Both Grenada and Barbados are fantastic Caribbean islands and are excellent vacation destinations. So you must be wondering which Caribbean island will be better for you to visit?

As a general rule, Grenada is better for travelers who are looking for an island that is unspoiled, on a budget and interested in hiking and loves chocolate. Alternatively, Barbados is ideal for a visitor who is looking for a commercialized island with better infrastructure and bustling night life.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national familiar with both islands.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Is Better To Visit

Grenada vs Barbados: How Does The Landscape Compare?

Barbados has a slightly bigger landmass than Grenada being 431 square km (166.4 square miles). Its topography is flat by nature and the soil is limestone based.

Alternatively, the island of Grenada covers 344 square km (133 square miles), is hilly and mountainous in appearance. 

The state of Grenada comprises of three islands. The largest island being also called Grenada and two other smaller islands bearing the names Carriacou and Petite Martinique respectively.

Fondly known as the Isle of Spice, Grenada is the world’s second largest exporter of nutmeg, according to the World Bank (2003), holding 20% of the market. See below picture of Grenada’s port.

Grenada's Port

Grenada Vs Barbados: Does The Currency Differ?

The official currency of Grenada is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which has been pegged to the US (United States) dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.

This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.

On the other hand, the USD $1 is equivalent to BBD$2 and is also pegged to the US Dollar. The Barbadian currency is managed by Barbados’s own local central bank. See below picture with Barbadian dollars

The US dollar is generally accepted at most business places on both islands. As with other countries, businesses at times may be skeptical accepting notes of higher denominations. US notes that are worn or torn may be rejected.

Barbadian Dollar

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Has Better Access To International Cities

Though both islands have international airports, Grenada has less international airlines going to the island.

Where the same airlines flies to both islands, the frequency that airlines that come to Grenada is lower when compared to Barbados.

Prior to Covid 19, the island enjoyed direct and non-stop flights from the USA, United Kingdom (UK) and Germany. A valid passport as well a return ticket is required for all visitors traveling to Grenada.

A visa is not required from citizens from the USA, Canada, and most European countries, the British Commonwealth, South Korea, China, Japan and most Caribbean countries. Table 1 below shows the international airlines and their ports of embarkation.

Service Provider  International Port
American Airlines Miami (MIA)
Delta Airlines Atlanta ( ATL)
Jet Blue Airways New York (JFK)
British Airways London (LGW)
Virgin Atlantic London (LGW)
Air Canada Toronto (YYZ)
Condor Airlines Frankfurt (FRA)

Table 1: Direct and Non Stop Flights to Grenada

Below is a table summarizing international airlines that serve Barbados. There are more airlines available and there are flights from more direct and non-stop flights to Barbados thus making it more convenient to travel to this island as opposed to Grenada.

Country Airline
USA American Airlines
  Caribbean Airlines
  Jet Blue
  US Airways
 
Canada Air Canada
  Caribbean Airlines
  West Jet
 
United Kingdom & Europe TUI
  British Airways
  Virgin Atlantic
 

Table 2: Scheduled and Chartered International Airlines Flying To Barbados

Grenada vs Barbados: Which Island Gets More Tourists

According to Worldometers.info. Grenada’s population at the time of writing was 113,096 persons. In 2019, the total amount of stayover visitors and cruise passengers was 526, 166.

In comparison, Barbados had a population of 287,757 at the time of writing as per worldometers.info with a total visitor arrival figure of 1,399,759 visitors in 2019.

Thus Grenada received 38% of the total tourism arrivals of Barbados. Without visitors on the island, according to countrystudies.us, Barbados is the most densely populated island in the Eastern Caribbean.

With Barbados, having a slightly bigger landmass than Grenada one should expect more crowds at the various attractions in Barbados. At times, at less popular beaches, there are times when you can have the beach to yourself in Grenada.

