This week I thought it would be fitting to do another Go.See. Do. post in place of my usual #FunFactsFriday.
This one is extra special because it’s about a place I call home, Grenada. In commemoration of the tri-island state’s 42nd year of Independence today, February 7th, I’m going to tell you all the reasons why you should go for a visit, all the fun things to see and the amazing activities to do while on the island.
So if you’re ready for sunshine dreams, let’s go.
- Do a google search for the Spice Isle. Next check out as much as you can about this tropical gem. Here’s why:
- The 10th smallest country in the world with an area of only 133 square miles – 344 sq. Km(measuring 21 miles long and 12 miles wide), Grenada is the southern most of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, and is a tiny point on most world maps.
- Listed amongst the world’s Top 10 Nutmeg Producing Countries, hence it’s nickname as the Isle of Spice.
- The island has recently taken strides to reassert it’s place in the international agricultural arena after devastating blows to it’s banana exports due to natural disaster and pestilence, with a local apiary receiving the Medal of Ukraine, awarded to the best honey in the world outside of the British Isles;
- Formerly a British colony, this Commonwealth nation is home to lush vegetation, idyllic beaches, warm people and even better natural scenery, with a bursting tourism industry tied to the island’s vast ecosystems.
So what are you waiting for, start planning your next vacation. I’ll help you figure out the details for what to see and do while you’re there.
- The island’s many waterfalls – Take your pick from the list of breath taking sights and sounds amidst nature’s prettiest picture of greenery at Annandale, Concord, Mt. Carmel, Seven Sisters, or Tufton Hall Waterfalls, and if you’re a hiking enthusiast it will be well worth the trip!
- The island’s history with tours of the Carenage, a naturally occurring inlet, boarded by sturdy Georgian buildings overlooking the water – including the red-brick National Library at the north end; Forts George – the oldest fort established by the French in 1705. A plaque in the parade ground marks the spot where revolutionary leader Maurice Bishop was executed (a darker time in the nation’s history), Matthew and Frederick – also constructed by the French in 1779, and was ironically used soon after by the British to defend against the French.
- See the story of the nation’s people on display at The Grenada National Museum. Built in the late 1700s, and opened in 1976, the museum displays historical artifacts and exhibits related to the island including collections tied to slavery, first inhabitants, plantation economy, whaling and fishing archaeology and early transport and technology.
- On your way to the St. George’s Market Square – the largest in Grenada or the Carib’s Leap Exhibition, known to the locals as Leapers Hill, take a stroll (be sure to stick to the west side of the tunnel if you do) or drive through the historic Sendall Tunnel narrow 340-foot passageway named after the governor who comissioned it, former Governor Sir Walter Sendall.
- The many facets of the rich culture on display at the island’s many functional factories and estates, like: Belmont – home to the cocoa fermentary – or Westerhall Estates, River Antoine Rum Distillery – a privately owned distillery, built in the 1800’s, and the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery not only in Grenada, but throughout the Caribbean; The Grenada Sugar Factory, The Grenada Chocolate Company or The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station . Be sure to indulge in the many treats native to the people you may be offered on your visits.
- The locals’ flair for pageantry and poetry, dance, theatre and recreation, as witnessed at weekly activities at the National Museum including every 2nd Friday, or at a steel pan exhibition at your hotel, or during the Carnival season if you’re on the island during the festival season. Experience more local talent at the Grenada Drum Festival, St. Mark’s Day Festival, Pure Grenada Music Festival or the Grenada Chocolate Festival.
- The Rome Museum; an exhibit of Grenadian relics including but not limited to a mud earth oven, handmade cane juice extractor and copper slate; and The West Indies Cricket Heritage Center, the first of it’s kind to pay homage to the regional team for one of it’s oldest pastimes.
- The view from atop Mt. St. Catherine (the island’s highest summit) – be warned if you’re not wild about nature or cardio -you’re in for a trek, but one that is so worth it.
- The aquatic life and corals at the Underwater Sculpture Park in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area.
- The Bianca C wreckage, known as the ‘Titanic of the Caribbean’, a must-see for Scuba Diving enthusiasts.
