Read to discover why Grenada is known as the Spice Island
The small island nation of Grenada is a hidden gem for a laidback Caribbean holiday with a bit of kick.
Grenada is made up of eight small satellite islands and one main island, known as the Spice Island. The reason for this name is simple: the country is a major producer and exporter of spices. When the value of sugarcane dipped in the 18th century, King George III’s botanical advisor decided the best boost for Grenada’s economy, which was under British colonial rule, was to grow spice. To this day, the most popular export in Grenada is Britain’s favourite pudding spice: nutmeg, and you’ll even find the nutmeg seed depicted in Grenada’s national flag.
You’ll find many spices growing in Grenada, including nutmeg’s close relation - mace, as well as cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, turmeric, bay leaves, ginger and pepper. Spices are liberally used in the island’s pungent cuisine, both in sweet and savoury dishes. The national dish is a flavourful stew known as oil down, which includes breadfruit, salted meat, coconut milk, and turmeric.
You might also like to try Grenadian Spice Cake, which is packed with local nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Get your hands on Grenada’s famous Morne Délice Nutmeg Syrup, a natural sauce made from the nutmeg fruit. It can be used over ice cream, pancakes, and even barbecue chicken. Cocoa is also produced in Grenada, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to tuck into organic and handcrafted chocolate around Spice Island. Why not enjoy a spice or chocolate tasting tour during your holiday? Belmont Estate offers tours of its authentic 17th century plantation, where you can delve into the organic farm, gardens, heritage museum, and cocoa processing facilities. There's even a goat dairy farm, petting farm, a traditional Grenadian restaurant and a craft cooperative that showcases local artisans. Spices and chocolate aside, Grenada is your typical Caribbean paradise, with incredible beaches and plenty of sunshine.
When to visit
The best time to visit Grenada is from January to April, however there are plenty of reasons to travel to Grenada during the low season too, which is typically between June and November. Firstly, you can benefit from much lower prices while still enjoying high temperatures. When the rains do come, they last for only a short time and dry up quickly. Another reason is you’ll get to witness the amazing turtle hatching, which takes place on Grenada’s beaches at the end of June and July.
For spice fans, you can experience the famous Spicemas Festival, Grenada’s famous carnival, which takes place at the end of July to early August each year and offers parades, steel pan orchestras and musical soca competitions (which is considered the soul of calypso).
Where to stay
L'anse aux Epines
L'anse aux Epines is located at the southernmost point of Spice Island, and is a secluded and privileged spot just a 10 minute drive from the capital, St George. It’s the perfect place for you to enjoy Grenada’s weekly Gouyave Fish Friday celebration, where you can enjoy live music and stalls. While hops don’t grow in Grenada, L'anse aux Epines still manages to boast a microbrewery, the West Indies Beer Co, which makes for a fun evening out. We do however recommend you stick to the mini-flutes to sample the beer as it can be surprisingly potent!
Stay at Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel on L'anse aux Epines beach. With a casual and relaxed atmosphere by day, Calabash becomes a dressy occasion in the evening as you tuck into delicious dinners at their renowned Rhodes Restaurant
Grand Anse Beach
For a livelier holiday, head to Grenada’s most famous beach, Grand Anse Beach, which boasts a wide array of watersports. With calm waters, it’s really easy to swim and snorkel right off the shore, and the vibrant coral in the waters is very much alive, making it a popular diving location.
If you want the main focus of your holiday to be watersports then the traditionally-styled low-rise Coyaba Beach Resort is ideal for you, as it boasts a five star PADI dive centre. From here, you can explore an incredible underwater sculpture park and no less than 10 shipwrecks. A few evenings a week, the resort boasts retro music and dance nights.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a truly premium home-from-home all-inclusive stay at Spice Island Beach Resort, which includes six course dinners, full bottle mini bars, and complimentary golf, tennis and bicycle use.
At the northern end of Grand Anse Beach is the contemporary, high-tech and minimalist Silversands Grenada. At 100 metres, the hotel boasts the longest swimming pool in the Caribbean, which is wonderfully edged by swaying palm trees and breezy cabanas. You’ll be just a few minutes' walk to the local Craft & Spice Market too.