When we decided to travel to Grand Cayman for 10 nights I wasn’t sure what to expect, I only pictured the cliché of every other Caribbean island, turquoise sea, over-populated beaches and sunburnt tourists. In preparation, I picked out 10 different bikinis, one for each day of the trip, and I was ready for the much anticipated trip to the biggest island of the Cayman group, home to the British Territories capital, George Town.
We were on the Island to meet with long distance friends and family, and if you have been to the Cayman Island before you’ll know that it is an Island of wealth and extremely rich in culture. Coming over from England we were spending a fair amount of money on flights alone so we were understandably looking for more modest accommodation. We were lucky enough to come across Harbour View, located on the south side of famous Severn Mile Beach and conveniently 5 minutes from bustling George Town. It was ideal for the five of us and happened to be some of the cheapest accommodation on the whole island. With only 4 apartments and a handful of beach side studios we almost had the place to ourselves, and we made the most of our secluded beach at least every sun kissed morning. It featured a fabulous rickety jetty out into the water always abundant with stunning reef fish – the ultimate snorkel spot on our doorstep. The apartments themselves are more basic than other island accommodation but has everything you need for your stay including Wi-Fi and great restaurants nearby if you prefer to eat out. Just to the left of the apartments, we discovered an old ship wreck protruding from the water, home to a huge array of sea life. Though the wreck is a little rusty, its too far out to sea to pose any danger to children paddling in the shallows, but was a great place for the whole family to experience.
The food and drink was one of my favourite things about this unforgettable island. It’s a typical Caribbean island but with a classy spin. Cocktails are around every corner with some fantastic beach bars for those that want to dance the night away. Since then, Banana Daiquiris have become a favourite of mine. There’s nothing better than sipping your drink on wooden decking over the ocean with relaxing live music to complete the Caribbean atmosphere. The one thing I had wanted to do was enjoy some of the fresh sea food of charming restaurant Calypso. I chose a beautifully presented dish of perfectly cooked scallops on a bed of lobster mash. Even if you’re not a foodie at heart, it’s definitely worth taking the time and money to sample some fantastic Caribbean delicacies.
The boat trip to the much anticipated famous sand-bar was longer than expected, but it was truly breath-taking to motor away from the Island into the middle of nowhere, with nothing but a backdrop of blue skies and turquoise ocean. When we reached our destination we dropped anchor on what is known locally as Stingray City, the best spot to see stingrays in their natural habitat. Although it’s a well known spot we were the only ones there and at first couldn’t see anything but the sea floor through the crystal clear water. Without warning this mysterious creature appeared and scooted across the sandbar floor. Before you have time to grab your camera and get a snap the sea is full of them! They were everywhere. They are extremely friendly and have learnt to expect some visitors in the area so have adapted to the company. After a few minutes I’d gathered enough courage to step into the water…it was shoulder depth in places (I am 5’4) and they were all around me, brushing my legs and coming close to the surface to get a better look at me. I had a snorkel and mask so that I was able to get under the water and see them properly too. It was an incredible experience, a little scary at first especially when they constantly remind you of the death of a legend such as Steve Irwin. However, it is undeniable that they are incurably elegant creatures and it’s an absolute must for any brave visitor to Grand Cayman.
Pirate ships and rum runners…..
As there were a large group of us we chose one evening to hire a boat and take a sunset tour of the island. What I hadn’t realised was that the boat was in-fact a life-size pirate ship, the Jolly Roger! Departing from George-Town harbour and accompanied by the captain dressed as Jack Sparrow they set sail around the stunning Grand Cayman coast at sunset, providing us with an open bar, the best rum-runners and succulent Caribbean chicken. At around US$30-$40pp it’s a must especially if you are on the island for an occasion or if you are just a large group. Its a great opportunity to get some fabulous sunset photos, and not to mention an incredible party!
It’s safe to say that I didn’t use all 10 bikinis, like most girls I took far more than I needed to! The Island itself is not a huge shopping destination apart from the typical holiday trinkets, especially when there is so much else to do, but you mustn’t forget that famous Caribbean rum! All in all it is a truly stunning island and so far my top Caribbean destination. I can guarantee that you won’t get bored; there is so much to see and do, why not take a few days to explore Little Cayman and Cayman Brac? There is no better feeling than waking up to a morning snorkel from a private jetty under the exotic sun, followed by a fresh fruit breakfast – and that was only the start of every Caribbean day.