Welcome to Grenada, an island knows for its spices, thus giving it the nickname, “The Spice Isle.” The destination recently celebrated it’s annual Spicemas (carnival) celebration, and now it’s gearing up to show the world one of its other top attractions.
Heralded as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic, Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park was envisioned by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. Accessible to both snorkelers and divers, the park was opened in 2006 and was the first of its kind in the world. It has become one of the destination’s most beloved attractions. Currently, there are 75 individual sculptures that make up the existing park, and they were designed not only to bring awareness to the country’s rich history and culture, but also as a conservation effort to help revive the coral reefs that were damaged by Hurricane Ivan.
On August 22, the island unveiled the latest upgrades and additions to this unique attraction. 31 new sculptures will be dropped into the underwater park this October, and this go-round, local Grenadians were tapped in a contest to not only draw the inspiration for the pieces but to also have a direct hand in building them.
The main pieces are titled “Coral Carnival” and reflect several of the island’s traditional figures within its Spicemas celebration. Minister of Tourism Lennox Andrews spoke to the importance of putting the country’s culture at the forefront and telling its stories in its own way.
“This is a moment of glory, happiness and achievement,” Minister Andrews shared during the unveiling. “This project gives a full understanding of who we are and what makes Grenada, Grenada. The involvement of our local people allows us to continue to grow this experience for those who visit our island.”
EBONY took a quick dip in the turquoise blue waters to revel the existing wonder as well as get a front row seat as the new sculptures were revealed—although they won’t officially drop into the water until mid-October.
Of course, you can’t go to Grenada and not explore this breathtaking island. From a tranquil Black-owned retreat overlooking Grand Anse Beach to getting an expert lesson in chocolate making, here’s how we spent our time on the Spice Island.
Where We Stayed
Tucked away on the lush hills of Mount Cinnamon, lies this boutique property that perfectly marries luxury with an authentic Grenadian feel. Owner Barry Collymore and his staff go above and beyond to ensure no stone is left unturned. Whether you’re taking your breakfast at the open-air restaurant, Sandy’s, or lazying at the property’s beach club—Mount Cinnamon Hotel is not to be missed.
The newly updated cinnamon suites provide stunning floor-to-ceiling views of Grand Anse Beach from up in the hills. We also thoroughly enjoyed the signature cinnamon massage that actually infused the spice within the body oil used. Pro Tip: Be sure to order a scoop of the molasses ice cream while there.
What We Ate
You’re in the Spice Isle, so there’s no shortage of flavors. To fully immerse ourselves in local culture, we tried the traditional dish, Oil Down. A hodgepodge of ingredients, locals will use everything from yams, okra, pumpkin, plantain, fish or chicken, and the main base—breadfruit—to cook this hearty dish. Our bowl was filled with saltfish, breadfruit, yam, dumplings and other vegetables.
Other must-try things are anything with nutmeg (nutmeg jelly, jam, or even juice), Oil Down chocolate (white chocolate with tumeric, ginger and coconut milk) from Belmont Estate, and pretty much any of the local seafood and fruit that’s in season.
What We Did
Our trip wouldn’t have been as great as it was without our amazing tour guide and driver, Sheldon Noel of Royalty Tours. He took us to many of the island’s main sites and attractions, including: Annandale Waterfall for a quick dip, Belmont Agri-Tourism Estate for a fun chocolate making tour and delicious 3-course lunch, as well as a rum tour at Grenada Distillers.
On one of the days, we linked up with the crew at the Aquanats Dive Shop for a half day snorkel experience to see the existing underwater sculpture park as well as Flamingo Bay Reef (which, spoiler alert, doesn’t have actual flamingos). Our guides, Jessica and Bruce, were very patient with even first timers and really helped them get comfortable in the water. Some of our favorite sculptures in the park were the lost corespondent (which will have an updated and larger version come October), the nutmeg princess and of course, the iconic Vicissitudes—which are a tribute to enslaved African men and women who were thrown overboard during the Middle Passage.
The post EBONY Gets a First-Look at Grenada’s New Underwater Sculptures, Plus Our Itinerary appeared first on EBONY.