Grenada On a BudgetGrenada is an island country in the Caribbean Sea to the northeast of Trinidad and Tobago. It's southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After some political tension in the late 1970s, Grenada has enjoyed several decades of peaceful, democratic governance. There have been efforts in place to improve the country's infrastructure and upgrade the buildings. The country is famous for its spices which include nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cocoa. This reputation has given the country the nickname of the "Spice Isle".
Grenada is made up of three larger islands and a several small islands. The largest island, also called Grenada, is where you will find most of the country's population. It has six parishes and the majority of the country's cities, including the capital city of St. George's and the major tourist area of Grand Anse. Although significantly smaller than Grenada, Carriacou is the second largest island of Grenada. It is only 13 square miles and has the town of Hillsborough. Petit Martinique is the third largest island. It is a volcanic island with very limited tourist facilities and infrastructure. There is a population of less than 1,000.
The climate in Grenada is influenced by the cooling trade winds. Temperatures range from the mid 70s to the mid 80s Fahrenheit. January through April is the coolest time of the year. It is also the driest between January and May. The rainy season begins in June and continues through December. During this time it is not uncommon to have rain at least a few days every week. Fortunately the rain usually lasts for no more than an hour.
At A Glance
- The main airport in Grenada is Maurice Bishop International Airport, which is located in the southwest corner of the Point Salines area, about 4 miles from the capital city. A good number of major airlines provide direct flights to the airport from the United States, Canada and even Europe. There are also connections available through Trinidad and Barbados. A good number of cruises visit the island between October and May. They dock near the capital city at a terminal with many shops and tourist information.
- Public transportation in Grenada is most often in the form of public buses. These are actually minivans that hold about 15-20 people and follow designated routes. There is a bus terminal in the middle of St. George's and stops throughout town. Once you leave town you have to request a stop by either knocking on the side or pressing the stop button.
- British English is the official language of the country and it is widely spoken throughout the islands. Many people speak an English based Creole language which has a heavy accent that is difficult to understand if you aren't used to it. Some Grenadians also know a very limited amount of French.
- If you're looking for an evening activity, head to Gouyave on the west coast. The town comes to life on Fridays when there is lively music, fresh food, and night clubs that stay open late into the evening. There is a public bus that makes its way to town from many of the tourist area's but if you're planning to stay late, you can't rely on this to return home. There are also some local tours that take visitors to the town for Friday evening.
- Spices are the thing to buy in Grenada. Any food item must be properly sealed if you hope to get it through customs, but most vendors can do this for you. Popular purchases include rum, chocolate, honey, jams, jellies, spices, clothes, and art.
Top Tourist AttractionsBelmont Estate: This is a 17th century plantation that now partners with the Grenada Chocolate Company to make organic chocolate. There are twelve farmers who are certified through the German company Ceres to make organic cocoa. There is a restaurant on the plantation that offers excellent food, but is only opened on weekdays. Reservations are recommended. The plantation is about an hour outside of St George.
Seven Sister Waterfalls: This is a beautiful group of seven waterfalls that are near the Grand Etang Nature Reserve in St. Andrew. It is a nice, half hour hike through the rainforest to reach the falls, and when you arrive you can take a refreshing dip in the pool at the bottom.
Gouyave Nutmeg Factory: Located on the west coast, you can enjoy a guided tour of this factory. The tour takes about twenty minutes and will show you the full process including storage, cracking, sorting, the water test, and grading by size.
Popular FoodsFood in Grenada is diverse and delicious. Many dishes make use of the excellent spices found on the island. Seasonal fruit is also available. Make sure you try several different tropical fruits when you have the opportunity. Curries are also common, as are spiced desserts.
Oil Down: This is the national dish of Grenada. It is made with breadfruit, coconut milk, turmeric, dumplings, callaloo and a salted meat (typically saltfish, smoked herring, or salt beef). The ingredients are mixed together and cooked in a large pot called a karhee, or curry pot.
Dal Puri: This is a popular street food in Grenada. It is usually wrapped around a curry. The most common option is goat curry.
Grenadian Spice Cake: This is a favorite dessert in Grenada. It is flavored with the spices of the island, dusted with confectioners sugar, and served with seasonal fruits.