Beautiful Grenada in the Caribbean seems like a paradise destination. It has miles of pristine sandy beaches touching turquoise waters, perfect for lounging all day and getting away from all of your worries.
If you want a more active vacation to go with your days spent lounging by the beach or pool, don’t worry — Grenada delivers.
Places such as Grand Etang National Park have beautiful nature just waiting for you to hike and explore. Grenada is also rich in culture, from the underwater sculpture parks to the rich annual festivals and food scene.
Before you book your tickets for Grenada (for tomorrow, if possible), you might be wondering if this lesser-known Caribbean destination is as beautiful as the pictures really say it is.
Is there an ugly truth hiding behind the photos?
Don’t worry — our travel experts have done the hard work for you. We’ll show you whether this idyllic destination is safe, its most common safety concerns, and more. Let us be your guide!
Is Grenada Safe to Visit?
Grenada is one of the safest destinations not only in the Caribbean, but for a tropical vacation anywhere in the world.
It has a much lower crime rate than other Caribbean islands or even major cities in the United States. Theft, assault, and sexual harassment are crimes that do occur, but in low rates and you can avoid them easily by taking basic precautions.
To get a feeling for how safe Grenada actually is, it’s enough to look at travel advisories from foreign governments. The United States has Grenada under a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions” advisory and doesn’t give any additional advice.
Other governments, such as Canada and Australia, echo this laid-back risk assessment. The Canadian government does offer some safety advice along with its green light for citizens to travel to Grenada.
Petty crimes of opportunity such as purse snatching and pickpocketing do happen on the island, especially around festivals such as Carnival that criminals know attract crowds of wealthy foreigners.
Other crimes to watch out for include hotel break-ins, vehicle theft, and sexual assault. However, Grenada is not equally safe for all travelers. Female travelers are at a higher risk of sexual assault, although the rates are still much lower than on other Caribbean islands.
LGBTQ travelers face a risk of discrimination as Grenada still has anti-sodomy laws and other discriminatory policies.
Local attitudes are fairly conservative so gay travelers may want to think twice before vacationing here, or be very careful about their behavior. Grenada’s nature is probably the biggest source of danger for both tourists and locals.
The island, like others in the Caribbean, is affected by the annual hurricane season. At any time, swimming in the waters can be dangerous due to riptides. Finally, insect-borne diseases such as dengue fever are common.
To recap, the most common dangers for tourists in Grenada are:
- Petty crime such as pickpocketing
- Sexual assault
- Discrimination and harassment
- Natural disasters
Crime in Grenada
Many popular Caribbean destinations juxtapose beautiful beaches with the hairy reality of life in a country with a very high crime rate.
Grenada is very different and stands out from its neighbors thanks to a low crime rate and safe community. The violent crime rate in Grenada is low, especially compared to other Caribbean destinations or the United States.
As of 2020, the violent crime incidence rate was 12.44 incidents per 100,000 people, a decline of over 12%. For comparison, the violent crime rate in Los Angeles was 747.59 incidents per 100,000 people.
Most crime in Grenada is nonviolent. These include crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and scams.
Violent crime does occur on Grenada, and is sadly increasing in the past few years.
Armed robbery or break-ins are becoming more common, targeting foreigners as they tend to be more wealthy than locals. Sexual assault rates are also increasing. The rape rate is 32 incidences per 100,000 people, but many victims don’t report.
Overall, the crime statistics for Grenada are optimistic. Crime does occur because it is a real place with the same problems as anywhere else, but the incidence rates are much lower than other Caribbean destinations.
Some people theorize that because the island is smaller, opportunities for a life of crime are limited — the community will quickly set one of its own back in place if they notice shady dealings.
While your chances of being a victim of a crime in Grenada are pretty low, still take basic precautions like you would at home. Don’t flash your valuables, stay aware of your surroundings, and don’t trust people who seem like what they’re offering is too good to be true.
Petty Theft and Pickpocketing
The most common crimes that tourists experience in Grenada are pickpocketing and other forms of petty theft. The Canadian government warns its citizens that petty crime occurs on the island.
It increases during busy seasons, such as Carnival in August. Most pickpockets and bag snatchers operate in places that attract a lot of tourists such as markets, hotel lobbies, and restaurants.
These are crimes of opportunity, so the best way to prevent them is not to give thieves the opportunity. Keep your valuables in secure places and don’t flash them around.
Avoid exploring unknown areas or using ATMs at night. Besides pickpocketing and bag-snatching, break-ins are another common form of robbery in Grenada. Thieves target hotel rooms, rental cars, and even yachts.
Make sure that the accommodation you are staying on takes safety precautions such as secure entrances and security personnel. Don’t assume that you are safe because you are on a yacht — you’ll still have to dock as well, creating an opportunity for theft.
Keep valuables in a room or hotel safe. If you rent a car, never keep your valuables in the car or leave them unattended.
