The country of Grenada consists of the main island of the same name along with two smaller ones. It is primarily known for growing spices, beautiful rainforests and ancient architecture. The beaches of Grenada are said to be among some of the more picturesque in the region, and the fact that they are largely undeveloped makes this country an excellent tourist destination.
Location and Geography
The islands that make up Grenada are located on the southern end of what is known as the Grenadines, a long chain of land masses in the Caribbean Sea. It sits slightly northeast of Venezuela and northwest of Trinidad and Tobago. This country is situated at 12° 7′ 0″ north latitude, and 61° 40′ 0″ west longitude. The main island resulted from an erupted volcano, which also created a crater that now houses an enormous lake.
Demographics and Culture
Grenada is a relatively small island nation, comprising only 133 square miles of territory and having a population of only around 110,000. The official language of this country is English; however, Grenadines speak their own dialect of it. Known as Grenadine Creole English, it is derived partly from Indian and African languages as well. A unique French dialect, Grenadine Creole French, is also spoken here. The currency used here is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
Weather and Climate
Grenada is a tropical paradise, with the average high temperature being around 82 degrees Fahrenheit year round. The average low temperature does not fluctuate much, as it is generally in the mid to low 70s. Most of the rain here falls between the months of June and December, with the other six months of the year being fairly dry ones. During the rainy season, precipitation falls on average 22 days out of each month. This country is also prone to hurricanes between the months of June through November.
Transportation in and Around
Two major airports service Grenada. On the main island, guests may arrive via Point Salines International Airport, while Lauriston Airport services the smaller island of Carriacou. Those who wish to travel from one island to the next can do so by water taxi, yacht or ferry. While inland, most tourists rely on taxis to get them from one point to another, although some rental car agencies do exist on the main island. Grenada is also a port of call for dozens of cruise ship liners, most of which embark at the capital city of St. George’s.
St. George’s is the capital city of Grenada, and is full of lush tropical gardens and British colonial architecture. Visitors here often flock to Mt. Qua Qua, a mountain that reaches nearly 2,400 feet high. Hiking a trail on this mountain will provide visitors with a spectacular view of Grand Etang Lake. Two churches, the Roman Catholic cathedral and Anglican Church both attract visitors, as does Fort George, a French fort that dates to 1705. Although this fort is now used by police, portions of it are nonetheless open to visitors.
Carriacou Island is actually the largest island in the Grenadines and contains the towns of Hillsborough, Harvey Vale, Winward and Le’sterre. It is a popular location for yacht charters, scuba diving and snorkeling. The Tobago Cays are a short distance from the shoreline, and are an excellent location for spotting sea turtle. The Carriacou Maroon and String Band Festival takes place in the spring each year and showcases local artists and their musical talent. This festival also has lots of dancers in authentic African costumes and ethnic cuisine as well.
The island of Petite Martinique is home to only 900 residents, many of whom make their living providing boating and fishing charters for tourists. Many people come here primarily for the seclusion and natural beauty of this tropical island. This location can be easily accessed from the main island or Carriacou via water taxi. Petite Martinique is also an excellent place to go hiking, and one of the more popular spots is the Seven Sisters Falls area. Tour guides are available to guide guests through the rugged terrain surrounding these dynamic falls, and will provide some history about the area for visitors as well. There are a few resorts on this island that offer deluxe accommodations in a private setting.
Grand Etang National Park
Named for the Grand Etang Lake, this park has many scenic locations for hiking, photography and bird watching. Some of the hiking takes place in close proximity to the lake. This national park is actually a nature preserve that includes a great deal of rainforest area. The visitor’s center offers a bit about the area’s history along with the chance to see some native monkeys up close. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant or bring a picnic lunch with them.
Since Grenada is a major producer of spices, part of its tourism includes visits to spice plantations and factories. A spice garden tour can last about half a day and includes a tasting of locally made jams and jellies. Tours of production facilities are educational in that they show visitors exactly how spices such as nutmeg are extracted. Some factories on the island use native spices to create herbal teas and personal care items, and tourists can learn how these products are made as well. Visitors on one of these tours can purchase freshly ground spices or related products to take home with them and enjoy. Many tour packages also include a complimentary transportation to and from local hotels.
River Antoine Rum Distillery
Like other nations in the Caribbean, Grenada is known for its rum production. The River Antoine Rum Distillery opens its doors for tours on a regular basis. This distillery is the oldest working one in the region, and is nostalgic in the fact that it operates with the use of a water wheel to crush the sugar cane. After touring the production facility, guests can sample some native rum as well.
For those who are looking for a tropical paradise that is romantic, private and secluded, Grenada can be the ideal destination. The locals here welcome visitors from around the world with exotic cuisine and a sense of hospitality that cannot be found anywhere else.