14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Grenada
In the far south of the Caribbean, gorgeous Grenada is known as "the Spice Island" for the fragrant nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and cocoa that flourish in its fertile volcanic soil. The nation of Grenada also includes the two smaller and quieter islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, northeast of the mainland. For travelers seeking an authentic Caribbean experience, Grenada offers a spicy mix of local culture and colonial roots as well as rainforests, lush mountains, colorful seaside villages, plantations, and beautiful beaches framed by frangipani and flamboyant trees.
St George's, Grenada's capital, is one of the prettiest cities in the Caribbean and is popular with yachters who dock in the busy harbor of Carenage. Many visitors spend their time around nearby Grand Anse Beach, but Grenada offers more than just golden sands. Waterfalls gush in the island's interior at Grand Etang National Park, and hiking trails thread through the lush rainforest while scenic Levera National Park boasts dramatic coastline vistas and coral reefs. Swimming, diving, snorkeling and fishing are all popular activities in Grenada's turquoise waters, and history buffs will enjoy exploring the country's forts and museums.
1 Grand Anse Beach
Fringed by sea grapes and coconut palms, Grand Anse is Grenada's most famous beach and one of its most beautiful. Cruise ship visitors flock to this three-kilometer arc of golden sand and gentle surf, and many boutique resorts and restaurants lie along its shores. Water hues range from clear turquoise in the shallows to deep cobalt blue, and the calm waters are perfect for swimming. Midway along the beach, visitors will find the Grande Anse Craft and Spice Market while independent vendors patrol the sands hawking trinkets and souvenirs.
2 St. George's
One of the prettiest port towns in the Caribbean, the capital city of St. George's curves along a horseshoe-shaped harbor backed by volcanic hills. This colorful capital is popular with yachters who dock in the busy harbor of Carenage. Brick and stone buildings with red tiled roofs line the streets where locals sell spices and crafts. One of the main attractions in the city is Fort George, built by the French in the early 18th century, and Fort Frederick offers beautiful views of St. George's. Housed in a 1704 French barracks and former prison, the Grenada National Museum displays a hodgepodge of historical items including Carib and Arawak artifacts and exhibits on the sugar and whaling industries. St. George's Market Square is home to the popular Saturday morning market as well as local events. Among the town's other attractions are the Sendall Tunnel, built in 1895, which joins the Carenage to the Esplanade, and the Bay Gardens with more than 3,000 species of Caribbean plants.
3 Fort Frederick
At the end of winding hairpin turns atop Richmond Hill, Fort Frederick offers stunning views of St. George's, residential areas, and the sea. Visitors will enjoy the fort's interesting history. The French began construction of Fort Frederick in 1779 and the British then completed it in 1791. It is nicknamed the "backwards facing fort" because its cannons face inland instead of out to sea thanks to the French who feared a surprise land attack after they used this successful strategy with the British. In 1850, the fort was abandoned completely until it was later occupied by the Grenadian military.
4 Fort George
Built in 1705 by the French, Fort George lies on the promontory to the west of the harbor and is Grenada's oldest fort. It was built to protect the harbor, but the police force uses many of the buildings today. Much of the fort is still intact and open to visitors, although the main draw is the spectacular 360-degree view across the town's red-tiled roofs and church spires to the harbor and sea beyond.
The inner harbor and anchorage, known as the Carenage, is a lovely place to wander along the waterfront, browse the shops, and watch the dockside activities. Wooden schooners are loaded and unloaded here and visitors can chat with the locals or relax at one of the restaurants selling fresh seafood and snacks. Wharf Road runs along the harbor offering great views of the area. Look for the bronze Christ of the Deep statue donated by the owners of a luxury liner in gratitude for local rescue efforts after the ship exploded off Grand Anse.
6 Morne Rouge Bay
One bay south of Grand Anse, near the southern tip of Grenada, Morne Rouge Bay is usually a quieter alternative to Grand Anse Beach. Calm jade-green seas slosh upon this one-and-a-half kilometer crescent of white sand making this a safe beach for swimming. Resort restaurants along the beach offer snacks, and the lush foliage fringing the beach provides plenty of shady areas to sit and relax.
7 Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve
Home to a rich diversity of plants and animals, Grand Etang National Park, in the interior of the island, offers some beautiful rainforest scenery and rewarding hikes. One of the focal points of the park is the beautiful crater-formed Grand Etang Lake. From the Grand Etang visitor center, several trails lead through the park, ranging from the 30-minute self-guided Morne LaBaye Trail with many specimens of native plants to the more challenging Concord Falls Trail, which passes a trio of cascades with swimming areas. Other popular hikes include the Shoreline Trail around the Grand Etang Lake, the Seven Sisters Falls hike, and the Mount Qua Qua Trail, a three-hour uphill trek with views over the forest. Along the trails visitors can spot many species of birds, orchids, and towering rainforest trees.
