When it comes to dream getaways, Grenada and St Lucia are two destinations that won’t disappoint. Both of these Caribbean paradises can offer amazing experiences, especially if you’re looking for sun, sea, sand and a bit of adventure.
However these islands, despite their similar size, are quite different.
Choosing whether to visit Grenada or St Lucia for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday or honeymoon destination can therefore be difficult. Having visited both, we compare them below, and show you what each has to offer.
Grenada or St Lucia: Which is the better holiday destination?
When it comes to sun, sea and sand, Grenada probably has better beaches than St Lucia in our opinion. The island has several iconic white sand beaches – making it the picture-perfect image of the Caribbean. So if beaches are your priority when deciding between Grenada or St Lucia, then Grenada is the better choice.
However both islands also have great scenery inland, with lush rainforest, mountains, and fantastic hiking trails. St Lucia, with the majestic and dramatic Piton mountains, is probably the more beautiful of the two destinations, and feels like a sightly more wild version of Grenada. However the downside of that is that St Lucia can be a difficult island to get around – that’s not such an issue in Grenada.
Grenada is the less commercialized of the two islands, and certainly feels more local than St Lucia, which has a bit more of a tourist vibe. In fact Grenada is sort of what the Caribbean used to be like before resorts and the tourist sector took over. However that does mean that St Lucia is more equipped for tourists in terms of excursion choices, as well as bars and restaurants catered to visitors.
Both Grenada and St Lucia are very safe destinations, but visitors to both often find Grenada feels a little safer – mainly due to there being less poverty and disparity between rich and poor in the country.
Below we look at some of our favorite natural sights in both, before comparing what to expect culturally in each!
Grenada or St Lucia: Stunning natural scenery
You can’t go wrong when it comes to beaches in Grenada, and one of our favorites throughout the Caribbean actually exists on this island – Grand Anse. This gorgeous long stretch of sand is the perfect place to unwind, and the swimming water here is calm, warm, and full of wonderful varied shades of blue. There are several hotel resorts that dot the coastline here, so it’s a great place to be based if staying on the island.
Morne Rouge beach is another favorite of ours. The white sand here not only looks beautiful, but its gentle gradient down into the water makes it a safe spot to swim and shore snorkel. This is regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots on the island too.
However what also makes Grenada special is that it doesn’t feel like life revolves around tourism. In fact this island is named ‘The Spice Isle’ because it’s one of the world’s biggest producers of cinnamon (which is a real ‘superfood’), nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves and many others.
Nestled in Grenada’s lush hilly interior, is Belvedere Plantation – one of the island’s biggest spice plantations. A visit here will transport you back in time, and will also give you the chance to see, smell, and taste, this island’s famous exports.
Staying in the mountains, head to Grand Etang Forest Reserve where you can find a huge lake formed from a volcanic crater. Keep an eye out on the trees while walking here, and see if you can spot the friendly Mona monkeys that live in the reserve! In fact this island has some great hiking opportunities, with mountains, waterfalls and jungle treks to discover.
Although St Lucia has some excellent beaches, this Caribbean paradise is a place to enjoy all aspects of nature. It’s rugged, lush, and dramatic, and is perfect for the sun-seeker who wants some adventure too.
It’s an island that feels cut off from the rest of the world with its winding roads and quaint villages.
For beaches, head to Rodney Bay where you can find Reduit Beach. This is one of the longest strips of sand on the whole of St Lucia. The golden sand, set against lush green hilly vegetation and the Caribbean Sea, makes it a perfect spot to relax. If you’re looking for white sand, then Anse des Pitons is the place to go.
St Lucia is also home to incredible coral reefs which are teeming with life. For one of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean, head to Anse Chastanet. Not only is the snorkeling world class here, the backdrop of mountains against the beach is spectacular. This dive map shows the best spots on the island.
But the real beauty of St Lucia lies away from the coastline. The phenomenal Pitons – a volcanic mountain range – rise up against the backdrop of blue near the town of Soufrière. This majestic must-visit world heritage site is a great place for hiking and jungle treks – many of which lead to waterfalls. There’s also a cable car that provides a view of the jungle from the canopy top – it’s pretty special.
