A Travel Guide to All the Best Things to Do in Grenada (Caribbean)
An Unspoiled Paradise
Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Grenada for the first time. Grenada and the Grenadines is a small trio of islands in the Caribbean, near the West Indies and quite far south nearer to South America than Florida. I spent a total of five days on the island, staying right on Grand Anse beach and filled the days with sun, sand and relaxation.
Things to Know Before You Go to Grenada
While researching for the trip, I didn’t find much out there. I’m not quite sure why Grenada doesn’t seem to receive much traffic but now having been, I wholeheartedly recommend it. The island is perfect for diving and sailing and has a national park/rainforestin the center of the big island so you get a great mix of both terrains. Most people seem to do a quick day stopover aboard a Caribbean cruise ship but I also noticed lots of British expats with homes on the island.
When to Visit Grenada
The steamy tropical climate is tempered by northeast trade winds for a year round balmy climate. I spoke to locals who recommended January to April as the driest and best time to visit (rainy season occurs from June to November). Though if you’re looking to experience a Caribbean party like no other, the raucous August Carnival is a brilliant time to be in Grenada.
Getting In to Grenada
We flew JetBlue into Maurice Bishop International airport (GND) and from there, took a local taxi to our hotel. All the airport taxis are government regulated and charge 40 ‘EC’ or eastern Caribbean dollars to Grand Anse (currently pegged to 2.6 USDs as of this post).
We didn’t feel the need to rent a car as we stayed right on Grand Anse and spent most of our time on the property or beach.
Getting Around Grenada
To get to and from Grand Anse to Saint George’s, we took the local minibus #1 which is a tight, bumpy but fun ride the local way for just a couple EC. Taxis for the same route are about $10-20 EC and air conditioned, but you’ll have to call in advance.
Where to Stay in Grenada
Grand Anse | The center of the hotel island is on Grand Anse beach and there are a number of prime resorts. We stayed at the Radisson Grenada. The hotel grounds were extensive, absolutely breathtaking and ideally located at the tip of the beach, closest to Saint Georges. Coyaba was the next resort over and had the EcoDive scuba shop on site.
Morne Rouge | Just south of Grand Anse this beach is secluded and quieter but equally gorgeous. Sandals La Source seemed to be the popular resort of choice on this strip of the coast.
The Best Things to Do in Grenada | 1 – 3 Day Itinerary
Day 1 | Arriving to Paradise on Grand Anse Beach
If you only have time for a short visit, stay on Grand Anse beach. It’s the center of the tourist infrastructure and all the major hotels are located on the beach strip. Our hotel, the Radisson Grand Anse, had some of the most beautiful palm trees, flowers and landscaping that I’ve ever seen and lots of waterfall pools, swim up pools, bridges and hammocks. Truly a paradise I didn’t want to leave! My full review of the property was covered in my earlier blog post here.
For the first day, we mainly relaxed at the beautiful property and tanned a bit on the beach. For dinner, we walked about 5 minutes on the main road to the local ‘Wall Street’ – there is a Caribbean Grill Master restaurant there that makes amazing jerk chicken and kebabs and sells Carib beer and ice cream smoothies!
My tip: ask for an ice cream milkshake combining chocolate (the local specialty is a rich dark chocolate) and nutmeg (one of the main spice exports). It’s delicious!!
Then we watched the sunset right on the beach. Perfect bliss!
Day 2 | Explore St. George
On your second day, leave the quiet bliss of your hotel for a visit to bustling harbor St. George. The capital is a great spot to have lunch and do a short walking tour to see the Carenage, fort, market and churches. Wear good walking shoes as it’s all built on a giant hill.
There’s a small mall near the cruise dock where you can pick up some souvenirs and inside is a delicious frozen fruit smoothie stand. Try the soursup smoothie if you’re adventurous (it is supposed to help fight cancer!)
From the Radisson (or any hotel on Grand Anse beach), it’s a short 15 minute drive into town.
My Tip: You can take a taxi but I thought it was more fun to hop on the crazy, loud and fun local minibuses (bus #1) to get to Saint George’s. They stop right outside the hotel on the main road every couple minutes.
Day 3 | Spice Tour around the Island
A drive around the island is quite fun with pit stops at the River Antoine rum factory (on the east coast) or Concord Falls (on the west coast). You can hire a tour company for half or full days, or simply negotiate with a taxi to drive you around.
I really enjoyed the island drive as you get to see how diverse and lush Grenada is – there’s mangos and banana trees on the side of the road, tiny pineapple shrubs and beautiful inland mansions and old shells of houses left from Hurricane Ivan.
We did a spice tour and visited the local nutmeg plant, which we found quite interesting as it’s all locally run and manually operated and learned about all of the island’s main agricultural exports.
My Tip: Stop by the Chocolate Museum in Saint George at the end of your tour to learn about the island’s most delicious dark chocolate export. There’s artisan chocolate pieces for sale and ice cream shakes as well. We bought a ton of chocolate bars to take home – my favorites are the salty-licious 71% dark chocolate and the nib-a-licious 60% dark bars!
What to Do in Grenada with 1 Week | Itinerary
With a week in Grenada, you have a lot more options. Diving, sailing, kayaking are fun water based activities or hop over to nearby islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique for more privacy! Follow the itineraries for days 1 through 3 above, then choose from the following for days 4 and 5:
… Go Scuba Diving
You definitely have to take advantage of the island’s pristine diving waters and spend a morning or two underneath the sea. We dove for three straight days with EcoDive visiting a number of different reefs and couldn’t get enough! We saw turtles, lots of local reef fish and the world’s only underwater sculpture park, all of which were a treat.
Monday through Friday seemed to be the touristy days, and frequent stops are made to the Underwater Marine Sculpture Park (the only one in the world!) where you can see sunken sculptures and local reef life intertwined. Advanced divers probably want to dive on the weekend, where the expats and locals take diving seriously and head to deeper waters. For my full diving experience, you can read my earlier post here.
… Hike the interior to see Waterfalls
A longer visit gives you the flexibility to check out Grenada’s interior where the Grand Etang volcanic lake and rainforest trails give a completely different vibe than the beach side exterior. We took a hike to see Seven Sisters waterfall which was a challenging uphill climb and also a second visit to Concord Falls, which is much more easily accessible by car. If you have time it’s fun to do both – Seven Sisters is more remote and feels like you’ve stumbled on a local hideout while Concord is a larger singular fall with some tourist infrastructure.
… Go Sailing
There are many charter options in Grenada available for hire and most opt for a one way cruise southward starting from St Lucia and ending in Grenada, in order to travel windward.
… Hope over to Carriacou Island and Petite Martinique
If you have a week or longer, budget some time to hop over to neighboring Carriacou island to explore for a couple days. The easiest way to is fly (flights are offered daily from the main island to Carriacou and Petite Martinique) but there are also daily ferry options and the slower mail boats, which can go to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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