It’s not the most famous, most frequently Instagrammed or most blogged about Caribbean island—which is part of the reason you should be setting course for Grenada, which more than holds its own against better-publicized neighbors. For centuries, traders flocked there for its abundance of valuable spices, and the smell of nutmeg in the air still greets visitors upon their arrival.
But now the main attractions are Grenada’s natural beauty, stunning beaches and a level of tranquility hard to find in more developed destinations. In fact, its relatively low profile has enabled it to maintain the characteristics and personality that make it feel truly unique in the Caribbean, a throwback to a time before Expedia and cruise ships by the score.
Most visitors are greeted on this marvelous island by perhaps the most stunning port town in the entire region, St. George’s. Vibrant and colorful architecture surround the mesmerizing harbor, while a stroll through its narrow streets and alleys conveys a strong sense of the city’s colonial history.
Local shops and street food vendors make exploring the town a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, and they strike a perfect balance with the beaches and natural settings that will take up much of one’s time on Grenada. St. George’s Market Square is the largest market on the island and a great place to both people-watch and experience Grenada’s bountiful products.
A benefit of the gradual pace with which Grenada has been developed for tourism is the abundance of natural parks, isolated beaches and exotic wildlife. Of the island’s 45-plus beaches, the most popular by far is Grand Anse Beach, located some five miles from St. George’s. A two-mile stretch of idyllic white sand paradise cozies up to a turquoise sea that shifts to a deep cerulean color just a few yards offshore.
However most of Grenada’s meandering coastline is jagged and untamed, meaning an array of different types and sizes of beachfronts are on offer for visitors. La Sagesse Beach offers seclusion, with large coconut palms providing shade for beachgoers, and extravagant flora providing a stunning backdrop for this hidden natural gem. There is also Levera Beach, part of Levera National Park, with its mangrove swamps, lagoon and abundant birds and other wildlife, in addition to a stunning beach, quiet during the week, that overlooks both the surrounding blue waters and nearby Sugar Loaf island.
Additional natural wonders can be found thanks an array of gorgeous waterfalls, with sites like Annandale, Concord, Victoria and the Seven Sisters waterfalls all located on this one small island. Most require short walks, hikes or treks of varying difficulty, so either grab a map and some good hiking shoes, or hire one of the local guides who can help visitors fully appreciate the water features and surrounding rainforest.
Ironically for an island of such unspoiled natural beauty, one of the most amazing attractions anywhere on Grenada can be found just offshore in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area off the west coast of the island. The Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park, founded by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, is a surreal installation of at least 75 pieces of art in a series of different collections placed on and around the seafloor.
Since the park’s creation, tropical fish, coral and sponges have made the exhibits their home and both scuba divers and snorkelers can visit the site and enjoy one of the most unique underwater experiences to be found anywhere on the planet.
Finally, Magazine Beach offers another option for those seeking an equally stunning beachfront excursion. Light pink sand and blue-green waters greet visitors, who are likely to find the peace and quiet they’re seeking along this stretch of the beach. The snorkeling just offshore is superb and accessible to swimmers of all levels.
We recommend combining a day spent frolicking in the waves with a dinner reservation nearby at The Aquarium Restaurant. Fusing international dishes with West Indian traditional flavors, this seafood-centric establishment offers incredible freshly caught menu options, including our favorite, the Aquarium Medley, which offers guests a large selection of lobster, scallops, jumbo shrimp and fish to share.
Speaking of truly special culinary options, Grenada is not lacking when it comes to fine dining on par with any Caribbean destination. Many of the top dining options are found at the elite hotels on the island, an added attraction for those who stay at these world-class properties.