Wondering what to do in Grenada? Well, that is between lazing on one of the 45+ beaches and slipping to the nearest bar to try their unique rum punch… Follow me to a magical island, one full of exotic aroma, filled with laughter and the perfect place to adventure. Disclaimer: We were guests of Pure Grenada, the national tourism board, but all enthusing and rum cocktail enjoyment is very much my own.
Before you start reading this list of what to do in Grenada, pop on a Soca playlist and grab a bristlin’ coconut to sip on. That’ll start the (e-)liming session off nicely. Then, conjure a little sunshine, a touch of tropical rain, book your comfortable flight and we’re in a very good place indeed.
Grenada is a Caribbean country comprising a main island (also called Grenada – all pronounced Grin-Ay-Da unlike the Spanish namesake) and several smaller surrounding islands. Dubbed the “Spice Isle,” the hilly main island is home to numerous nutmeg plantations, award-winning beaches, waterfalls you can swim behind and rum so high in alcohol that it’s banned on aeroplanes.
I loved how close everything was yet how much there was to see on this island. Within a 25-minute drive we went from beach to rainforest reserve, dropping a few degrees of temperature in the process but gaining all kinds of beautiful tropical flora and fauna. They say “stand still in the soil too long in Grenada and even you’ll start to grow” and you see it driving around the South Caribbean island – backyards, mountainsides, valleys and verges rife with nutmeg, cocoa and soursop, banana palms, guava, ginger lilies and dreadlock crotons. A very welcome sight for those of us who have been running the London rat race.
There were so many things I loved doing on our trip, but I’ll keep them to my absolute must-dos.
Explore the Grand Etang Forest Reserve
At the entrance of the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, we met a cheeky wild Mona Monkey who was woo-d by anyone with a bite of fruit or two…
Once we’d explored a few pathways of the reserve and wandered along the lake, our guide – the fabulous Mr Simon of Hidden Treasures Hikes – introduced us to Babash, the not-quite-this-side-of-the-law local tipple that’s kept under the bar.
The clear rum is infused with all manner of local herbs & tings; his delight in watching our levels of reaction was absolutely hilarious – unfortunately, my history as a pub manager outed me as a person who likes a tipple or two.
Relax in Natural Hot Springs
One of my absolute highlights of the trip was winding around mountain roads – stopping for photos of mountain peaks shrouded in cloud and groves of nutmegs & bananas all waiting to ripen (where I launched the term ‘banana duvets’ for the sheets wrapped around the bunches to stop them over-ripening. Not too sure how catchy it’ll be – but you never know!)
We then stopped in a clearing in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, clambered out of the 4-wheel drive and up a stony path to natural hot springs that we very much struggled to get out of. It was so very blissful with the warm water, the soft clay naturally giving us spa treatments and the occasional patter of warm raindrops. Used to clambering all over the wild island on hikes, Simon kindly and very gallantly helped me back towards the car, reminding me once again that I probably should have called this blog the Urban Adventures of a London Kiwi… it was ridiculously fun though.
Take a Sunset cruise whilst sipping a few sundowners
We set sail with Danny & his team at Savvy Sailing aboard their 43ft Sloop, and simply let the day wash over us.
I mean it doesn’t really need words does it?
Swim under a waterfall (with bonus kittens)
We absolutely couldn’t stop looking at the cascading streams of this lovely waterfall – even the two ginger cats and their family of kittens couldn’t distract us. Much.
Snorkelling in the turquoise waters
How on earth do you turn down the opportunity to snorkel with Eagle Rays and dart amongst underwater sculptures? The diving & snorkelling boats were launched straight from True Blue Bay – couldn’t have been more handy.
Make our own chocolate bars
You’ve heard of bean to bar, right? Well the Tri-Island Chocolate Factory team practically know which tree each bar comes from, usually from their very own groves. Doesn’t Aaron’s story just make you green with envy?
The founder of Tri-Island Chocolate Aaron Sylvester, grew up in West London but has deep Chocolaty roots in Grenada Felix Park, Crochu in St. Andrew to be specific. In London he pursued a career in the fast-paced and competitive music, promotional, digital marketing and designs industries. After inheriting a portion of cocoa land from his grandparents he decided to leap with both feet into the world of tree to bar chocolate.
These days Aaron rises with the sun to farm alongside his family and harvest fine flavoured cocoa which he uses to make his tree to bar chocolate. Instead of sweaty 1.5-hour train commutes, after a long day’s work he now gets to unwind in true Caribbean style at the beach, or, sailing on a friend’s boat.
We rather loved it…
Sample bevvies all around the island
From trying alllllll the local restaurant rum punches to sipping cool, crisp beers with a group of local lads (Hi Rog & crew!) to say we quaffed our way around the island is a bit of an understatement – and each day started with a freshly tapped coconut replete with paper straw.
Explore the island with an excellent crew – and make sure to book a table at BB’s Crabback – the food is epic and BB is awesome.
Top Tips for what to do in Grenada
- Relax, you’re on island time.
- Try the Dark and Stormys, a highball cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer served over ice and a touch of lime.
- Be prepared for liquid gold as well as sunshine – I wouldn’t pack waterproof gear, but make sure you take a brolly (or have them in your resort to borrow.)
- When you go hiking with Sio, wear your bathers under your clothes – you never know when you’ll stumble across a hot pool just begging to jump in.
- Lap up all the pool time your soul needs at True Blue Bay Resort <click the link for the full review of where we stayed> and then pop down to the beach.
- The roads are super windy but the drivers are friendly – if you’re hiring a car take out full insurance and take your time around corners, and know that most of the busses are on island time.
- Drivers toot their horns in greeting and everyone seems to know everyone which is lovely.
- Try all the rum – we tried the favourite carnival rum, called Rivers Rum, delicious even in it’s the overproof form of 75%+. It goes down very nicely with LLB – lemon, lime and Angostura bitters – a favourite tipple of mine from NZ.
- It’s Island law to try all the rum punches – each restaurant and bar have their own secret recipe…
- Brief glossary; Wug wug > Wassup, Liming > relaxing and chilling usually on the weekend, Bristling > cold, Whine > hips grooving in a circular motion – most commonly practised with the sound of soca or calypso music.
- Locals LOVE Anchor cheese & butter, imported in from New Zealand. #PROUD
- Don’t go for anything less than a week – you’ll kick yourself.
The minute we got back from Grenada, I made a Soca playlist, to brighten up my London workdays at the click of a button. The second those beats fill my eardrums I’m transported all over again to clinking bottles of local beer in the heat and groovin’ to the rhythm accompanied by tree crickets…
Have you explored the Caribbean?
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