Grenada is one of the most verdant islands in the Caribbean region, thanks to a gentle climate and volcanic soil. The government is dedicated to preserving the island’s many gifts of nature, and one-sixth of the landmass is preserved as parks and natural wildlife sanctuaries. The vital environs prove ripe for the cultivation of the many spices that earned the island its nickname: the Spice of the Caribbean.
North of St. George’s on the west coast, the town of Gouyave is the epicenter of the Grenadian spice industry. The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station is the world’s second-largest producer of nutmeg, accounting for about one-third of the global nutmeg supply. Take a tour of the factory and observe the workers choose, grade, and package the bounty by hand. There is nary a conveyor belt or machine on site. At the end of the tour, explore Nutmeg World to procure fresh spices, clothing, and other souvenirs.
The nearby Dougaldston Estate is part historic monument and part primary processing center for an array of savory and sweet spices, including nutmeg, cloves, mace, cinnamon, and pimento. The De La Grenade factory manufactures a special line of award-winning nutmeg products using the nutmeg pericarp, or fruit. One such product is Le Grenade Liqueur, which is made from a 200-year-old family formula.
The lush landscape makes Grenada a haven for hikers. In the island’s central region, Grand Etang National Park features miles of scenic trails that meander through the bird sanctuary and the forest reserve. The protected rainforest is teeming with waterfalls, towering mahogany trees, and tropical plants and birds. The Lake Circle Trail wraps around the 30-acre Grand Etang Lake, a volcanic crater situated 1,740 feet above sea level. Keep an eye out for troops of the gregarious mona monkeys, which can often be spotted near the park’s visitor center. During the Seven Sisters Fall Hike, guests traverse the forest for 30 minutes to reach the fall, where the reward is a refreshing swim.
A ride through the interior of Grand Etang leads to the Balthazar Estate and Botanic Gardens. Once an active producer of nutmeg, bananas, and cocoa, the 396-acre estate recently altered its focus to become Grenada’s foremost producer of exotic flowers and herbs. It’s also the starting point for the popular Grenada River Tubing Adventure, a wet and wild journey down the Balthazar River (also called the Great River) with stops in various pools along the way.
Enjoy an aromatic island tour that paints a fascinating picture of Grenada’s cultural heritage and insight into the cultivation and processing of nutmeg, cocoa, and vanilla.
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