- Take a round the island bus tour or if you enjoy being on the water, an island excursion aboard vessels from Footloose or Horizon Yacht Charters, or First Impressions for day tours.
- Get a massage at Heaven and Earth Spa, Janissa’s Spa, La Heliconia Spa or the highly acclaimed Laluna Spa & Wellness Center, or unwind at the natural Sulphur Springs;
- Get centered at the Fountain of Youth Yoga Studio;
- Indulge in island cuisine at any of the island’s top restaurants such as Aquarium Beach Club & Restaurant, Arawakabana, Beach House Restaurant, Le Phare Bleu – The Light Ship & The Rhodes Restaurant, to name a few.
- Visit the islands many eco sites – Grand Etang Lake and National Park & Forest Reserve; a natural water filled crater of one of Grenada’s extinct volcanoes and home to rich diversity of flora and fauna, including treasures like to Mona monkey; Lake Antoine, Levera National Park, The Spice Island Wildlife Sanctuary and Petting Zoo and the Mt. Hartman Dove Sanctuary, home to the island’s national bird, and gardens –De La Grenade Nutmeg Garden and Hyde Park Tropical Garden.
- Dive among the reefs (Boss and Grand Mal) and multi-colored fish at Flamingo Bay and Fisherman’s Paradise.
- Get active – hike any of the island’s many trails, get scuba certified – services available from EcoDive, Dive Grenada, Native Spirit Scuba -to name a few, go kayaking, river-tubing or learn to sail at the Sailing School Grenada.
- Island hop along the Grenadines and visit the sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Accessible via a short flight or ferry ride you would many exciting events (especially at this time of year, Carnival- or in the later summer months, Maroon & Music Festival, Parang Festival and Regatta). While there be sure to check dive spots like Sharkdorm, Anse La Roche, Cistern Point and the many wrecks off the coast of Carriacou. Also be sure not to miss day trips to White Island, or Sandy Island, or spend your day at Paradise or White Sand Beach. If you’re history a buff (much like the hubs and I) stop by the Carriacou Museum to checkout Amerindian artifacts as well as exhibits tracing the early British and French occupation of the islands.
- Enjoy the nightlife with some dancing at Bananas or Fantazia 2000, maybe some drinks at The Grenada Yacht Club, The Edge Bar & Restaurant, The Junction Bar & Grill, Dodgy Dock Lounge Bar, Clarks Court Cave or karaoke at The Owl.
- Be one with nature as you watch leather back turtles lay their eggs or their hatchlings make their way to the ocean at Levera Bay or the Petite Anse Beach or bet on crab racing at the Flamboyant Hotel.
- Overindulge on fruit, fresh seafood, oildown – the national dish a mishmash of local ingredients created after Hurricane Janet – one of the few hurricanes to hit the island, and copious amounts of local rum and chocolate.
- Take a lesson in island cuisine with chef, Brian Benjamin of BB’s Crabback Caribbean Restaurant in all of the island’s local ingredients while cooking in the restaurant’s tiny kitchen. Or have a lesson in your en suite kitchenette at resorts like Maca Bana Luxury Boutique Resort.
- Stop at these local shops; Arawak Islands (local soaps, spices,etc.), Shabazz Jewelry, Big Bamboo, Ganzee (quality tees), La Grenade Industries or Spice Basket – for nutmeg, guava jams and jellies, spices, gift baskets.etc.; or the Duty Free boutiques around the island for goodies for your loved ones back at home and memorabilia to help you immortalize your stay.
- Have an amazing vacation, enjoy lots of sun and the white and black sand beaches of Black Bay, Grand Anse, Bathway or Magazine Beach.
- Make lots of memories, have lots of laughs, take lots of pictures, tell a friend and visit again.
If you’re looking for a more in depth history of the island, check out last year’s Independence post, Somewhere in The Blue Caribbean Sea. I’m sure you’re bound to like what you see.
Hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next romantic getaway or family vacation, as there’s something for everyone.
Happy Independence Grenada, may you stay warm and beautiful.
Hugs and Sunshine,
Images and Sources: Grenada Explorer, Grenada Tourism Authority.