After months spent at home on the couch, everyone’s looking for a special way to celebrate the holidays this year. Escaping somewhere warm certainly feels like the best option, but with the many travel restrictions and safety concerns that currently exist, where should you go? Enter Grenada, a Caribbean island in the southernmost Caribbean with idyllic weather, unlimited outdoor adventure, and a detailed program for keeping travelers as safe as possible.
Not your typical Caribbean destination, Grenada is home to spice plantations, massive waterfalls, and rugged coastlines, in addition to the usual picture-perfect beaches. Here, you can witness how chocolate gets made, hike to a 70-foot cascade, or tube down gentle rapids, all before hitting the sand with a frozen cocktail basking in a brilliant sunset.
Thanks to its new Pure Safe Travels program, Grenada also helps ensure that travelers can get away without getting sick. Everyone arriving on the island must present a travel authorization certificate, a negative PCR test within three days of travel, plus proof of a minimum five-day reservation at an approved accommodation. And after four days, visitors can opt to get another PCR test and be allowed into the community with negative results. Travelers must also book from a list of Pure Safe Travel Accommodations approved by the Ministry of Health as well as wear a face mask, adhere to physical distancing, and use hand sanitizer regularly.
Below, we’ve rounded up even more reasons why Grenada should top your travel dream list this holiday season. Continue reading about what makes this island so special, then get busy planning your trip to paradise.
You can scuba dive around the largest wreck in the Caribbean
For a diving adventure unlike any other, take a guided trip with Dive Grenada to the Bianca C wreck, a former Italian cruise ship that sunk in Saint George’s Harbor in 1961. Nicknamed the “Titanic of the Caribbean,” it’s the largest wreck in all of the Caribbean, plus one of the most storied. Its most famous feature is its onboard swimming pool, but you can also look forward to seeing schools of Atlantic spadefish, eagle rays, and barracuda patrolling the deck.
You can swim under waterfalls
Located on Grenada’s west coast, Concord Falls are among the most impressive waterfalls on the island. There are three cascades in all, but one is especially easy to reach by car without any hiking. For something slightly more adventurous, head to the Royal Mount Carmel Waterfalls on Grenada’s east side. The island’s largest cascades, they plunge 70 feet into a pristine pool, and are accessed via a half-hour hike through a private plantation that grows local spices and tropical fruits.
You can hike through a rain forest
Located in Grenada’s mountainous, tropical interior, Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve is home to the island’s best hiking. Take a 15-minute stroll along the shores of Grand Etang Lake, which is actually the 36-acre crater of the extinct underwater volcano that formed the island about two million years ago, or take things up a notch with a hike to Seven Sisters Waterfalls for a dip. Along the way, you can expect to spot everything from frogs and birds to lizards, armadillos, and mona monkeys.
You can go tubing down rapids
Though it’s only three miles long, the Balthazar River is known to local Grenadians as “Great River” for its gentle rapids. Experience it for yourself on a morning or afternoon tubing tour with Adventure River Tubing. The trained guides will help you navigate the rough spots and arched stone bridges along the river, which cuts through a tropical rain forest of mango, palm, and bamboo trees, then serve you rum punch or a natural fruit drink while you swim in natural pools.
You can experience the original Spice Isle
Grenada is known as the Spice Isle for its many nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cacao farms. See one for yourself at Belmont Estate, a 300-year-old former spice plantation on the north of the island. Here, you can tour the cocoa processing facility to see how chocolate goes from bean to bar or walk through the tropical garden to learn about Grenada’s famous medicinal herbs. You can also explore the surrounding forests and fruit orchards by ATV, browse the heritage museum to get a feel for the plantation’s history, or visit attractions like the petting farm, goat dairy, farm shop, and top-notch restaurant, which serves authentic Grenadian cuisine like callaloo soup and homemade bergamot ice cream.
You can try exciting new foods
Unlike many Caribbean islands that have to ship in most of their food, Grenada grows everything, from fresh fruit and vegetables to a wide variety of spices. This bounty makes for an especially delicious cuisine, full of unusual flavors. For a true taste, head to Deyna’s Tasty Food, a small restaurant that caters mostly to locals, to try the national dish of oil down, which is cooked over an open fire and features breadfruit, callaloo, bananas, plantains, chicken, salted pig parts, coconut milk, and turmeric. For dessert, be sure to seek out a piece of black cake, which is only available during the Christmas season. Said to be a relative of British plum pudding, the dense treat is made with ground fruit soaked in cherry brandy, nuts, bitters, and fragrant island spices, making for a festive take on rum cake.
You can island hop to Carriacou
Just a 90-minute boat ride or 20-minute flight from Grenada sits the tiny sister island of Carriacou, which means “isle of reefs.” Take a day trip here to hike up to the island’s highest point, High North Peak, see an authentic wooden sloop being built, snorkel some of the diverse and extensive reefs (made all the more beautiful by ongoing conservation efforts), or explore the main town of Hillsborough, which is lined with colorful houses.
For the latest protocols on health & safety on Grenada, please visit www.puregrenada.com/travel-advisory.