I love road trips. Especially ones without a set plan. But when time is a factor, it helps to have a rough guide that ensures you don’t miss the important, must-see-and-do spots.
Despite it’s relatively small size, it’s impossible to see everything there is to see in Grenada in just one day. So I took three separate road trips along three different routes on three different days to take in as much as I could. All of these routes had amazing sites along the way that made this mission worthwhile, but for those not blessed with the luxury of time, I’ve mapped out one comprehensive, mega-route that takes you past several popular sites and attractions you absolutely have to visit while you’re on the island.
The route starts in the capital of St. George’s on the west side of the island, cuts across the island to the east coast and then doubles back down. Here are the 7 stops you must include on your next Grenada road trip.
NB: If you start at 8:30 am you should be able to wrap up and start heading back around 5:30 pm.
1. Take in the Views from the Forts
If you’re into history and beautiful views like I am, the forts in the capital offer the perfect 2 for 1 special. Fort George, in the heart of St. George’s is your first stop and while it has two access points (one next to Spice Isle Mall and the other by the Police training barracks), I recommend the entrance by the barracks. There you’ll stand in the very courtyard where the late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and seven others were executed by a firing squad during the uprising of 1983. After soaking in that sobering bit of history, climb the hill to the row of cannons where you’ll have an uninterrupted view of the bay. Before you leave, be sure to climb the viewing platform in the parking lot where you’ll be treated to a beautiful vista of the capital and The Carenage. A short drive away you’ll find Forts Frederick and Matthew, where you’ll get an even better birds eye view of the city from a higher vantage point.
Estimated time: 35 minutes (including drive from George to Frederick)
2. Visit the Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve
Some places leave you in awe no matter how many times you visit them. Grand Etang is one of those places for me. The park is a sprawling 3,800-acres and if you have a day you can dedicate exclusively to exploring it, I highly recommend it as there are hiking trails and waterfalls to be explored. For the purpose of a road trip however, you must at least stop by the museum housed in a beautifully maintained great house with jaw-dropping views of the surrounding rainforest, as well as make your way down to the lake to take in the impressive sight that is the crater lake together with the lush, brilliantly green vegetation along its perimeter.
Vendor: Government of Grenada
Contact: (Attempting to source this information)
Price: EC $5
Estimated time: 25 minutes
3. River Tubing down the Balthazar River
After a morning on the road there’s no better way to unwind than bumping along the Balthazar River in an inner tube. On the day we went, we were the only two people in the water along with our guide and it was so exhilarating to have the water all to ourselves, letting the river take us wherever it wanted. Come prepared to get soaked, so swimsuits/trunks are best. Sometimes a safari jeep will pick you up from the end point but not always, so it’s best to also wear a coverup or shorts in case you have to walk back along the road to the starting point. Water shoes are advisable but anything that is securely fastened to your feet will work just fine i.e. no flip flops.
Vendor: Grenada Adventure Tours
Number: 1 (473) 444 5337
Price: $50 EC
Estimated time: 30-40 mins
4. Enjoy a delicious Grenadian lunch at Belmont Estate
While river tubing may have some relaxing moments, it’ll still help you work up an appetite. There are several lunch options in the nearby city of Grenville, especially if you’re on a budget, but for your ultimate Grenada road trip, lunch should be enjoyed at Belmont Estate (I estimate you’ll get there around 12:30 pm). A spacious restaurant designed to deliver views of the immaculately maintained grounds, Belmont Estate is famous for its deliciously prepared local cuisine using many ingredients grown on the estate. The fixed menu includes one choice of appetizer; entree from a sprawling buffet; and one choice of dessert. The main course is always a hearty Grenadian meal, including various meats and provisions kept warm and served fresh in old school coal pots. The Estate is especially proud of its homemade ice creams which I fully endorse – the mango was divine! Be sure to take a restroom break here because it’ll be your only comfortable option for the rest of your day on the road.
5. Take the River Antoine Distillery Tour
I never thought I could get excited over the rum making process but my visit to the River Antoine Rum Distillery was one of the highlights of my Grenada trip. It was like stepping back in time to the 18th century. The oldest operational, water-powered distillery in the region, River Antoine has done an excellent job of preserving the original rum production process. The brief tour takes you through every step from start to finish and it was a bit surreal to be standing in 2016 watching the old waterwheel at work, seeing men manually feed cane stalks into the grinder; wheel carts along the elevated tracks; load kindle into the furnace; and even bottle, seal, label and box each item individually. The energy expended and the pride taken in each task is inspirational. Oh, and the sampling at the end of the tour doesn’t hurt either. My personal favorite was the Rum Punch ($25 EC) as I’m fond of fruity drinks!
Vendor: River Antoine Run Distillery
Contact: 1 473 442 7109
Price: $5 EC
Estimated time: 30 mins
6. View Sugar Loaf Island from Levera Bay
Levera National Park is a treasure and a place you should definitely return for turtle watching if you’re a lover of nature. But for the purposes of a road trip where the idea is to soak in as much as possible, Levera Bay is on my list specifically for its amazing, up close and uninterrupted view of Sugar Loaf Island. Privately owned and interestingly shaped with two distinct peaks, it’s one of my favorite views in Grenada.
Vendor: Mother Nature
Estimated time: 20 minutes is enough time to take in the views, dip your feet in the water and snap a few pics
7. Hike the Seven Sisters Waterfalls
After a long day of driving and eating and just a little bit of drinking you might think the last thing you want to do is hike to a waterfall but you’d be wrong. In fact, the clear water in the Seven sisters pools is exactly what you’ll be craving to help you cool down and unwind before you make the long drive back south. This is the abridged 20 minute version of the hike however where you’ll see the first two of the seven pools but it’s well worth it. Walk with the bare minimum in terms of supplies as there is limited space to leave your stuff while you’re swimming but be sure to take sensible shoes that won’t fail you along the muddy trail.
Vendor: Mother Nature
Estimated time: 1.25 hrs, including the walk in and out
If you’re a big history buff and don’t mind extending your day, you can also tack on this bonus spot…
Bonus: Leapers Hill
After Levera and before turning around to head to Seven Sisters, drive up to the St. Patrick’s RC Church and visit Leaper’s Hill, the site where dozens of Amerindians jumped to their death on the night of May 30, 1650. As the story goes, French troops ambushed the group of natives who had just concluded a ‘drinking feast’ on the edge of the hill overlooking Sauteurs Bay and in response the Amerindians made their last stand by choosing death over murder or capture. Just so you’re aware, the site is located in a cemetery, so if this would make you uneasy in any way, don’t include it in your itinerary.
Vendor: St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
Price: Free, however the church is open to contributions
Estimated time: 15 mins hrs
Of course there are so many more interesting places to see in Grenada but these are my preferred stops if I’m on a time crunch and want to cover various regions in one day. What stops would you recommend if you’re doing a round-d-island Grenada road trip? Tell me in the comments!