St. Georges Harbor, GrenadaI set off with Michael, an Island Routes Caribbean Adventures guide, to see what I could see of Grenada in three hours.

It was a tall order and only enough time for a small sampling of what the island has to offer its visitors.

Grenada, at 131 square miles, is approximately twice the size of Washington, D.C., but it packs a punch within its borders with a rain forest interior, coastal beaches and scuba diving with the turtles just below the surface. (Click here or on the photo for a slideshow of images from Gay's trip to the island.)

Americans are likely most familiar with the island from the U.S. invasion that took place there in 1983, a military operation codenamed Urgent Fury that resulted in a U.S. victory within weeks and restored a constitutional government.

The island was in the news again in 2004, when Hurricane Ivan struck, wiping out every major building and the entire nutmeg crop.

"That's old news. We're OK now. We have 1,500 hotel rooms and Sandals LaSource just opened, cruise ships come here and we have Kirani James, our champion sprinter in the 2012 Summer Olympics," Michael said.

We headed for Market Square in St. George's, the picturesque capital with its horseshoe-shaped harbor ringed by rainbow-hued homes and shops set against a backdrop of green hillsides.

I passed stalls with ladies in madras dresses selling nutmeg and breadfruit as well as cloves, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and mace.

Grenada is the isle of spice, after all.

Michael bought me nutmeg ice cream as we strolled through the handicraft stalls.

We headed for Annandale Waterfalls, not far from the capital, so I could get a glimpse of the rain forest.

"We're in time for the cliff jumpers," Michael said. "Watch."

High above the falls, a young boy swayed, smiled and then leapt from a rock ledge down into the natural pool at the base of the falls. It was a good show, performed several times a day.

"Now I'm taking you to our most popular attraction," Michael said, but gave me no clue.

I found out soon enough near the entrance to Grand Etang National Park. A large sign read: "Protect our mona monkeys. Feed them fruits only and stop hunting them!"

I met one of the resident primates soon enough, who eyed my plastic fruit basket earrings curiously, but a real banana tossed by Michael proved irresistible.

The monkeys live deep in the rain forest most of the time. Their ancestors were brought to Grenada from West Africa on slave ships in the 18th century.

I wished I could have stayed longer, but there were forts to visit, trails to be hiked, spices to savor and seas to explore. Next time.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 

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