A cruise passenger who wants to "spice" up his life can certainly do so --literally--during his ship's call to Grenada. Known as the "Spice Island," Grenada boasts more spices per square mile than anywhere else in the world: ginger, cocoa, cinnamon, mace, tonka beans and nutmeg --a third of the planet's supply of the latter. Along with Carriacou and Petit Martinique, Grenada, located off the coast of South America and part of the Grenadines group in the Windward Islands, is an independent, three-island nation.
Grenada packs a nice list of must-sees in its tiny, 136 square mile-territory. One of the top sights is its capital city, St. George's.Its land-locked inner harbor, the crater of an extinct volcano, is lined with pastel-colored buildings with red roofs, green hills and tropical flora including frangipani and flamboyant trees --it is one of the prettiest sights in the whole Caribbean. The waterfront, the Carenage, dating from the 18th century, is generally filled with fishing boats, sailboats, and yachts, and the town has some charming Georgian colonial buildings as well as old forts including Fort George on Church Street and Fort Frederick on Richmond Hill, both built by the French in the 18th century. Other St. George's highlights include the pink, 18th century Anglican Church, on Church Street, and Market Square, at the foot of Young Street, where colorfully attired women sell produce. The Grenada National Museum at Young and Monckton Streets, has exhibits about the island and is set on the foundations of old French army barracks. Island tours offered on board ship in Grenada cover St. George's points of interest as well as nearby Annandale Falls, a cascade surrounded by tropical flora.
The beaches are another big draw on Grenada --the island has more than 40, with the best ones located in the southwestern coast. Here is Grand Anse Beach, the island's best known and arguably, most idyllic --a nearly two-mile-arc of white sands adorned with palm trees and sea-grape trees and calm, clear, aquamarine waters. Water-sports concessions are available on the beach.
Other points of interest in Grenada include Grand Etang National Park, in the lush, mountainous interior of the island and site of one of the finest rainforests in the Caribbean and offering dramatic lookout points, hiking trails and fishing streams; and Gouyave, a spice town that is the center of the nutmeg and mace industry on the island. Visitors to the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Cooperative are able to see the spices being readied for market. Little baskets with Grenada's many spices make wonderful gifts and souvenirs -- a great way to take some of the island's flavors home with you. If your ship is in port during the lunch or dinner hour, try the local cuisine known for its fresh seafood and spicy dishes like pepper pot (several kinds of meat: pork, beef --whatever is available) cooked with lots of pepper, garlic and onions and generally served with rice and peas.
Cruise lines that visit St. George's, Grenada include Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Silversea and Windstar.
IF YOU GO -- For additional information, visit www.grenadagrenadines.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun