Step off your cruise ship onto Grenada, and the first thing you'll likely notice won't be the colorful buildings that stack the hillsides, but the spiced scent for which this Caribbean vacation spot received its nickname: the "Isle of Spice." The scent of nutmeg, Grenada's largest export, wafts past the palms with an intoxicating aroma reminiscent of apple pie. Thanks to its butterscotch-colored beaches and naturally abundant spices, the island has long been a desirable location for trade and leisure.
Its proximity to South America gave Grenada it's first inhabitants, but European exploration moved the island's command from Spanish to French and then to British control before the country was granted its independence in 1974. The struggle over Grenada was driven by its agricultural wealth and trade value. In fact, nutmeg is still known as "black gold" on the island. Several other spices are grown in the country, including cinnamon, clove, mace, and bay leaf.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Isle of Spice during a Caribbean cruise. The following four sites let you walk through a historic nutmeg plantation, tour a spice garden, and taste the products that emerge from this piquant place:
1. Dougaldston Spice Estate
Learn how spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cocoa were traditionally grown and processed during an excursion to this historic plantation. During your tour of the Spice Estate, it is common to see large amounts of spices drying in the sun, which is a traditional harvesting method. Visit the gift shop, where you can purchase fresh, fragrant spices to enjoy year round.
2. Gouyave Nutmeg Station
Gouyave Nutmeg Station is the largest nutmeg receiving station in Grenada. Workers select, categorize, and package nutmeg by hand into burlap bags, which are then distributed around the world. At its highest levels of production the plant produced three million pounds of nutmeg each year.
3. Laura's Herb and Spice Garden
Visit Laura's Herb and Spice Garden on your Caribbean vacation, and journey along a nutmeg shell-lined path through six and a half acres of spices and herbs. On a 20-minute tour, you can see spices such as pimiento, turmeric, and tonka beans, learning about their uses not only for flavoring but also for medicinal purposes.
4. De La Grenade Industries
A trip to the Caribbean's nutmeg capital would not be complete without sampling the variety of nutmeg products offered at De La Grenade Industries. The diversity of products offered at De La Grenade Industries proves that nutmeg can be used for more than just apple pie. The pepper sauce, which can be used to flavor meats and dips, mixes scotch bonnet pepper with nutmeg for a truly unique flavor. And, the prize-winning La Grenade Liqueur, made from nutmeg, citrus fruits, and rum, is a must try.
Are you ready to plan your visit to Grenada, the Isle of Spice? Discover the Caribbean cruise that's perfect for you.