On your cruise to Grenada, you’ll immediately get a sense for St. George’s colorful personality. It’s the capital and a major port city, where cargo and cruise ships regularly pass through. Colorful colonial architecture dots the skyline. The area is tinged with French and British influence, which you’ll see when you tour the historic Fort George or Fort Frederick. History buffs will learn a lot about Grenada at the National Museum. For outdoorsy types, after an hour’s trip inland, you’ll be able to experience major ecological activities like sea turtle watching at Levera National Park or hiking at Grand Etang National Park.
You’ll quickly learn Grenada is home to a variety of spice trees, creating an aroma of the island unlike any other stop on a Caribbean cruise. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cocoa are major exports, and the cuisine of the area will show you why Grenada is nicknamed “spice island.” If you’re here in mid-August, you’ll get to experience Carnival, Grenada’s biggest celebration.
Grand Anse Beach is popular when cruises are docked, but that doesn’t diminish its beauty. White sand and turquoise waters aren’t novel in the Caribbean, but there’s a special quality to Grand Anse, which some call the best beach in Grenada. You can take a diving excursion with Dive Grenada, located along the beach, or head to beach bar Umbrellas for a cold drink while you’re here.
Construction of Fort Frederick began under French rule and was completed by the British in subsequent years. Unusually, the cannons face the interior of the island, as the British didn’t want the French to sneak attack them from the mainland. Hike up Richmond Hill to reach the top of the fort, where you’ll have a 360-degree vista of the harbor and Fort George.
Diving and snorkeling are popular activities for passengers on their cruise to Grenada. You’ll be hard pressed to find another place in the Caribbean that gives you the chance to snorkel and dive among underwater sculptures. This protected area is home to detailed art pieces that now double as artificial reefs. It’s only a 15-minute drive north of the cruise port on Melville Street.
The oldest fort in Grenada, Fort George, was built by French settlers in 1705 to guard the city and overlook the harbor. Today, tour the mostly unused fort through a stairwell hike to its summit, where you’ll catch incredible views of St. George’s from the top. Cruise ships loom in the distance, juxtaposing modern Grenada with its past.
Don’t leave Grenada without a trip to the National Museum in St. George’s, which has the benefit of being informative, inexpensive, and intimate. It won’t take long to see all of the exhibits, but you’ll leave with useful tidbits of knowledge about French and British occupation of Grenada as well as an understanding of the region’s harrowing slave trade. During the second Friday of the month, there’s typically music and cultural performances at the museum.
Grand Etang National Park & Forest Preserve is about a 30-minute drive inland from the Grenada cruise port. It’s home to a crater-formed lake that’s one of the highlights of the reserve. Take a self-guided tour of Morne LaBaye Trail or hike through the tropical rainforest to a set of waterfalls on the steep Concord Falls Trail. It’s the perfect afternoon excursion for hikers and bird-watchers, as the area hosts a wide variety of species.
As one of the primary nesting spots for sea turtles in Grenada, Levera National Park attracts wildlife lovers every nesting season from May to September. You can walk the trails through this 450-acre park, passing wildlife and extensive mangrove swamps throughout. Look out for sea turtles along this classically beautiful Caribbean beach.
Annandale Falls is just a 20-minute drive from the Grenada cruise terminal. The waterfall boasts a 30-foot drop and is surrounded by lush tropical foliage. It’s a peaceful site, and you can take a swim at the waterfall’s base to cool off. It’s also fun to watch adventurous locals jump from the top.
At this inlet, you’ll enjoy sights of St. George’s smaller fishing boats docked in the harbor while the rest of the city’s residential and commercial buildings fill the landscape. It’s a scenic, leisurely walk that will give you a sense of St. George’s on the way to the market or the Grenada National Museum.
