In the far south of the Caribbean, Grenada tends to have fewer catastrophic storms than its neighbors to the north. Lately, the island nation has become a focus of resort development, and not just because of its privileged location. Grenada has the requisite palm-fringed beaches (all are public), as well as a dramatic interior of emerald mountains laced with hiking trails and waterfalls. Its colorful capital, St. George’s, enjoys a picturesque location straddling a ridge, sloping down to a natural harbor. Small manufacturers make fine artisanal chocolate, rum and nutmeg-based products — Grenada calls itself the “Spice Island” — often on former plantations dating to the 1700s. And enigmatic petroglyphs decorating boulders and rock faces remain as a testament to Grenada’s more ancient history.
Speed Up Entry and Exit
The IAM Jet Centre in Grenada’s airport makes arrival and departure much more agreeable. The main benefit for arriving passengers is bypassing lengthy immigration lines. Departing travelers have access to private security screening, and lounges stocked with snacks and nonalcoholic beverages. This service is available to anyone willing to pay the fee, whether they have a business- or first-class ticket or not.
Grenada is an ideal place to charter a sailboat. We booked a private half-day venture with Savvy Grenada Sailing Charters, including snorkeling around Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park and Flamingo Bay. For our return trip to the harbor, we headed to the cushions at the bow. Reclining there, watching the Grenadian coast glide by as we sipped rum punch, it was hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
I recommend taking a half day with a driver to visit some of Grenada’s private tropical gardens. On the outskirts of St. George’s, the Hyde Park estate has remained in the same family for seven generations; Sunnyside Garden has belonged to the Renwick family for a century; and the Tower Estate has been owned by the Slinger family since the mid-1940s.
Annandale waterfall is Grenada’s easiest to reach (if not the tallest or most dramatic), making it the most popular with tourists, including groups from cruise ships. We rather preferred Royal Mt. Carmel Falls, a 15-minute hike from the road. The forested path was mostly easy, with rolling slopes covered by soft sugar cane husks, but we did have to cross the small Marquis River at one point, stepping from boulder to boulder. The falls, the tallest on the island and unspoiled by anything man-made, reward the effort.
The first chocolate producer on the island, the Grenada Chocolate Company is a much smaller and less formal affair than the popular Belmont Estate. The private tour of the small factory was quick but enjoyable nevertheless. Whereas at Belmont, where a wall of glass separated us from the factory, here we walked among the machinery and our guide told us more about how it functioned. But unlike at Belmont, we couldn’t see any cacao plants; the Grenada Chocolate Company sources its beans from various organic farmers around the island.
Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). Set rate valued at XCD2.7 = US$1.00 as of April 2021. Note: Our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.
St. George’s, Tel. (473) 444-1174.