The Pitons have more to offer than hiking too – they’re home to the world’s only ‘drive-in volcano’. Here you can drive to Soufriere Volcano and experience the sights and smells of this dormant monster – don’t forget to take a dip in the mud baths on the slopes before you leave!
Grenada or St Lucia: Explore the sights and experience the tropics
Both islands are friendly destinations that provide a more rustic Caribbean experience than the more popular islands in the region. Subsequently, they also feel less Americanized.
St Lucia is a bit more lively than Grenada though, and has the better nightlife. Grenada, on the other hand, is one of the most peaceful islands in the Caribbean.
The Spice island is famous for its vibrant Caribbean culture and the annual carnival celebration – called Spicemas – is a fun-filled colorful celebration of the end of slavery. Taking place at the start of August, expect funky costumes, lots of energy and a party atmosphere on the streets.
With your interest piqued in Grenadian history, take a trip to the Grenada National Museum in St George’s – the capital of the island. This former French Barracks and British prison has been transformed into a collection of exhibits on Grenadian history, through the times of slavery and colonization till the present day.
Along with spice, Grenada is famous for its cocoa which is some of the best in the world. Take a trip to Jouvay Chocolate and tour (for free!) their small organic farm – feel free to ask the farmers questions as you wander among the cocoa!
For more things to do in Grenada, check out our nine unique things to do in this laid back country.
St Lucia is a melting pot of cultures, most heavily influenced by African, French and English traditions. The colorful homes here are indicative of the vibrant Kreole culture that has emerged from that mix.
As a country that was fought over for years by colonial powers, St Lucia is home to countless relics. In the north-west, Pigeon Island National Park has to be visited, and is home to many colonial relics left over from when the French and British battled it out for St Lucia.
Staying in the colonial period, head to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens in Soufrière. Tropical plants and gorgeous colors are everywhere in this garden that’s set on an estate from the 18th century.
For something more local, modern, and lively, then you must join in the Gros Islet Jump Up. This street party is full of food, good conversation between locals (and tourists!), and dancing to Caribbean music that is blasted over speakers. It happens every Friday night.
Below we look at the local cuisine in Grenada and St Lucia!
A taste of the Caribbean
Both countries will provide a treat for your taste-buds, with cuisine focused around local ingredients and influenced by tradition.
As you would expect from an island nicknamed ‘The Spice Isle’, Grenada is a foodie’s paradise with taste-packed local dishes.
The first thing to try is Grenada’s national dish – Oil down. This pot stew is a favorite of Grenadian families, and is made up of coconut, salted meat, jackfruit and packed full of spices.
A popular street food on the island is Roti, which is a wrap filled with either curried chicken, fish, or vegetables. Locals like to have them with extra hot sauce, but they’re delicious without as well.
A favorite desert of ours are Coconut drops. This sweet treat resembles a small cookie, and is made up of grated coconut, flour, egg, sugar, and butter all mixed together and then baked. Tasty!
Seafood is a big part of St Lucian cuisine, but in particular shellfish and lobster are favorites here.
When visiting St Lucia, eating freshly caught lobster and lambi (conch) is a must. It’s going to taste great whether from a restaurant or a street vendor.
For a traditional appetizer or side, then baked plantain is the way to go. This is St Lucia’s version of French Fries.
For a very local experience, the quaint fishing village of Anse La Raye is for you. Every Friday night this tiny village hosts the ‘Fish Fry’ where street vendors sell grilled and fried fish, lobsters, and much more – all with drinks flowing and music playing!
Grenada or St Lucia? Which should you choose?
Both are great choices, and if you have the time and money, each is worth visiting. However if the priority is beaches, then Grenada is a better choice than St Lucia. This island is easy to get around, is one of the Caribbean’s most peaceful, and has a real local feel.
If you’re looking for a holiday which encompasses a bit of adventure, as well as sun, sea, and sand, then St Lucia with its lush scenery and wild landscape would be a great choice. The island has better nightlife than Grenada and has more tourist-orientated options, but can be difficult to move around.
Recommended for your trip to Grenada or St Lucia
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