Working from lists of must-visit destinations for 2018 from leading travel media as well as our proprietary algorithm that serves up the best accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, we have compiled our own best-ofs for this year. Grenada, with “uncrowded beaches, preserved rain forests, and a lively local culture and cuisine,” (Travel + Leisure) takes the inaugural award for Best Caribbean Destination.
Lying at the southern end of the Hurricane Belt, Grenada is relatively sheltered from the storms that ravage its neighbors to the north. It escaped last year’s brutal hurricane season unscathed. Its location makes it a more reliable plan-ahead destination. For now, it’s also safer from the hordes of tourists that make other Caribbean destinations feel overcrowded.
Another major draw: Grenada’s family of gorgeous vacation properties is being joined by several highly anticipated new resorts. Silversands debuts this year, shaking up the Grand Anse Beach scene with its suites, villas, and the longest pool in the Caribbean. The Kimpton Kawana Bay is due to open in 2019.
And of course, there are our perennial favorites: the incomparable Maca Bana 88, a hillside cottage colony; and Spice Island Beach Resort 91, a sanctuary on Grand Anse Beach with personalized service and incredible amenities. Laluna Hotel, a 16-villa resort tucked away on a hillside in Morne Rouge, is also spectacular — called a “glittery, hedonistic niche” by Frommer’s.
With an eco-tourist, family-friendly vibe, Blue Horizons Garden Resort 80 charms with the simple, relaxed aesthetic of its 32 suites and studios, all with kitchenettes. And then there’s Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club 80, which Condé Nast Traveler calls “so infused with the full spectrum of sea and sky that it seems to have sprung fully formed from its surroundings.”
Grenada’s resorts offer a variety of dining experiences. Many holiday-makers stick to these convenient and, by all accounts, excellent dining options. Atop our Experts’ Choice list is The Aquarium Restaurant 92, connected to Maca Bana and known for its seafood and West Indian barbecue served right on Magazine Beach.
A Lonely Planet favorite, Coconut Beach 86 is an independent, family-run place serving up French and Creole seafood in an old beach house. If you’re after an Italian flare when it comes to the fruits of the sea, Laluna 76‘s restaurant is rightly proud of its imported Italian ingredients and its imported Sicilian chef. If you’re thirstier than hungry, there’s also the celebrated River Antoine Rum Distillery, which claims to be the oldest, continuously operational distillery in the Caribbean.
While Grenada’s cuisine delights the taste buds, its beaches are a feast for the eyes. Writer Audre Lorde, visiting in the 1980s, described seeing schoolchildren on Grand Anse Beach 82 “trying to decide between the lure of coco palm adventure to one side and the delicious morning sea on the other.” In the decades that’ve passed, a lot has changed — developments, an increase in tourism — but the white-sand beach is still a favorite.
Off the beach, there’s much more to commend Grenada. The picturesque capital, St. George’s, earns comparisons with oil paintings. TripExpert’s top-rated attractions can all be found here. Fort George 85, a centuries-old French-built structure is an iconic element in the city’s skyline. There’s bustling Market Square 82, busiest on Friday and Saturday mornings with exquisite fruits and spices on offer alongside souvenirs and crafts.
Whatever brings you to Grenada, you’re sure to discover an island unlike any other. Experts’ agree that Grenada is a unique experience, not yet overdeveloped and have been spared from many of the disastrous storms that’ve struck the Caribbean in recent history, not to mention its distinctive culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. Start planning your trip to this Experts’ Choice Best Caribbean Destination with our help.