The Cayman Islands were always a place that looked desirable to me. I had gone on a cruise a few years back which was supposed to stop there, but there was a problem with the boat and we weren’t able to make it (Which really made me mad, since the caymans were the reason I booked that particular cruise!)
My boyfriend's family was planning a trip away in September to somewhere hot-when I found out the location of choice was the The Cayman Islands, I was pumped! The Cayman Islands include a cluster of 3 islands- Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. We chose Grand Cayman, since we were looking for a lot of activities to do during the day, and Grand Cayman appeared to have the most to offer! (You can take short flights to the other islands, however they are too far away to take a ferry unfortunately)
We planned the trip at the beginning of September, which was awesome- it was low season which means not a lot of tourists and we lucked out with amazing weather every day! We essentially had the beaches to ourselves which was ideal- no one likes having strangers photo bombing!
The flight from Toronto was a short 4 hours, and the views out the side of the plane flying over Cuba and The Florida Keys were amazing! We stayed on the north side of Grand Cayman near Rum Point in THE MOST ADORABLE PINK BEACH HOUSE I HAVE EVER SEEN!! We rented it on VRBO- it is called “Pink Beach”. I literally thought this house was made for me. I walked in and was like- okay your going to have to drag me out of here at the end of the trip. The house was move- in- ready! Full kitchen, TV, towels, snorkel gear, kayaks, music players, hair dryers and the most amazing pool over looking the ocean. Oh and a hammock so you can watch the waves roll by. Paradise, seriously.
Okay- so now that we were all set up and ready to go- what do you do in Grand Cayman if you aren’t a sit- on- the –beach- all day- every day type person? (Like me!) Here is the full run down if you want to get the best of Grand Cayman while slipping in a bit of relaxation!
DAY ONE: STAR FISH POINT AND RUM POINT.
We rented a car, so after we got settled in, we drove about 10 minutes up the road to Starfish point. It is called that for a very obvious reason- there are starfish in the water. The water was super warm and clear so you can see them along the bottom. We brought our snorkel gear, so we got up close and personal with them- as well as a few stingrays that cruised on by. There is a small parking lot here- once you park, walk to the end of the beach (short 2 minute walk) and it is right there. It isn’t very clearly marked, so I would look up directions before you head there.
Next stop- Rum Point. This is a great place to relax, grab a drink and take in the scenery. There are hammocks to take a snooze, beach chairs, restaurants- it’s the perfect beach hang out. The water was a little grassy in spots, not as pristine as the other side of the island, however still beautiful! I brought my raft and drifted around while my boyfriend and his family snorkeled. You could easily spend a day here hanging out.
DAY TWO: GEORGETOWN, SEVEN MILE BEACH & CAYMAN TURTLE FARM
We woke up early to catch the sunrise and then it was off to Georgetown to do some shopping! This is a busy cruise port, so arriving early might help avoid the crowds! There are plenty of places to grab some souvenirs or beach décor as well as duty free stores to get that Rolex you have been dreaming of. Make sure you pick up some Rum Cake from the Tortuga Rum Company. They aren’t cheap but they are delicious! I bought the original as well as the Banana. Yum. I also felt slightly drunk off them but it might be just in my head! Speaking of drunk- if you are cruising by a liquor store- do yourself a fave and buy Blackbeard’s Banana Rum. We made pina coladas with this and those babies went down like Kool-Aid! Anyway back to the point- You probably don’t need more then 2 hours downtown Georgetown, unless you are sitting on one of the patio’s along the water. (Which isn't a terrible idea!!)
Once we had our shopping fix (and I bought my bf and I matching grey Grand Cayman sweaters-hehe) we headed to Seven Mile Beach- probably one of the most perfect beaches I have ever seen! This beach is a long stretch lined with hotels- we found ourselves a spot close to the Ritz Carlton. This was the perfect place to relax and get some sunshine. We spent about 2 hours here taking photos, swimming and tanning, then off to the next location- the turtle farm, located about 15 minutes away.
The turtle farm is a conservatory facility and it is used to raise the endangered sea turtles. I thought I had gotten my turtle fix while I was in Hawaii, but it was crazy to see all the turtles in one spot! There were TONS of them! There is an indoor area where you can learn all about the turtles, a lagoon where they swim and a place where you can pet them. I’m all for learning, but I got a little bored of reading after 5 minutes and wanted to get out and see them in action. At certain points during the day they feed them, and it is crazy- I have never seen so many turtles in my life- they all come up to the surface- best time for photos! After all this excitement we were exhausted- time to go back to my pink paradise for some swimming in the pool and dinner!
DAY THREE: STINGRAY CITY, HELL & CEMETARY BEACH
Today was the main attraction- Stingray City! This was by far the highlight of the trip! I have seen Stingrays in aquariums and the one at Starfish point- but oh. Ma. God- there seemed to be at least a hundred here! We bought a tour with Moby Dick Tours- it was $40 american- which seemed cheap to me, considering how great it was! It picked us up at the marina at 9am and we set sail into the bluest of blue waters ever. First stop was snorkeling at a reef where you can spot a ship wreck, it was pretty cool to get right in there.
