Everybody who visits Grenada goes home with a basket of spices, better than any you're likely to find in your local supermarket. Vendors will besiege you wherever you go. Their hand-woven panniers of palm leaf or straw are full of items grown on the island, including the inevitable nutmeg, as well as mace, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, vanilla, and ginger.
If you like to attend Caribbean markets as much as we do, head for Market Square, at the foot of Young Street in St. George's. The market is at its liveliest on Saturday morning but is also open Monday to Friday. It's best to go between 8am and noon. An array of handicrafts is for sale, but fresh spices are more plentiful.
For something really special, visit Arawak Islands Ltd., Upper Belmont Road, in St. George's (tel. 473/444-3577; www.arawak-islands.com), founded in 1986 by Angelia Clements, a German woman. From the raw materials of Grenada, especially nutmeg and cinnamon, she manufactures delectable tropical perfumes and toiletries. The company is committed to natural products and minimal processing, and sells some items purchased from island companies and packaged here at the workshop.
If it's upscale, breezy, and insouciant resort wear you're looking to acquire, consider the twin retail outlets Gatsby Male and Gatsby Female (tel. 473/444-4258), both of which lie a few steps from one another within the forecourt arcade of the previously recommended Spice Island Inn, on Grand Anse Beach. Inventories here include resort wear and bathing suits by Gottex, La Perla, and Paul & Shark.
Two crafts markets, which can be either bountiful sources of island crafts or sweaty, dusty repositories of things you'll eventually discard, include the Spiceland Mall, a 19-shop emporium on Grand Anse Beach, and the Grand Anse Vendor Market (tel. 473/439-6450), also on Grand Anse Beach, wherein 80 vendors of spices, woodcarvings, batiks, and T-shirts are assembled into one intensely mercantile place.
Tikal, Young Street, St. George's (tel. 473/440-2310), is the best place to shop for regional art. Its matriarch and founder is grande dame Jeanne Fisher, an American expat who founded this shop in 1959. About 85% of the paintings on display are by Grenadians, some of them untutored, others the product of formal training. There's also a variety of arts and crafts from Mexico and Latin America.
The merchandise at Art Fabrik, Young Street, St. George's (tel. 473/440-0568), is quirky and eccentric and, in most cases, very appealing -- quite simply, the finest and most comprehensive collection of island-made batiks in Grenada. Garments made from this ancient Indonesian dyeing technique tend to be airy, breathable, and appropriate for resort wear. There's an array of dresses and shirts for men and women, as well as table linens whose random patterns evoke the airy spontaneity of the islands.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.