My family is from the Caribbean and we’ve been to many of the countries but one place I’ve never been is Grenada. Growing up around a lot of different Caribbean people, I was never really introduced to any Grenadians so when we arrived in the country I didn’t know exactly what to expect. If you’ve been to one island you pretty much can get the feel for what Caribbean island are like but I love how each one has something unique about them to offer. We learned so much about Grenada on the trip I wanted to share with you guys the beauty and uniqueness of this country.
On our first day we took a tour with Sun Hunters Grenada. My recommendation when traveling anywhere is to take a tour the first full day you are there so you can get a feel for the area. (And you can also find great places to shoot!) The tour we took was to Annandale Falls. We started out by the airport and drove dune-buggys around Grenada taking in the beautiful mountain and ocean views and driving through the local neighborhoods where we were met by waving locals. The end of the tour stops at Annandale Falls which is a small water fall that’s a very short walk from the road. Before walking into the falls, vendors sell locally made products and there is man with monkey you can take pictures with. (not sure if he’s always there, but it seemed like we was) We really loved the dune-buggy tour with Sun Hunters, especially Danny, he said he felt like he was in a video game.
This tour was an all day tour around many different parts of Grenada. If you want to really get a feel for the island this is the tour to take. We toured with Sheldon who was extremely informative about the island and let us stop multiple times to get out and take pictures. He transported us to and from the airport, took us to Grand Etang Nature Reserve, Belmont Farms, River Antoine Rum Distillery, Diamond Chocolate Factory, the Spice Market and to so many beautiful view points around the island.
You can get a tour with an itinerary or Sheldon can help cater places to see based on your preferences. We started out at the Spice Market in St. George. I really love going to markets when traveling abroad so we asked Sheldon if we could stop at one and he brought us here. Grenada is considered the Spice Isle of the Caribbean and exports many spices from their lands, nutmeg being one of the most popular ones. Here you can purchase, spices, fresh produce, jewelry, hats, souvenirs you name it. All from local vendors.
After that we drove up to the rainforest to the Nature Reserve which lies nestled on the crater of one of Grenda’s volcanos. The soil is very rich and they are able to plant and grow many different varieties of herbs and crops. My dream is to have my own garden and farm so I loved seeing all the growing fruits and vegetables. I really wish I could have taking some fresh produce home, but you know, customs….
After the nature reserve we headed to have lunch at Belmont Estate. Belmont Estate is on a plantation from 1700s where they still grow crops and farm animals. All the food is farm to table and taste so delicious and fresh. But let me take a second to talk about the chocolate. Belmont Farms has it’s own chocolate factory where they produce chocolate from cocoa beans grown on the premises. We got to see how chocolate is made from plant to final product and I even got to walk on the cocoa! I never really knew where chocolate really came from so I was fascinated by how they made it. If you go to the restaurant you HAVE to try the chocolate cake. It is seriously next level.
Our next stop was to River Rum Distillery where we saw how Grenada’s most popular rum brand makes their rum from start to end. I am a HUGE fan of sugar cane so I think this was my favorite part. (I’m still mad I forgot to ask for some sugar cane to try!) During our visit we got an extensive tour of the property and a walk through on how they make their rum. It’s crazy how labor intensive it is but also fascinating to see all the steps. They still use some of the originally machinery form the 1700’s, it’s crazy to think that it still works! We got a run through of the process from sugar cane to rum and how they make their rum 75% alcohol volume! Because it’s such a high alcohol content you can not fly with it so it stays on the island as a local favorite. Meaning you can only try it on the island of Grenada. Even though it is every strong, it still has a very delicious flavor to it and the best part is all the locals say it doesn’t give you a hangover! They offer a version that you can fly with that is 69% alcohol volume but all the locals prefer the 75% one. (They are hard core about their rum here much like other Caribbean islands)
We also headed to Diamond Chocolate factory, the makers of Jouvay Chocolate, last where we got a tour of how they make chocolate. They are Grenada’s largest outsource of chocolate.
For the first three nights on the island, we stayed at Maca Bana which is a very boutique hotel near the airport. The hotel gave us more air bnb vibes than a hotel. You get a whole villa to yourself with a lower and upper patio, hot tub, kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathrooms and even a laundry room. We stayed in the Cherry Villa which has two floors and really felt like staying in a home. There is one manager on duty but he is not there all day and night but they give you a cell phone to contact him if need be. One thing I didn’t realize about Grenada is that they have a UK electrical system so you will need to bring a converter. Our room had a few American outlets but we always bring A LOT of gadgets so I regretted not bringing my converter!
