Grand Cayman Part 2

The major city is Georgetown. Georgetown has a lot of shopping to offer, but the hours are more catered to the cruise ship traffic. Some shops even have different hours of operation depending if there is a cruise ship in port on that day or not! A lot of the shops and restaurants in Georgetown close up early in the day. Most of your shops and restaurants along Seven Mile Beach will be open later to a more normal business operating day.
One of the more interesting towns in Grand Cayman is literally called Hell. Hell is a very small town on the northern part of the western side of Grand Cayman. It was named Hell because of the short, black limestone formations. It looks jagged and unusual due to biokarst. Biokarst is when algae, bacteria, and fungi “eat” away at the limestone to give it this other worldly look. There is the world famous Hell gift shop here, along with some smaller shops by the local post office where you can send back postcards from Hell!
There are a lot of dining options on the island. There is a rising food truck scene on the island! We happened to come across Smokin Bros on a drive back from the beach. Their sandwiches and meats are to die for! The sauce is amazing too! There are two restaurants owned by the same family that are awesome. Chicken Chicken is one of them, a quick serve joint with wood cooked chicken and a lot of different sides to choose from. They also own Cimboco, a sit down Caribbean restaurant. I had the jerk shrimp pasta there and it was a fantastic meal! If you are looking for more fine dining, Lobster Pot will be up your alley. It is located in Georgetown and has a variety of seafood. I had the snapper, Cayman style. It was different, but appetizing!
One of the most amazing things I have ever done was on this trip. That is taking a boat out to Stingray City and getting kissed by a Stingray! I ended up booking a tour thru Captain Marvin’s. The representative on the phone was very helpful and discouraged us from booking the two-stop tour (“That’s more for cruise passengers and I have 120 booked for that tomorrow.”) to a three-stop tour (“There’s only 19 people booked and you’ll have the whole sandbar to yourself.”) I was very happy in the end for listening to her advice! It costs $45 per person for the three-stop tour. We took the 10AM tour, which I thought would be in the middle of cruise traffic. Once we checked in, drove out to the boat, and got settled; we took off right for Stingray City. Stingray City came to be because the local fisherman would clean out their daily catch at that sandbar, which attracted Stingrays, and they have been coming back ever since! The phone representative was right! There was only us and one other small catamaran out on the sandbar. It was awesome to have all the stingrays swimming around you and right up to you. The legend is that if you get kissed by a stingray, you’ll get seven years of good luck! Of course, we partaken in this! The other two stops were snorkeling stops with a lot of fish to see! The surprising part was the boat ride back, we saw literally a fleet of boats after boats loaded with people heading to Stingray City! I could only imagine what it’s like to be there with that many people, so I highly recommend you take the earlier tour times!
Grand Cayman is an amazing island to check out! I wished I had more time to just relax on the beach, but until then, I will have to long for returning to that tropical paradise!

Grand Cayman Part 1

I had an opportunity to hop on the first Southwest Airlines flight to Grand Cayman. There was a huge party going on at Fort Lauderdale that day, since they were launching new flights to Montego Bay, Cancun, and Belize that day as well. The flight was an easy hour and thirty-five minute flight from Fort Lauderdale.
I usually rent cars thru National, but the prices for most rental cars were outrageous for that week in Grand Cayman! I ended up renting with Firefly, whose parent company is Hertz. The rates were $9 a day! Here’s the catch, if you do not buy their insurance, they put a huge hold on your credit card. If you buy all of their insurance, they only charge the rental plus insurance and you have the option of using a debit card. When I went to check in for the car, I asked for the full insurance. The rate ended up being about $48 a day, which was still cheaper than the next best rate for that week! I ended up in a brand new Hertz car too, and a slightly upgraded car.
It was about a short 15 minute drive to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Resort. This hotel was much cheaper than the other hotel on the Seven Mile Beach strip. The hotel is on the bay side of the small strip of land in the west of Grand Cayman, but you can see the rooftops of the larger hotel on Seven Mile Beach from the parking lot of the Holiday Inn. The drive to the beach is about 5 minutes, but the price difference can be hundreds of dollars. We ended up saving about $250 a night, just by staying on the bay side.
We ended up with a one bedroom suite, and it was awesome. It came with a balcony, full kitchen, and a washer/dryer in the room! The full kitchen came in handy to make light lunches and dinner, since food can be very expensive on Grand Cayman. There is also a nice restaurant at the hotel called Blue Iguana Grill. The food is very good and the prices are very reasonable! They also offer a kids eat free deal with one adult meal if you are staying at the Holiday Inn.
Seven Mile Beach is a long crescent of coral-sand beach on the western end of Grand Cayman. Seven Mile Beach is known for its beauty, recently receiving the honor of “The Caribbean’s Best Beach” from Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. The actual distance of Seven Mile Beach is 6.3 miles! The whole beachfront is public, but parking is at a premium for the most part. There is a public parking area right on the beach at Governors Beach, right by the Governor’s House. The water is warm and swimmable, as the waves as not intense. You could spend hours at Seven Mile Beach and never want to leave!