I saw the turquoise water below and the memories instantly came flooding back: the pastel colored cottages of St. George at sunset, searching for Barron’s pepper sauce in the market, steaming roti at Spice Island Beach Resort, and striking black sand beaches that photographs cannot properly capture. I was approaching Grenada, the Caribbean’s “Spice Isle,” for a weekend of Carnival and culture. This was my second visit, one that I knew would happen from the moment I visited this magical Caribbean island just miles away from South America back in January. Island vacations can become monotonous at times, but not in Grenada. It is not overrun with hi-rise chain hotels or tourist traps. There is a welcoming ease on the island, no distinction really between locals and visitors, and this authenticity makes it worth a visit alone.
Here are just a few reasons to consider a new adventure in the Spice Isle:
Grenada’s biggest Carnival gathering, J’ouvert, is definitely its main event. Here, one can behold the black oil slickened Jab Jab, dressed in devil horns and often carrying chains and horns. It is in this tradition that slavery is rejected through rebellion and satire. J’ouvert is the breaking of chains, of an oppressive past, and in Grenada, it is a sight to behold. After J’ouvert, Monday night mas lights up the central town of St. George, followed by Tuesday’s “pretty mas.” Carnival lovers and bacchanalists will be plenty pleased with Spice Mas.
When it comes to Grenada’s beaches, the question becomes how many you can squeeze into just one visit. There are some 45 white sand beaches and 9 black sand beaches on this tiny island -- take your pick. A favorite is Grand Anse, located on the southwest end of the island. Here, you can catch perfect glimpses of La Sagesse in the southeast is a less crowded beach, but just as picturesque.
Come to Grenada for the beach, but stay for the food. Grenada’s beloved local stew, oil down, includes breadfruit, callaloo, salted meat, coconut milk, and spices. Its ingredients are just as rich as its indigenous history. Another local favorite not to be missed is crab back, crab meat mixed with breadcrumbs, other spices, and if you’re lucky, butter and cheese.
FOR MORE INFO ON THE ISLAND: Visit www.puregrenada.com Jet Blue has nonstop flights to Grenada from New York.