Grenada and her sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique offer tourists the quintessential Caribbean experience: palm-fringed, white sand beaches; relaxed ocean-view bars and restaurants; vibrant carnivals and festivals; a pristine physical environment including lush rainforest bursting with rare flora and bird life. However, the island has a few surprises in store, too, such as seven black sand beaches on its east coast; near-tame Mona monkeys in Grand Etang National Park; and the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park.
Proudly independent since 1974, Grenada is the southern-most of the Windward Islands, with five flights each week from London Gatwick. The flight time is about nine hours and all three airlines – British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Monarch Airlines – offer economy and premium cabins.
Once in Grenada, visitors can see award-winning chocolate being made by hand at a cocoa plantation – and savour the results; taste rum produced in a water-powered distillery unchanged for centuries; and enjoy the freshest seafood at the island’s weekly food festival. Guests are always invited to celebrate with locals at the annual regattas and sailing festivals, and the exuberant Spicemas carnival in August is an excuse to party on – and on.
Wild monkeys chatter noisily in the rainforest tree tops across the island’s lush interior, as rare birds flit about in the tropical flora and the scent of wild flowers mingles on the breeze with spices including nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. Take a few deep breaths to savour the clean air.
Prepare to get wet in Grenada! Rivertube through a rainforest and skim round the coast on a RIB, then dive some of the 22 wrecks and reefs at over 50 sites, including the famous Bianca C wreck. For more gentle water sports, snorkel over the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park designed by Jason de Caires Taylor and now an artificial habitat for sea life with incredible coral additions to the original artworks. The icons are easily seen from the surface but divers can head down and have their holiday snaps taken by the Vicissitudes.
Dining out is easy, with restaurant choices from beachfront to harbourside, international celebrity chefs to local fare. Head to The Carenage in capital St George’s and try BB’s Crabback for lunch after exploring the Spice Market – chef Brian sources all his ingredients locally and uses a secret family recipe to create the most delicious red snapper dishes. Over on Grand Anse Beach, Jenny’s Place provides a romantic setting as the waves lap the deck – and there’s always a lively atmosphere at Dodgy Dock over at True Blue Bay. For something very special try Rhodes Restaurant at The Calabash – Gary Rhodes devises the menus and has trained the staff – and Le Phare Bleu, the only restaurant on a restored lightship in the Caribbean!
Many of the islands’ boutique hotels and resorts are locally-owned and managed to the highest standards, providing visitors with the warm welcome that Grenada is renowned for. Five-star properties include Mount Hartman Bay Estate – with its own helipad – and family-run Spice Island Beach Resort, super chic Laluna and the adult-only La Source. Most hotels are located in the south western corner of the island, but other options include Petite Anse on the northern coast – great views of The Grenadines – and Green Roof Inn on Carriacou, which offers garden cottages with hammocks.
Grenada and sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique bring to life dreams of a quintessential Caribbean paradise – all within very easy reach.
For tailormade holidays to Grenada, Silver Travel Advisor recommends Tropical Sky.