Like many smaller islands of the Caribbean, Grenada is enjoying a new moment in the world of travel. A long time haven for couples on holiday, adventure and nature lovers, business travelers and seekers of higher education with a world reknowed medical and veterinary university, the renewed popularity of Grenada’s legendary Spice Mas to include it’s electric Monday Night Mas and Jab Jab/Devil Mas J’ourvet has contributed to a new generation of travelers to the island and interest in exploring it outside of carnival. So when it came time for my travel bestie and I to take a quick break from the chatter of 2016’s Fall election season, all roads led to the Spice Isle and we quickly found out that it’s possibly one of the best places in the world for a low-key weekend to do absolutely nothing but salute the sun, indulge in some good eats and take in some views.
Where To Stay
As mentioned, if you are in love and are looking for a place to get married or just got married, Grenada is a wonderful locale with it’s world-famous Grande Anse and Morne Rouge beaches to serve as your backdrop. Naturally, many of the hotels along the beach also cater to this clientele such as Sandals LaSource, Spice Island Beach Resort, Coyaba Beach Resort and the island’s luxury haven—Laluna Resort Grenada, a celebrity favorite. But for two friends who have no intention of marrying each other and every intention of being lazy in bikinis, the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort was the clear winner.
Aside from it’s beach-front access, The Radisson’s modern rooms, two main pools (complete with a waterfall), central “town” location, breakfast service and amenities like it’s fitness center and wireless internet made for a great stay. As we migrated from laying on the beach to laying by the pool after a morning filling up on omelettes, bake and saltfish and pancakes with nutmeg syrup, we realized that the key benefit of The Radisson lies within it’s ability to give you everything you need, but not so much that you don’t want to leave and explore the beauty of the island. And if you’re an outdoor runner that likes to explore while also burning some calories, it’s position along the Grand Anse Main Road will offer you about 3 miles of beach and hill views to keep you going from the hotel to the next main part of town and back.
What To Do
For the nature lover, Grenada should definitely be a bucket-list destination for it’s endless hills, volcanic mountains and lush jungle terrain that give the island it’s other endeared nickname, “Greenz.” My bestie and I are definitely nature lovers, but we love food more. Specifically, we love cooking and eating fresh ingredients and spices. So our mission was simple: to see the spice that gave Grenada it’s “Spice Isle” reputation and bring some home for our own families to indulge in.
Our first stop was the Belmont Estate, the island’s premier destination for those looking for a glimpse into Grenada’s agricultural past, present and future. Though known for it’s nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and mace, Belmont’s main focus is now the growth, cultivation and export of cocoa and chocolate through it’s partnership with the Grenada Chocolate Company. While there, you can see cocoa plantations and get an authentic look at it’s harvesting process as Belmont’s workers are all around you working to make some of the best “bean to bar” chocolate I’ve tasted. There is also a chocolate shop on the premises that allows visitors to taste all of it’s products and take some home, plus a restaurant that offers high views of the land while taking a rest for lunch. In all, its a great experience but the real winner of Belmont Estate is in the journey to get there from St. George’s. As a seasoned “left hand traffic” driver, I was used to navigating Grenada’s narrow roads and laissez faire views of traffic, but nothing prepared me for the drive to Belmont Estate and navigating Grenada’s steep hills and mountains in the interior. On the drive to Belmont, our little SUV managed to climb over one of the island’s highest peaks at 1,190 feet in the air—twice. We also drove through a bevy of little towns, spice and produce stalls, and village communities and saw day-t0-day Grenadian life unfold before our eyes. Memorable, but definitely invest in a driver so you can focus on the amazing views along the way and not what gear your ride is in.
In addition to Belmont Estate, we also made time to visit St. George’s Market Square, the largest market in Grenada that comes alive on Fridays and Saturdays with local farmers and vendors selling all types of produce, seafood, spices, home goods and more. Though worn down a bit, Market Square is where one can experience the true side of Grenada as everyone is there to stock up for their homes and see friends. Take your camera to capture all the action, but definitely ask before snapping. Depending on the time of your visit to Market Square, the main city of St. George is also there for you to see on foot, with the Carenage offering a firsthand view of Grenada’s fishing culture, along with it’s main shipping hub. Dotted along the Carnage and it’s connecting streets, you will find all types of shops, bars and restaurants and specialty stores that reflect the islands culture and history, such as the House of Chocolate Grenada, which houses a small museum, cafe and shop dedicated to the islands cocoa history and industry.
If you’re looking to indulge in your explorer side, make time to pay a visit to the forts of the island, Fort George, Fort Frederick and Fort Matthew. While Fort Frederick and Fort Matthew offers plenty of history and views of the island’s mountains and a far coast, Fort George’s location above the Carenage of St. George offers views of the main city, the full carenage and St. George’s Bay. Either way, be prepared to climb centuries-old stone stairs and take a step back into the island’s colonial history.
Where To Eat
Want to see the myriad of ways one can incorporate nutmeg and chocolate into any dish? Dine in Grenada. Start at the legendary BB’s Crabback where their crab back appetizer, Meaty Mia dish and rum punches with fresh nutmeg will have you coming back the next day like we did. For a lazy lunch with a view, head to Morne Rouge and claim a table at Sangria where (obviously) the sangria and tapas will take you from day to night. And if you find yourself on Grand Anse beach and want a good snack and even better drinks, Umbrellas is the fun choice where shoes are optional and cocktails in the water are totally normal.
On Friday nights, many head to the fishing town of Gouyave for their evening fish fry, where some of the region’s best cooks offer fresh grilled lobster, fish and seafood prepared all kinds of ways. Though not as much as a large social scene as Barbados’ Oistins of Nassau’s Fish Fry, Gouyave is the perfect place to experience the island through a truly local lens—it’s food.
When you are done eating your way around, definitely make stop at a local grocery store and stock up on cocoa ball, pepper sauce, nutmeg syrup, green sauce and other local specialties that you can get for half the price than what you will find at the airport.
In all, Grenada was made for the lazy wanderer in all of us as you could easily waste a day at the beach or exploring local goods and still not feel as if you are missing anything as the entire island moves at it’s own pace and style. Use this quick weekend guide to discover it for yourself. Travel Well, #TravelFly!
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