ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Spice Isle of Grenada offers the type of diverse visitor experience that the discerning traveler has come to expect by providing the extra dimension of interaction with the local culture.
This year’s events embody the spirit and culture of the people of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique as a collective nation while simultaneously highlighting the beauty of their unique cultural and natural attributes.
Grenada Sailing Week Camper & Nicholsons Race Series, January 31 – February 5, 2013, invites sailors from around the world to come “Sail de Spice.” This newly-announced international yacht racing event consists of four days of competitive racing, one Lay Day on one of Grenada’s pristine beaches, and six nights of hot parties to “spice” up the event. Part of the Southern Caribbean Regatta Circuit, the celebrations extend to a second weekend for a popular Work Boat Regatta from Grand Anse Beach.
The Grenada Sailing Festival Heritage Work Boat Regatta, February 2-3, 2013, traditionally features boats used for fishing from all over the island. These boats take part in Le Mans style sailing races, competing in categories ranging from junior to senior. Set against the backdrop of a beach party complete with a local DJ, sweet melodies of traditional steel pan music, food, and drinks, the festival is ideal for satisfying competitive as well as festive appetites.
Carriacou Carnival, February 11-12, 2013, festivities kick off with a vibrant calypso competition that lasts until the wee hours of Monday. The party continues with J’ouvert, a celebration of culture where masqueraders dance and rejoice the night long. Once the street fete peaks a few hours after sunrise, mas players have only until later that Monday to get dressed and head back out for the parade of the bands. Visitors may discover the culture of the island and meanings subliminally present among the colorful costumes with imaginative themes, accompanied by rhythmic soca music. The carnival concludes with the must-see Shakespeare Mas. The Mas men start from Mt. Royal and make their way down through the villages performing, fueling up with rum in between rounds, until the event ends in Hillsborough for the final showdown.
The South Grenada Regatta, February 21-24, 2013, offers the thrill of sailing on warm waters, in an atmosphere layered with vibrant music, authentic Grenadian food, and all the right energy. The young and old, local and international, all unite to express their shared love of the ocean and to participate in three major races with five categories, a pirate’s trail, dinghy racing, and a huge racing party with BBQ and live music to conclude. Seafarers will delight in an exciting weekend full of great sailing and good fun at the Le Phare Bleu Marina and Boutique Hotel.
The St. Patrick’s Day Festival, March 11-17, 2013, consists of a week of activities held in the most northern parish in Grenada, St. Patrick. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the extravaganza filled with cultural events, food fairs. and religious services, all in celebration of the patron saint.
The 4th Annual Carriacou Maroon & String Band Music Festival, April 26-28, 2013, is the ideal way to experience Carriacou’s many cultural flavors as it showcases the island’s traditions from local foods, to song and dance. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich cultural traditions through drumming, singing, eating of “smoke food,” and other rituals practiced by nationals.
The Tri de Spice Grenada International Triathlon, May 5, 2013, is ideal for athletes of all ages from various parts of the world to participate in this fun, challenging, and highly-competitive event. The triathlon is held at the Port Louis Marina with the swim taking place on the shore of the marina and the bike and run along the picturesque Carenage and Kirani James Boulevard.
Fisherman’s Birthday, June 29, 2013, is observed annually as the Feast of St. Peter, patron saint of fishermen. It is staged in Gouyave, the hometown of Olympic gold medalist Kirani James and “The Fishing Capital of Grenada.” The celebration begins with a morning church service followed by a procession to the town, after which fishermen head to the beach to get a priest’s blessings for themselves and their boats. Throughout the day, an exhibition is held in the streets where travelers can sample authentic Grenadian cuisine and beverages.
Carriacou Regatta, July 28 – August 5, 2013, is one of the most intriguingly diverse in the Caribbean. The event attracts competitors from around the world with work boats, racing boats, sailing boats, and yachts. It involves races to Grenada, Union Island & Bequia, the Miss “Aquaval” Pageant, and other onshore activities and games, including the entertaining donkey race and additional sporting events.
Visitors may experience the pulsating rhythm of drumming and dancing at the Grenada Drum Festival, August 5, 2013. Founded in 1995 by the Tivoli Drummers, a group which has developed a unique style of choreographed drumming, the festival showcases captivating drumming and dancing by a variety of local groups.
Grenada’s Carnival is the island’s biggest celebration with a blend of music, creativity, color, and partying. The festivities begin in early August, and climaxes August 12-13, with Carnival Monday and Tuesday celebrations. Throughout the festival, visitors can experience the several entertaining calypso competitions held to determine the finalists for the grand finale, Dimanche Gras. The event rolls into J’ouvert morning where thousands of masqueraders take to the streets, covered in paint, oil, and mud to gyrate and jump to the infectious rhythms of soca and steel pan music. The festival concludes on Carnival Tuesday with the anticipated “last lap,” as people of all ages gather to enjoy the extravagant portrayal of the bands which parade through the streets.
Carriacou Parang, December 20-22, comes to life on the weekend before Christmas Day. The celebration entails creative story telling in the form of folk songs. The songs, which are based on local gossip, highlight the behaviors of known local characters and are performed by string bands each in a unique style. Once more, an entertaining, warm, and inviting atmosphere pervades all while visitors learn about national folklore.
Getting to Grenada is easy, with various airlines offering service from North America. American Airlines offers 4 non-stop flights from Miami to Grenada on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Caribbean Airlines operates non-stop service from New York JFK on Wednesdays and Saturdays. From Canada, Caribbean Airlines operates a twice weekly non-stop service from Toronto on Thursdays and Sundays. Delta Airlines operates seasonal service from New York JFK on Saturdays, from December 15, 2012 through March 30, 2013 and then again July 6, 2013 through August 31, 2013. Air Canada Vacations operates a seasonal non-stop flight from Toronto on Saturdays, now through March 30, 2013. Air Transat offers a seasonal non-stop flight from Toronto on Mondays, from December 24, 2012 through April 15, 2013. Air Canada also has year-round daily flights from Toronto to Barbados on Saturdays and Sundays with connections on LIAT to Grenada. In addition, West Jet operates a non-stop flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on LIAT year round. Schedules vary seasonally, so be sure to check availability with your airline.
Recognized as the “Spice of the Caribbean,” Grenada boasts some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine and spices, a tropical rainforest, and a wide range of fun-filled activities such as diving, snorkeling, hiking, fishing, and sailing. Romantic, natural, and authentic, all of nature’s best gifts can be found in Grenada. Grenada is a proud member of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP).
The destination was listed by National Geographic Traveler, among the “Best of the World 2013” [http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2013/#/maca-bana-villas-grenada_61102_600x450.jpg ] as one of the 20 Must See Places in 2013. In March 2012, the island’s Underwater Sculpture Park was recognized as one of the “Wonders of the World – Earth’s Most Awesome Places” [http://cruiseradio.net/grenada-cruise-excursion-makes-national-geographic-most-awesome-places-list/ ] by National Geographic. It was also cited for having both the “Best Wreck Diving” and the “Best Advanced Diving” in the Caribbean/Atlantic region by Scuba Diving magazine in the 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards [www.scubadiving.com/travel/caribbean-atlantic/2012-top-100-readers-choice-awards?page=,0 ], and Grenada was recently recognized as one of the Top 25 Destinations in the Caribbean in the TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards [www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Destinations-cTop-g147237 ].