Worth getting out of bed for...
- As you drive north through lush rainforest along the road from St George’s, stop just before you arrive in St Andrew’s, at the peak of the hill, to look back on Grenada’s capital harbour city.
- Arts and culture
- A tour of the Dougaldston Estate, 10 miles north of Gouyave, where bananas, coconuts and spices are processed, is a suitably aromatic substitute for the usual museum schlep. Another unusual way to learn about Grenada’s folklore and history involves snorkelling or diving at the world’s first underwater sculpture park – think Anthony Gormley meets Pirates of the Caribbean (www.underwatersculpture.com). Get an insight into rural life at 300-year-old Belmont Estate (www.belmontestate.net), a former sugar mill in St Patrick – it has lovely views and walking trails.
- Something for nothing
- Inhale and be hearty: the very air you breathe has aromatherapeutic properties, with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, bay leaves and turmeric lacing the salty tropical breeze. Make time to chat to people – there’s no point in rushing about here, and Grenadians are renowned for their fantastic sense of humour.
- We love the nutmeg-inspired prints on the dresses, bags and crafts at Veronica's Visions in St John's (+1 473 437 8154; www.veronicasvision.com). In St George’s, browse the Market Square (busiest on a Saturday morning) for local produce and spices, and the Esplanade Mall on Melville Street for local arts and crafts – try Figleaf (+1 473 435 9771). Keep your eyes peeled for delicious organic chocolate bars made by the Grenada Chocolate Company (so good it’s stocked by Rococo Chocolates in London); lots of shops in St George’s sell it. The islanders’ favourite rum is Clarke’s Court Rum (which they claim leaves them hangover-free), produced at the Grenada Sugar Factory in St George’s (www.clarkescourtrum.com).
- Take the ferry or hire a boat across to one of Grenada’s satellite islands, Carriacou or Petite Martinique, where there’s fantastic snorkelling and dreamy beaches – Paradise Beach on Carriacou is a superb stretch of powdery white sand, but you might prefer to charter a boat and play Robinson Crusoe on one of the uninhabited outlying islets.
- Best beach
- A white-sand idyll on the northeastern tip of the island, Bathway Beach is a lovely spot with a natural lagoon, perfect for a lazy day of swimming and a picnic of barbecued chicken. Try Magazine Beach for snorkelling. Closer to St George’s, Grand Anse is beautiful but busier.
- Follow in the footsteps of Grenada’s own Indiana Jones, the machete-wielding hiking hero Telfor Bedeau (+1 473 442 6200), and trek to Concord Falls or Seven Sister Falls. His challenging day-long hikes will take you through the rainforest (wear anti-scratchy-plant jeans and trainers).
- This is a safe, friendly, healthy environment for children, and there are plenty of activities to keep them happy.
- Grenada offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean, with 50 sites to explore, including the biggest shipwreck in the region – the ocean liner Bianca C; Aquanauts (444 1126; www.aquanautsgrenada.com) will kit you out and take you down. Then there’s fishing, or dolphin- and whale-watching trips (www.catamaranchartering.com). Alternatively, hike along gorgeous trails in the Grand Etang National Park (+1 473 440 6160), or head into the rainforest for some rubber-tubing along Balthazar River. Adventure Jeep Tours (+1 473 444 5337; www.grenadajeeptours.com) will take you trekking, biking or to secluded beaches for snorkelling. Take part in one of the yoga holidays taking place at Laluna; find out if Grenada's most stylish boutique hotel is running an Eco Chic Retreat before you book.
- Grenada lies below the hurricane belt and tends to miss out on scary storms, though it was devastated by Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Emily, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Charity REACH Grenada helps support the local children; you can do good for the local community just by buying cacao. Or even better, volunteer as a cacao farmer for a day? See www.reachgrenada.org for details.
January Men grapple with huge fish during the Spice Island Billfish Tournament (www.sibtgrenada.com) – 2009 is the 40th anniversary. Heave to for the Grenada Sailing Festival (www.grenadasailingfestival.com) at the end of the month. February Grenada’s Independence Day on the seventh is a public holiday celebrated with pomp and parades. Carriacou Carnival kicks off the weekend before Lent – don’t miss the Shakespeare Mas, where gaily garbed performers engage in a battle of wits. May The totally banging Drum Festival (www.spiceisle.com/drumkrumah) and totally exhausting International Triathlon (www.grenadatriathlon.com). June Fisherman’s Birthday, Gouyave’s all-day celebration of patron saint St Peter. August Spice Mas Carnival (www.spicemasgrenada.com): calypso, jump-ups, Devil Mas bands and DJ trucks.