A Window into Grenada
Nicknamed the "Spice Island" for its fragrant nutmeg and mace crops, Grenada is a lush Caribbean paradise where tropical fruits, flowers, and spices grow from every corner. Rich in history, the nation boasts influences from French, Spanish, British, Amerindian, African, and East Indian cultures. Arawak-speaking Amerindians, thought to be the first settlers of the island, left their mark as their agricultural and fishing skills remain with Grenadians today. Grenada's treasures extend beyond its main island, many do not know that there are three islands to the nation of Grenada: Grenada Island, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, so there is even more to explore when you visit!
Grenada Spice Island
|Size: 133 sq. miles*
Official Language: English
Population: 124,610 (2021)
National Dish: Oil Down
Capital City: St George’s
National Bird: Grenada Dove
Independence Day: 7 February
National flower: Bougainvillea
*Grenada Island, Carriacou & Petite Martinique
Grenada Map & Flag
This map of Grenada shows the three islands that make up the nation of Grenada: Grenada Island, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The nation of Grenada is located between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Grenada adopted this flag upon independence from the UK in 1974. The seven gold stars represent the seven parishes, and the nutmeg symbol represents the nation’s reputation as the Spice Island.
Grenada Landscape & Geography
The island of Grenada, nestled in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is an almond-shaped island fringed with 75 miles of coastline and filled with lush tropical rainforests. The steamy tropical temperatures are tempered by refreshing trade winds. Hiking trails are woven through the greenery of the island, leading to waterfalls, some of which are swimmable. The island was formed by volcanic activity, although the northern end is coral limestone.
Grenada's territory extends beyond its namesake island, encompassing Carriacou, the largest of the Grenadine islands, and the tiny jewel of Petite Martinique, offering diverse island-hopping experiences. The rainforests are filled with life, you can find wildlife such as armadillos, opossums, and mongoose, as well as an array of birdlife including hummingbirds, pelicans, and frigate birds. Grenada's landscape is a beautiful masterpiece of nature, with lush greenery, sculpted by volcanic forces, and serenaded by the Caribbean Sea.
Grenada's culture is a vibrant mix of French, Spanish, British, Amerindian, African, and East Indian influences. This rich blend is evident in everything from the lively rhythms of Grenada’s various carnivals and festivals to the flavours of the island, like the fragrant curries and spicy stews. Cricket reigns supreme as the unofficial national sport, uniting communities as they cheer on their favourite teams under the Caribbean sun.
Around half of Grenadians are Catholic, and the prevalent Christian influence means Sunday is a quiet day on all the islands, a time when life slows down for church and family gatherings. Grenadians are known for their warm, welcoming and friendly spirit.
Grenada Carnival, Festivals & Events
Grenada's carnivals, festivals, and events embody the island's spirit, sound, and taste. These events offer a chance to experience Grenadian culture and traditions. Here is a list of some of the festivals and events that take place throughout the year in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique:
Carriacou Carnival (Kayak Mas)
A pre-Lenten carnival celebration that blends Carriacou’s African, French and English heritage in the music, street celebrations, mas bands, food, and colours. Including features of the mainland Carnival in Grenada such as the Jab Jab of J’ouvert and Monday Night Mas street parade. However, only Carriacou offers Shakespeare mas where colourful masqueraders recite Williams Shakespeare’s plays.
Carriacou Maroon & Stringband Music Festival
A festival merging the African maroon celebration and string band music that celebrates the maroons who escaped slavery and built their communities preserving African heritage and culture. The celebration also remembers the ancestors and gives thanks for a good harvest.
Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta Festival
The people of Petite Martinique are heavily reliant on the sea for their living, and the regatta is a celebration of this fact. The festival features traditional wooden boat racing, which takes place out at sea. Meanwhile, onshore activities allow visitors the chance to experience the island's unique culture, including obstacle races, a J'ouvert street parade, cultural performances, and live music and dancing.
Grenada Chocolate Fest
A celebration of Grenada’s chocolate industry from tree to bean to bar. An opportunity to meet the people who grow world-class cocoa through sustainable organic farming, learn the story of Grenada’s chocolate, make your own chocolate and taste delicious chocolate-inspired cuisine.
Grenada Carnival (Spicemas)
Grenada's Spicemas, also known as Grenada Carnival, is a vibrant celebration that usually culminates in August. One of the most captivating aspects of Spicemas is the Jab Jab where masqueraders covered in black oil or charcoal, wear horned helmets and rattle chains and take to the streets in a pre-dawn J'ouvert parade representing freedom and ancestral resilience. Monday Night Mas ignites the sky with glowsticks and colourful t-shirts as people dance to music. On the final day, the Parade of the Bands showcases elaborately designed costumes, adorned with feathers, jewels, and intricate details.
The Carriacou Regatta
The Carriacou Regatta is a vibrant four-day festival held annually in August that brings the story of the island’s traditional boat-building history to life. The highly skilled art of building traditional wooden sloops is steeped in the Scottish influence on the island. This festival is the longest-running Caribbean Regatta since 1965 and includes the main event of beautifully crafted boats taking to the sea in competitive racing as well as onshore activities such as donkey racing, the greasy pole, street parties, music and delicious island cuisine.
Grenada's culinary scene reflects a blend of influences, mixed from the island's fertile soil and its rich cultural heritage. Freshly harvested produce takes centre stage, with spices such as cinnamon, bay leaf, turmeric, and of course the island’s signature spice, nutmeg infusing dishes with flavour. The national dish, Oil Down, exemplifies this philosophy, a one-pot slow-cooked stew where breadfruit simmers slow-cooked meat, salted fish, and/or vegetables, flavoured with coconut milk and turmeric. Grenada's culinary landscape also boasts a growing chocolate industry, where locally grown cacao beans are transformed into high-quality chocolate bars and confectionaries. From the vibrant flavours of fresh-caught seafood to the delicate sweetness of locally made ice cream, each bite on this island whispers tales of sunshine, spice, and a deep connection to the land.
