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Grenada – The Spice of the Caribbean

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So many islands, so little time! The former is what the Caribbean has to offer—a wealth of stunning, historic, distinctive and unapologetically inimitable locales that each offer something for everyone.

Located in the Southern Caribbean, Grenada is known as “The Spice of the Caribbean.” It is actually part of the tri-island state—encompassing Grenada, Carriacou (pronounced Carry-a-coo) and Petite Martinique—often collectively referred to as the “Island of Spice.” From its jaw dropping white sand beaches to the picturesque mountains and lush botanical gardens, historic structures and warm and welcoming people, Grenada is a true Caribbean gem.

From occupation by the native South American Amerindian tribes, to settlement by the French in 1649, rule under by Britain and heavy African slave trade activities, Grenada and its sister islands have over the centuries become a true melting pot of cultures, languages, cuisines and customs. And although English is the official language, French-African Patois is spoken by the islanders as well.

Today, with a population right around 110,000 and spanning 120 square miles, Grenada is boutique in size yet offers an abundance of tourist attractions offering a unique look into the ecological, social, and political landscapes here.  Combine that with the pure warmth, charm and hospitality of the Grenadian people and you’ll see why Grenada is a Caribbean favorite.

To get your Grenadian wanderlust on the move, check out these exciting things to do, see and enjoy!

For an overview of the island’s history, start your exploration at the Grenada National Museum in St. George, the colorful capital city of Grenada. Built in the late 1700s and serving as both a warehouse and three different hotels, it is now the historic depository for exhibits and artifacts about the island’s inhabitants, the fishing and whaling industries and more.

An amazing 360-degree visual overview of the island is the highlight of a visit to Fort Frederick. Perched high atop one of the island’s verdant, undulating rolling mountain ridges, the Fort played an important role in Grenada’s early military defenses.

Grenada is also known for its beautiful waterfalls, among them Concord Waterfall—comprised of three waterfalls of different heights and features. The beauty of the trio is in part due to their setting bordering on the edge a forest reserve. Walk, hike or swim – it’s your choice in some of the clearest, untainted  water you’ll find anywhere. 

The spice trade, particularly nutmeg and mace, is vital to the island’s commerce and has always formed the backbone of its survival back in the day. To learn more about the trade and its integral processes be sure to visit the Dougaldston Estate.  Still active, the estate encompasses several of the original buildings called “Boucans,” with rails underneath that hold massive spice drying racks that can be pulled out for ripening the spices in the sun. The docents here detail every aspect of the various native grown and early 20th century imported spices on the island.

 

These include—in addition to nutmeg and mace—cocoa beans and pods, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, Tonka beans and more, each harvested and their components utilized in every way possible from culinary creations to and making household utensils.

As part of the spice tourism here, one of the most popular tours is of the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, one of Grenada’s largest nutmeg processing factories. Walking through the facility to see, touch and smell provides a real up-close-and-personal experience of the extremely labor-intensive process approximately 80 women engage in 12-hour plus shifts for a mere $14/day in earnings.

It’s a sobering understanding of the work that goes into its harvesting this delicious spice which most of us simply shake it from a container into our food. Tourism supports this trade through the entrance price ($1-$2) and by purchasing goods in the gift shop.

No Caribbean island visit would be complete without a rum tour! In Grenada, there’s the River Antoine Rum Distillery. Built in the 1800s and today privately-owned and operated, it is the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in Grenada as well as in the Caribbean.  Sampling the 152-proof (yowza!) rum still made with a 19th-century water wheel is among the highlights. 

Whether lodging in Grenada or only stopping for the day after arriving at the cruise port, be sure to take a tour (and maybe you’ll just stay!) at the spectacular Coyaba Beach Resort. Situated on the sandy shores of the island’s 2-1/2-mile long, world-famous Grand Anse Beach, Coyaba is a boutique Grenadian family-owned and operated accommodation providing the ultimate in beachfront luxury at every turn.

Coyaba’s spacious, upscale rooms are located amongst eight, two-story buildings facing the ocean and surrounding the outdoor pool and swim-up bar. Guests enjoy meals at their signature outdoor restaurant, and relax in their inviting bars, lounge and library. Kabanas is the resort spa and there is a fitness center, tennis courts and watersports center. But the focus here is on relaxation and rejuvenation under the Caribbean sun, coupled with the utmost in personal service and care.

There is so much more to Grenada than meets the eye, where its flavors really do extol the virtues of this Spice of the Caribbean!

For more information about Grenada, visit the Pure Grenada Tourism Website.

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