Maca Bana has 1 restaurant and is not walking distance to any other restaurants or markets so your really at the mercy of the Aquarium Restaurant if you didn’t opt to rent a car. They drive on the other side of the road so we definitely didn’t want to try our luck with that. The food at Aquarium restaurant is good though so it’s not a bad option, the only thing is that it’s not open on certain days and is sometimes closed for private events so in those cases you might have to call a taxi to go to another restraint or go to the market to buy food. As an American, you have to prepare yourself for customer service in other countries, its not always the same. This seemed to be the case at most places we eat. The food can take over an hour to be served to you, the waiters and cooks take there time and there is a more relaxed feel to how they serve. I try to check myself as an American when I travel but sometimes you don’t want to sit hours at a table just to eat a quick meal. So when planning dinner, make sure you give yourself at least 3 hours before scheduling anything else to do before or after. Aquarium Restaurant was also cool because they have grill Sundays where they have many options for food on the grill, live music and a bonfire dinner. It’s definitely worth dining at if you visit the island.
Maca Bana is a quick walk down a hill to the beach and they have a beautiful view of St George and the ocean from the top of the hill. We did have issues with the water pressure the first day where we barely were able to take a decent shower and we were jumped on by the owners big dog on the premises but they did their best to rectify the situation and we had water pressure the next evening. Maca Bana felt like the perfect spot for a group of friends or a large family to travel so you can have your own villa and cook your own food and have a bit more of freedom that air bnb’s provide. But if you are looking for 24 hour concierge and room service this is not the place. It’s also not as close to St George so if you want to go into the city or see anything else besides the beach you have to drive or take a taxi.
Our last two nights we stayed at Mt Cinnamon which is a newer hotel on the island built on a hill. This was more our style when it came to traveling as they had a 24 hour concierge and more places nearby you could walk to an explore. They have two restaurants on the premises one in the hotel and one down at the beach and a cute pool with a mini waterfall if you don’t feel like beaching it. Walking up from the lobby we were in awe of how beautiful the hotel was, it also had a boutique vibe but it was very polished and well designed. Our room had the most amazing view of the beach and you could hear the ocean from the patio. It was so nice siting up there listening to the waves crash against the shore. Mt Cinnamon is also made up of villas. We had a more a traditional suite with a bed, small living area, patio and bathroom.
We stayed in Cinnamons Suites. The hilly terrain along with beautifully landscaped property made for the most beautiful premises. It felt like the Villas were all tucked away and everyone had a great level of privacy. There is a path that leads right down to the beach where you can lounge and partake in water activities. There is also a bar and restaurant down there. You can even play cricket, volleyball, or chess on a oversized chess board. There is also a gym on the property and an area by the beach dedicated to yoga. We didn’t have time for yoga but I would have loved to Namaste with the sound of the ocean waves in the background. It looked so peaceful. We did get to lounge by the beach for a little on our last day and that was so relaxing and necessary after a jam packed trip.
The manager told us there are still developing the property so I can’t imagine what they will be adding as the hotel is already very beautiful. They offer limited room service where they will deliver different varieties of pizzas to your room but both pizza delivery and the restaurants close at 9:30. So no midnight snacking unless you want to venture out. There are other food places, variety stores, and a mall walking distance from the hotel so you have more options to venture on foot. If you want more of a hotel vibe with concierge this would be our recommendation.
Things That Surprised me About Grenada:
- It’s pretty far south, only 90 miles from Venezuela!
- They have volcanos, one is underground.
- It is the Spice Isle of the Caribbean and offers so many freshly grown spices. Nutmeg is one of their most popular ones and they put it in many different things. We tried nutmeg ice cream and nutmeg maple syrup, both were delicious.
- They only recently got their independence. They became an independent country in the 70s.
- They were colonized by the French and use to peak similar creole to Haitians but when the British took over they forbade them from speaking it so they lost the language.
- Despite that, some of the words they still use are from creole which I thought was interesting. Like they call conche “lambie” which is how you say it in creole.
- They have a black sand beach. I’ve still been itching to go tot a black sand beach since Hawaii but sadly didn’t make it to this one either but it’s so cool they have one. We will have to go next time!
- All the Grandians have a deep pride in their country and it’s nice to see their camaraderie.
- The island seems to be doing really well economically compared to other Caribbean islands. You don’t really see people living on the street or begging. Honestly I see way more homeless people in LA then I saw in Grenada. It really seems like the country takes care of their people and it shows in their attitudes and how they carry themselves. It seems like a great country to live in. We even met a local who was going to school abroad but knew she would for sure stay in Grenada after school to work and live.
Overall, we loved our stay in Grenada. If you’re looking for a Caribbean getaway this is great one because it has a nice balance of exploration and relaxation. There is a lot to see on this small island and there are a lot of beautiful views to relax and take in. I’ve been to other islands where there is not much outside of the resorts and Grenada is not one of them. There is plenty to do and see and it’s very safe to move about the country.
A big thank you to the Grenada Tourism authority and Select Yachts for making this trip happen. We will now have a special spot in our hearts for Grenada.