Make sure that you park in safe areas such as attended parking lots or your hotel garage. Like any tourist destination, Grenada has its fair share of scams perpetrated by people that see tourists as a route to making a quick buck.
Some of the common scams are the same as you would find elsewhere, such as taxis overcharging, the “bird poop” scheme, where someone offers to wipe up poop and robs you in the process, and the ATM helper scam.
Fellow travelers warn that Grenada is a popular origin for love scams, especially Grenadian men targeting wealthy foreign, usually older, women. One scam unique to Grenada is the spice scam.
Grenada is often called the spice island due to its large spice industry, and many tourists buy spices as souvenirs.
However, unscrupulous sellers will sell spices that are inferior quality or contaminated with additives — for the same price or higher than the real deal. Make sure you are getting your souvenirs from a reputable seller.
Not all crimes on Grenada stay on the level of theft, where the only things wounded are your pride and your bank account. Violent crimes happen and unfortunately the violent crime rate is on the rise.
While most incidents of armed robbery target local businesses, there have been cases where robbers assault people to try and get their valuables. Avoid walking down deserted streets or beaches while alone.
Sexual assault is another crime that is sadly on the rise. Most gender-based violence is targeted against local women. 1 in 3 women experience some form of sexual violence on Grenada, and a culture of shame and machismo protects perpetrators.
Although most of the victims of Grenada’s rise in sexual assaults are local women, foreign women are sometimes harassed and assaulted. If you are traveling alone, try not to walk down unfamiliar streets alone at night.
Make sure your accommodation has good security so you don’t have to deal with stalking. Take caution when drinking or enjoying the Grenada nightlife as perpetrators sometimes use date rape drugs to incapacitate their victims.
Even if you aren’t drugged, a lot of the local alcohol, especially home-brewed rum, is a lot stronger than alcohol you might be used to, so be careful when drinking.
It’s unfortunate that female travelers have to take these extra precautions, but that is a reality of traveling almost everywhere in the world.
Avoiding Bad Areas
The crime rate is so low in Grenada that there almost aren’t any bad areas. Still, there are certain parts of the island where you wouldn’t feel as comfortable wandering alone, especially after dark.
In the capital St. George’s, there aren’t that many bad neighborhoods. However, be careful in popular tourist attractions and in crowded places such as the market, as those are the places that attract the most pickpockets.
The market vendors tend to keep an eye out for customers as gaining a reputation for thieving will hurt their business, but it helps to stay vigilant yourself as well.
Some guides recommend that you stay away from the beaches at night as well. It’s not that Grenada has any dangerous beaches, but everywhere in the world criminals like to congregate on beaches to catch people walking at night far away from any help.
Things to Consider
Here are some other things to keep in mind as you travel to Grenada:
- Camouflage clothing is illegal in Grenada as only the police and military may wear it. Leave all camo-colored gear at home, as the authorities have a zero-tolerance policy.
- Wearing your bathing suit away from the beach is also illegal. Make sure you wear a cover-up or you risk getting a fine.
- The roads in Grenada are often hazardous. If you rent a car, know that conditions in the more rural parts of the island usually require a 4-wheel drive.
- Hurricane season is from June to November. Grenada is in the southern part of the Caribbean, usually too far south to bear the brunt of the hurricane. However, the weather can still be rainy and low-lying parts of the island sometimes flood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other things to keep in mind when traveling to Grenada:
Which Caribbean island is the safest?
Although Grenada has a very low crime rate, the Caribbean island with the lowest crime rate is the French territory of St. Barts. It’s no wonder that the wealthy of the world flock there for vacation.
Is Grenada worth visiting?
Grenada is small, but it has many attractions. It has beautiful beaches but is one of the lesser known Caribbean islands so you won’t have to deal with crowds. Plus, you can explore the natural parks, go hiking, and check out the nature that is in large part still untouched.
Do they speak English in Grenada?
Yes, the official language of Grenada is English. However, locals speak many different dialects, so don’t be surprised if you don’t understand everyone at the markets!
What is the best time of year to go to Grenada?
The best months to visit Grenada are between December and April. That is the dry season, meaning that the temperatures are still warm enough for swimming but you won’t get caught in the rain or have to worry about hurricanes.
Which Caribbean island has the most murders?
Jamaica is the Caribbean island with the highest murder rate. It has nearly 50 murders per 100,000 people. Grenada is a much safer destination for a holiday.
So, Is Grenada Safe to Visit?
Yes, Grenada is safe to visit. The Caribbean island has one of the lowest crime rates in the region, especially compared to islands such as Jamaica. Tourists report serene experiences on the island and a welcoming spirit.
Petty crime does happen as pickpockets, often unruly teenagers, take advantage of distracted tourists and pilfer their stuff. More violent crimes such as armed robberies and assaults also happen, but they are rare and even rarer against tourists.
While there is crime on this island (as there is in every city in the world), Grenada is an overall very safe place. So, with a safe atmosphere, idyllic beaches, and friendly locals, what are you waiting for — book your trip today!