Spice Spice Baby

Known as “the spice island”, Grenada is just shy of 1600 miles away from the southernmost tip of Florida and served as my temporary home for Thanksgiving 2016.  For five days, I had the pleasure of experiencing the east and west coasts of the island, taking in some of the great sites on the island, liming with the locals, experiencing the culinary delights and even taking in a football playoff game.

I arrived in Grenada after a long day of traveling and cleared customs and immigration in approximately 15 minutes.  Exiting the doors of the airport, I proceeded to the taxi area where grabbed a taxi and proceeded to my temporary abode located very close to Grand Anse Beach (more on that later).  Prior to my trip I researched many, many, many lodging options.  Grenada has everything from your budget sensitive rooms and hotels to your high-end luxury accommodations.  My particular lodging option was on the economical end of the spectrum, but met all of my requirements: close to public transportation and the beach, dining options nearby, and a microwave and refrigerator in the room.  As a bonus, the unit itself was HUGE.  There was a really large bedroom, separate kitchen and living area, balcony and spacious bathroom.  There was a supermarket within a five-minute walk from the hotel, I could see the beach and ocean from the balcony while I enjoyed breakfast, and the WI-fi connection was excellent.  After a long day of traveling, I opted for a quick walk around the local area before calling it a day and heading to bed.

Having rested well the night before, I set out to explore the local area.  First stop the local supermarket which was a five-minute walk down the road.  I picked up some bottled water, a few snacks, juice, pastries, and some croissants.  After returning to my temporary abode, grabbed my beach bag and gear and headed out to the local beach.  Ten minutes after leaving my front door I was enjoying the nice view, sand and ocean waves of Grand Anse beach.  The weather was around 80 degrees and there were not many individuals crowding the beach which was wonderful; the majority of the people were locals.  Two hours into my beach excursion the skies decided to open up and wet the ground.  Most people would be bummed, but not I.  A rainy day in the caribbean still beats any sunny day in the states.  So what is a girl to do but sit on the beach and enjoy the rain— just like the locals.  After a few hours at the beach, I headed back to the hotel to have lunch, do some light reading and send Thanksgiving wishes to friends back in the states.  To close out the day, I took another stroll around the local area to check out a few more sites prior to turning in for the evening.

Day three arrives and I get up early to get in a quick run on the beach.  Run finished and back to the hotel I go for breakfast on the balcony and to get changed to head out to St. Georges, the capital.  This day I decided to take the water taxi to visit St. Georges.  There are several water taxis that leave from a spot on the beach and, in true caribbean style, there is no scheduled timeline.  One hour after waiting for the taxi I arrive in St. Georges.  The water taxi took approximately 10 minutes point to point and cost $15EC.  St. Georges is home to the spice and craft markets and the docking station for numerous cruise ships coming into port.  Having made friends with one of the water taxi operators (a young man named Jay), I inquired about the best place to have lunch.  Jay walked with me to a local spot and then gave me his contact information to keep in touch in case I wanted to head to the fish fry later that evening.  After lunch, I spent the rest of my time in the capital enjoying the sights, browsing the markets, visiting fort George, and checking out the Grenadian history museum.  I visited the tourism office to figure out which local taxis to take to get back to the hotel and headed to the nearest stop to hop to catch the local taxi.  Back at the hotel I settled in for something to eat, change clothes and check in with Jay.

I decided not to go to the fish fry because some taxi drivers were trying to charge me tourist prices, so I connected with Jay to hang out at Wall Street.  Wall street was located within a 15 minute walk from my hotel and was the spot where a number of food trucks were stations serving local eats.  A nice band and singers performed covered Bob Marley songs and people popped into the local pizza spot for a quick bit.  We headed up a local bar for drinks… or so I thought.  Turns out that Jay doesn’t drink.  Wow!  So, it was just me drinking alone and, after the one really bad local drink of rum and coke (yeah, local drink??), I decided I didn’t need to get another drink.  So, over the noise of the music and television shows we took a moment to get to know each other and Jay provided me with a wealth of information about the island.  He even offered to take me to a spot in St. Georges where I could buy some spices and other items I needed.  That trip would be saved for Saturday.  After hanging out for a while Jay caught the local taxi back to his home and I returned to the hotel.

The following morning I repeat my routine from the previous day (beach run, beach and a return to St. Georges).  This time I took the local time up to St. Georges vice taking the water taxi.  The local taxi takes less time and only costs $2.50EC.  Once in St. Georges we visit a few stores for him to exchange currency to make change for the tourists and we visit a chocolate store.  I am not a big fan of dark chocolate so that was a very quick visit.  Following that we visit a local shop to try to find a bottle of particular Grenadian rum prior to journeying to the spice and craft markets.  At the spice and craft markets I pick up a few items, including some fruit to enjoy on the road and for the plane trip back to the states.  Jay is scheduled to work that day, so make plans to meet later for a football game and soca concert in Greenville (the east coast of the island and almost an hour drive away from my hotel).  I finish out my time in St. Georges once again taking in some of the local sites, finding and purchasing my obligatory shot glass and grabbing a bite to eat.  I head back to the hotel for a quick nap and to change for the football game later that evening.

So in the interest of time, I will speed up the timeline.  We went to the football game and arrived just in time to see the last 5 minutes of the match.  Following the match there was a soca concert on the field featuring a local artist and other international artists.  The concert was great and I enjoyed it, but I was very tired and not looking forward to drive back as it was long, windy and the hills were steep.  Good thing I feel asleep minutes after getting into the vehicle.  By the time I awoke, we reached the hotel.  Can’t remember if I changed clothes for bed, but I know I slept well.  When the alarm went off the next day, I did my last beach run and took time to just enjoy the sunrise and take a few pictures.  Returning back to the hotel, I enjoyed breakfast on the balcony while doing a light bit of reading.  This was my last day in paradise and I was going to enjoy it by relaxing.

Visitor information

  • People in Grenada are very friendly and helpful.  I did not have an issue walking around the local area early in the morning or late in the evening and felt quite safe— at least until I saw a big rat!
  • Grenada currency is the eastern caribbean dollar; however, the american dollar is widely accepted and exchanges at a rate of $2.70 to $1.00.
  • The fare for local taxis is $2.50EC or $1.00 american
  • The top rated local rum is known as Rivers rum and one version of it is so potent that you are not supposed to take it out of the country.
  • Taxi fare from the airport to the Grand Anse area is $40EC or $16 american.  All taxi fares are fixed and based upon geographical location.
  • I didn’t find the mosquitoes to be a problem during most of my stay.  The only time I had an issue with them is when I visited the spice market ironically enough.  Guess they are attracted to spices.
  • The electrical current is 220 volts; however, the hotel had a power converter available to aid me with my powering needs.  It may be wise to bring your own converter, just in case the lodging option you choose does not have a spare converter.
  • Buses run very early in the a.m., but typically stop running around 10p.m. or so.  If you board the bus at the depot in St. Georges be prepared to wait a while for it to fill up before departing.

This was a wonderful, enjoyable trip and I will definitely make a return visit.