The @MaineSkiFamily crew had a great trip to the Caribbean Island of Grand Cayman in June 2014. There is certainly no chance of snow on this island!
My wife Juley and I originally saw this island for a few hours on our honeymoon cruise, and we took a week long 20th wedding anniversary trip to the Cayman's in July 2013. We knew we just had to bring the kids back to see the underwater beauty available 'under the sea' as the Cayman's are a world class snorkeling and diving destination in its crystal clear blue waters. So we figured out a way to make this happen! #justdoit
The short version of our trip is that it was hot as we visited in the summer off season (we are not going to miss winter skiing after all), but the underwater adventures are wondrous. Cayman is not an island that you spend a lot of time on dry land. All the action is on and under the sea. Browse through the pictures below to see some of the sights we saw. For those that what a more in-depth review, and perhaps you found this blog through a Google Search because you are considering a trip of your own, read on for all the details and our tips and insights on the Caymans. A lot of the links below point to Trip Advisor as we find that website quite helpful in deciding what to do and we are frequent contributors to that site.
Travel and Island Transportation
For our flight, we ended up driving to Boston, and flying to 'Uh - Going to Miami' (Bad Will Smith reference) to Cayman. Not ideal, as these were pretty long travel days but this was the only way to do it without selling our first born child. We flew American Airlines and it was acceptable. Tip - If you plan to drink a bit buy alcohol duty free in the US airport prior to going to Cayman. For example, a bottle of Kahlua cost $20 duty free in the Miami airport and was close to $46 on the island liquor store. I think you can bring one liter per person into the country.
For Island transportation it depends where you are staying. Grand Cayman is famous for its 'Seven Mile Beach' (SMB) which contains a lot of beach front hotels and amenities. It is busy but very nice for those wanting to be closer to the action. It is how we first experienced Cayman for a few hours on our Honeymoon cruise. I still have very vivid memories of being amazed at the fish swimming around us as we put our flippers on. If you are staying on SMB most of the hotels have shuttles and taxi's so you don't have to rent a car. If you are staying elsewhere on the island - notably the East or North Ends and car rental is advised as this area is more remote. Last year we rented from McCurley's and they pick you up at the airport, stop for groceries and bring you to your hotel / condo where your car is waiting. It was a nice way to get settled in but the car they gave us was kind of a beater. This year we rented from Avis / Cisco and were satisfied with the car and since we already knew our way around the Island it was a piece of cake. Remember - you have to drive on the left in Cayman!
Places to Stay
|Getting Ready for a Rum Point Sunset Kayak|
Snorkel, Snorkel, Snorkel
|A Variety of Grunts During our Drift Snorkel|
The Retreat is a great place to learn to
|Blue Tangs Right under the Rum Point Dock Close to Shore|
|A Queen Angel Fish in Vivid Technicolor|
|The Coral Formations were Quite Remarkable|
We didn't see any Nurse Sharks or Moray Eels this trip like we did last year but don't worry, they are harmless if you leave them alone. We did see a turtle, numerous sting rays and probably a 4-5 foot long barracuda along with over 50 species of tropical fish.
We snorkeled a couple of times a day. Earlier in the morning is best as it is less busy with other boats and the waves while never big, are typically calmer. One calm morning we snorkeled all the way out to the first buoy. It is so relaxing and enjoyable. The marine life and water quality is spectacular. Think "bucket list" on this.
Other Things to Do
Probably the most famous attraction is Sting Ray City - an opportunity to swim with wild sting rays on a sand bar in the middle of the North Sound bay. Definitely worth the trip. I highly recommend an early morning trip especially when the cruise ships are in town and again we used White Sand Water Sports for this trip. After the trip White Sand takes you too a fabulous snorkel location right on the edge of the reef. Here are a couple of pictures and a video from our trip. Another 'bucket list' moment.
|You Do Literally Swim with the Sting Rays at Sting Ray City|
|The Magnificent Southern Sting Ray|
And check out our video we made from our Sting Ray City visit!
Cayman is also a great fishing destination and we decided to charter a boat for a half a day via Slackem Charters. While they tried, we just could not get the fish to bite and it ended up being a long and expensive boat ride with some sea sickness to boot. If we were able to get in the fish it would have been a lot of fun but they were just not biting that day. So it is a bit of a roll of the dice if you want to try deep sea fishing.
Places to Eat
We are not super knowledgeable on the dining in Cayman. Since we had a condo we did a lot of eating in the condo to try to save some coin as eating out is quite expensive. However, we did like Over the Edge on the north side as a nice place to eat. Casual, relaxed with great food - especially the seafood - at reasonable prices for Cayman standards. We tried Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville on a trip to Georgetown - Not great. Don't recommend it! Wrong orders (and no orders) delivered after a mega wait! I do think the seafood cuisine in Cayman is excellent and the SMB area has a ton of dining options. The Rum Point Wreck Bar is right around the corner from our condo as was great for afternoon mud slides and other fun drinks! We didn't visit the Rum Point restaurant but it was full every night and has good reviews.
So obviously we had a great trip and would love to go back again some day. It is one place where we can unplug, unwind and relax within minutes of arriving at Rum Point. For those looking to visit Grand Cayman someday I hope you found this blog helpful. If you have any questions don't hesitate to use the comment section!