The island of Grenada packs a surprising amount of history and culture into its compact geography. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with enjoying an itinerary of “Breakfast, beach, lunch, spa, pool, cocktails, dinner. Repeat.” But should you wish to break out of that pattern from time to time, Grenada offers something to interest just about every sort of traveler.
Grenada has the requisite palm-fringed beaches, as well as a dramatic interior of emerald mountains laced with hiking trails and waterfalls. Its colorful capital, St. George’s, occupies a picturesque location straddling a ridge, sloping down to a natural harbor. Small producers make fine artisanal chocolate, rum and nutmeg-based products (Grenada calls itself the “Spice Island”), often on former plantations dating back a century or three. And enigmatic petroglyphs decorating boulders and rock faces around the island remain a testament to Grenada’s deeper history. Perhaps most important, Grenada’s inhabitants welcome visitors with striking warmth, and the island feels safe.
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Arrive in Grenada, likely in the midafternoon. Check into one of our two recommended resorts, either the chic and contemporary Silversands or the more traditional and all-inclusive Spice Island Beach Resort. Both properties stand on Grenada’s longest and most popular beach, the Grand Anse, and both have service that is friendly and attentive.
Set on Grenada’s largest and most popular beach, the two-mile-long Grand Anse, Silversands has an international, Asian-inspired contemporary style.
Decorated in a traditional Caribbean-colonial style, this resort divides its accommodations among Seagrape Beach Suites fronting the Grand Anse and, behind them, suites that compensate for their lack of views with private pools.
Enjoy your complimentary welcome drink on your terrace or patio, and take the rest of the afternoon to relax and get to know the resort.
This morning, have your hotel arrange for a taxi to take you into St. George’s. Have a wander through the Market Square, busiest on Friday and Saturday, and make a brief stop in the Grenada National Museum. The artifacts displayed are mostly unimpressive, but the visit is worthwhile to read about the island’s indigenous inhabitants, the Kalinago, and before them, an Amerindian group that migrated from South America. The museum is especially worthy if you plan on doing Day 4, below.
Have a casual harborside lunch at Sails, a short walk from the museum.
From the museum, walk back up Young Street, take a left at Grand Etang Road and head for Fort George, a historic hilltop fortress that also serves as police headquarters. The views from the ramparts over St. George’s are sensational, and it’s rather eerie to walk around the parts of the structure that stand in ruins. (If a cruise ship is in town, it may be necessary to enter on the west side of the fort.)
Walk back downhill and have a rich hot chocolate at the House of Chocolate on Young Street, or get a taxi along the Carenage, the street along the harbor, and return to your hotel.
Take the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax on the beach or by the pool.
Spend half a day visiting some of Grenada’s most impressive gardens. We arranged for a driver with Caribbean Horizons, who took us to three splendid gardens, all of which occupy historic estates. We visited Hyde Park Tropical Garden, Sunnyside Garden and the Tower Estate (read about our garden tour experience here), but note that the gardens available to tour vary depending on the day of the week.
Return to your resort for lunch and a leisurely afternoon.
Spend the better part of the day visiting some of the few remaining pieces of Grenada’s ancient heritage. Pause at the National Stadium, in front of which is a large sponge-shaped Amerindian work stone, and continue up the coast, passing through picturesque villages overlooking the sea.
Head up to the northern end of the island, where the Kalinago made their last stand against the French. Many of the survivors of the last battle cast themselves over the cliff, now known as Leapers’ Hill, rather than be consigned to a life of slavery.
South of this melancholy site are the Mt. Rich petroglyphs, incised into an immense egg-shaped boulder. It slid down into a ravine at some point, which makes it difficult to approach, but the petroglyphs are easy to see from the road (bring binoculars to get a closer look). (Read more about the rock art sites we visited.)
Nearby are two of Grenada’s top chocolate producers. Stop at either the Grenada Chocolate Company or the Belmont Estate. I recommend visiting both, since the tours contrast each other and don’t take very long. The Grenada Chocolate Company has a very small facility in which it’s possible to get up close to the machinery, but it gets its organic cocoa beans from growers elsewhere. Belmont Estate has a larger facility much more popular with tour groups, but it has a fascinating history.
Finally, if you have the interest, stop at the River Antoine distillery, Grenada’s only rum producer that makes use of locally grown sugar cane. The large waterwheel and the bubbling cauldrons of sugar cane juice make the factory look almost medieval. I would pass on trying the rum, which has too high a proof to taste of anything but alcohol. (Read our reviews of the artisanal food and drink tours we took while in Grenada.)
Return in the late afternoon to your hotel, well in time for cocktails before dinner.
A short drive from your resort is the island’s most accessible and popular waterfall, Annandale Falls. It can be crowded in season, but if you can avoid the cruise ship groups, it’s worth a visit. The short hike to the falls is easy, and a platform provides a fine view. Walk back along the upper trail, through tropical shade gardens.
At one of the island’s high points, it’s possible to get a good look at the Grand Etang, a large lake in the crater of an extinct volcano. For the best views, hike up to the Morne LaBaye Lookout, a six- or seven-minute walk up from the right side of the visitor center.
On the east side of the island is Grenada’s second-largest town, Grenville. Take a short tour of the Grenville nutmeg-processing station, which rarely sees large groups. I found it interesting to learn how nutmeg and mace were graded and prepared for consumers.
Not far from Grenville is Mt. Carmel Falls on the Marquis River. For a small fee, a guide will take you on the mostly easy path to the falls (at one point, it’s necessary to hop from stone to stone to cross the narrow river). The falls are larger and more dramatic than those at Annandale, and they are unspoiled by anything man-made.
Before returning to your resort, stop at La Sagesse Beach, bordered by bluffs covered with windblown forests.
Charter a private sailboat this morning through Savvy Tours or another reputable operator on the island. I loved our ship’s vintage-style details, including wood trim and candy-strip cushions.
We sailed along the coast to Grenada’s famous Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, which is shallow enough to be appreciated by snorkelers, and to Flamingo Bay, where we snorkeled for a blissful hour along the reef. (View the video of our sailing and snorkeling excursion.)
Back on board, our first mate supplied us with rum punch, which we sipped while reclining at the bow as we sailed back to port.
Return to your resort in time for a late lunch.
If you’ve done this itinerary in its entirety, you’ve certainly earned at least one day that’s entirely unplanned. Relax on the beach, have a spa treatment or enjoy a drink by the pool.
Your flight likely departs in the afternoon, making it possible to relish one more morning at your resort. Be sure to arrange access to the IAM Jet Centre at the airport, where you can await your departing flight in comfort.
Contact a travel advisor to book your custom itinerary. Fill out the form or call (630) 734-4610.