Grenada is a Caribbean country comprising a main island, also called Grenada, and smaller surrounding islands. Dubbed the “Spice Isle,” the hilly main island is home to numerous nutmeg plantations. It’s also the site of the capital, St. George’s, whose colourful homes, Georgian buildings and early-18th-century Fort George overlook narrow Carenage Harbour. To the south is Grand Anse Beach, with resorts and bars.
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GRENADA QUICK FACTS
Capital: St. George's
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Area: 344 km2
Population: 111 454 (2018)
Language: English (official), French patois
Religion: Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%
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GRENADA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 7 February, Independence Day
- 1st Monday in August, Emancipation Day
- 25 October, Thanksgiving Day
- 26 December, Boxing Day
Also, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, and Carnival Monday and Tuesday in August (Spicemas).
FESTIVALS IN GRENADA
SpiceMas Grenada Carnival - Peaking in August, Grenada's local Carnival celebration actually gets underway as early as April with launch parties and musical competitions. A Carnival queen and king are crowned each year, and Carnival Monday and Tuesday come alive with soca and calypso music, street parades, j'ouvert celebrations, and much more.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GRENADA
Grenada has a tropical climate, with hot, humid conditions year-round. Historically, the dry season has been from January to May and the rainy season from June to December. Carriacou and Petit Martinique generally receive lower levels of rainfall and during the dry season can experience severe drought conditions.
The best time to visit Grenada is May during December as this month is squeezed between the departure for the rainy season and the arrival of the winter crowds, making this a great time to get some sunshine and a decent deal. Like the rest of the Caribbean, Grenada experiences a surge in tourism from January through April and during this high season you can expect all prices to increase on average. Crowds thin out and hotel prices plummet between July and October when hurricane season threatens the archipelago. If you are willing to risk a bout of bad weather you will find some really good deals with some hotel rates discounted 40%
- High Season (Dec–Apr) - People fleeing the northern hemisphere winter arrive in droves and prices peak. This is the Caribbean's driest time and can be cool the northern islands.
- Shoulder (May–Jun & Nov) - The weather is good, rains are moderate throughout. Reduced visitor numbers and the best mix of affordable rates and good weather. makes this an ideal time to visit the Caribbean.
- Low Season (Jul–Oct) - Hurricane season; the odds of being caught are small, but tropical storms are like abound. During this time room prices can be half or less than in high season and you will find eastern Caribbean’s beaches good for surfing.
GRENADA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Tropical; Tempered By Northeast Trade Winds. The annual average temperature in Grenada is around 25°C, with a small variation at annual seasonal cycle. The mean maximum temperature is 31.4°C while the mean minimum is 24.0°C. The dry season typically runs from January to May and the rainy season from June to December. Carriacou and Petit Martinique generally receive lower levels of rainfall and during the dry season can experience severe drought conditions.
GRENADA TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN GRENADA
HIKING & CYCLING IN GRENADA
The best months for outdoor activities in Grenada, are January to April when it's driest and least humid. The worst months for hiking are September and October, the peak of the hurricane season.
BEACH OPTIONS IN GRENADA
Grenada enjoys a hot, tropical climate suitable for beach going all year round. The driest and least humid months are typically from January to May, so these are best for enjoying the beaches. From June to December the rain usually falls in brief, very heavy showers with September and October being the peak of the hurricane season.
SURFING IN GRENADA
The prime time for surfing in the Caribbean is from November to April. Grenada is not the best known surfing destination, but it does get some pretty good surf! The most popular surf spots are Cherry Hill and Prickly Point, but there are plenty more.
KITESURF IN GRENADA
The best winds for kitesurfing in Grenada are usually from November to June.
For more details on kite surfing in Grenada expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN GRENADA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
GRENADA TRAVEL COSTS
The Caribbean is not cheap, but there are ways to get the most bang for your buck with a little forward planning and some savvy choices
Budget less than US$150 Room away from the beach: under US$100, Meal at a locally popular restaurant: US$10, Ride local buses: US$3
Midrange US$150–300 Double room in the action: US$200, Visit parks and beaches that are free, rent bikes or snorkel for US$10 per day Rental car for exploring: US$40 to US$60 a day.
Top end over US$300 - Beautiful rooms at the best resorts in high season: US$400 and over, Activities in beautiful places: US$100 and up, World-renowned meals: US$100 per person and more.
Here are some of the best ways to save money:
Travel in groups Bring your friends and other couples along with you and rent a villa.
Book far in advance For high season deals.
Book at the last minute For incredible deals as hotels dump empty rooms.
Follow the divers They demand great value near beautiful waters.
Ride buses and ferries You meet folks and may have an adventure.
Live like a local Save money while having a more authentic visit.
Travel in low season Prices can drop 40% or more.
GRENADA TRAVEL TIPS
The best way to get around Grenada is by car. Unless you're planning to spend all of your time in Grand Anse Beach or St. George's, you'll need your own set of wheels. Having your own set of wheels allows you to wander the main island at your own pace without a hired driver holding your purse strings. But you'll need nerves of steel to tackle Grenada's roads. In order to rent a car, you will need a valid driver's license as well as a local permit, which you can purchase for $30 XCD (roughly $11 USD) from the Central Police Station in St. George's or from some rental agencies.
Public minibuses do provide transportation around the main island, but service is fairly limited. Generally speaking you will do just fine but you might find no service after 7 pm weekdays and defiantly nothing over weekends. Minibuses run from Melville Street in St. George's to towns around Grenada Island, including Grand Anse Beach, Grenville, and Gouyave.
