Things to Do in Grenada
||Tropical. The dry season runs from January to May. The rainy season runs from June to December. The average temperature is 28°C (82°F)
Dubbed the 'Spice Island' because of its impressive production of nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, Grenada has a rugged mountainous interior of rainforests and waterfalls and an indented coastline with protected bays and secluded beaches.
Its capital, St George's, has one of the prettiest harbour settings in the Caribbean. Tourist infrastructure is still generally small-scale and locally owned and offers a good balance between comfort and price, making Grenada a great getaway for those who want to avoid the resort experience.
With warm weather and temperatures averaging 80°F (27°C) yearround, there really isn't a bad time to visit Grenada. The rain falls each month, though not every day, with a bit more during the rainy season between June and November. The second weekend in August is when to catch Carnival, the island's biggest and busiest event, so make sure to reserve in advance to enjoy the festivities. Winter is prime fishing season and, accordingly, the Spice Island Billfish Tournament, which draws anglers from around North America and the Caribbean, is held annually in January.
Grenada's biggest festival is Carnival, held on the second weekend in August. It includes calypso and steel band competitions, all sorts of costumed revelry, a pageant and a grand finale 'jump-up' on the following Tuesday. Many of Carnival's events are held at Queen's Park, on the north side of St George's. The Spice Island Billfish Tournament held in January attracts anglers from North America and the Caribbean keen to hook its six-figure first prize. Carriacou's four-day Carnival usually takes place in February. The Carriacou Regatta, a major sailing event featuring races to Grenada, Union Island and Bequia, is held in late July or early August. It's accompanied by additional sporting events and plenty of music and dancing.
The picturesque hillside town of St George's surrounds a deep horseshoe-shaped harbour and is widely regarded as one of the prettiest spots in the Caribbean. It has a charming setting, steep twisting streets and pastel-hued 19th-century Creole houses, many of them roofed with red fishscale tiles brought over as ballast on ships from Europe. Cargo vessels, cruise ships and colourfully painted wooden schooners from Carriacou dock in the busy harbour, known as the Carenage. It's surrounded by mercantile houses, warehouses and quayside cafes, then by the steeply tiered streets of St George's and, finally, backed by Grenada's lush green hills.
The winding maze of streets and alleys on the west side of the Carenage are fun to wander around; check out the policemen directing traffic at blind street corners. The Grenada National Museum in the centre of town incorporates an old French barracks dating from 1704. Its hotchpotch of exhibits include fragments of Amerindian pottery, an old rum still and a grubby marble bathtub that once belonged to Empress Josephine.
The hilltop Fort George, established by the French in 1705, has fine views from the harbour's western promontory across the town's red-tiled roofs and church spires and over the Carenage. In the fort's inner compound you can see the bullet holes in the basketball pole made by the firing squad that executed Maurice Bishop. The spot is marked by fading graffiti reading 'No Pain No Gain Brother.'
The late-18th-century Fort Frederick protects the harbour's eastern entrance and has panoramic views of Grenada's southwestern coastline. The fort is well intact, thanks in part to a tragic targeting blunder made during the US invasion of 1983. The US intended to hit Fort Frederick but mistakenly bombed Fort Matthew, just a few hundred yards to the north, which was being used as a mental hospital at the time of the attack.
Grenada's main resort area is a lovely sweep of white sand fronted by turquoise water and backed by hills. Packed with hotels, bars, eateries and watersports, it's the essential Grenadian experience for many. If you want some peace and quiet, cross the peninsula of Quarantine Point (once a leper colony) to the picturesque Morne Rouge Bay.
Grand Etang Road
This road cuts across the mountainous centre of the island through the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, passing close to waterfalls and a number of hiking trails. While both tortuously narrow and twisting, the road is lined with ferns, bamboo, heliconia and buttressed kapok trees, making for a rousing if formidable drive through the rainforest. Annandale Falls, close to the village of Constantine, is a 10m (30ft) waterfall in a grotto of lush vegetation with a pool beneath the falls that's deep enough for a swim. A short drive past Constantine is the Grand Etang National Park, which has some grand views of the western coast, numerous hiking trails and a crater lake.
The largest town on Grenada's northern coast takes its name from the French word for 'jump.' This is the site where in 1651 retreating Carib families leapt to their deaths rather than surrender to approaching French soldiers. Carib's Leap is the name given to the 40m (130ft) high coastal cliffs where the tragic event happened. From the cliff ledge you can look down on the fishing boats along the village beach and see eroded rock formations and nearby islands.