I’ve been dreaming about my return to Grenada since my last family trip to the island in December of 2019. But with the COVID-19 pandemic in flux and international travel protocols from the U.S. changing regularly, I found it difficult to commit.
With just a few thousand COVID-19 cases recorded since the onset of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, Grenada has taken many precautions and continues to update its tourism policies to keep its citizens safe. So finally, in early August, in search of an island getaway with updated, clear mandates for visitors, I embarked on a long-sought-after trip to Grenada, knowing that I’d be required to quarantine upon arrival.
The island is decorated with over 50 stunning beaches, 18 waterfalls in addition to countless rivers, lakes, and a large rainforest. Boasting more untouched, undeveloped land than many of its Caribbean neighbors, at any turn, travelers can see the gorgeous vistas full of lush green hills that aptly give it one of its nicknames, Greenz. Beyond its sites, the charm of Grenada is its warm, spirited people. It’s not unlikely to make local friends at the beach, the market, or at a bar.
This easy-going, tranquil but vibrant energy translates across all three of the main islands, Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, making for an inviting adventure — despite any COVID-sparked rules.
Travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter Grenada. They must obtain a Pure Safe Travel Authorization Certificate which will consist of proof of an approved accommodation for a minimum of two days, a completed travel authorization form, and pre-payment for an on-site COVID-19 test upon arrival. Additionally, visitors must take an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel and show their vaccination card and proof of negative results at the airport.
As protocols are subject to change, potential visitors should consult the Grenada Ministry of Health website for the latest information and requirements.
Landing in Grenada
Upon landing in Grenada, visitors are required to show their vaccination cards, and take another RT-PCR test at the airport. A certified taxi will then drive tourists from the airport to their accommodations.
Visitors are required to quarantine for up to two days, or whenever their test results come back negative. As this was my first time ever having to quarantine during travel, I was happy to discover that the process was straightforward and simple. We were “cleared” from quarantine (meaning allowed to leave the resort) within 14 hours, the morning after we landed – much sooner than anticipated.
Despite our shorter isolation time, choosing a hotel to quarantine is key with traveling to Grenada during COVID. In our case, we quarantined at Mount Cinnamon Resort, a boutique property tucked on the hillside in the Morne Rouge area. We stayed in the Cinnamon Suite which had a balcony and breathtaking views of Grand Anse beach from its floor-to-ceiling windows. We were able to eat at the on-premises restaurant or order in, and because the property is connected to the beach via a garden walkway, we were thankfully able to access a portion of the beach while quarantining.
Experience During our Travels
After quarantine, we switched over to the serene, ultra-boutique 473 Resort. With only 9 villas and touchless concierge service via WhatsApp, it often felt like we had the entire property to ourselves with everything we could desire in a Caribbean hotel stay. Besides the extreme sense of peace, this Atlantic-ocean-facing resort offered many activities including paddle boarding and kayaking. We also did a few island excursions including a trip to Concord Falls, attended a weekly food and soca music event called Street Food, and visited Belmont Estate – a 400-acre, 300-year-old operating plantation with a fantastic restaurant, cocoa processing, beautiful gardens, and more.
We ended our trip back on the Caribbean Sea side of the island at the Silversands hotel —home to the longest pool in the Caribbean, stretching over 330 feet. While here, we took advantage of the easy access to two of the best beaches on the island — Grand Anse Beach and BBC Beach — with turquoise waters and powdery white sand, and bars and restaurants providing amazing local bites like curry chicken roti and fish sandwiches, and drinks, like local rum punch. Grand Anse beach was also great for taking a boat out, snorkeling, and visiting the breathtaking underwater sculpture park — the first in the world.
The fresh, modern design of the property and rooms at Silversands, along with the attentive staff and delicious on-site Asiatique Thai restaurant made it extremely hard to leave. But when it was time, to comply with U.S. guidelines for returning from international destinations, COVID testing was available on-site, making for one less thing to worry about during our last days on the trip.
This trip to Grenada was my best, yet. Although there are firm protocols in place to keep the island safe, once you’re there, it is divine, even with having to quarantine. And regardless of any rules in place, the carefree, easiness of life in Grenada has not been lost through this pandemic.
Simplicity remains key and even in the most luxurious settings, nothing is overdone or excessive as the locals’ welcoming energy defines the spirit of the country. These core tenets are what make Grenada a perfect escape from my busy city lifestyle, and a place that I thought about returning to from the moment the wheels go up on the plane.