Discover the best things to do in Grenada, where sparkling sands and turquoise waters lure beach lovers. However, this jewel of an island has much more to offer.
Snorkelers and divers can explore abundant reefs and a world-renowned underwater sculpture park. Hikers follow rainforest trails through bamboo thickets to waterfalls, while historians can learn about the island’s military history.
Foodies and the curious can explore Grenada’s copious nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon production that gave rise to the country’s nickname “The Spice Island”, while chocolate lovers can bite into top-quality bars.
Enjoy these 14 Grenada attractions and experiences.
Snorkel and Dive the Underwater Sculpture Park
One of National Geographic’s Wonders of the World, Grenada’s underwater sculpture park dramatically marries art and nature.
Serving as artificial reefs, the submerged figures take on striking characteristics as the works change with the sea currents. Barnacles attach to the bodies, corals grow out of the heads, and tropical fish swim around the artworks. Snorkeling and diving in the underwater sculpture park is one of the best things to do in Grenada.
Among the powerful underwater statues are “Vicissitudes”, a circle of life-sized figures of Grenadian children from various ethnic backgrounds, facing outward and holding hands; and “Grace Reef”, 16 female forms that the sea currents cover or expose with sand.
Troy Lewis, a Grenada artist, added “The Amerindian Petroglyphs”, a series of 14 sculptures based on Amerindian art and culture, and Rene Froelich, another local sculptor created “The Silent Cry”, a female figure entwined in the roots of a tree.
Hike Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve
Grenada blooms with something many other Caribbean islands lack: a tropical rainforest. Exploring Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve takes you into the lush, green, and hilly interior. Trails lead past thickets of bamboo, feathery ferns, plus tall mahogany and gommier trees.
As one of the best hiking spots in the Caribbean, you’re likely to hear the songs of tanagers, spot hummingbirds and hawks, see waterfalls, and maybe, with luck, a few of the reserve’s chubby-cheeked Mona Monkeys that inhabit the forest.
The park offers trail brochures and guides who lead you along the paths and explain the flora and fauna. On the Morne LaBaye trail, an easy walk of less than a mile, you pass ferns, heliconia, and bamboo before reaching a lookout tower with panoramic views of the park and the Atlantic coast.
One of the most scenic hikes is the Seven Sisters Waterfall Hike. The 1.3-mile trail has an elevation gain of 600 feet.
Wear a hat, sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeves. Use insect repellant and bring plenty of water.
Swim & Tan on Grand Anse Beach
Grand Anse, the jewel in the crown of Grenada’s beaches, is enticing, thanks to its two-mile-long cove of soft, white sands and calm turquoise waters, conveniently close to St. George’s. You’ll find shade under the sea grape and palm trees that fringe the sand.
All manner of water toys are available to rent, from Hobie Cats to stand-up paddleboards, pedalos, and snorkel gear. There are reefs just off the beach where you can admire dazzling underwater life.
You’ll also find plenty of places to eat along the beach—and if you need a break from the sun, head to the nearby Grand Anse Craft and Spice Market to browse the goods.
Read: Best Snorkeling in the Caribbean
Take in Panoramic Views & History at Fort George
Come to Fort George for the views and the history. Originally constructed as a wooden battery by the French in 1666 and called Fort Royal, the fort features splendid views of the Carenage, the inner harbor which served as the primary entry port to Grenada in the 17th century.
The fort was enlarged between 1701 and 1713. When the British gained control of Grenada in 1762, they renamed the property Fort George and the town, St. George’s.
More recently, this is the spot where Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and part of his cabinet were executed by a faction of the People’s Revolutionary Government on October 19, 1983, beginning a dark period in Grenada’s history.
The fort is a peaceful place today. Stroll past 19th-century cast-iron cannons, pace the parade grounds, and walk through tunnels and narrow passageways. Although the fort serves as the headquarters of the Royal Grenada Police Force, the property is open for sightseeing.
Smell the Flowers at Palm Tree Gardens Botanical Garden
At Palm Tree Gardens Botanical Garden, you feel as if you’re strolling through an enchanted garden. The two-acre oasis blooms with lush tropical plants from many Caribbean islands and the hillside location in the village of Laura, St. David’s, catches the island breezes.
Paths wind past some 40 species of palms, red, blue, and pink anthuriums, bromeliads, and many other colorful tropical flowers. Look for the garden’s red-foot tortoises around the lily pond.
Swim, Kayak, & Snorkel at Morne Rouge Beach
Nestled in a horseshoe-shaped bay protected by hills, Morne Rouge Beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Morne Rouge exudes a laid-back vibe and is quieter than the popular Grand Anse Beach.
The sheltered bay has calm water that’s shallow for a long way out, making kayaking and spotting fish easy. Cayaks Grenada rents transparent, two-person kayaks so you can paddle and admire the marine life below. There are beachside restaurants and cafés for lunch, too.
Splash in Annandale Falls
Check off your bucket list dream of splashing in a tropical waterfall at Annandale Falls & Forest Park, near Annandale, St George’s. The falls are easily accessed via a short trail. The picturesque but narrow waterfall is surrounded by rocks layered with roots and ferns.
The falls cascade 32 feet into a swimming hole, perfect for a refreshing, but cold, dip. While you’re here, explore the surrounding gardens, lush with tropical vegetation.
