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The island of Grenada, though only 133 square miles (344 square kilometers) in size, contains an enticing mixture of many cultures, natural beauty, historic sites and gorgeous locations for relaxation and sport. This island in the southeast corner of the Caribbean is the largest and southernmost of the Grenadines, an island group that includes two other large islands, Petit Martinique and Carriacou, and six smaller islands, Frigate Island, Ronde Island, Diamond Island, Caille Island, Large Island and Saline Island. Southeast are Trinidad and Tobago and to the southwest is Venezuela.
Settled by the French several hundred years ago, all the islands of the Grenadines still show the French influence with place names, architecture, music and cuisine. There's the Caribbean influence, of course, but you'll also find touches of India and Africa. The best comparison is New Orleans in the United States.
The highest geographical point of Grenada indicates the island's origin, the ex-volcano called Mount St Catherine that towers above the ocean and island beaches at 2740 feet (840 meters). The volcanic origins mean the topsoil is rich in nutrients and explains the number of spice, mace and nutmeg plantations. You can hike or bike for miles. Inland exploration, though, will require a light jacket; light rains and high humidity are highland constants. Spectacular waterfalls amid the mountainous terrain are the main reason you might want to explore the interior.
The coastal regions are much sunnier, though. Many long sandy beaches line the coasts. The coastal strip near the capital of St George is especially popular, especially the world-renowned Grand Anse Beach that measures 1.9 mile (3 km) in length and is often found the lists of the top beaches in the world. Another beaches to explore on this southwest corner of the island are on Point Salines and at Lance Aux Epines. Most of the hotels in this area offer two beaches, one for water sports and another for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Smaller guesthouses with correspondingly smaller beaches can be found in the Saint John and the Saint David parishes of Grenada and in the towns of Gouyave and Grenville.
St George is itself a constant port-of-call for cruise ships during the cruise season. The expanded tourist infrastructure that has consequently appeared in St George may appeal to some people; other people may find it annoying and should try other areas of the island an perhaps the other islands. Tamerind Bay is a good alternative location.
Diving and snorkeling is the chief reason many people visit Grenada. Just off the shore within paddling distance one can find schools of sea horses, fish, turtles, non-threatening sharks and many other types of marine life. The coral reefs off the island Carriacou are a beautiful place to linger and explore. If you would rather stay dry, fishing is another option that can take you far off shore for some exciting and exhilarating adventures. You can also try kayaking and sailing if you'd like to explore along the coast a bit.
Festivals occur in Grenada all year around and are yet another reason to visit Grenada. You should check a current calendar of events for Grenada to match your trip to several of these lively affairs. Music can range from island calypso to modern rap, with touches of soca, reggae and zouk to pep you up and chill you down.
In Grenada, you can expect food of all kinds to tantalize the senses. Dishes and delicacies from France, Africa, the Caribbean and India all appear at these events and can also be found at local restaurants all the year round. Oildown is the one Grenadine dish you must try. It's salted beef, chicken and salted pork marinated and cooked in coconut oil, studded with dumplings and mixed with extras like yam, green banana and breadfruit. You should also try the mix of Creole, Indian and Caribbean cuisines that result in local variants of curries, rotis and dhal puri.
Best Time To Visit:
Along the coastal areas, the rainy season runs from July to December; the dry season is January through June. If you plan to go inland on Grenada any time of year, you should expect rain and cooler temperatures and should pack a sweater and a raincoat. Rainy season does not mean continual rain; instead, you can expect moments of light rain throughout the entire day and night.
The temperature along the coast can go as low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) in the rainy season; the high temperature along the coast in the dry season can hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) during the day. Expect high humidity no matter what time of the year you visit Grenada, though the trade winds do cool the Grenadine islands somewhat during the dry season.
The high season is the early part of the dry season, January and February, the time when the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere are deep into severe winter weather. Expect higher prices for lodging and more crowds. The low season is the middle of the rainy season, September and October. If you come during that time, expect any outdoor activity to be interrupted by rain.