Beautiful soft, sandy beaches and water that is 1,000 shades of blue, and as if you needed another reason to visit paradise, did I mention there’s also the world’s best chocolate?
It is said that when you get off the plane in Grenada you can smell the spices. One of the world’s largest exporters of nutmeg, Grenada is known as the Spice Isle because its climate is perfect for growing nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, and ginger. A crop gaining popularity on the permaculture scene is chocolate. With companies like Grenada Chocolate Company, Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate, and Belmont Estate producing some the world’s best tasting organic chocolate. With the island being one of the last Caribbean islands in the West Indies, this means it is very close to South America and the equator giving it the tropical climate these crops love.
You can tour the chocolate estates and factories and visit the House of Chocolate Museum anytime of year, or for the true chocolate addict you can make plans to attend the Grenada Chocolate Fest happening annually in May to get the most intimate tours and educational demonstrations of Tree to Bar chocolate.
Tree to Bar chocolate is rich in flavor and full of health benefits, (in fact chocolate nibs that come straight for the roasted cacao bean has 40 time the antioxidants of blueberries!). That’s why ancient civilizations called it the ‘Food of the Gods’. This organically grown chocolate is how chocolate is meant to taste. During the Grenada Chocolate Fest we had the opportunity to visit several chocolate farms and chocolate factories including Grenada Chocolate Company and Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate and meet the proprietors behind these Tree to Bar companies. It is an experience that has made my love for our earth grow even deeper. Want to make a difference in the chocolate industry? Stop buying over processed ‘Big Chocolate’ and look for Tree to Bar Chocolate.
Other aspects of the Grenada Chocolate Fest that made it a fun time to visit, chocolate demonstrations from chocolate experts around the world as well as craft workshops like ‘How To Make Cocoa Bean Jewelry’ and a Grenada Fashion Show.
Where To Stay
True Blue Bay Resort – This award winning eco friendly resort features authentic colorful island accommodations, 2 pools, an awe-inspiring yoga studio and one of the ‘it’ spots to hang out on the island, Dodgy Dock. True Blue is situated amongst lush vegetation. As you walk along its corridors you are bound to see lizards, birds, and butterflies flitting about. Their ocean level infinity pool has a beach entry making it ideal for little ones. With rooms starting at $132 and up, it is a great hotel at a great price.
Their yoga studio located atop one of True Blue’s buildings is quite the marvel with panoramic views overlooking the bay and the resort and beautiful woodwork. A tranquil escape offering yoga classes for guests throughout the week.
Also on property, Aquanauts Dive Shop where you can schedule a dive or snorkeling to an array of sites all over the island. Most sites are a mere 10 minute boat ride away.
Mount Cinnamon – A luxury resort located on the most pristine piece of Grenada’s beautiful Grand Anse Beach, Mount Cinnamon’s white buildings cascade down Grenada’s terrain with a pathway through the gardens leading to the beachside cabana.
At Mount Cinnamon’s beach water sports await from snorkeling to paddle boarding to kayaking to sailing. If you are looking for something a little more adventurous just walk over to Dive Grenada located on the beach right beside Mount Cinnamon. Dive Grenada takes boats to various diving sites at scheduled times throughout the day. Rates start at $298.
Mount Edgecombe Plantation – An authentic working plantation that originally grew sugar cane, but later became a spice, cocoa and coffee plantation, Mount Edgecombe is a small luxury boutique hotel, that sleeps up to 16 and is surrounded by 28 acres of lush and colorful flora. Over 40 types of aromatic spices, fruit and vegetables drape its landscape elevated above the west coast of Grenada. This historic property boasts breathtaking sunsets and panoramic views of the shimmering Caribbean Sea. You can rent a room or the entire plantation house. Contact Mount Edgecombe at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Where To Eat
Dodgy Dock – Overlooking beautiful True Blue Bay, Dodgy Dock is a popular local hangout and fun destination for live music, great cocktails, and views of Grenada’s deep blue waters. A must have – their Nutmeg Colada. One of the best drinks you will ever taste! Surrounded by a marina, this laid back bar is a frequent stop for sailors and boaters.
Umbrella’s Beach Bar – Situated in St George’s on beautiful Grand Anse Beach, this restaurant is a great place for lunch or happy hour drinks.
The Aquarium – One of the islands leading independent restaurants offering a wide selection of fusion dishes, a mix of international and West Indian cuisine, The Aquarium is located on Magazine Beach. A great time to visit is on Sunday when hey feature their BBQ menu. Enjoy great food and a beautiful setting.
Sails – Located overlooking The Carnage, the port of Grenada known for its multi-colored hills, Sails serves up fresh fish dishes, incredible homemade soups, and seasonal specials.
Savvy’s at Mount Cinnamon – The best dinner we had on the island was at Mount Cinnamon. Using fresh and local ingredients, Savvy’s menu reflects what is in season on the island guaranteeing a delicious, sustainable meal. We enjoyed a Callalou (Grenada’s spinach) ravioli along with fresh fish and perhaps the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. All homemade ice creams that included nutmeg, fresh mint, and chocolate.
What To Do
Waterfalls – Known for its abundance of waterfalls, it is a must to make the trek to one of these beauties. There are a few accessible by car, like Annandale and Concord, but for a more adventurous day of hiking through the tropics, nutmeg fields, and craters you may want to try Seven Sisters or Mt. Carmel, the island’s highest falls.
Diving – Dive Grenada Scuba Dive Centre is perfectly located on Grand Anse Beach where the majority of Grenada’s dive sites are only 10 minutes away. The ‘Dive Grenada’ shop is ideally placed to reach Grenada’s fantastic coral reefs where there is an abundant bio-diversity of marine life in excellent condition. Grenada is also known as the ‘Wreck Diving’ destination of the Caribbean’ with 15 shipwrecks to choose from, including the famous Bianca C known as the ‘Titanic of the Caribbean’, there is wreck diving in Grenada for everyone from the novice to the more adventurous. These wrecks are home also to great marine life and are artificial reefs.
Grenada is also home to the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park located just outside St Georges in the Molinere Beausejour Marine Protected Area and was created by English sculptor and avid diver Jason de Caires Taylor. Molinere bay was originally damaged by storm surge and the sculptures were designed to assist in the regeneration of the area by providing habitat for marine animals to live and by providing new surfaces for corals to grow upon. The park is accessible for snorkeling and diving.
Leatherback Sea Turtles – Levera Beach on the north end of the island is a ‘closed’ beach and key nesting place for leatherback turtles, the largest of the sea turtles. From April through August, you can participate in nightly turtle walks. These walks begin around 7 and can last all night as you comb the beach, but people who have been on these walks say you are almost guaranteed to see a turtle nesting or baby sea turtles hatching. Conservationist groups like Ocean Spirits and SPECTO work to protect these nesting mothers and babies, and also offer volunteer opportunities and internships. For more information visit http://puregrenada.com/blog/turtle-tours-in-grenada/.