Grenada, the Caribbean
A sweetly scented antidote to the crowded cruise ship ports and resorts
Grenada only spans 21 by 12 miles if measured in straight lines, but there are weeks’ worth of discovering to be done. Options include jungle hikes, loafing on silky-sand beaches, roaming past waterfalls and plantations, digging into spiced fish for breakfast (Grenada's flag bears a nutmeg; the smell follows the breezes everywhere), and dancing to live calypso bands and upbeat soca music. You’ll enjoy the latter after a few rounds of $2 beers, which you’ll order barefoot on a sand-floored bar. Go wild, but don’t swear. Grenadians still follow British Colonial law -- language stays PG, and bowing to a picture of the Queen is required when entering a court.
Following the smell of barbecue or the call of steel drums will lead you to a buzzing outdoor marketplace and traffic circle near Grand Anse Beach, baptized as "Wall Street" because it’s bookended by banks. At night, vehicles blast music and peddle beverages out of ice chests in pickup beds, starting street parties where locals mingle, dance, and snack on grilled meat. Don’t leave without tasting the hometown dish, oil down, a coconut-milk-oil-grounded one-pot stew of breadfruit, cabbage, callaloo, dumplings, fish, okra, turmeric, and whatnot. Homesickness is doubtful, but there’s also 5,000-plus global students boning up in the medical school should you want to further diversify your buddies list. -- Bruce Northam, American Detour