So the Spice Isle Grenada is on your radar for a Caribbean holiday (great choice), but you’re not quite sure how to go beyond the Caribbean beach holiday scene?
Well, we’ve explored and can give you some ideas for planning a Grenada holiday. Grenada is surely the place for stunningly beautiful white and dark sand beaches for activities or just lazing about. But, there’s so much more to the island. It is unpretentious, unspoilt and the options for getting a real flavour for the authentic Grenada are quite a choice. Dive right in and be sure to add a few of these experiences when planning your Grenada holiday.
Tours of gardens
Laura’s Spice Garden was high on our list, where nutmegs shells lined the paths and our guide was a walking encyclopedia of everything leafy. It was a quite a lesson in how valuable plant life can be to our own health, with the bush medicine remedies reminding me of my own childhood in the Caribbean. Whether it’s flowers, spices or herbs, the fruits of Grenada’s rich fertile soil are plenty. Get up close on a tour of some of Grenada ‘s private gardens. The owners are the guides, and also the contributors of flowers to the island’s exhibit at the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show. With 11 Gold medals to show, they must all be doing lots of things right.
The north of Grenada
Head north to see the more rustic side of Grenada. Whether on day trips or with accommodation, it’s worth taking the time to explore. Petite Anse, an 11-room family owned hotel just at the tip of the island, is a good base for slowing your pace and taking in nature around. Heading north from St. George’s, the fishing village of Gouyave is the Friday night fish fry hotspot and hometown of Grenada’s Olympic Gold Medallist Kirani James. Head on then to Dougladston Estate for a step back in time in the 200 year old spice plantation and processing factory. It’s worth having a guide and taking the tour to really understand the significance of the factory to Grenada’s spice industry then and now.
Other must-dos include in Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate for a tour of the organic farm and see cocoa’s processing into chocolate; Dusquene Bay which is home to petroglyphs and popular with locals playing sports; Levera Beach where leatherback turtles nest, and the goat dairy (with its now popular chocolate cheese) and Grenada Chocolate factory in Belmont Estate. The area is ripe for choice.
Whether or not you are a rum drinker, if you are in the Caribbean, visiting a distillery is a must. The River Antoine distillery is somewhat of a fascination. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The rum is made exactly as it was 250 years ago, with the sugar cane being crushed by the water wheel (the oldest functioning one known), then the rest of the processing is all done by hand – the stirring of the juice in the boiling room, the transfer of liquid to fermentation tanks, and the hand-pumping from the tanks into bottles.
If you dare to do a taste test of the 75% rum, it’s a shock to the whole body, to say the least. But, it’s all about the experience. Our visit wasn’t so much about the taste of the rum, but more about how this operation still exists and succeeds in the 21st century. It’s truly authentic Grenada. If you’re interested in tasting other Grenadian and Caribbean rums, head to Rum Retreat in Gouyave for an expert session.
Whether its your love for the sea, music, culture or chocolate, you’re sure to find a festival to draw you to Grenada. The Pure Grenada Music Festival, which saw its first hosting in April with concerts around the island over five days, is the new ‘kid on the block’ with plans for 2017 well under way. The annual Chocolate Festival, in May, a celebration of Grenada cocoa and all things chocolate, is a learning, hands-on and fun experience which includes tours of cocoa farms, chocolate-making workshops and demonstrations.
So, when planning your Grenada holiday, think rustic, think authentic Grenada. There’s much more to enjoy than you imagine.