OVERVIEW OF THE ISLAND: We had such a great time in Grand Cayman. It had been a long winter in New England and by April we were excited to get some sunshine in. We spent a lot of time playing on the beach and swimming in the crystal blue water. The water was so clear and was warmer than many islands. Although the food was expensive, the restaurants were amazing with fresh ingredients used in every meal. The beaches had white powdered sand and any activity you could think of doing. If you are a diver this is a MUST visit island. There are countless places to dive with amazing coral reefs and shipwrecks. It is all about the water here so there are plenty of places to charter boats, go deep sea fishing, sail on sunset cruises, try kitesurfing…the list can go on and on.
STINGRAY CITY: I was dying to swim with stingrays and thought it would be a memorable activity for the girls to do. My husband did not agree. (He thought it was a death trap.) There are plenty of excursions and they all seem to go to the same places. Your excursion choice would depend on the type of boat you want to go on and what else you want to do that day. Some boats only go to Stingray City but others also include snorkeling or a trip to Star Fish Point where there are lots of beautiful red and orange starfish that you can see and touch (We didn’t do this although I bet the girls would have liked it.)
The ride to Stingray City was beautiful. The coastline of the island has gorgeous beaches and some lovely houses. I expected to be brought to a beach and the stingrays would be there but it is actually a sandbar quite far from the beach. As soon as you get off the boat there are suddenly large stingrays all around you. They were must larger than I expected and they are fearless. The water was up to my waist but was so choppy we had to hold the girls. Yes you will probably jump when a stingray slides by your legs, but it was a neat experience to be in the water and be able to hold these wild creatures. The locals call them ‘puppies of the sea’ but my husband had different names for them (ones I will not repeat here). He was a trooper and got in for about 5 minutes, took some pictures, and was back up on the boat with the girls to watch.
- If it’s possible, wait for a day when the waters are calm because you would get a clearer view of the stingrays under water and the waves are not splashing up into your face.
- Don’t forget an underwater camera.
- You might want to bring goggles so you can get an close-up underwater look at these beautiful guys.
- Research different excursion trips to see which best fits your family.
CAYMAN TURTLE FARM: If you love these adorable sea creatures this is the place for you. Last year, in Bermuda, some sea turtles came right up to our boat so they instantly became a new family favorite. My girls loved holding the baby turtles and feeding the larger ones. There is an area called Turtle Lagoon that you can actually swim with the turtles. We chose not to do because I felt my youngest daughter would not like being that close to them so it would be a waste of money. And luckily they did not have swimsuits so I didn’t have to be the bad guy and say no. There was also an educational center where you could learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about turtles including their life cycle and habitats. When you’ve had your fill of turtles you can go see some of the other animals there like crocodiles, nurse sharks, and barracudas. There is also a free flying bird aviary that allows birds to come right up to you.
- Open daily from 8:00-5:00
- Costs: Adults- $18, Children ages 4-12- $9. There is an additional fee to swim with the turtles.
- There is a restaurant there where you can get typical park food (although someone told me turtle burgers were on the menu…)
- Don’t forget to bring swimsuits if you’re swimming with the turtles.
- There are some AMAZING restaurants with breathtaking views across the street.
SEVEN MILE BEACH: The power white sand and the crystal water make it an unbelievable beach. There are lots of restaurants in this strip of hotels and condos. Some sections of the beach are more crowded than others. Where our condo was located (next to the Marriott hotel) it was not crowded and there were not many people approaching you to sell you souvenirs (Ugh…one of my biggest pet peeves at the beach). My husband rented a jet ski and took turns taking the girls out onto it. It was an amazing place to sit back with a nice cocktail and watch the sunset!
SNORKELING IN BARRIER REEF: This is usually the second place an excursion will take you after Stingray City. The snorkeling here was amazing. Both girls tried it and they liked looking down at the colorful fish and coral. The snorkeling may have been better if it wasn’t such a choppy day.