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Trip report by - April 2002

This was the first trip to Grand Cayman for my wife and myself. One of our friends had decided to get married in GC. What a great excuse for a vacation.
Thank you to everyone who has posted information on this board. This vacation was fantastic, it would not have been this way without all of the information posted on this board. Originally we were going to stay at the Marriot, but when we saw all of the posts about the beach, we got booked at the Westin. That was the best choice of the trip. We went for the beach, if we would have been at the Marriot we would have been very disappointed. If you are going to GC to spend time on the beach you had better stay north of the Hyatt. The Westin was perfect, just enough people and very good service.
Thanks to Scott for his restaurant suggestions. Every meal was excellent. I only wish that we could have stayed longer for more dinners. It was nice to eat like royalty for a while.

17th April 2002

Flew US air connecting through Charlotte. Very smooth trip down. Arrived in Grand Cayman a few minutes after 1pm. Easy trip through immigration. Once we got done in the airport, Tropicana Tours took us to our hotel. We had vouchers which made it nice to not have to get out money as soon as we got off the plane. They had us to the Westin in no time. Checked in and on the beach by 3pm. Then we soaked up the sun for a couple of hours before dinner. For dinner, we took a taxi to Calypso Grill. Really neat place on the east side of the seven mile corridor. Though we didn't know it then, but it looks out at Stingray sandbar. We ate outside on the deck. My wife ate the Mahi-Mahi and I had the Lobster and shrimp. After a long day, the food tasted great. Dinner, a drink a piece, bottled water and crab cakes US$140. Called the taxi and went back to the hotel very tired and full. The taxi was US$15 each way. Not the cheapest way to go.

18th April 2002

Got up and went to Eats Café across from the Westin. The perfect breakfast place, it reminded us of a classic diner. Good food and service. We could not believe how fast the service was. We never had to wait more than five minutes for our food. After breakfast we went to the other end of the strip mall to stock up on snacks but we were to early, Big Daddy liquor store didn't open up until 10. At that time we had not found Fosters yet. From there we decided to walk down the beach to see the rest of the wedding party at Turtle Beach Villas. It took about 45 minutes. It was a good way to check out the other condos and hotels. If you want a nice beach, stay north of the Hyatt. The beach at the Hyatt was always packed as well as the Marriot. After visiting for a while, we headed back up the beach to the Westin to soak up the sun. We picked up some snacks along the way at Big Daddy's for the beach. The Westin food was very good, but we just couldn't see buying US$20 sandwiches when we were still full from breakfast. That night we walked to the Reef Grill. We had reservations, but were early enough it didn't matter. If you wait until after 7pm to eat, you had better have reservations at any of the restaurants. My wife had a pasta dish and I had the Ribeye. Both were very good. With dessert the bill was US$90. No taxi made this a cheap night. After dinner, we walked along the beach back to the Westin. One thing that amazed me is that when the sun sets, you can actually see it moving. We live on Lake Michigan and I have never been able to see the sun moving as it hits the water.

19th April 2002

Breakfast at Eats Café. The perfect breakfast place. After breakfast we soaked up the sun for a couple of hours, then walked down the beach to Turtle Beach Villas to catch the bus to get us to the Stingray City boat. I don't remember what the name of the Captain was. The trip was set up by the groom so almost everyone went. We were one of the boats that was referred to as a "Cattle boat." 35 people went. It was great since we all knew each other. For almost everyone, this was the first time to swim with rays so it was really great for all of us. The first stop was at the reef to do some snorkeling. Not as many fish as I thought there would be. We stayed for about 30 minutes then went to the sandbar for the rays. Our captain did a great job making sure that everyone who wanted to touch one got a chance. The waist high water allowed everyone to get off the boat and enjoy this. After the sandbar, we stopped at one more place to snorkel some more and then a nice boat ride back to the dock. Overall the trip was very good. US$75 for both of us. It was really nice to go with people who we knew, rather than a boat full of strangers. I wished I had brought food for the fish at the reef. It would have been a lot easier to have them come to me rather than following them. We did hear people, who had snorkeled out in front of the Westin, say that it was very good also. Lots of colorful fish and some rays. They were about 200' offshore straight out in front of the Westin. When the bus dropped us off, we went across the street to Pizza & Ribs and got a pizza to get us through until dinner - US$17.
After a short rest in our room we headed down to Smugglers Cove. Our reservations were not until 8pm so when took a short walk in town, then settled at the bar. This is one place that you need reservations. It is right on the water and would be good to watch the sunset as you eat. My wife and I both had the lobster stuffed tenderloin. This was the best meal my wife and I have ever had in our lives. If you eat one meal on the island, this is it! I am scared to get a steak now, since I know it will not compare to this. Thank you Scott for the suggestion. You were right on about all of the places to eat. I hope you get some free meals for the recommendations. After dinner we took a taxi up to the Royal Palms. We were way to full to drink anything, so we walked back to the Westin along the beach. Dinner was US$150 and the taxi was US$15 each way.

20th April 2002

Breakfast at Eats Café. Picked up souvenirs for our boys in the morning then headed to the beach for some sun. About 3pm we came in and had lunch. Ribs from Pizza & Ribs across the street - US$20. Ate in our room as we got ready for the wedding. The wedding was at small church on the South Sound. The reception was in George Town south of where the cruise ships dock. I don't remember the name. It was on the deck right on the water. We got to enjoy a perfect sunset. The sun even flashed green as hit went below the water. Around 10pm they started to feed the tarpon at the end of the deck. About 10-15 were feeding. A shark even decided to come take a look. After the reception we took a taxi back to the Westin. US$20.

21st April 2002

One last breakfast at Eats Café, then on to the beach for one last time. Our airport transfer was at 11am. Got to the airport, bags checked, through customs, and sitting by the gate by 11:45. The plane was scheduled to leave at 1:50, it was late more like 2:30. Good thing that they tell you to get there early. We flew US Air on the way home. Smooth trip to Charlotte. We got in about 20 minutes late which left us 40 minutes to catch our connecting flight. Customs was packed as was the luggage area. We got to our gate just in time to be turned away. There was no way our luggage was going to make it anyway. Downstairs the room after customs was packed with luggage on the floor that still needed to be sent to the planes. My question is why didn't they hold the plane for us? There were at least 10 people who had boarding passes on that flight that were late coming in. So all of us got to fly Northworst to Detroit. Our bags didn't make it. The got to our house on Tuesday. Not a big deal, not like we needed shorts when we got back to Michigan.
One suggestion, don't travel on Sunday, especially in the afternoon. The airports are just too busy to keep schedule. I thought that someone else in their trip report had said they were late and missed there connection in Charlotte also, so be prepared. Good thing was that it only delayed us a couple of hours.
Overall this was a great vacation. I would love to go back. For a place to stay I would recommend the Westin as a hotel. For dinners Calypso Grill, Reef Grill, and SMUGGLERS COVE. If you like meat, get the lobster stuffed tenderloin. You will not be disappointed! We decided not to rent a car, not because of the money but because of the opposite side of the road. It was tricky trying to walk across the street, much less drive on them. We did not get a room with an ocean view. If we were to do it again, we would rent a condo but go to Fosters to stock up with food and eat some meals in the condo to offset the cost. From the beach the Casa Caribe and Villas of the Galleon looked very nice. Close This Window
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Date last updated: 24th May 2004