May 14, 2021

Grand Cayman – A Grand Surprise

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Snorkel-viewsBy Steve Adams From Wilmington Parent

For some unknown reason, Grand Cayman was not on our radar list of Caribbean “must-sees”. Most of our vacations have focused on visiting the islands further east and we have really enjoyed those destinations. So when an opportunity came along to visit recently, we were admittedly so-so on choosing Grand Cayman for our spring break trip.

Grand Cayman turned out to be a surprisingly great vacation destination. We like to get out and explore an island to take advantage of all it has to offer. We found Grand Cayman to have many of the qualities that make it great for families traveling abroad.

Safe – The crime rate is extremely low. Grand Cayman has the #1 standard of living in the Caribbean and the #3 standard of living in the world. Everywhere you go on this beautiful island looks and feels safe. The lack of poverty also translates into entire days on a beach where you are undisturbed by locals asking to braid your hair, sell you tee-shirts, hats, jewelry, bags, etc.

Friendly – Everyone (including people outside the main tourist areas) is welcoming and very pleasant. We really felt like guests as opposed to tourists. When we stopped at a gas station in Boddentown, a non-tourist location on the southeast side of the island, a young local came out to pump the gas – seriously, a full service station at the same price as self serve. We stopped at a few road-side restaurants and were also met with smiles and friendly service. The rental car agent with Alamo was an instant friend as well. Everyone there was memorably genuine and nice.

Easy to get around – the roads are well laid out, maintained, and flow well. Note: Driving on the left side of the road does take some getting used to and most intersections are “roundabouts” which also (especially when going to the left) require a little extra effort for the first few days. Driving was fairly uncongested and safe. We traveled the entire island and found it well marked and easy to navigate. Most GPS units will work on the island as well.

Shopping – The main areas for shopping are in the Capitol of Georgetown near the cruise terminal where you can find jewelry, souvenirs, island clothing, etc. There are also some higher end retailers in Camana Bay which offers Tommy Bahama and similar brands of clothing, shops, restaurants, and sundries. All areas offer a few interesting shops.

Food – The meals were fresh and delicious with a focus on flavor and atmosphere. Grand Cayman is definitely a place where the chefs are working to put a “little love” into the food while you enjoy plentiful views of the island and ocean.

Attractions – Varied and reasonably priced, we found great things to do every day. We actually had to schedule a day to stay at out resort. (See photo gallery for some of the must-do attractions while in Grand Cayman).

For these travelers – Thank you Grand Cayman for a great vacation. For the Caribbean traveler in you – your adventure here awaits.

IMAGES: (All from STEVE ADAMS)

Sting Ray City

This is a sand bar located on the north end of the island and accessed easily on boat or jet ski. In this open water area of the North Sound stingrays come to this sand bar each day and trade some human interaction for a taste of squid or other aquatic treats. The rays are fairly docile and accepting of people. A good tour guide will have you petting and holding the rays in no time.

Jet Ski to Sting Ray City

Sting Ray City – We took the jet ski tour to area and I highly recommend it for those inclined for a little more adventure.

Diving and Snorkeling

Many areas of the island are protected by a coral reef that provides a very gentle surf and excellent structure to see countless fish and see life. There are numerous charter opportunities for deep dives and shallow snorkeling as well. We actually found ourselves surrounded by a school of tarpon and other fish right of the beach at the Morritt’s resort on the east side of the island.

Cayman Turtle Farm

The large Green Sea Turtle preserve is located on the northwest corner of the island. See the very young and old and learn about these fascinating creatures. For an additional charge, they have an area to swim and sunbath in a tranquil setting.

Welcome to Hell

Yes, after being told to go here many times, I finally made the trip. Located on the north end near the turtle farms, this tiny town offers you the opportunity to visit Hell.

The Devil in Hell

Named Hell for the curious rock formations featured here, the post office offers you the chance to send a card post-marked from “Hell”

Downtown George Town

This is a great area for souvenirs and other shopping. The food and views are fantastic.

View of Cruise Ships from George Town

Downtown George Town – Pick a day when there are only a few cruise ships in port and enjoy the many shops and restaurants in this vibrant port.

Smith Cove

A small beach south of George Town that features sun and shade with a protected rock cove for swimming. Great snorkeling can be had right off the beach. Small with no vendors, so pack a cooler.

Rum Point

This “Home of the Mudslide” is located on the north side of the island but across the North Sound and only accessible by driving east first, this little slice of paradise is worth the trip. This popular corner of the island has a great vibe and offers a lot for families.

Kayaks, paddle boards, and jet skis are available for rent, beach chairs are provided free of charge, there is a sand volleyball court, sun and shade are available, food and drinks are fantastic, and the gift shop is one of the best I have seen. They have restrooms and showers as well. It is easy to spend a day at Rum Point as this is a great day at the beach. We went twice!

Kaibo

This end of the island setting (close to Rum Point) is fantastic for afternoon or evening drinks and food.

Kaibo Restaurant

The Kaibo restaurant hosts a marina and a really cool ambiance. The Conch fritters alone are worth the trip.

The Blow Holes

Located on the east side of the island, this is a must for your vacation photos. A hole in the rock formations on the shore creates endless aquatic explosions that make for a rare and beautiful backdrop for photos. There is a sign to mark the spot and plenty of parking. Be sure to bring your shoes, as the rocks can be tough on your feet.

For more on this story go to: http://www.wilmingtonparent.com/out-and-about/destinations/grand-cayman—a-grand-surprise/#sthash.Bc3Dgc25.dpuf

 

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