BEST TIME TO GO: November through May
FUN FACT: A couple of miles north of Grenada, Kick ‘em Jenny is a live, underwater volcano
ENTRY DOCUMENTS: Valid passport
CURRENCY: Eastern Caribbean dollar
MUST-TRY LOCAL FOOD: Oil Down, a badly named but delicious stew featuring meats, breadfruit, and callaloo
BEST BUYS: Nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger at Market Square in St. George’s
Nobody ever accused Grenada of being a big island, but within its 100 sq. miles it manages to offer visitors both the bucolic scenery and quietude of the old Caribbean and the luxuries of the new. And for bonus points, the island smells good, for this is the Spice Island, a major producer of nutmeg (and mace, cinnamon, vanilla, and cocao), and those crunchy things that cover walkways are the fragrant husks of nutmeg.
Spice Island Beach Resort, a locally owned all-inclusive near the southwest point of the isle, offers posh rooms and suites, sports that range from golf and tennis to boating and bicycling, a spa with a well-trained staff, gourmet cuisine, swimming pools and a lovely stretch of beach on Grande Anse. The best value on the island? That might be Blue Horizon Garden Resort, just behind Spice Island, because each spacious suite includes a money-saving kitchenette (great for families), and guests may use Spice Island’s beach and even its non-motorized boats.
A good choice for people who really want to get away from it all is Bel Air Plantation on a hillside overlooking St. David’s Harbour. Calabash is a boutique hotel on the southwest side with casually elegant decor, excellent cuisine, and, despite its smallish beach, a good range of land and sea sporting activities.
Rent a car and drive into St. George’s, the capital, a charming hilltown with colonial homes, cobblestone streets splashed with bougainvillea, old Fort Frederick, and the Carenage, a waterfront street with restaurants and cafes. You’ll also see great churches that were battered by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and are still undergoing restorations.
Drive into the mountainous interior, too, most of which is farmland and protected forests. Tropical flowers lead the way to the Concord and Seven Sisters waterfalls, while Grand Etang National Park features a lake in an extinct volcano that attracts brilliant cardinals, scarlet tanagers, hawks and hummingbirds. Tour Dougaldston or the Mourne Fendu Plantation House, and, of course, inhale deeply, because what you smell is nutmeg.