House of Chocolate
Address: Young Street, St George's, Grenada
House of Chocolate celebrates chocolate in all forms, whether that’s cocoa for sale, hot chocolate, brownies, or cakes. All their chocolate goods are made on site, and there’s even a mini museum dedicated to the history and production of chocolate in Grenada. It’s a playful cafe celebrating the sweeter things. Grab an ice cream on a hot summer’s day while on your Grenada cruise.
Address: Grand Etang Road, St George's, Grenada
The view of the harbor is just one reason to head to BB’s Crabback for seafood and traditional Caribbean cuisine. Jerk chicken, seared tuna, and goat curry are popular dishes. They also serve simple classics like pancakes for breakfast. They’re closed on Sundays.
Address: Otway Building, St. George's, Grenada
Another spot for Caribbean food and drinks is the casual, unpretentious Carenage Cafe, conveniently located near the cruise port. It’s ideal for a cold beer while you wait to board the cruise ship. They also serve inexpensive bites like burgers and chips and chicken roti.
Umbrellas Beach Bar
Address: Grand Anse Beach, St. George's, Grenada
While you’re visiting Grand Anse Beach, stop in Umbrellas for a cocktail or a casual bite while enjoying a view of the bay. There’s usually live music Friday through Sunday. The menu is comprised of beach bar comfort foods like burgers and hot dogs with a few surprises like yellowfin tuna burgers, conch soup, and catch-of-the-day sandwiches.
Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant
Address: Lagoon Road, St. George’s, Grenada
Patrick’s is described by many as a hidden gem. The focus isn’t on lighting, ambiance, or a view. Patrick’s just wants to provide guests with local homestyle cooking through their rotating, seasonal menu. Offerings typically include tapas, chicken curries, octopus dishes, and authentic Caribbean soups. Traditional and unassuming, Patrick’s is a unique find on your cruise to Grenada.
Grenada itself is known as “spice island,” as spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa are main exports from the area. These crops had an immense impact on St. George’s growth and trade importance throughout the centuries. St. George’s is the capital of Grenada, and it was founded by the French in 1650. The native Carib population were forced out and killed by French forces in the process. In 1763, the Treaty of Paris stipulated that Britain take control of Grenada. It took until 1974 for Grenada to declare independence from Britain.
An important cultural event for the people of St. George’s is Carnival in mid-August, an annual festival that celebrates emancipation from slavery in Grenada. Costumes, contests, and themes change, but the event remains spirited and deeply significant each year. The parade lasts every year from Sunday until Tuesday.
St. George’s hospitality is evident from the moment you leave the cruise port, where a sign reads, “Welcome to Grenada”. St. George’s is very walkable, and the cruise terminal on Melville Street is walking distance from the city center. Within the cruise port is a cafe and free WiFi, as well as standard features like restrooms, information desks, and souvenir areas. As you exit the cruise port, you’ll pass through the Esplanade Shopping Mall. For book lovers, the cruise terminal happens to be a few minutes’ walk from the public library.
Taxis wait outside the cruise port to pick up passengers to drop them off in the city center. Many drivers offer taxi tours for the day. You can also rent a car in St. George’s or take public transit on the city’s bus system. Water taxis will also ferry you to Grand Anse Beach or other areas along the waterfront.
For duty-free shopping, head to the Esplanade Shopping Mall near the Melville Street cruise terminal. Over 50 shops are open here that sell everything from souvenirs to jewelry and watches to perfume. You can also purchase Caribbean rums and spices from shops in the area. More shopping can be found on Young Street in the downtown area.
The official currency of Grenada is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD) and tipping is common practice on the island. U.S. dollars are often accepted, but don’t count on using them at smaller, local establishments. Reliable ATMs and banks are located throughout the city. When you’re out at a restaurant, most will include a service charge, which means you don’t have to leave an additional tip unless the service was excellent. Always check your bill to make sure a service charge is included. If not, leaving 15-20% as a tip is the custom. You can also tip your taxi driver 10-15% of the fare or tour, similar to other Caribbean destinations.