Taxis are also plentiful, but frequent use can leave a sizeable dent in your wallet. Rates are fixed, so you don't have to worry about getting scammed. The ride from St. George's to Grand Anse Beach, for example, will cost you EC$35-45. Taxi fares on Carriacou are generally cheaper, though no matter where you are, relying on taxis as your primary form of transportation can get expensive.
For a more scenic ride between St. George's and Grand Anse Beach, opt for a water taxi. These brightly coloured boats shuttle passengers along Grenada Island's southwest coast for around EC$10 each way.
Osprey Lines Ltd. provides regular ferry service from Grenada Island to Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Ferries depart from St. George's every morning at 9 a.m. and return every afternoon at 3:30 p.m. The trip from Grenada Island takes roughly two hours. A one-way trip from Grenada to Carriacou costs EC$80 for adults; continuing on to Petit Martinique requires an extra EC$20.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF GRENADA
The island of Grenada is an almond-shaped, beach-rimmed gem of a place with 75 miles of coastline surrounding a lush interior, which is filled with tropical rainforest.
ST GEORGE'S is one of the most picturesque towns in the Caribbean. It’s a fabulous place to explore on foot, from handsome old buildings to the the Carenage harbour. Interesting shops and cafes dot the narrow and busy streets. (See map below for highlights of St. George's).
Famous GRAND ANSE Beach is one of the island’s best and is justifiably popular. It’s lined with a relaxed assortment of low-rise resorts. Drop by for the day at Camerhogne Park, where you can rent a lounger and get a snack. To escape crowds, look for a little dirt road off Grand Anse Rd, where it turns south right after the Spice Island Beach Resort. It leads to a small parking area and uncrowded sands.
Overhung with rainforest and snaking uphill in a series of switchback turns, the GRAND ETANG RD shoots right up the island’s spine. The mountainous centre of the island is often awash with misty clouds, and looks like a lost primordial world, its tangle of rainforest brimming with life – including monkeys that often get a bit too friendly. Grenada’s verdant splendour is on full display here; look for cassava, nutmeg, star fruit, cinnamon, clove, hibiscus, passionfruit, pineapple, avocado, mango, banana, coconut and much more.
(more location and points of interest are available in the above map)
You won’t find cruise ships, big resorts or souvenir shops; this is Caribbean life the way it was 50 years ago: quiet, laid-back and relaxed.
Carriacou’s gentle pace is reflected in the sedate nature of its largest town, HILLSBOROUGH. There’s a couple of streets lined with a mixture of modern blocks and classic Caribbean wooden structures. Go for a wander, appreciating glimpses of the turquoise waters at breaks in the buildings.
The northern part of Carriacou is a delightful place to explore, with good scenery and tiny villages. The first is cute little Bogles. Continuing on, the road traverses the crest of Belvedere Hill, providing sweeping views of the tiny islands of Petit St Vincent and Petit Martinique.
From here, the route northeast (called the High Rd) leads down to Windward, a charming small village where, if you’re lucky, locals will be out building a traditional Carriacou sloop.
The biggest reason to venture to the southern part of the island is the aptly named Paradise Beach, a superb stretch of sand bordered by palms and sea-grape trees. Further on, Tyrrel Bay is a deep, protected bay. It’s a popular anchorage for visiting yachts and there are a couple of cafes.
WHAT TO PACK FOR GRENADA
The Caribbean islands are casual, so bring light, comfy clothes: a bathing suit, T-shirt and shorts will be your wardrobe. Add long pants or a dress for nights out.
Sun hat Buying at home ensures a better fit.
Quick-dry towel A small one, for when the whim to swim hits.
Flashlight For night-time reading, blackouts.
Resealable bags / Drybags Essential for keeping things (cameras, air tickets, passports) dry on boat trips.
Snorkelling mask with corrective lenses Suddenly, reefs are in focus!
WHAT TO EAT IN GRENADA
Throughout the island, spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, bay leaf, clove, turmeric, thyme, and lemongrass grow in abundance. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful, with young coconuts, sweet potatoes, mangoes and breadfruit adding flavour and nutrition to local dishes.
From fiery stews to succulent, fresh seafood and delicious desserts to tempt your sweet tooth, here’s what to eat in Grenada.
Look out for:
Oil down (Grenada’s national dish), is a simple, comforting dish that’s packed full of flavour with salted meat, chicken or fish, dumplings, coconut milk, turmeric, vegetables, and breadfruit as the main ingredients.
Fried Bake and Saltfish for breakfast. Bakes are a type of bread that’s fried until golden brown. You can choose from an array of side dishes, such as cheese or sausage; however, saltfish fried with tomato, onion, and herbs are among the most popular.
Callaloo Soup is a leafy green soup, made from the dasheen leaf, boasts a creamy texture, thanks to the coconut milk, and it’s great as a starter or a quick snack at any time of day.
Pelau is a hearty chicken and rice dish that’s perfect for satisfying your hunger pangs after a fun day of sightseeing and shopping in Grenada. This savoury, one-pot meal typically includes cooked beans, carrots, celery, red sweet peppers, brown sugar, and coconut milk.
Sweet potato pudding, made with grated coconut, cinnamon, milk, sugar and, of course, nutmeg, is a Grenadian treat not to be missed.
Take time to meet the locals by doing what they do – you’ll enjoy a more affordable and authentic experience.
Eat at lunch wagons or stalls. The local fare is cheap and often incredibly good.
Drop by a local bar – often the de facto community center. Besides a drink, you’ll get all sorts of useful – or wonderfully frivolous – advice.
Look for community fish fries or barbecues in the Eastern Caribbean.
LGBTQ IN GRENADA
WHERE TO STAY IN GRENADA
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