Tropical: Grenada

June 25, 2015

Looking for the perfect ingredients of a romantic getaway? Nestled in the Eastern Caribbean between the Windward Islands and Venezuela’s shores, Grenada is a tropical oasis with naturally beautiful surroundings including world-renowned beaches, crystal blue waters, waterfalls in the rainforests, and even a hint of nutmeg in the air.

Though small in terms of land area, the Spice Island offers a large number of unique things to do and see. Whether you like to wander the volcanic black sand beach at Mango Bay or lay in the white sands of Pink Gin Beach on the southwest shores of the island, there are many ways to relax in the midst of so much natural beauty.

Feeling a little more adventurous? Take a vigorous trek to the top of Mount Quq Qua and look down over the rainforest. Hike down into the forest reserve in the crater of the dormant Grand Etang volcano. Cool off in the picturesque pools of the Seven Sisters Falls, which looks like a scene straight out of the movies. Other notable falls to see are Annandale Waterfalls, Mount Carmel, Concord, and Tufton Hall. Dive into the clear waters of Moliniere Bay to see the world’s first underwater sculpture park. It is both beautiful in its artistry and its efforts to rejuvenate and conserve the local coral reefs. Divers can also discover diverse marine life and coral along walls and numerous shipwreck sites.

If you prefer to stay above the surface of the water, there are plenty of world-class sailing opportunities from Grenada’s marinas. Throughout the year you can watch the sailing festivals, regattas, and other races. If you are new to nautical navigation, you can charter a yacht and have a captain and crew guide your journey. More experienced sailors will enjoy the challenge of the open waters and wind conditions from gentle breezes to hefty gales.

Earning its nickname as the “Spice of the Caribbean”, even the air in Grenada has a sweet aroma from the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, cocoa, and wild coffee grown here. Grenada is one of the largest exporters of nutmeg in the world, second only to Indonesia. Take a scenic drive to visit Belmont Estate, a spice plantation that has been in operation since the 17th century. Learn about the rich flavors of the island and wander their gardens and goat farm; you might even be entertained by a monkey or two. Tour the Grenada Chocolate Company and see the process from growing sustainable, organic cocoa in the nutrient-filled volcanic soil to producing fine dark chocolate bars that are sold around the world (and yes, there are samples to taste test!) No Caribbean vacation is complete without a little rum, so make sure that the River Antoine Rum Distillery is marked off your list before you head home. Privately owned, it is the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean, having stayed true to many distilling practices since the 1800s.

Stroll through the charming capital city of St. George’s, lining the harbor and offering great shopping and dining experiences along its narrow streets. Take in the best view of the city and harbor from the top of Fort George, overlooking the colorful 18th century buildings topped with orange-tiled roofs. Learn some of the fort’s history and compare why its large cannons face out to sea, whereas the cannons at Fort Frederick face inland. Be sure to visit the bustling Market Square on Saturdays – it is the place to see and be seen. After dinner, walk some of the 2-mile long expanse of the white sand Grand Anse beach or slip into a nightclub.

If you visit the island during late July and early August, you might be able to catch their “Spicemas”. This Carnival festival features several days of pageantry with dancers and singers covered in oils and paint or dressed in brilliant costumes. Calypso, soca, and reggae music fills the air during parades and parties. Some dress up as “jab jab” (French for “devil”), covered in dark oil, wearing horns, and carrying torches, but it is a boisterous celebration, not frightening as it may first appear.

The weather always feels like paradise in Grenada, with average temperatures ranging from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and a breeze to keep you comfortable. The rainy season typically runs from June to December and hurricanes rarely hit this area. The island’s landscape is mostly untouched and her nationals try to protect its natural beauty with conservation and eco-tourism practices.

Grenada also feels like home with English-speaking, friendly people, though you may notice some nationals speaking with a local French-African dialect known as “patois”. US dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted for currency, as well as the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC). The tap water is safe to drink and bottled water is available for sale around the island.

Here are some of our tips for traveling to Grenada:

• You can connect to flights into Grenada through Miami, New York (JFK), and Atlanta. These flights tend to arrive later in the evening, so some travelers prefer to stay in a standard hotel the first night and transfer to their resort the next day to save on cost.

• You will likely need to bring an adapter to plug in your hair styling tools, electronics, and other devices. Grenada uses 220 volts at 50 cycles and usually British-style 3-prong plugs.

• To get a rental car in Grenada, you will need to acquire a Grenadian driving permit at the police station. Note that, having a history of British rule, they drive on the left side of road here and that not all roads are in the best condition. Private cars can be hired and public transportation is available if you prefer to leave the driving to someone else.

• Wearing swimwear is not permitted on the main roads or in bars, restaurants, and shops. You are also prohibited from wearing camouflage clothing, as a distinction between the local authorities and civilians.

We hope your visit to Grenada adds a little “spice” to your romance – enjoy!

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