Second stop- The Stingrays. We pull up to a cluster of boats and a sand bar in the middle of the ocean where you can walk along. All you see are Stingrays swimming towards you. Obviously they know they are going to be fed- you can pick up the squid (ewww) and feed it to them- make sure you tuck in your thumbs- im pretty sure one tried to suck up my thumb and it was super weird. The guys running the tour were awesome, they help you hold them- it was an incredible experience. You need to shuffle your feet along the sand to ensure you don’t step on one- they are literally swimming around you, its surreal. These stingrays are so sweet (although all my friends thought I was crazy when they saw the photos of me kissing them) the guys running the tour had been coming here for so many years, they know the stingrays names. Freckles was a pregnant stingray who was so friendly, he didn’t even need to hold onto her- she just stayed beside him and kissed him when he puckered his lips. Anyways- needless to say this was something you HAVE to do when coming to Grand Cayman. And don’t be scared, they wont hurt you, just don’t come up from behind them and scare them.
After our amazing excursion- we headed to Hell. This is a little town, with not much to do, but there is a post office where you can send your family or friends a post card from Hell. I mean, it’s the furthest thing from Hell, but it’s a little funny. As we came in, the owner says “How the HELL are ya?” Anyways- it’s a quick stop- there is a cool rock formation at the back, but other than that, it is a great in and out if you have a car!
We were hungry after all the excitement so we went to Rackams in Georgetown for some lunch. Great food and great views and right on the water. Also the perfect hang out for anyone wanting to get a ‘lil day drunk!
Last stop of the day was Cemetery beach which was located close to downtown (behind a cemetery, of course.) We did some snorkeling here and then headed back home to rest up for the next day.
DAY FOUR: BOTANIC GARDENS AND THE BLOW HOLES
Day four we hung out at the beach house for the morning, did some Kayaking – The north side is a bit windier, so the water is a bit rougher. After that we headed out to the Botanic Gardens which was about 20 minutes away. There wasn’t TOO much to see here, unless you are a intense nature lover. You get to see the Cayman Blue Iguana and a lot of different flowers and greenery. We did a quick hike through the gardens, but we didn’t need more than an hour and a half here. Next up were the Blow Holes, located along the coast on one of the main roads. The waves come up to the shore and water is spouted high into the air though the Blow Holes. It was fun to see if you are driving by, however I wouldn’t go comepletly out of your way.
We then stopped at an adorable soap shop called “Beach Bubbles” We spent at least an hour in here smelling all the different home made soaps. $50 later, I will be clean for about 3 years with all the soap I bought. The owner is super passionate about her soaps, and they smell amazing. AND she delivered to Canada.
DAY FIVE: SMITH COVE, A RETURN VISIT TO SEVEN MILE BEACH, EDEN ROCK & THE CRACKED CONCH
We wanted to spend our last full day in the water, so we headed over to Smith Cove for some fun in the sun. I loved it here, it was quiet, the water was perfect and we were able to jump off rocks into the water. It is close to Georgetown, so if you are looking for somewhere to take a dip after shopping, this is a great option!
From here, we headed back to Seven Mile beach- there was no way I could leave Grand Cayman without seeing this place again! We chose a different location this time- behind the Marriott, where they have these large pots that simulate a coral reef- which means a lot of fish for snorkelling. I mean- i am not sure if you are actually allowed to go the beaches behind these hotels if you aren't staying there, however no one stopped us. Next time I visit The Cayman's this is where I would stay. If you don't have access to a car I would say for SURE stay along Seven Mile Beach.
We swam here for about 2 hours and then headed for some lunch at the Cracked Conch. You can eat on the patio which is right on the water, and there is a ladder that goes down into the ocean- if your food is taking too long, you can take a dip! This is a popular dive spot. We tried to snorkel here and the water was a little rough, so I stuck to having some drinks instead!
I was a little snorkeled out, so I went back to the town to finish up my shopping while everyone else headed over to Eden Rock to get a little more swimming in. There are so many places to swim in the Cayman’s so it's perfect if you want to see sea-life!
DAY SIX: GOODBYE GRAND CAYMAN!
This was our final day- one last sunrise to watch, one last swim in the ocean behind our pink palace and one last swing in the hammock. It was definetly hard to leave this place. I felt very safe on this island, everyone was very friendly and it was very clean and well kept! I will say that if you are on a budget- its not that cheap! The conversion from Canadian to Cayman Dollars is not great (its worse than CAN-US!) But if you are willing to come in the off-season, you will save huge on accommodations. September was perfect, the weather was amazing; almost empty beaches and no line to get into restaurants or tourist attractions!
If you are on a cruise that stops here, my recommendation would be Stingray City and a walk through Georgetown. If you can make it here for a week and you cant stand to just sit around all day on a beach (although that does sound fab!) there is plenty to do to fill your time if you rent a car!