Therefore, if you are looking to avoid crowds of tourists, Grenada is a more ideal choice. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with the crowds at various attractions, then Barbados is a great choice.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Is More Expensive?

Though both islands import plenty of what is consumed,  the cost of goods and services are generally a bit more expensive in Barbados than in Grenada.

On average a household of four in Grenada spends approximately USD $78 on electricity, USD $27 on water and USD$105 on internet, landline phone service and cable TV.

The cost of living on the other in Barbados for a family of 4 is about USD$80 for electricity, USD $65 for water and USD$75 for internet, landline phone and cable TV.

The following table below is a comparison of food items for each country that you can use as a guide.

The costs were compiled by individuals who are currently living in both Caribbean islands. There were several instances where the brands differ.

Item Barbados-USD$ Grenada USD$
Spaghetti-400g 2.25 1.46
Spring Water-5 Litre 8.00 3.69
Brown Sugar- 2 lbs 1.25 1.19
Cooking Gas- 201b Cyclinder 20.00 14.81
Coca Cola- 1 Litre 3.65 3.31
Maggi Chicken Noodle Soup 1.50 1.09
Sandwich Loaf Bread 2.33 1.61
Whole Kernel Corn – 16 ozs 1.48 2.04
Corn Beef- 12 ozs 3.75 2.65
Baked Beans- 16 ozs 1.75 1.54
Pinehill Juice-1 Litre 3.65 2.96
Dutch Lady-Instant Whole Milk-400g 3.65 4.80
Glow Spread Margarine-445g 3.10 3.31
Olive Oil-500 ML 8.25 6.65
Cooking Oil-500 ML 2.88 1.94
ECGC- Bakers Flour-1kg 2.28 1.31
ECGC- Wholewheat Flour-1kg 2.48 1.39
1 Packet Ramen Noodles 0.75 0.65
Dutch Lady-Evaporated Milk-410g 4.30 1.43
Total 77.28 57.83

 

The above table shows that the cost of living in Barbados is higher for food items than on the island of Grenada ( Expressed in US Dollars)

Grenada Vs Barbados: What Are The Unique Things To Do

Hereunder are some attractions that are unique to each island:-

Harrison Caves- Unlike Grenada, Barbados has a cave where you can enjoy a tour inside. There are stalactite and stalagmite formation.

There is a bar and a gift shop on the property for added entertainment. Be sure and wear clothes that are comfortable and walk with a change of clothing if you want to go elsewhere.

Underwater Sculpture Park– this one of a kind sculpture park was constructed in 2006 and is located in Molinere in Grenada. 

The British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is the creator of the park. It is about 5-8 metres deep and is accessible by scuba diving, snorkeling and glass bottom boats.

Unesco Heritage Site- Both islands has picturesque cities but Bridgetown and its Garrison have been designated as a Unesco Heritage site due to its excellent architecture.

These buildings were constructed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and were well preserved until today. Some of the 30 sites and attractions include:-

  • Barbados Museum & Historical Society
  • National Heroes Gallery & Museum of Parliament
  • George Washington House & Museum

Barbados

Lakes- If you enjoy visiting lakes and looking at various animals around that ecosystem then Grenada is the right place for you.

The most popular lake on the island is Grand Etang lake which is the crater of an extinct volanco. This lake is approximately 1740 ft above sea level.

The serene environment makes it an ideal spot for yoga retreats and picnic gatherings.

Chocolate- If you love chocolate, then Grenada is the destination for you. Home to six producers of fine local chocolate, these factories in some instances grow their own cocoa and process it into chocolate bars.

Some of these bars are infused with various flavors such as nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, mace, bee pollen, sea salt and ginger.

In addition, there is a lovely shop nestled in the heart of St George, the capital city called House of Chocolate where you can buy a wide range of chocolate and chocolate flavoured products such as tea, cakes and icecream. These café is a perfect stop to rest for both kids and adults in the city.

