Cruises to Grenada

If you are booked on a cruise sailing out of Port of St. George’s in Grenada, you will want to arrive a day or two early if possible to allow for possible flight delays and best of all to spend some time exploring the island.  Islands, really as Grenada is actually a three island state: Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique.  Grenada, or ‘the island of spice’ as it is sometimes known, is the largest of the three.

The three islands of Grenada are located in the Eastern Caribbean at the southern extremity of the Windward Islands, only 100 miles North of Venezuela. To the North lie St. Vincent and the Grenadines; to the South Trinidad and Tobago.

Grenada is the most southerly of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, and is a tiny point on most world maps with an area of only 133 square miles. Grenada has a population of about 100,000, and is 21 miles long and 12 miles wide. Grenada has a great deal to offer its visitors in terms of hiking, exploring, sailing, diving and much more.

Besides the country’s main namesake island, there are two tiny charmers: Carriacou and Petit Martinique, which are idyllic, isolated and intoxicating. And forget anything you heard about invasions or hurricanes, it’s all ancient history.

WHERE TO STAY

Grenada Grand Beach Resort is located right on Grand Anse Beach, a popular three mile long beach on the south-eastern part of the island.  It features a free-form swimming pool with two waterfalls and a swim up bar and restaurant.   It has been recently renovated and there is a conveniently  located grocery store just at the end of the driveway.

If you want to splurge for a night or two (after all, cruises are a very affordable way of travelling) opt for a room at the Spice Island Beach Resort.  Here you can enjoy top-notch dining, spa services and hotel rooms.  The locals refer to it as ‘the diamond’.  You can even book a room with your own private pool.

Close to the airport is the True Blue Bay Resort which is a little more eclectic with brightly painted room and unique furnishings in every room.    It has beautiful views of the harbor.

Maca Bana is a lovely collection of one- and two-bedroom villas in bright Caribbean colors set on a secluded cove in the south of Grenada. Romantic and comfortable but featuring all the modern conveniences that you might desire including a fantastic view from your private deck.  Here you can take art and cooking classes, relax with beauty treatments and massage therapy or rejuvenate with a yoga or pilates class.

THE LOCAL CUISINE

Grenada’s French colonists brought along their culture, as did the African slaves they brought across with them.  The combination of these cultures is what you will find on this island and that includes the cuisine.   A more recent Indian influence also plays a role.

The national dish, Oil Down, is a combination of breadfruit, coconut milk, turmeric, dumplings, taro leaves and a salted meat such as codfish, smoked herring or salt beef.

Like many other West Indian culinary traditions, the indigenous cuisine of Grenada is centered around fresh seafood, tubers like potatoes and manioc, and rice.  Most Grenadian preparations are laced with local spices such as bay leaves, nutmeg, capsicum, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

Grenada Wine, is in fact, grapeless. And certainly not the wine you are used to.  When in doubt, choose the local rum punches that are never in short supply.  Grenada uses its range of fruits to make some exotic ice-creams, including nutmeg, soursop and even avocado. Finally, if you hear of a mysterious drink called Bois Bande (pronounced as in bawbandy), beware of the quantities you drink. Made from the bark of a tree, it is touted as a natural Viagra. If you are not careful with quantities you could end up with longer lasting effects than you may wish.

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

If you are in town on a Friday night, head about 30 minutes up the coast from St. George to Gouyave for authentic local seafood dishes prepared right on the beach.    At the Fish Friday Festival you can try seafood pizza, Caribbean lobster with garlic sauce and fresh vegetables or “Shark and Bake” which is a piece of fresh fish wrapped in a batter and fried.  Is your mouth watering yet?

Umbrellas is a local bar and eatery right on the beach that features a tasty variety of finger foods to enjoy with your cocktails.

Garfield’s Bar is like hanging out in your neighbors’ garage, and just about as cheap.

BB’s Crabback is located downtown and has a great view of the port and one of the most delicious rum punches in town.  They also have a very interesting way of letting you know the food is done – the cook raps the kitchen door with a cricket bat!

If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to The Beach House for a romantic open-air setting featuring billowing yards of diaphanous white fabric.

Vastrabanken is a retired Swedish lighthouse ship.  Enjoy drinks on the deck above and then proceed to the dining room below to enjoy your prix fixe meal.  The food is spectacular and the setting is unmatched.

