Grenada Waterfall and Spice Tour Review
Grenada was the first stop on the Disney Wonder Southern Caribbean Cruise. My only prior knowledge of Grenada came from the Clint Eastwood movie, “Heartbreak Ridge.” Not knowing what to expect, we wanted to explore the island in a controlled setting. So, we chose a Disney Port Excursion. Most of the excursions involved rum, which provoked no interest from us. We chose the Grenada Waterfall and Spice Tour in hope of seeing beautiful scenery and learning about the “Island of Spices.” This was a half day tour involving three stops: a rainforest waterfall, a slave era cocoa plantation, and a nutmeg factory.
Drive to the Waterfall
We piled into a bus holding about thirty people and drove off through the streets of St. George and up into the mountains outside of town. The bus was comfortable with large windows to take in the views. There were many scenic views of Caribbean coast along the twisty, narrow roads; more so though, were views of the poverty that plagues the island.
There are some luxury resorts, mainly on the south of the island, where the rich and famous, including supposedly Justin Beiber, stay. This tour was much more representative of life on the island, though. Our tour guide said that unemployment on Grenada is over 40%. Our guide was truly the high point of the tour. He was friendly, humorous, full of information, and obviously proud of his country
High up on a mountain, about a 45 minute drive from port, we arrived at the waterfall, a beautiful, little tourist trap. Fresh, clear spring water plunges over a small cliff into natural pool and then on down the slope toward the sea. The waterfall and pool have wonderful vistas and photo opportunities. It is surrounded by small booths selling spices, rum, juice, trinkets, and t-shirts. We were urged to descend steps down to the pool. We were then told that we could swim in the pool. None of us were aware that this was an option prior to the excursion and thus none of us were prepared.
We were directed to look to the top of cliff where two local youth were standing. Soon, they jumped from the cliff into the pool. They then proceeded to hawk for money. The young men and the merchants were fairly aggressive in their “marketing,” which soured the experience.
Dougaldston Estate, an old colonial cocoa plantation, was a high point of the excursion. While not necessarily scenic, it was a living history lesson on how cocoa and other spices were, and in many cases, are produced. The labor required, originally by slaves, to produce the cocoa and spices was evident. The heat and humidity were felt just taking the tour, reinforcing just how much toil was involved for the workers.
Our tour guide led us through the plantation and talked about the many spices of the island. It was educational and well worth the stop. Again, our tour guide was excellent. We were given samples of handmade ginger candy which was sweet, spicy, and delicious. There were women selling spices and candy here, but they were pleasant and not aggressive.
Grenada Co-op Nutmeg Factory
Grenada produces 40% of the world’s nutmeg. The nutmeg factory was not what I had envisioned. Everything was done by hand; no automation. It was a basic, dusty, warehouse with the pleasing aroma of nutmeg filling the air. Stacks of 40 pound bags filled with the spice lay in piles on the floor marked for Denmark and Germany. This tour was given by a factory manager. Unfortunately, several tour groups joined together for his tour. With the now large group and the bustle from the hard work around us, I really could hear almost nothing that was said. I would have liked to have learned more and left disappointed.
- If you want to see the beauty of Grenada, flowers and beaches, then the Grenada Waterfall and Spice Tour is not for you.
- If you want a view into the life of most of the citizens from Grenada, then you likely will appreciate this tour; although the Nutmeg factory was not well presented.
- If you want to learn about the history and politics of Grenada, then the Grenada Waterfall and Spice Tour is a good option.
- Highs: tour guide, views during the ride, Dougaldston Estate.
- Lows: aggressive sellers, Grenada Co-op Nutmeg Factory
- Overall rating: 3/5.
- If we make it back to Grenada, we will not repeat any of the spice, rum, or factory tours. We will do a better job reviewing tours ahead of time.