The island is also the proud host of the local Grenada Chocolate Festival where chocolate lovers both local and visiting enjoy various activities all centered around chocolate.

Many of the chocolate factories offer walking tours of the factories and farms. Be sure to walk with insect repellent if you have sensitive skin especially in the rainy season.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Is Safer?

According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, Grenada had the 11 murders and 0 kidnappings.  

 Alternatively, Barbados during the same period had 10 murders and 1 kidnapping per 100, 000 citizens.

Both islands are relatively safe and are great options for solo female travellers. Visitors can walk and take public transportation safely. 

Nevertheless, due care must be taken as in any other country. Visitors should avoid walking in secluded areas at nights and take only taxis authorized by the Taxi Associations.

There is also an article on the blog on the pros and cons of living in Grenada which you may find valuable.

See Also: What Are The Pros and Cons of Living In Grenada

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Has Better Infrastructure?

Barbados is more developed than Grenada and thus have better infrastructure. Health care is more advanced with several Grenadians often seeking medical treatment in Barbados.

There are more modern medical facilities such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) service provided by Barbados Fertility Clinic which attracts persons from around the world. Barbados also has bigger malls with wider selection of international brands.

On the other hand, Grenada does not have these up to date facilities. Both islands have taxis that are specifically tailored so that visitors with a wheel chair can move around comfortably.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Has The Better Nightlife?

Being more developed, Barbados has greater night life when compared to Grenada. There are a broader range of restaurants, golf course, clubs, casinos and other forms of entertainment especially on the South Coast.

Pace of life is much slower in Grenada with a more limited selection of restaurants. There is a bowling alley, Lavo Lanes that opened a few years ago in Grenada on Maurice Bishop Highway that locals and foreigners enjoy.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Has Better Beaches

Honestly, if beaches are your priority both islands are suitable.

Both islands have fantastic white sand beaches with Grand Anse beach being a favorite of visitors to Grenada and Oistins & Miami Beaches being well loved by visitors to Barbados. Morne Rouge or as the Grenadians say BBC beach is also well loved by visitors to the island.

In addition, both islands have the same weather with two seasons annually a rainy and dry seasons.

Beach In Barbados

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Has Better Cuisine

Grenada is fondly called the isle of spice and spice transcends into its cuisine. The national dish of Grenada is called oildown which is made with breadfruit, local provision, callaloo and different types of meat such as salt fish, chicken and salt meat.

Tumeric and curry powder is used to give the dish its yellow colour.

Oildown is all cooked in one pot with coconut milk being the mixture that it is cooked in. This dish is a must try for every visitor to the island.

On the other hand, Barbados’s national dish is cou cou and flying fish. Cou cou is made with corn flour which is allowed to simmer in coconut milk. One needs to ensure and stir consistently to avoid lumps. Fish is usually featured in many Barbadian dishes.

My personal favorite is oildown.

Grenada Vs Barbados: Which Island Has Better Natural Scenery

Grenada is lush and hilly in appearance while Barbados is flat, arid and though green as well a bit dryer in look and feel.

The highest point in Grenada is Mt St Catherine at 2757 feet while Barbados has Mt Hillaby at 1102 feet.

Barbados is a better option for those visitors who are interested in exploring caves while Grenada is ideal for a traveler who is interested in hiking rainforests and mountains.

Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve is a popular choice of visitors to Grenada.

Caribbean Natural Scenery

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Barbados is an ideal choice for a traveler who loves beaches, shopping, easy access to international cities, who want to see caves and enjoys seafood. Alternatively, Grenada is an exceptional choice for a traveler who loves chocolate, tranquility, beaches and beautiful natural scenery.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on Grenada, Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.

The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.

Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Female Travelers

Grenada Vs St Kitts (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)

Grenada Vs St Vincent ( Which Island Is Better To Visit)

Beaches In Grenada Near Cruise Port ( The Ultimate Guide)

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Living In Barbados

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Living In Grenada

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