Grenada is a small island which is relatively easy to explore in a short period of time. A fortnight or even a ten day stay is probably enough to get a feel for what the island has to offer. Most accommodation providers offer tour packages or can refer you to a reputable company. Renting a car is another convenient option but can be expensive at about 1800 East Caribbean Dollars for a fortnight. Grenada drives on the left, and be sure to hire an off road vehicle if you plan on venturing outside of any of the major tourist spots or towns, as the island’s roads are inadequately maintained. Driving on the island is relatively straightforward for those with some experience but road safety is poor compared to Western countries. Grenadian buses are truly a law unto themselves, and don’t be surprised to see the locals speeding and overtaking on blind spots.
If you’re arriving by cruise ship in St George, exercise some caution when choosing a tour operator upon arrival at the port. You’re likely to be offered numerous options, from day tours to adventure activities. Some of these may be licensed companies, others are simply local individuals trying to make a quick buck. Either way, virtually all tours are run by natives so you’re guaranteed an authentic experience. Grenada’s crime rate is low but has been increasing of late, due to high levels of unemployment. There is safety in numbers so try to organise a sizeable group before embarking on any tour. Never dive, snorkel or engage in any other high-risk activity with an unlicensed operator.
Here are my top picks for things to do in Grenada:
Snorkel at Groom’s Beach
Groom’s Beach has an attractive reef
Dr Groom’s is a lovely secluded beach on the south of the island, close to the airport. I almost abandoned my first experience of snorkeling here, prematurely concluding it was an uninspiring spot. I decided to swim out a second time and found a lovely reef awash with gorgeous tropical fish. You’ll need to swim out past the safety line floats to experience the best snorkeling this beach has to offer, but do not attempt this without a guide unless you are a strong swimmer. Whilst most beach lovers will know this; I thought it important to mention that it is inadvisable to swim at any beach if there is a red flag up. This indicates high surf, dangerous currents, or both, which can sweep even Olympic-level swimmers out to sea. Most beaches aren’t manned by lifeguards and sadly there are far too many incidences of both locals and tourists drowning in the Caribbean each year.
Visit Levera Beach in the Undeveloped North
Sugarloaf Mountain from Levera Beach
Nature lovers will adore Levera Beach, a rugged undeveloped spot in the north of the island where the Caribbean and Atlantic Sea meet. Whilst I’ve heard this beach is suitable for swimming, the red flag was up when we visited, and the ocean here doesn’t appear suitable for novice swimmers due to rough waves and currents.
If you’re visiting the island from April to July, you may be lucky enough to witness Leatherback turtles laying their eggs at night. To counteract the threat of poaching, the beach is a prohibited area during this time, but it is possible to book a tour. Tour operators can be found online or booked through your accommodation provider. In order to preserve the safety and well being of these animals, please ensure you choose a reputable operator for this activity.
Visit the The Palm Tree Gardens in St David
The Palm Tree Gardens is a scenic place to spend the afternoon
The Palm Tree Gardens in St David offers a peaceful place to relax in the hills. Owned and run by Lawrence, a Grenadian who set up the gardens to fund his retirement, our group of four were given a detailed tour for 10 Eastern Caribbean Dollars each. We were given an opportunity to smell and touch the specimens, which included numerous varieties of palm, bay leave and garlic.
Explore St George by Foot
The views of St George from Fort George
Whilst I can’t attest to this myself, as I’ve not visited enough of the region, Grenada’s capital of St George is reputedly one of the prettiest capitals in the Caribbean. Be sure to visit Fort George which offers spectacular views of the city and ocean.
Walk along St George’s narrow and winding streets and you’ll come across an eclectic mix of offerings, from a small art gallery, to a Grenadian chocolate factory, and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls.
Spend a day at Grand Anse Beach
Grand Anse Beach at Dusk
No Grenada itinerary is complete without a trip to the island’s two mile stretch of heavenly white sand and crystal clear waters otherwise known as Grand Anse Beach. The sheer size of this beach facilities a wide range of activities and dining catering to all tastes and budgets. Head to the far left or right corners of the beach and you’ll find tranquil and deserted stretches of sand. The middle section of the beach is more lively, with resorts and a range of water sports. Across the beach there are a wide range of restaurants to choose from, from laid back Umbrellas Cafe to the six star Spice Island resort. Grand Anse is also a fantastic place to watch the sun set.
Visit the Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave
The Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave where workers process everything by hand
A visit to the Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave is much like a visit to the island itself: Walk through the doors here and you’ll feel as though time stood still. This isn’t actually a museum, but a working Nutmeg factory where everything from the crop to the packaging is processed tirelessly by hand. Grenada earned it’s nickname as the Spice Isle for being the second largest nutmeg importer in the world behind Indonesia. The factory is small, meaning tours are short and last approximately five to ten minutes, but you’ll have the opportunity to take pictures, speak to the locals and off course purchase some nutmeg! Our tour was organised by the partner of one of my husband’s colleagues so I am unsure as to the entry fee. Whatever the cost, it is likely to be small and contributes to the local economy. Afterwards head across the street to Kelly’s Hotspot for some traditional West Indian fare.