Things To Do in Grenada
From beautiful white sand beaches to adventurous hiking trails, there is something for everyone in Grenada. Prepare to be captivated by the island's rich history, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture. Here are some of the activities and local gems to add to your itinerary:
Swim among coral-encrusted sculptures, in the world’s first underwater sculpture park. Just north of the capital of St George’s in Moliniére Bay, you will find Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park. It is a project that was founded by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, with sculptures including a circle of women clasping hands and a man at a desk. Accessible to view by snorkelers and divers.
Immerse yourself in the history of the island at the National Museum. Found in the capital St George’s, the National Museum is mostly dedicated to celebrating the unique heritage and culture of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique. The museum hosts concerts, lectures, art exhibitions and other events throughout the year. The museum is temporarily closed for renovations at the time of writing. See more updates here.
Enjoy a breathtaking sunset at the idyllic Grand Anse beach. This beautiful beach boasts two miles of white sand lapped by turquoise waters, as well as some of Grenada’s finest hotels, beach bars, restaurants and water sports. This is said to be an essential Grenadian experience for any visitor.
Explore the capital city of St George’s. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful capital cities in the Caribbean, St George’s is a great starting point to explore Grenada. Enjoy some shopping at St George’s Market Square, one of the largest markets in Grenada, with stalls of fresh island produce. Carenage Harbour is a beautiful spot to take a stroll along the water's edge and admire the colourful fishing boats. Additionally, St. George's serves as the departure point for ferries to the sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
Shop from the talented Grenadian craftspeople when you visit the Grand Anse Craft & Spice Market.There is so much to explore at this craft market created and made by local vendors, from arts and crafts, spices, handmade jewellery and leather goods.
Discover more about Grenadian chocolate at the Diamond Chocolate Factory. Follow the entire chocolate-making process, from bean to bar. This factory makes the Jouvay brand of chocolate, a company owned as a cooperative by local cocoa growers. There are factory and farm tours available, a café that serves chocolate smoothies and locally brewed chocolate beer as well as a gift shop where you can explore and buy crafts made by local artists and artisans.
Experience the natural beauty of Grenada with a hike at Grand Etang National Park. This stunning arealocated in the heart of the island is a paradise for nature lovers with hiking trails, a large crater lake to explore and amazing wildlife to see like the Mona Monkey and Grenada dove.
Enjoy the smell of Grenada’s world-renowned nutmeg while exploring the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station. Owned by the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association, here you can tour and see the workers choose, grade and package the nutmegs using traditional methods.
Immerse yourself in Grenada’s agricultural heritage at Belmont Estate. Belmont Estate is a 17th-century plantation that has been transformed into a must-see destination in Grenada, offering visitors a chance to experience regenerative organic farming, learn about cocoa and chocolate production, and immerse themselves in the cultural heritage of Grenada.
Learn about the rum-making process and see the oldest functioning waterwheel in the Caribbean in operation at River Antoine Rum Distillery. The distillery is known for its traditional rum-making method that uses a waterwheel powered by the Antoine River. You can see the waterwheel in action during the facility tours and then head over to the tasting room to sample the different types of rum they offer.
Take a trip to the beautiful smaller islands of Carriacou & Petite Martinique:
Carriacou (pronounced carry-a-cou), provides visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the true essence of Caribbean life and get away from the hustle and bustle of modern-day living. The island is situated just 90 minutes away by ferry or 20 minutes by flight from Grenada's main island. You can opt to make a day trip to Carriacou to explore some of the island's attractions or stay for a longer period at one of the few hotels available.
Petite Martinique (pronounced pitty-mar-ti-neek) is a small island inhabited by approximately 900 people, who mostly depend on boat building and fishing for their livelihood. This serene island is an ideal destination for those seeking a laidback experience, where they can unwind, explore the beaches and enjoy the stunning views from the island. The island is easily accessible with a quick 15-minute boat ride from Carriacou.
While I poured over dusty travel guides & researched online to craft this post, nothing compares to hearing about the island straight from those who've felt its warm sand beneath their toes and smelt the nutmeg in the air.
Since I haven't yet had the chance to soak up the Grenadian sunshine (though it's definitely on my Caribbean travel bucket list!), I am reaching out to you!
How to share your grenada...
The magic of Grenada truly comes alive through the stories of those who've walked its beaches, hiked through its rainforest, and savoured its culture.
We want to hear about YOUR Grenada! Do you have a Grenada memory that still makes you smile? Or an experience or recommendation you’d love to share with the community? Whatever your Grenada moment was, we want to share it! Here's how:
Dig up that island photo: We want to see Grenada through your eyes! Did you capture a hidden waterfall, a lively market scene, or a breathtaking beach sunset? Unearth your favourite Grenada snapshot, the one that brings back the island's magic.
Craft your story: In just 1-2 sentences, tell us what made this experience your Grenada highlight. Was it the feeling of sand between your toes and the smell of nutmeg-infused air? Share the essence of your island moment.
Simply fill in this form to get involved. Your submission might be featured in this blog post or on our social media channels, inspiring others to discover the wonder of Grenada.
Sources and Further Reading
Learn more about Grenada:
This article is a result of my interest and fascination with the island of Grenada and my love for the Caribbean region. I have gathered information through research both online and in books to compile this blog post to share what I've discovered with you. However, I'm only human, and I may have missed something in my research, so if you happen to come across any information that appears to be incorrect or outdated, please do let me know by sending an email to email@example.com. Your input will be much appreciated and will help us improve this blog post for everyone's benefit.