This week’s dream
Living on island time in laid-back Grenada
American travelers are finally realizing that Grenada is one of the most enticing corners of the Caribbean, said Tony Perrottet in Travel + Leisure. The island nation has been most widely known here as the subject of an unlikely 1983 U.S. invasion triggered by a coup. But Grenada has been stable ever since, and though resorts are beginning to pop up, it remains a relatively unspoiled gem with “gorgeous” beaches and “a wild, lush interior.” Because tourism has been light, locals are genuinely curious about outsiders. During a recent visit, I was often startled by the “preternatural friendliness” of Grenadians. Driving the rural back roads, I regularly encountered machete-wielding farmers eager to help. They’d “lean into the car with boyish grins” as they pored over my map and discussed the best routes and attractions.
Grenada’s complex history has created a charmingly eccentric culture. Known as the Spice Island, it was for centuries the center of the world nutmeg trade, and its prominent British-Caribbean trappings overlie older French-Creole traditions. I relished the Anglo vibe at the Calabash hotel, where I sipped tea and snacked on cucumber sandwiches while watching lizards parade past tropical plants. Later, I went diving at Molinière Bay to see the world’s first underwater sculpture park, created by a British artist. “It was an eerie experience, swimming around statues of children holding hands scattered along the ocean floor like broken pagan idols.”
Grenadians take pride in the idea that they operate on “island time,” and that laid-back attitude is most pronounced on Petite Martinique. Wandering the tiny island one day, I was invited to join a saraka, a thanksgiving rite rooted in African tradition, and was soon welcomed into a large extended family while guitarists strummed on the porch and cooks tended pots over open fires. One cousin, named Martin, showed me how to dance a Scottish jig, and when I realized that I was about to miss my ferry, he called the captain—another relative—and told him to delay departing. “It took 20 minutes to shake everyone’s hand.” But I didn’t rush. “After a week on Grenada, I was learning how to make island time work for me.”
At the Calabash (calabashhotel.com), doubles start at $525.