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Though Grenada is best known for its pristine beaches, including the white-sand stretches of Grand Anse (above), its charm goes way deeper. (Photograph by Michael Runkel, Robert Harding World Imagery RF / Alamy Stock Photo)

Jadine Hinds has been free diving and spear fishing in the waters surrounding Grenada since she was seven years old.

These days the native islander indulges her love of the ocean as a PADI divemaster for the Aqua Center at Sandals LaSource Resort. But that doesn’t mean Jadine’s enthusiasm for the Caribbean destination she calls home is confined to the aquatic. She has plenty of land-based intel to share.

“I don’t think I’ll ever leave Grenada,” Hinds says. “It’s paradise.” Here’s a look at the “Island of Spice” through Jadine’s local lens.

Grenada Is My Island

The best time to visit my island is…it depends. If you’re seeking relaxation and want to spend every day on the beach, I would recommend visiting during the dry season, which is roughly December through April. Carnival season (early August) is also a good time to come to Grenada.

My island’s biggest attractions are its food festivals. Grenada’s six parishes host events that showcase the best of their local cuisines. Gouyave, the capital of St. John Parish, is crazy for fish and seafood. Whereas, in St. Patrick’s Parish, you can find chicken, fish, beef, wild meat—everything.

A visit isn’t complete without visiting the Underwater Sculpture Park, the first of its kind in the world. The park’s 60-some sculptures can be thought of as a search-and-find gallery because they’re not grouped together. If you’re not a certified diver, have no fear—the statues are not much more than 15 feet below the water and can be spied while snorkeling.

A basket of spices is the ultimate souvenir because food simply tastes better with spices from the Caribbean. You’ll find the best selection at the market in St. George’s parish.

My island really knows how to celebrate Carnival. We have something called J’Ouvert (from the French phrase for “break of day”), a massive street party centered around music where calypso and soca bands perform and hand out paint. It’s pure madness, but it’s safe madness. Experience it once, and I bet you’ll come back every year.

The dish that represents my island best is oil down, a stew made from a combination of produce—breadfruit, figs, plantains—and meats and flavored by coconut milk and saffron. Sample it at Good Food in Grenville, the capital of St. Andrew’s parish. Rum is Grenada’s signature drink. The purest rum on the island is Rivers, which is made with an old mill.

My favorite local expression among the Islanders isSo we dey.” Essentially, it means, “We don’t care. We’re free.”

Festivals or events featuring Tivoli drummers are the best places to experience live island music.

The most beautiful places on the island are everywhere! Just look outside. Here are three of my favorites: Grand Etang National Park, Levera National Park, and Annandale Waterfall. Also, visit the forts; we have quite a few of them.

Head to Grand Etang National Park if you want to get up close and personal with island flora and fauna.

If you’re interested in a guided tour, I recommend the company Island Routes, which offers a lot of options.

If you’re up for an adventure, try tubing down the Balthazar River in St. Andrew’s parish.

To experience the island’s cultural side, take a stroll through the different parishes and explore the Grenada National Museum in St. George’s.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), don’t miss Grenada’s unspoiled white-sand beaches. Two I’d recommend are Grand Anse Beach and Bathway Beach up north.

Be sure to bring sunblock when you come for a visit, because you’re going to need it.

The world should “heart” my island because Grenada’s friendly people open our arms and our hearts to visitors, and try to make everyone feel at home, even though they’re not at home.