From the moment you step off the plane, you are greeted by the warm wafts of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in the air, and you know you are on the idyllic island of Grenada. It is known as the Isle of Spice, because there are more spices per square mile here than any other place in the world. It was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and was under rule by the French and British until it became independent in 1974. Yet, its rich colonial history has remained and influenced the culture and cuisine without the onset of overdevelopment. Unlike some of the developed neighboring islands, there are no hotels higher than a palm tree and the island is free of any large hotel chains or fast-food franchises, and life remains the same as it has been for years.
There are plenty of activities for the whole family to indulge in. For nature lovers, the Grand Etang National Park is situated in a rainforest with a multitude of waterfalls and white-water rafting areas, some of which are accessible by car and others can be accessed by experienced hikers. The highlight is the Grand Etang Lake in the center and also Lake Antoine, which was formed in the crater of an extinct volcano. For naturalists, make sure to visit Laura’s Herb & Spice Gardens located in St. David’s, which grows every herb that can be found on the island to cure just about every ailment known to man; even cancer can be combatted with the local Soursop juice, or diabetes can be reversed with cinnamon. For historians, step back in time to the 1800s at the River Antoine distillery, the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean that still makes rum in the same fashion as they did over 200 years ago. One of the best things about Grenada is the 40 secluded white sand beaches throughout the island that are all open to the public. Grand Anse has the widest and calmest stretch of beach and is home to some of the top hotels on the island.
Sail the high seas of the Caribbean and dip into the cool waters during a romantic sunset or take a snorkeling cruise around the Grenadine island with Savvy’s Sailing Adventures. As founder and captain, Danny is a wealth of knowledge on the high seas, and he also makes a killer rum punch made with fresh-squeezed tropical juices. Explore the mysterious and fascinating Mollinaire Underwater Sculpture Park as you swim alongside colorful tropical fish.
Where to Stay
For quiet luxury, visit the boutique Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club. Enjoy spectacular views from the hillside setting of these contemporary duplex villas complete with living rooms and kitchens that are decorated in different color palettes that represent the Caribbean, featuring local artwork from West Indies artists. To enjoy watersports, there is a private beach club available to guests and a beautiful pool. For more cozy accommodations, book a Cinnamon Suite with expansive views of the cerulean blue bay to St. Georges. The cheerful rooms reflect the colors of sand and sea awash in blues and beiges. These 500-square-foot luxuriously appointed aeries feature a couch and sitting area, a king bed and private balconies to enjoy the balmy island trade winds.
Grenada’s cuisine is like a melting pot of the different cultures that have at some point ruled this tiny country with a heavy influence in seafood and stews that layer different spices. Experience fine Grenadian cuisine at the onsite restaurant Savvy’s, which serves a mix of traditional West Indian and Caribbean cuisine with local seafood specialties and locally sourced ingredients from their own gardens or nearby farms. Enjoy beautiful views of the bay and twinkling lights of the city. For a romantic evening, book a private dinner under the stars on the beach as you dip your toes in the sand with the gentle lull of the bay and watch the sun set into the deep blue ocean.
Dine and “lime” (a popular Grenadian term that refers to hanging out or lounging) on the bay with the locals every Wednesday at the Dodgy Dock
when you can choose the catch of the day from the local fisherman and have it cooked in front of you. Linger a bit for some local beer or rum cocktails and jive to the live music in Grenada’s “city that doesn’t sleep,” where the festivities last until the wee hours of the morning.
How to Get There
The best way to travel to the Island of Spice is on a daily nonstop flight from JFK on JetBlue Airlines that will whisk you away to paradise.