Sunny Days, White Sandy Beaches… Why Aren’t You Here? Grand Cayman
As with most of the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is lined with beautiful white powder beaches overlooking the crystal clear, turquoise of the Caribbean Sea. Yes, there are endless, incredible coastal views from all over the island but that’s just the beginning, this small island has much to offer…
With only 50% of the population of the island Caymanian, there is an eclectic mix of island inhabitants. One thing I was quick to notice, is that everyone we met was welcoming and seemed genuinely happy. (Who wouldn’t be happy living here?) It was different from the other Caribbean islands I have visited. There’s not as much poverty, you can see there’s definitely a higher standard of living. Regardless of the wealth on the island, no income taxes or capital gains taxes have ever been levied to the islanders. Their government relies on indirect taxes such as an import tax. One of the imports they tax heavily are cars, so although there are several ‘big name’ car rental agencies, you are very liable to ‘rent a wreck’ no matter where you get it from.
You’ll need a car to get around. Driving the island is not difficult, there is really only one main road that will take you from one end to the other. The challenge is driving on the left side of the road. And yes, you can make a left on red, after a stop. It’s weird. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll see what I mean. You have to pause at each intersection and think about it. Amusing, but you really have to pay attention! Don’t let the odd signs distract you.
The west end of the island is famous for its Seven Mile Beach. This where you’ll find the majority of resorts, shops and restaurants crowding the avenue. If you’d like everything at your fingertips, this is the place to be. Also, don’t miss an evening here overlooking the water, to catch an awesome Cayman sunset. While there’s a lot to do, it can be a little chaotic. This is one of the few islands where you could likely run into some traffic.
We stayed at the Morritts Grand Resort. We had a 2 bedroom unit with a balcony, overlooking the ocean. It could use a little updating, but the condos were pretty, clean and equipped with full kitchens. I always love to have a kitchen to make a picnic lunch, grab a snack or make a drink! The resort provided every amenity one could hope for. In their dock bar gazebo overlooking the water, you can watch fish swimming just beyond your fingertips. The setting is amazing. That being said, the food at both Mimi’s Dock Bar and David’s Deep Blue leave something to be desired. Okay for a quick lunch but plan your dinners elsewhere. The resorts’ pool has an infinite edge offering a terrific view, just beyond the swim up bar. Nice. An additional perk is the small, well-stocked grocery store and gift shop within walking distance. Time to stock the fridge!
Things to Do
Seven Mile Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. The best snorkeling is on the north side, in the ‘cemetary beach’ area. There are public bars and childrens’ play areas throughout. All Grand Cayman beaches are public, you can access any through their public access points.
Rum Point, is at the end of the island’s north side. There is a sheltered swimming area as well as an outdoor bar and grill on the beach. Chairs and umbrellas are provided. There is only one formal restaurant in this area, Kaibo. The food is fresh and wonderful! Just beyond Rum Point, at the tip of the island, is Starfish Point. The shallow, still water makes a great home to its starfish population! Diving and snorkeling are the main attraction in Grand Cayman. You can enjoy a variety of boat tours including swimming with the stingrays in Stingray City. Tour their underwater world in an actual submarine and see the reefs as well as a few of the many shipwrecks! Go on a Dolphin Encounter and visit the Turtle Farm. Loving the water? There are also several dinner and sunset cruises available.
After a few days you may need a quiet activity that doesn’t involve water, so visit the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. It’s a beautiful arboretum and worth a look, but don’t forget your bug spray. Oh, and hopefully, you aren’t afraid of iguanas. This one blocked my path… I went the other way!
Spend some time in Georgetown. The capital, with it’s magnificent view of the harbor, is alive with constant activity. Their vast docks include boats, yachts and several cruise ships at all times. Crowds of cruisers spill into the city by day, to wander. They explore the city amid bankers and jewelry hawkers, who scurry through their workday. Georgetown is currently gearing up for their biggest festival of the year. Pirate Week. Tourists come from far and wide to participate in the parades, fireworks, parties, costume competitions and treasure hunts. Boats and yachts are adorned with beautiful lights for ‘Illumination Light Parades’. You might want to consider planning your trip to experience one of their many festivals and events.
Where to Eat
Kaibo at Rum Point was excellent! Have dinner, then hang out on the beach at night, dance in the sand to a calypso band. Perfect! Tukka on the east end was also a big hit! Another favorite was ‘The Lighthouse’. Be sure to get a table out on the dock/deck for a great experience.
Not only did I have a great time on this island, I can’t wait to go back! I’m a little busy this January, but I think I might have to hit the Cayman Cookout, January 2017! You in?
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