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February 22, 2021

Things to do Ashore While in Grenada

Grenada is a charming tropical island nation in the southernmost Lesser Antilles that shuns
glitz and glamour in favor of friendliness and flavor. The region known as the “Spice Isles” is
meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and is tantalizing to all of the senses from the first
moment you breathe in the aromas of spices growing nearby. From the main island of Grenada
to the smaller inhabited Grenadian Islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique to the North, once
you step ashore, you will feel the welcoming slow-paced island vibe of this eastern Caribbean
yachting center.

A great place to begin your exploration of Grenada is in the capital port city of St George’s
overlooking one of the most beautiful harbors in the region. The Caribbean-Georgian inspired
architecture is the initial attraction, with colorful brick buildings lining the waterfront and
trickling up the hillsides. Sip a coconut water as you stroll along the boat-lined waterfront
known as the Carenage and check out the shops, cafes, and local fisher folks boarding their
vessels for trips out to sea. If you happen to be in St. George’s on a weekend, a visit to the
aromatic Market Square is in order. Here you will find artisan crafts, fresh produce and the ever
present spices.

After your shopping adventure, head up the hills to Fort George and take in the panoramic view
of the harbor town and Grand Anse Beach in the distance. Fort George is the island’s oldest
fort and was also the site of an execution during the most recent military dissension of the early
1980s, which led to an invasion by the United States military. Grenadians who are old enough
to remember the unrest still talk about it with great emotion. Take a tour of the structures and
300 year-old cannons then head into the Sendall Tunnel, a narrow corridor cut into the slope
that leads you down to the National Museum where you can learn more about the history and
diverse ecology of Grenada.

After learning about how Grenada became a prolific spice and chocolate producer, head to the
House of Chocolate for a whiff of handmade chocolate confections, a cup of cocoa tea and a
tour of the facility where you will learn more about making chocolate. If you are inspired by this
shop along the Carenage, there are several more destinations where you may investigate the
culinary wonders of Grenada.

For a deeper delve into chocolate-making, visit Juovay Chocolates at the Diamond Estates
Chocolate Factory located on the northwestern side of the island in Victoria, St. Marks. Take a
tour and tasting of the working factory located in an historic converted rum distillery followed
by a self-guided walk through the organic cocoa and spice farm. If they are around, you are
able to interact with the cocoa farmers whose crop, according to National Geographic, goes
into some of the world’s best chocolates.

Less than four miles to the South, the scent of the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station draws
you to yet another memorable agro-tour. Here, you will learn how nutmeg is grown, gathered,
dried, processed and prepared for export. This remarkable facility displays workers sorting the
pods by hand, grading the nutmegs and then stenciling and packaging the spice. At the end of
this pungently provocative experience, head into Nutmeg World for spice inspired souvenirs
that you can take home in a personally stenciled jute spice sack.

Continue learning about the history and culinary wonders of this lush island with a visit to the
historic River Antoine Rum Distillery located in the northeastern corner of Grenada. This is a
nostalgic look at rum production and is worth the visit even if you are not a rum connoisseur.
From the waterwheel generated power, to the feeding of raw cane sugar into a grinder, this venerable distillery demonstrates the entire process up through the bottling, labeling, and
boxing of their rum.

After visiting these culinary destinations, if you have worked up an appetite, head a couple of
miles inland to Belmont Estate. Yet another of the islands chocolatiers and spice producers,
this plantation provides tours but it is most noted for its authentic Grenadian buffet, made with
ingredients sourced from the estate. Here you can sample Oil Down, the national dish of
Grenada, as well as many other noted dishes while listening to local music.

Having satisfied your palate, you can venture a little farther south to the Grand Etang National
Park and Forest Reserve and hike through the rainforest among the giant mahogany trees
overlooking Grand Etang Lake. Observe the magnificent birds and native animal species like
the mona monkeys and prehistoric armadillos. If you are up for a more strenuous hike, walk
about one and a quarter miles north of the visitors center to the trail leading to Seven Sisters
Falls and then reward yourself by cooling off in the pool at the base of the falls.

If you are up for a more energetic and exiting activity, head to the Balthazar River and grab an
innertube for a guided run down the rapids of this Grand River. As you surge along the
currents, you will be enveloped by exotic flora and local fauna of this magical island. At the end
of your run, you will be served a well-earned rum punch or a cup of fresh local juice before
heading off to your next destination.

Another exciting activity in the waters of Grenada involves a trip back to the western coast just north of St. George’s in Moilinere Bay. Snorkel among the ring of sponge-covered, hand- holding statues and the more than seventy other sculptures in the Underwater Sculpture Park.

If you are Open Water certified, scuba diving brings you closer to the magnificent sites and
ubiquitous parrot fish, but a guided snorkeling tour through one of National Geographic’s 25
wonders of the world is also a wonderful experience. You can also enjoy the Sculpture Park
above the water in a glass bottomed kayak.

For a more relaxing scenic activity, continue south and enjoy an afternoon on the two-mile long
Grand Anse Beach, one of the most popular of the many beaches in Grenada. This beach is
the closet thing to a resort area on the island and is a great place to swim, snorkel, people
watch or gather souvenirs from the waterfront market. Also along the southwestern coastline is
La Sagesse Nature Center, a wonderful bird-watching site and hiking area.Tour the nature
center, then take-in the tropical plants, animals, and a beautiful beach set among a quiet
estuary that was once a royal-owned plantation.

There is so much to do on the large island of Grenada; however, the activities you will find as
you go ashore on the other inhabited islands of Grenada are more remote and reminiscent of
the Caribbean of old. On Carriacou, learn about the historic boatbuilding “industry” in the
village of Windward. Visit one of the secluded beaches like Anse La Roche or Petit Carenage,
or stroll through the main town of Hillsborough. While in town, visit the Carriacou Museum,
stop into a local shop or grab a rum punch at one of the cafes. For a truly unique and high
quality remembrance look for a Fidel Production, a cooperative of local artisans who create art
for hand-printed clothing and handcraft soaps, lotions and jewelry. You can find these items at
the museum gift shop or a larger selection at their shop in a storage container at Paradise
Beach. Additionally, there are many interesting festivals on Carriacou so if you are there during
one of these events, you should definitely join in on the traditions.

On the smaller pristine island of Petit Martinique, there are beguiling beaches, guiding hiking,
cave exploring and a few tantalizing restaurants. Moor your boat on one of the moorings
provided by the Palm Beach Restaurant and enjoy a Caribbean meal made with fresh produce
and locally caught seafood, a tropical cocktail, and a splendid view of the surrounding islands.

If you are so inclined, the commerce on Petit Martinique is very interesting and you can find a
wide variety of goods at very reasonable prices.

Category: food, grenadines