River Tube Through the Rainforest
Experience the rainforest by river tubing on the Balthazar River, one of the classic things to do in Grenada.
On this adventure, you drift along, gently swirling and occasionally spinning over riffles and small rapids as you float past towering bamboo, palms, kapok trees, and hillsides lush with ferns.
Life jackets, helmets, and guides who lead you down the river add safety to the thrills.
Take a Jouvay Diamond Chocolate Factory Tour
There’s something wonderful, even sensuous, about the aroma of chocolate. Find out how this delectable treat morphs from beans to bars on a Jouvay Diamond Chocolate Factory tour, one of the best things to do in Grenada.
The factory has character as parts of the plant are located in an 18th-century former rum distillery built by French monks.
On the tour, you learn that Grenada’s cocoa gains its unique taste from growing among fruit, spice, and nut trees that add hints of nutmeg, clove, and banana to the cocoa.
After picking, the beans turn brown as they ferment and are dried the traditional way on large wooden trays placed in the sun.
Workers sort, select, and winnow the beans, removing their shells. Then the beans are ground, mixed, refined, and conched, a kneading process that smoothes the texture. Finally, the mix is tempered and molded.
But all you have to do is eat or drink the delectable mix. Jouvay’s chocolate bars contain a high amount of cocoa, ranging from 72 percent to 100 percent. Jouvay Chocolate is not only grown in Grenada, but it’s produced as part of a cooperative of Grenada cocoa farmers who reap a share of the profits.
Of course, you can buy the chocolate onsite. Before leaving, chocaholics should try the chocolate smoothie, hot chocolate or even chocolate beer at the onsite Jouvay Café.
Sample Rum at the River Antoine Rum Distillery
Operating since 1785, the River Antoine Rum Distillery claims fame as the oldest functioning water-powered distillery in the Caribbean. Touring the distillery is a great thing to do in Grenada.
The distillery produces Caribbean rum the old-fashioned way, using a water wheel to crush the sugar cane, releasing the juice. The distillery also burns local wood to heat the stills instead of the modern process of steam.
The distillery’s Rivers Royale Grenadian Rum’s blue label bottle is 138 percent proof. Many locals prefer the even more potent red label 150 proof version, which needs to be handled with care if you’re not used to strong liquor.
Take a moment to admire the gorgeous labels on the bottles, featuring lush coastline and an 18th-century sailing vessel.
Go Local on a Craft, Spice, and Fish Market Tour
Touring markets puts you in touch with locals and Grenadian foods you might not see in your hometown supermarket.
At the St. George’s Vegetable, Spice, and Craft Market in town, locals buy the namesake items. Yellow, blue, and red umbrellas cover tables piled with dasheen, peppers, soursop, plantains, and other produce.
At nearby shops and stalls, you can purchase nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and other spices sold in individual packets and jars, or as a medley neatly arrayed in a straw basket.
At Grenada’s Fish Market, decidedly less fragrant but equally interesting, walk by vendors with rows of whole fresh tuna, barracuda, snapper, and other catches piled on ice. When locals place an order, watch the fishmongers expertly cut the fresh catch.
The Grand Anse Craft and Spice Market is another colorful local scene. Scores of vendors sell beaded necklaces and bracelets, straw hats, beach bags, pareos, beach dresses, and spices.
Shop for Take-Home Treasures
Grenada doesn’t disappoint when it comes to hunting for tasteful and authentic souvenirs. Chocolate lovers can take home Jouvay chocolate bars, produced on the island from Grenada cocoa at the Jouvay Diamond Chocolate Factory.
The Grenada Chocolate Company uses organically-grown beans from local farmers to produce its award-winning dark chocolate made without dairy. Look for their products at local markets.
Also, browse supermarkets for nutmeg and guava jams and jellies and local rums. Distilled and bottled by River Antoine Royal Rum Distillery, the Rivers Royale Grenadian 138 percent proof rum is a potent memento of your trip.
Grenada Distillers also produces a variety of rums, including the Clarke’s Court Pure White Rum that just makes it legal to bring into the US, at 138 percent proof. Westerhall Estate imports rum from Trinidad to blend, bottle, and sell on the island and internationally.
Find ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and other Grenadian-grown spices at food markets.
Tour Fort Frederick
The panoramic view from Fort Frederick on Richmond Hill is spectacular, although it’s an uphill climb to get to the top. From the fort’s 800-foot-high perch, you’ll see the Carenage, the harbor, the mountains, and the town of St. George’s.
The French began construction on Fort Frederick in 1779 after outsmarting the British with an inland attack.
As a result, the French placed their cannons facing inland to prevent any other such siege, causing the fort to be known as “backwards facing”. Unlike Fort George, Fort Frederick is more ruins than buildings.
See How Spices Grow at Laura’s Herb and Spice Garden
Smell fresh thyme, touch an open cocoa bean pod, and taste just-picked mangoes at Laura’s Herb and Spice Garden, Laura, St. David’s. On this informative tour, a guide plucks fresh herbs and spices from growing plants so you can discover their true flavor and tang.
As you walk the lush garden, the tour leader explains how the plants grow and the medicinal and culinary uses for the herbs and spices. Inspired by the bounty? Then, purchase herbs and spices at the gift shop.
Ready to explore Grenada? Browse our luxury cruises to Grenada and plan your visit to the Caribbean’s “Spice Island”.