The Best Things to Do in Grenada

Known as the Spice Island, Grenada literally blooms with enticing flavors. Nutmeg is the national calling card, but cinnamon, cloves and mace have also been grown here for centuries. (Some visitors swear you can smell the fragrant aromas the moment you touch land.) Formed by volcanic activity off the coast of what is now Venezuela, this Caribbean isle boasts pristine white-sand beaches along its shoreline, as well as fantastical black-sand strands. And the interior is robust with natural wonders—crystalline waterfalls, lush jungle flora and misty mountains—that are the makings of paradise. Unlike much of the Caribbean, Grenada has remained blissfully underdeveloped thanks in large part to its far-flung location and a rather tumultuous history that saw the rich land passed among colonial holders. This is a quiet island destination that is loud in its untouched offerings.

Grenada
For Grenada’s best hiking, head to the island’s mountainous interior, where well-marked trails radiate out from the tropical surrounds of Grand Etang National Park & Forest Preserve. Warm up with a 15-minute stroll along the shores of Grand Etang Lake, which is actually the 36-acre crater of an extinct volcano (swimming is unfortunately not allowed), or get down to business by hiking to the gorgeous cascades of Seven Sisters Waterfalls (where taking a dip is entirely welcomed). Frogs, birds, and lizards abound in this forested area, as do armadillos and mona monkeys, which were transported here during the 18th century via slave ships from Africa.
St Patrick's, Grenada
A 300-year-old former plantation in the north of Grenada, Belmont Estate houses one of the island’s prettiest restaurants. While it’s worth the drive here just to taste authentic Grenadian cuisine like callaloo soup and handmade bergamot ice cream, the estate also offers a range of fun activities. Take a tour of the cocoa processing facility to witness how chocolate goes from bean to bar; walk through the tropical garden and discover Grenada’s many medicinal herbs; explore the surrounding forests and fruit orchards on an ATV; or browse the heritage museum to learn the plantation’s history. Before heading home, be sure to also check out the goat dairy and petting farm, and grab some organic produce in the farm shop.
Mount Carmel, Grenada
Just south of Grenville, on Grenada’s east side, is where you’ll find the island’s largest waterfalls, which plunge into a pristine pool from 70 feet overhead. Though the Royal Mount Carmel Waterfalls are a sight to behold, part of the joy lies in getting there via an easy, half-hour hike through a private plantation, where local spices and tropical fruits grow in tidy rows. It’s easy enough to find the falls on your own from the gate, where you’ll be charged a small fee (less than USD$1) to enter the property, but consider engaging the services of a plantation guide, who can offer fascinating local insight into everything growing around you. Your reward at the end of your hike through the jungle will be the chance to swim and slide off natural rocks in the pool at the base of the falls.
Grenada
Though it was created to give the island’s other reefs a break, the Underwater Sculpture Park, located along Grenada’s west coast, is among the most moving artificial reef installations in the Caribbean. Here, both scuba divers and snorkelers can explore the underwater sculptures, including the impressive Vicissitudes—a grouping of life-size figures modeled after local children, all holding hands in a circle. Located in a relatively shallow, sandy part of the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, the statues are predominantly made from concrete and rebar and serve as a great base for attracting new coral life. Expect to see a variety of colorful fish as you fin past everything from The Lost Correspondent (a desk scene that nods to Grenada’s history with Cuba) to The Amerindian Petroglyphs (a set of 14 sculptures referencing indigenous art). If you’d rather go with a guide, turn to Grenada Seafaris, which hosts snorkeling trips to the park.
Gouyave, Grenada
If you’ve ever sprinkled nutmeg on eggnog or baked it into a holiday recipe, there’s a good chance it came from Grenada. After all, the Spice Island produces nearly a third of the world’s nutmeg supply, in addition to copious amounts of mace, ginger, cloves, and more. It’s fascinating to stop into the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station on Grenada’s west coast to breathe in the intoxicating scent of the island-grown spice and see it being processed and dried within a large building fronting the water. After a tour, you can shop for freshly ground nutmeg, nutmeg jam, and other spiced souvenirs in the on-site gift shop.
AFAR Journeys
More From AFAR