In the stunningly blue waters of the Caribbean Sea lies the island nation of Grenada, three small islands that join together to create a tropical vacation destination. The locals are laid back and friendly, the beaches are breathtaking, and the natural attractions are like nowhere else. Expert travels can all seem to agree on these facts, and in 2014 USA Today went so far as to list it as the sixth best Caribbean island.
|Currency||The official currency of Grenada is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$). The U.S. dollar is widely accepted, but you may still receive change in EC$. The exchange rate is about EC$2.70 to each US$1 (EC$1 = US$0.37)|
|Electricity||U.S. visitors need both adapters and transformers, as the electrical current is 220/240 volts AC, 50 cycles.|
|GDP Per Capita||The average per capita income is $6,162(USD).|
|Island Size||The island is approximately 133 square miles in area.|
|Language||English is the official language, but Creole and French are widely spoken.|
|Population||The island is home to about 105,483 people.|
|Entry Requirements||All visitors to Grenada, including those from within the Caribbean, must have a valid passport and an ongoing or return ticket. Visas are not generally required for anyone staying in the country for less than three months
...“Spice Island” for growing more spices per square mile than anywhere else in the world.
Grenada is located in Eastern Caribbean, and is the most southerly of the Windward Islands. The nation is comprised of three islands, Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique, and in total encompass 133 square miles of land. Volcanic in origin, Grenada is mountainous and filled with fertile lands. The tallest point on the island is Mount Saint Catherine, which reaches 2,757 feet above sea level. Surrounding the island are miles of beaches, with both black and white sand enticing vacationers to the shores. The island's soil is extremely fertile, and Grenada is known as the “Spice Island” for growing more spices per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are among the spices grown here.
Over 80 percent of Grenada's population resides in the black community, as decendents of the African slaves brought to the island to work the sugar plantations. Though English is the official language, visitors may run across islanders who speak different variations of French, Creole, or African languages. Overall, the people of the island are welcoming to vacationers, and tend to be friendly to those in need of assistance.
The weather on Grenada varies depending upon altitude. Though the average annual temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with highs of about 86 and lows of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the outer ring of the islands tend to be more hot and humid. Grenada's rain season lasts from June to December, and those visiting the islands during these months should arrive prepared to get wet.
The three islands of Grenada offer different experiences for travelers. Tourism is typically centered on Grenada, the largest island, (measuring 120 square miles) and even more concentrated in the city of St. George's. This is where the airport, numerous resorts, and large shopping centers are located, not to mention what is considered one of the most picturesque harbors in the West Indies. Interestingly, St. George's, which is Grenada's capital city, is actually situated in the crater of a long extinct volcano.
Historic buildings such as Fort George and the old Anglican church are popular attractions in St. George's, but there is plenty to see for those who venture outside of the city. At the heart of Grenada is Grand Etang National Park, a park and forest reserve with hiking trails and hundreds of species of plants and animals. Along the coast, vacationers will find 45 beaches. The one to look out for is most definitely Grand Anse Beach, which is often listed as one of the top beaches in the world. Other places of interest on the island of Grenada include River Salee Boiling Springs, the West Indies Cricket Heritage Center, Grenada National Museum, and La Sagesse Nature Center. To really learn what keeps Grenada going, however, visit Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Cooperation where you can learn how spices are processed and watch islanders work. Along those same lines, River Antoine Rum Distillery is the oldest rum distillery in the world, and a great place to learn about the island's beverage industry.
Cariacaou is the second largest of the three islands with a landmass of 13 square miles. Natural and historical attractions are what draw visitors here, from the beaches that circle the island to the numerous national parks, and underwater sites such as Kick-em Jenny, an active volcano just off the coast. White Island Marine Park and Sandy Island Marine Park are underwater habitats, while land dwellers will feel more at home Belair National Park and High North Peak. Several historical sites are also worth visiting, including Gun Point and the Cariacaou Museum.
Meanwhile, Petite Martinique (486 acres) has less than one thousand permanent residents, and is very rarely visited by tourists. Those who do venture to the island do so to experience absolute privacy and solitude as they explore the island and lay on the beaches.
Visit any island during the second month of August, and you are in for a special treat. This is when the annual Carnival celebration is held, and during this time there is an extra bit of joyfulness in the air wherever you go. Carnival events include live music, parades, street parties, pageants, and features lots of food and drink.
...food prepared here uses the finest fresh ingredients.
Speaking of food and drink, a trip to Grenada isn't complete unless you have sampled a bit of local fare. Because the land is so fertile, much of the food prepared here uses the finest fresh ingredients. Soups and stews start to meal, either vegetarian or with meats such as conch and oxtail. Grenada's national dish is called Oildown, and consists of root vegetables, dasheen, dumplings, breadfruit, and salted meat boiled in coconut milk. Seafood, curried meats, and tropical fruit are also popular at mealtimes. Wash down your meal with locally distilled rums or fruit punches. Click here to read more about the culinary styles of Grenada.
Although crime is rare on Grenada, you should always ere on the side of caution and follow basic safety precautions such as traveling in groups and not flaunting large sums of money. There are 650 miles of paved roads to drive on on Grenada, making the island easy to navigate, though it would be advisable to carry a map with you when you hit the road on your own. Remember that driving is done on the left side of the road on Grenada, and you should be fine. One of the bonuses of traveling to Grenada is that the tap water is potable, so you shouldn't have to spend extra money on bottled water everywhere you go.
The islands of Grenada allow every type of traveler to experience the vacation of their dreams. For seclusion and privacy, visit Petite Martinique; for a livelier atmosphere and plenty of attractions, check out the main island of Grenada; and for something in between, there is Cariacaou. Clearly, you can't go wrong when you plan a trip to Grenada.
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