Trip date: July 2019
Flying into Grand Cayman, the first thing that struck us was how breathtaking the water was.
Once we landed, we were on the move to getting to the ocean. We dropped our bags off at the house, changed from sneakers to flip flops and headed straight to the beach with gusto.
Their beaches are truly beautiful and they are easily accessible and free and you can bring whatever food or drinks you want. One group we saw had an entire BBQ grill and were making steaks. Over the course of 5 days, we went to multiple different beaches – each with their own vibe and beautiful view. We had yummy pina coladas and daiquiris and just kinda hung out and took life easy. It was all about going with the flow.
So … OK there’s beach – But what else is available there?
You can visit the Turtle Farm (it wasn’t for us, but kids seem to like it. An hour and half should be enough time) and you can send a postcard from Hell (just something to cross off your “been there done that” list). You can stroll through the Botanical Garden, and, if you want to, you can tour their Caves.
While we didn’t take advantage of it, Cayman is also known for its tax free shopping. Ya know … if you are in the market for fine jewelry or something. Tax free does not equal cheap though. Their currency, known as CI Dollars, is more valuable than the US dollar and since they import the vast majority of what they need/use, things are quite pricey so your dollars may not stretch quite as far as you’d like.
But – If you are up to it, you can save some money by catching your own food 🙂
Ultimately, we think, is the best thing about Cayman. It’s so easy to feel unbothered. It’s not a hustle and bustle type of place. There are not a ton of thrilling excursions to sign up for. What it lacks in excitement, it makes up for in relaxation on every level. Locals and tourists mix and mingle together at beach side bars/restaurants and unlike other Caribbean islands, no-one is trying to braid your hair or sell you a hat. There are no road-side vendors hawking fruits and bracelets made of thread with your name sewn into them. It’s not loud and it is clean and safe. (No disrespect to other islands – we love them too). But we cannot imagine anyone coming back from a stay in Cayman not feeling refreshed.
Saving the best for last:
In our opinion, no trip to Cayman is complete without taking a boat ride out to Stingray City. It’s basically a sand bar where you can hold, swim with or even kiss a stingray. It really is fun for all ages. We would encourage you to make a day of it. Pack some food and some drinks and plan to be on the boat all day, even though you may only be in the water with the stingray for a few minutes. It’s just a totally fabulous way to spend your time. Your boat captain will definitely have music and will do whatever they can to make your day enjoyable; including making stops at Rum Point or Star Fish Point. We were on the boat for so long that we caught a breathtaking sunset on our way back to the mainland.
(*Note: Family we were with got off the boat at Star Fish Point where they got some amazing pictures and where the kids jumped and played on a floating water park type thing, BUT, one child did get stung by a jelly fish so ask about that when you go if you are concerned. We didn’t have any such issues at any of the other beaches that we went to.)
We don’t have any experience with hotels there since we stayed at an Air BnB – so do your research. Pick a spot that works for you and whoever you are traveling with. We can tell you that there are no all-inclusive hotels on the island so if that’s your jam, this isn’t the place for you, but we’ve heard wonderful things about the hotels that they do have and our Air BnB was great; central air, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryer, pool etc.
We were in Cayman with a large group of family and friends – some of whom live there. Fortunately for us, our day on the boat and to Stingray City was a gift so we don’t know how much something like that actually costs. If you can swing it though, it’s well worth it. Also, we don’t have any information regarding traveling around the island. The island is fairly small and there are rental cars available of course but we were lucky enough to have locals who drove us around.
We didn’t upload any of the photos with our extended family because we haven’t asked for permission but we’d like to acknowledge them and thank them all for their hospitality and for showing us such a great time and for all the delicious food they provided.