THINGS TO DO

If you find yourself in St. George on Saturday morning be sure not to miss the spice market in downtown.  A dizzying array of fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh whole spices provide an intoxicating experience for all of your senses.  Take home some spice necklaces for souvenirs – fishing line strung with an array of dried spices including whole nutmeg, bay leaves and turmeric.  Hang it in your kitchen to bring back to you fond memories of your trip every time you smell it.  Recycled cough syrup bottles and ketchup bottles hold pepper sauces, nutmeg infusions and vanilla.

First Impressions Catamaran Tours offers a variety of different tours including a snorkeling tour of the underwater sculpture gallery.  Artist Jason de Caires Taylor was commissioned to create artificial reefs after a hurricane caused massive damage to the natural ones.  He has recently added 14 new sculptures.

Aquanauts Grenada does a wonderful job of accommodating both snorkelers and divers within the same group.  Make sure to get a look at Bianca C, a 600’ large passenger ship that sank, for the second time, in Grenada in 1961. She never fails to amaze and impress.

Another popular site is situated at Moliniere point, which is only access able by boat. From the Grand Anse beach, it usually takes about 12 minutes to get there, and offers excellent snorkeling. The reef in this area comes to within 6 feet (2 meters) of the surface, and as it is in a sheltered location, where the water is usually quite calm and clear.

Kick ’em Jenny is the name of an active underwater volcano on the floor of the Caribbean Sea, about 8 km north of Grenada. The volcano’s first recorded eruption was in 1939 and the last in2001.  Today, there is a 5-km safety zone around the volcano to deter adventurous snorkelers and scuba divers.

If you are looking for the ultimate in privacy and don’t mind renting a vehicle with four wheel drive to get it, there are a host of other Grenada Beaches in Lance Aux Epines and St. David’s that can offer you the exact privacy that you desire.

There is also the option to take a scenic drive up the East coast of the island and in just about every bay along your way you will find your own private paradise.

River Antoine is Grenada’s oldest rum distillery and still produces rum using 17 and 18th century methods.  The rum is awful, but the process is fascinating!  Almost across the street is the organic spice plantation, Belmont Estate where they serve a beautiful lunch buffet where you can try authentic island foods and observe various steps of harvest.  Burlap sacks full of cocoa beans arrive on trucks to be hung and dried.  You will wonder how chocolate ever becomes the end product of what you see in those sacks!

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The weather is warm throughout the year with January to April being the driest months.

From mid-July to mid-August you can experience the Grenada Carnival which features numerous parades, music and singing competitions, the electing of a king and queen and then culminates in J’Ouvert which starts early on the last Monday morning of the festival.  100,000 people cover their bodies in Vaseline and then one of a variety of black substances and parade thru the streets all to the rhythm of loud music being pumped out of 8 feet tall speakers.  These Jab-Jabs, blackened with stale molasses, tar, grease, creosote or mud, and wearing little more than their horned helmets,  in previous times set out to terrify onlookers with their grotesque appearance and repulsive dances but now are mostly just celebrating.  Anyone is welcome to join in.

In late January and early February, Grenada is home to a huge regatta and work boat races.

AIRLINES SERVING GRENADA

From the U.S.

American Airlines offers non-stop flights from Miami to Grenada on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (returning direct from Grenada to Miami on Saturdays, Mondays, and Thursdays).

American Eagle and Liat Airlines fly non-stop to Grenada from San Juan. Air Tran and Jet Blue both offer discount service to San Juan from many US departure cities.

Caribbean Airlines and Delta Airlines offer direct service (seasonal schedules may apply) from JFK. Please check with the airlines for specifics.

Many US carriers offer reasonably priced flights to Bridgetown, Barbados, and Port of Spain, Trinidad. Liat Airlines has commuter service to Grenada from both Barbados and Trinidad. Caribbean Airlines has commuter service from Trinidad.

From Canada

Air Canada Vacations operates a seasonal direct flight from Toronto to Grenada (Sunday departure) with easy connections from major Canadian gateways . Air Canada operates daily flights from Toronto to Barbados, with connections on Caribbean Airlines operate regularly scheduled flights from Toronto to Barbados and Trinidad, also with connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours and Titan Tours operate seasonal charter services. West Jet operates flights year round from Toronto to Barbados, with connections on LIAT to Grenada.

From the UK

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Golden Caribbean – Monarch Airlines service Grenada with weekly direct flights from London’s Gatwick Airport.

From the Caribbean

LIAT Airlines provides connections into Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport from many Caribbean islands, along with connections to International flights from Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia and Trinidad.

Related Articles:

Planning Your Dream Vacation

Caribbean Island Cruise

Speak Your Mind

*