Spice up Your Life with a Trip to Grenada

Just smell that nutmeg, as it’s turned into everything from jam and syrup to ice cream. And don’t forget the chocolate, coffee, sugar cane and bananas too.  Grenada is known as “The Spice Island” – and for good reason. It’s been a major producer of nutmeg for more than a century and one of its most atmospheric sights is the monumental wooden Nutmeg Processing Station set beside the sea at Gouyave. This deliciously scented warehouse seems unchanged since the day it opened in 1952, and the lucrative spice is so much a part of island life it features on the national flag.

Here nutmeg is turned into everything from jam and syrup to ice cream, while many more spices are grown on this delightful island including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and turmeric, which you can learn all about on a visit to one of the plantations.

Organic chocolate is another yummy island product, now made on four estates, and Grenada is an ideal Caribbean island to visit if you’re a foodie. Coffee, sugar cane, cotton, cocoa and bananas have all been grown on the fertile slopes of the Belmont Estate in St Patrick, where you can lunch on callalloo soup and fresh star fruit juice then take a fascinating bean-to-bar chocolate tour.

The island has an impressive fine dining scene too, including a Gary Rhodes restaurant at the family-run Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa in L’Anse aux Epines, which recently joined the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection. Creole dishes are a speciality at the sophisticated all-inclusive Spice Island Beach Resort on Grand Anse, which has just added an open-air yoga pavilion so that you can stay trim while enjoying such treats.

Out and about, Grenada has tremendous scenery with winding roads penetrating deep into majestic mountains that rise to the 2,757ft summit of Mount St Catherine. Similar in size to the Isle of Wight, the island has a wild and windy Atlantic coast that makes an exhilarating drive, while the best beaches are in the calm south west, along with the pretty capital of St George’s.

One stand-out feature is rum – the island has three distilleries, which is pretty good going for a population of just 107,000, and the one at River Antoine has been in production since 1785.

Lying 12 degrees north of the Equator, with rich volcanic soil and a tropical maritime climate, Grenada is also a must for garden-lovers. In May the island won its 13th Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and you can arrange to visit the gardens and nurseries that supply the prize-winning orchids, heliconias and palms.

For active thrills try the trek to Concord Waterfalls where you’ll work up a decent sweat before taking a cooling dip. Tubing through the rainforest on the Balthazar River is quite literally a scream, while Grenada High-wire is a new rainforest canopy obstacles course using ziplines.

On the coast, Grenada boasts more than 40 beaches with average water temperature a blissful 24C-30C. Dive sites include 15 shipwrecks and the intriguing Underwater Sculpture Park located in Moliniere Bay, within the Marine Protected Area, with 65 barnacle-stubbed statues including a cyclist, a man with a typewriter and children holding hands.

That’s typical of a Caribbean holiday – you think you know what you’re getting but once you go exploring there’s a lot of wonderful surprises.