The Spice Island of the Caribbean is an intoxicating blend of traditional life and warm hospitality—and is home to one of the most striking new resorts in the region.

By Bob Curley
Grand Anse Beach
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If you want a true taste of Caribbean culture, Grenada is a great choice. The island happily accommodates visitors, but is not defined by tourism. You’ll find all of the beaches you want and then some, and a nice selection of low-rise and high-end resorts, including all-inclusives.

But step away from the shore, and the deeper flavor of Grenada is revealed in the bustling market and historic streets of St. George’s, the farms, factories, and plantations producing a cornucopia of local produce and spices, and the island’s wet and wild interior with lush rainforests, streaming waterfalls, and free-running rivers.

La Sagesse Beach boasts shallow waters and gently rolling waves
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The Best Beaches in Grenada

A few miles south of the capital city of St. George’s, Grand Anse Beach is a two-mile strip of powder-silk sand, where most of the island’s low-slung resorts recline by the waves. Open to the public like all of Grenada’s beaches, Grand Anse attracts local fishermen as well as sun-seeking tourists.

Nearby Morne Rouge Bay, also known as BBC Beach, has shallow waters and tends to be less crowded; it’s also home to the popular La Plywood Bar.

Combine a visit to the tropical gardens of the La Sagesse Nature Center with some shore time at La Sagesse Beach, a tranquil stretch of sand with but a single hotel and restaurant.

Grenada’s sister island of Carriacou has a pair of pristine and peaceful beaches: Anse La Roche (reachable only by foot or boat) and Paradise Beach, where you can mingle with the local “kayaks” from the village of L’Esterre or charter a boat for a day trip to deserted Sandy island.

Related: The 15 Best All-inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean

The "Bean to Bar" tour at the Belmont Estate
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The Best Things To Do in Grenada

Belmont Estate’s “Bean to Bar” tour walks you through the entire process of making chocolate, one of Grenada’s top exports, plucking cacao pods from the tree, fermenting and drying the beans, and finally making tasty (and healthy!) high-cacao chocolate. Another place to see Grenada’s agriculture in action is the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, where the versatile nut represented at the center of the national flag is sorted, graded, and packed for sale as whole beans, ground spice, and as an herbal remedy in liquid form.

Like the nutmeg factory, the water-powered River Antoine Rum Factory is an operation straight out of the 19th century: Sugar cane hand-fed into the mill is crushed to juice that ferments in open-air vats before being distilled down to high-proof Rivers rum, which you can sample or purchase on a factory tour.

On the adventure side, Grenada’s unique dive sites include an underwater sculpture garden in the Molinere Beauséjour marine park—visible to snorkelers and divers alike—and the wreck of the ocean liner Bianca C (known as the “Titanic of the Caribbean.”). ScubaTech Grenada and Dive Grenada run dive trips to both sites.

Or stay dry (mostly) with a short walk on a paved path to the Annadale waterfall, meet playful Mona monkeys while traversing the Grenada High Wire and Zip Line Challenge course, and shoot the modest rapids of the Balthazar River in inner tubes with Grenada Adventure Tours.

Related: The Best Caribbean Islands To Visit on a Budget

The Best Restaurants and Bars in Grenada

Street Food Wednesdays at the True Blue Bay Resort’s Dodgy Dock Restaurant lays out local specialties like oil down and souse, and the live local music is a bonus at this can’t-miss weekly cultural and culinary celebration.

BB’s Crabback isn’t just the name of a St. George’s restaurant, it’s the signature dish—crab meat, local herbs, wine and cheese baked in a crab shell (the curried goat is another favorite here). Close to the airport on the south side of the island, The Aquarium Restaurant offers casual fine dining (picture a menu with everything from cow trotters—that’s creole for feet—to beef Wellington) and a beach bar (La Serena) on the sands of Magazine Beach; the Sunday barbecue menu includes grilled local fish, bratwurst (a nod to the old country from the German owners) and Cornish hen.

Grenada’s only floating bar is more than a gimmick: The Lightship at the Le Phare Bleu resort in Calivigny occupies a century-old lightship and shines for great rum drinks, live music, and fantastic sunsets. On Grand Anse Beach, Esther’s Bar provides just the right mojito break from beaching or shopping at the Vendor’s Market.

Related: The Top Tropical Destinations for 2019

The Best Places To Shop in Grenada

While you can’t pack the fragrant air of Grenada to bring home, you can bring some of her most fragrant products: spices and chocolate. On Young Street in downtown St. George, The House of Chocolate is a combination café, museum, and shop that carries a wide variety of cocoa products: Stock up on organic Grenada Chocolate Company cocoa powder and chocolate bars (including crunchy nibs and sea salt varieties) here.

One thing you learn at All Things Nutmeg  on Lagoon Road in St. George is just how many things are made from nutmeg, including soap, butter, syrup, massage oil, medicinal cream, and even jewelry crafted from nutmeg shells.

Grab bags of local cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and other spices at the sprawling St. George’s Market, a colorful local market in the capital city crammed with produce vendors and other local merchants. The Grande Anse Craft and Spice Market makes it easy to combine shopping with a day at the beach.

The pool at Silversands Grenada
Courtesy of Silversands Grenada

The Best Hotels and Resorts in Grenada

Grenada doesn’t do cookie-cutter hotels—rather, the best resorts on the island are quietly understated and elegant beach properties with attentive service and fine dining. Making the biggest splash in the last year has been the arrival of Silversands Grenada, a modernist dream of environmentally respectful and beautiful design at the serene end of Grand Anse Beach that contains peak luxuries in its 43 guestrooms and suites (plus beachfront and hillside villas), as well as a top-shelf spa, restaurants, a rum and cigar bar, and—at 330 feet long—the longest pool in the Caribbean.

Also on Grand Anse Beach, the 64-suite Spice Island Beach Resort features a full-service spa, beach-view yoga pavilion, and Creole influenced fine dining on the pavilion patio at Oliver’s. Mount Cinnamon is another boutique hotel on Grand Anse Beach, with 21 hillside suites and villas sharing dramatic views and a private beach club.

The Relais & Chateaux Calabash Hotel has just 30 suites (plus a handful of estate homes) on secluded L’anse aux Epines Beach and, as you might expect from a Relais property, a pair of Grenada’s best restaurants, with globally influenced gourmet dining at Rhodes and sandwiches and tapas served in serene elegance at The Beach Club.

Photo courtesy of Sandals Grenada

The True Blue Bay Resort on Grenada’s south coast is a boutique hotel with a somewhat livelier atmosphere, with nightly music at the Dodgy Dock and an on-site microbrewery. Also on the south coast is Le Phare Blue, a rustic chic beach hideaway well off the beaten path on Petite Calivigny Bay. Can’t wait to get your vacation started? The adults-only and all-inclusive Sandals LaSource is just five minutes from the airport, so you’ll be ensconced in a butler-serviced suite and plunging into a private pool on Pink Gin Beach in no time.

Related: Top 10 Exotic Beach Destinations

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