is busy with cargo ships bringing supplies to and from Carriacou. At the northern end, the sturdy Georgian buildings overlooking the water – including the red-brick Grenada Public Library – have been beautifully restored.
Grenada's biggest festival is Carnival, held during the second weekend of August. It includes calypso and steel band competitions, all sorts of costumed revelry, a pageant and a grand finale 'jump-up' on the following Tuesday. Many of Carnival's events are held at Queen's Park, on the north side of St George's. The Spice Island Billfish Tournament, held in January, attracts anglers from North America and the Caribbean keen to hook its six-figure first prize. Carriacou's four-day Carnival usually takes place in early March. The Carriacou Regatta, a major sailing event featuring races to Grenada, Union Island and Bequia, is held in late July or early August. It's accompanied by additional sporting events and plenty of music and dancing. Other festivities include the Easter Regatta on Petit Martinique and the Carriacou Maroon Jazz Festival in mid-June.