Caribbean – Grenada Island
It is claimed, that on a cruising approach on a private yacht charter to Grenada, the “Spice Island” of the Caribbean, one can smell the scents of the various spices grown on the island wafting on the Trade Winds. Grenada is home to spice plantations where nutmeg, mace, allspice, cinnamon, cloves. turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, cocoa beans, and coffee beans are grown, harvested and processed for export around the world. Grenada grows one third of the world’s production of nutmeg, a nut that is surrounded by a red hued casing that when ground is known as mace. Grenada also figures as a large world producer of cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and ginger. And all is grown on an island in the southern reaches of the Caribbean Sea that is all of 11 miles long. With an international airport, Grenada is great island from which to begin or end a luxury yacht charter of the southern islands in the Caribbean.
The sovereign nation called the State of Grenada, comprised of Carriacou, Petite Martinique and Grenada, was established in recent history in 1967, and now forms the southern end of the Windward Islands. The capital city of this nation is St. George’s, which is located in a lovely bay on the island of Grenada. Featuring a lively market every morning, with even more hubbub on Saturdays, St. George’s, is the place to buy everything that Grenada produces and more. As the spices and other cocoa and coffee beans are part of everyday life in Grenada, a variety of lovely herbal teas, jams, syrups, juices, and even essential oils can be found in the market. Chocolate products and coffee beans are also for sale, and for those looking for a little snack, a variety of local foods are available, flavored with those spices for which the island is famous.
For anyone wanting to know more about what is grown on Grenada, harvested and produced, head inland and visit a working spice plantation. Certain plantation owners in Grenada very cleverly imported the nutmeg tree from the Banda Islands in Indonesia in the 1800’s where disease was decimating the crop; knowing that nutmeg was an excellent and much prized crop worldwide. Soon nutmeg trees flourished on the island, becoming, as expected, a big cash crop for island growers.
What to See and Do on Grenada Island, State of Grenada, Caribbean
Belmont Estate: Visit an authentic 18th century plantation, where visitors can see a fully functional historic plantation growing nutmeg and mace, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, turmeric, ginger, with their number one product on the Estate being cocoa beans. The full processing of the cocoa bean as picked from the tree to the state from which chocolate is possible to be made (at which time, the beans are delivered to the Grenada Chocolate Company) can be seen at Belmont Estate. Located on the Estate is a restaurant, serving foods grown in the Estate gardens and seasoned with their herbs and spices. Be sure to also visit the Estate Museum, Craft Co-operative, where local artists sell their wares, and gift shop.
Grenada Chocolate Company: The Grenada Chocolate Company Ltd. was founded in 1999 as an Organic Cocoa Farmers’ and Chocolate-Makers’ Cooperative, now with over 200 acres of organic cocoa farms. This is a small scale chocolate maker’s factory producing fine award winning small batch organic dark chocolate right where the cocoa beans grow. Nestled into the lush cocoa groves, on Belmont Estate, chocolate produced at this factory has won the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2008, 2011 and 2013 Silver Medal in the Best Dark Chocolate Bar category. In the gift shop find Bonbon Chocolate featuring chocolate combined with the many fruits, nuts and spices of Grenada. Enjoy a tour of the cocoa fermentry at Belmont Estate.
Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Plant: The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station is one of the largest nutmeg processing factories on the island. Tours are available for only US$1.00. See how the processed nutmegs, also known as “Black Gold”, are graded and packaged to be shipped worldwide. The shop at the end of the tour offers everything nutmeg. This is a good location to buy nutmegs and a grater to for your own Caribbean Rum Punch.
River Antoine Rum Distillery: Visit for a tasting and tour as rum here is still made the old-fashioned way, just as rum was first made in 1785. The distillery makes rum with an original sugar cane crushing wheel still water powered from the River Antione; with the raw mash then heated in distilleries over wood fires which produces rum.
Market Square: This square is where the daily market, and larger Saturday market takes place in St. George’s. There are Caribbean herbs, spices, chocolate, and vanilla available to purchase.
The Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park: Located in a small bay north of St. George’s Harbor, this is a collection of underwater sculpture created by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. The sculptures can be seen by snorkeling on a clear water day, and by scuba diving.
Grenada National Museum: A very small museum, located in St. George’s. For those that want to know more about the history of Grenada, this museum can be informative. Included is information starting from Grenada’s Kalinago inhabitants, to the Grenada independence in 1974, along with the European colonization of the island in the 1600’s.
Grenada Hiking: There are a wide variety of hiking options inland that include tropical rain forests, beautiful waterfalls, and extinct volcanic crater lakes. Pack a bathing suit as there are a number of swimming locations. There is also great bird watching and flora and fauna that grow naturally on Grenada. And perhaps, there might be a glimpse of a Mona Monkey, first brought to the island in the 1800’s from Ghana.
Grenada is a multi-faceted island, with rain forests, beaches and mountains, where an industrious people are growing world-famous spices, brewing rum and creating a lovely chocolate, all from that grown right on the island. Grenada is a great starting or ending port on a private yacht charter.