Nestled in the Caribbean Sea just south of Cuba, lies one of the most amazing islands I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.
The Cayman Islands are a small British territory in the Caribbean made up of three tiny islands. Grand Cayman, the biggest, is a popular vacation spot due to its crystal clear water, sublime snorkeling and diving sites, and pristine beaches.
My family is not one to visit the same location twice (I visited once in high school), but I had the opportunity to take this trip with my boyfriend’s family, and I am so glad that I did. Although I tend to take vacation as an excuse to visit a new and exotic location, revisiting the island was nice, as I had a good sense of what I wanted to do and what restaurants to visit (and which ones to avoid!)
If you are ever looking into a Caribbean vacation, the Cayman Islands should definitely be on your list. Here are a few reasons why (in no particular order):
7) Seven Mile Beach
Ok, so it’s not actually seven miles long… it’s only 6.3 miles from one end to the other. But still, that is one huge beach. This is a popular strip dotted with hotels and condos, so it can be a bit crowded in peak season, and for good reason. The blue water is so clear, you can see the ripples on the bottom of the sand from the surface of the water and depths of over 30 feet. The sand is so white and soft, it looks like it might have been Photoshopped. And, let’s not forget the many hotels with swim-up bars offering freshly made pina coladas and mudslides. Which brings me to my next reason…
Three words: Ice cream (technically two, but bear with me here). Chocolate. Alcohol.
Basically, when you combine these three things together, you get a chocolately milkshake that makes you sort of tipsy that you can enjoy freely on the beach at anytime of the day, whether it be noon or midnight (seriously… day drinking is encouraged in the islands). Rum Point Beach is world famous for its signature mudslides, although the pina coladas at nearly every beach bar on the island are also spot-on.
5) Live entertainment
There is almost nothing better in the world than feeling the warm island breeze on your face while listening to the soft drumming of the bongos. My boyfriend’s mom was obsessed with one of the local bands on the island, Hi Tide, which did covers of favorites such as Jimmy Buffett and Jack Johnson. She was so obsessed, in fact, that in the seven days we were there, we went to three of their performances.
4) Snorkeling and Diving
I have done my fair share of snorkeling- in Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico- but nothing that I’ve seen so far has beat the snorkeling in Grand Cayman. Although I have never gone scuba diving myself (and never will, thanks to an eardrum that refuses to stay intact), I have heard from numerous friends that the diving was also out-of-this world amazing. The water is so clear, you can see forever- and the abundance of fish, turtles, and stingrays glide right past you as if you are one of them.
Yes, I know I already said it. They’re that good.
2) Fresh seafood
I’m pretty sure I had fresh fish or seafood of some sort every single day while in Grand Cayman. My favorite- and I mean all time favorite– spot for fish tacos is the Sunshine Grill. It’s the weirdest little restaurant, placed smack dab in the middle of the pool at a hotel (the Sunshine Suites, I believe); but if you can get over the fact that you can watch random people swimming while you stuff your face, it’s great. The Mahi Mahi fish tacos- those alone are worth the plane ride.
1) Stingray City
There are absolutely no words to describe the experience of having wild stingrays come up to you and swim right into your arms. Despite their bad reputation, these slimy creatures are actually quite sweet, as long as you follow your guide’s instructions and don’t step on one! And although it can definitely be nerve-wracking to have hundreds of them swarming you for food, it is truly one of the coolest things I have ever done in my entire life. Make sure to kiss one right on the snout for seven years of good luck!
Where was the best vacation you ever had? I want to hear your stories!