8 Levera National Park
On the northeastern shore of the island, Levera National Park offers some dramatic scenery where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic. Backed by cliff walls, coral-sand Bathways Beach boasts views of Sugar Loaf (Levera Island) and other islands in the distance while a natural offshore reef affords good protection for swimming. Also of interest in the park is Levera Pond, a water-filled, ancient volcanic crater, and a Bird-Watch Bridge which extends into a mangrove area. A visitor center lies at the entrance to the park. Admission is free
9 Annandale Falls
In the mountains north of St. George's, Annandale Falls is a 10-meter waterfall plunging to a pool tucked in tropical foliage. The short trail to the falls begins at the Annandale Falls Centre. Visitors can swim at the base of the cascades and watch local divers leaping into the water from the top. Change rooms are also available here. Be prepared for locals hawking souvenirs.
10 Underwater Sculpture Park
On the west coast of Grenada, a short drive north of St. George's at Moliniere Bay, the Underwater Sculpture Park is a unique submerged gallery that also serves as an artificial reef in a Marine Protected Area. Created by artist Jason de Caires Taylor, the sculptures range from Amerindian petroglyphs to life size figures cast from local children. Divers, snorkelers, and glass bottom boat passengers can admire this underwater exhibition, although the best views are face to face with these sculptures below sea level.
11 Dougaldston Spice Estate
One of Grenada's oldest and largest nutmeg plantations, Dougaldston Spice Estate is a rustic operation where local workers demonstrate how the island's spices are grown and processed. Visitors can also buy bags of nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Near the Dougaldston Spice Estate is the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, the largest facility on the island, where workers sort and pack nutmeg and share interesting facts about Grenada's famous spice. Tours are open to the public.
12 La Sagesse Nature Centre
La Sagesse Nature Centre, located on the Atlantic side of the island, is on the former estate of Lord Brownlow, Queen Elizabeth's cousin. His beachside residence has been renovated and turned into a romantic inn fronting a golden sand beach with great swimming in the protected bay. Nature trails in the area lead up through the windswept hills and provide pretty views over the ocean. The area is also great for birding. Many avian species make their home in the area's scrub forests, mangroves, and salt ponds.
Known as the "Land of Reefs", the island of Carriacou (carry-a-cou), northeast of Grenada, offers visitors a pleasing taste of the old Caribbean. Both white and black sand beaches fringe the coast, and coral reefs lie offshore with great opportunities for diving and snorkeling. Nearby Sandy Island, in a Marine Protected Area, is also excellent for snorkeling. The island has a number of small villages but the main population center is Hillsborough. The Carriacou Museum here displays Carib, European, and African artifacts, and the island offers several hiking trails. Visitors can access Carriacou via high-speed ferry from St. George's Carenage or flights from Grenada's Point Saline International Airport.
14 Petite Martinique
Five kilometers northeast of Carriacou, Petite Martinique is even quieter than its neighbor and equally beautiful. Fishing is the mainstay of this tiny island, and visitors can watch the locals haul in their catch or stroll along the beaches and chat with boat builders as they work. This is truly an island getaway with few tourist facilities except a couple of guesthouses and family-run restaurants, but visitors will find plenty of local color. Many yachters stop here to dine at one of the island's excellent restaurants. From Carriacou, visitors can catch a ferry across to the island.
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In the far south of the Caribbean, not far from the coast of Venezuela, is the tranquil nation of Grenada. It includes not only the main island of Grenada but also the two smaller islands of Petit Martinique and Carriacou. This is a land of lush mountains, soft sand beaches, plantations, small towns and a relatively small number of seaside resorts. Many visitors spend their time around Grand Anse, a lovely stretch of beach catering to tourists, but there is much more to see for those who choose to venture out.
The capital city of St George's is set around a lovely harbour. The inner harbor area of Carenage is a particularly interesting spot where schooners come and go and visitors can relax at local restaurants. One of the main attractions in the city is Fort George, built by the French in the early 18th C. From this high point there are good views of the harbor and surroundings. Not far from St George's is the resort area of Grand Anse Bay, the main tourist destination on the island, with a beautiful beach, hotels, restaurants, and other tourist amenities. Just south of here is the Morne Rouge Bay, another popular beach in the area.
Further afield, in the northeast of Grenada, is the scenic Levera National Park. This park is set along a dramatic stretch of coast with cliffs and beaches, and a view to the offshore island of Sugar Loaf. The area has an abundance of wildlife, and is a particularly good spot for bird watching or just walking the trails. Snorkelers and divers will also be impressed by the coral reefs. Another area of interest in the northeast is Bathways Beach, a relatively undeveloped beach with a visitor's center.
Spread around Grenada are a number of old plantations and estates, some of which can be visited. The historic Dougaldston Spice Estate provides a look at the many spices grown on the island and offers informative tours, and insight on the industry and history. For those interested in exploring the interior, Grand Etang Road offers a scenic drive through the rainforest along a twisty road. It leads through Grand Etang National Park, which has numerous hiking trails of varying lengths to suit all levels of ability. This is a great place to see some of the native plants and spectacular waterfalls. One of the highlights is Grand Etang Lake, formed long ago by a crater.
Travelers who take the time to visit the islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique will not be disappointed. These are much smaller islands and easy to explore. Carriacou has a number of small villages but the main population center is Hillsborough. Visitors can walk up a road to a high point on the hospital grounds for excellent views over the island and sea. Also up in this area are the remains of an old British Fort and an old sugar mill. Petit Martinique is located 5 km/3 mi northeast of Carriacou and is even quieter than its neighbor, but equally beautiful.