Since starting my blog I’ve received a few questions from family and friends asking about how much it costs to take a holiday in Grenada, and if this is achievable on a budget. I’ve conducted some research and I’m pleased to report that with a little creativity it certainly appears to be achievable! Below are the details you need to enjoy a Grenada getaway that doesn’t cost the earth. For the purpose of simplicity, prices quoted here are based on costs during the high season (January to April), as this is when the majority of people choose to travel to the island. Travelling during the shoulder or low seasons may reduce the cost of your holiday significantly.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly to Grenada from London Gatwick. If you book in advance you can find a flight for as little as £570 but expect to pay more than double this at short notice. The total length of the journey is about eleven and a half hours, including a short stop in St Lucia. My favourite website for booking flights is Skyscanner. The cheapest prices on this website are offered through third-party travel agents but sometimes there are benefits to paying slightly more and booking a flight directly through the airline’s website. I was relieved I’d booked through Virgin directly when I had to change a flight to London recently. Having full access to their customer service team ensured I was able to amend my details smoothly.
The Grenadian tourist industry is generally geared towards the luxury all-inclusive market. Despite this you can find a wide range of self-catering options and home stays. Airbnb features self-contained apartments for as little as £30 a night. If you’re the type of traveller who loves venturing from their comfort zone, nearly all parts of the island are fairly safe, but staying outside of the main tourist areas will require renting your own transport. If you prefer to stay on the beaten track, opt to stay in St George’s parish. Lance Aux Epines, Grand Anse, True Blue and Point Saline offer close proximity to the beach. The capital of St George is worth exploring for the day, but considerably more hectic than other parts of the island and probably isn’t somewhere you’d want to stay.
Apart from visiting the beach, there aren’t many free activities to do on the island. Grenada has some lovely reefs which can be explored with a snorkel. I can’t remember seeing snorkels for sale so bring one with you. The capital of St George is a pleasant city to explore by foot. The most economical way to see the island is usually with a day tour. This way you’ll get to visit several landmarks such as the Nutmeg museum, Concord Falls and the Etang Lake for a set fee.
Buses are the most simple way to get around the island if you’re on limited funds, but be warned, Grenadian buses ought to come with a health warning. Pulling out into oncoming traffic without indicating, and using full beam headlights on busy roads, avoiding the buses has become something of an in joke among Grenadian road users. If this doesn’t put you off, you can find a bus almost anywhere in the parish of St George, but they’re difficult for newcomers to spot. They tend to be Toyota minibuses with a conductor hanging out one window, but are privately owned and lack any identifiable markings. There are bus stops but it isn’t necessary to wait at one. Walk along the street for half a minute and a bus driver is likely to pull over asking where you’re going and if you want a ride. Otherwise you can simply flag one down on the street. There are no strict routes or fares, most drivers will drop you where you like, as long as the location is convenient and on a main road. If you’re female you may receive some advances from the men on board! These are usually harmless and non threatening, if a little awkward. Make sure you negotiate the fare before getting in the vehicle. A one way journey should only cost a few pounds.
Trying to keep this cost from spiraling out of control may be the most challenging obstacle you’ll face as a budget traveller. The majority of the island’s food is imported and restaurants targeted towards westerners are priced similarly to that of the UK. The simplest way to keep costs down is to eat local. You can buy local produce such as plantain, yam, breadfruit and watermelon from the supermarkets, or street stalls in St George. Restaurants and cafes frequented by locals are also cheap.
Grenada uses the East Caribbean Dollar. US dollars are widely accepted but it is better to pay in the local currency. Prices are usually quoted in the local currency and in this way you avoid being fiddled by the exchange rate.
Solo Travellers/Female Travellers
Grenada is perfectly safe for solo travellers, including women on their own, but it goes without saying that one must exercise some common sense when travelling without the security of a companion or group. You may be able to meet other travellers by organising a group tour through a reputable operator, but these opportunities aren’t guaranteed, so you’ll need to enjoy your own company if you choose to travel solo here.
If you’re female you’ll also need a high tolerance threshold for catcalls and advances from the locals. Grenadians have no qualms about asking for your number, or if they can join your sunbathing session at the beach. None of this is usually aggressive and a firm ‘no thank you’ is usually enough to send them on the way to their next conquest.
Book an appointment with a doctor or travel clinic at least six to eight weeks before you travel. They’ll ensure all your vaccinations and boosters are up to date as is recommended for life in Britain. You may also be offered the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Mosquitoes are likely to present the biggest health nuisance to travellers. There are sporadic outbreaks of the Dengue and Chikunguna viruses, and the island is in the midst of a Zika outbreak, which poses a threat to pregnant women. None of these illnesses are likely to present serious problems in otherwise healthy people but could ruin a few days of your holiday if you’re unlucky. If you have any health conditions you should consult your doctor before visiting any country where mosquito borne illnesses are present. DEET is the most effective weapon against tropical mosquitos. Sleep under air conditioning or nets during the night, and try to stay in a property that has mosquito screens over the windows.
Tap water is generally safe to drink and instances of food poisoning are uncommon.
When to go
The island has a tropical climate with temperatures that rarely fluctuate. Year-round, daytime temperatures hoover about the 30C mark. In the night this drops to about 27C. Staying high in the hills or on an elevation facing the sea provides some respite from the heat. Air con or fans are essential for a comfortable night’s sleep.
The best time to visit Grenada is from January to April. This is the dry season and there are cool trade winds that placate the humidity. Another good time to go is August, which is when Grenada has it’s annual carnival. Avoid the hurricane season which runs from September to October.
Brits can travel visa-free for up to three months.
If anyone has any suggestions for how I may improve this post please feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.