We spent a week in Grand Cayman from June 8-15. It was our first trip and I was
well prepared thanks to this website!
We flew in on US Air. Smooth flights with no problems. I did have just a moment
of panic in our home airport when I was asked for our passports or birth
certificates. We were using birth certificates and when she asked she said
"State issued only not hospital issued" I had a moment of fear wondering if
mine were! Be sure if you are using birth certificates that they have a raised state seal!
We rented a small four door Nissan from McCurley's Rentals. Mr. McCurley
picked up my family of 5 and another couple at the airport to transport us to
our accommodations where our car was waiting. Our first stop was a grocery
store. It was packed, we had trouble even finding a parking space. Mr. McCurley
told us we had 15 min to be back at the van. The other couple said "we may be
in line 15 min." He replied "find another line you have 14 min" He did NOT
seem to be joking. The other couple were not getting their rental car for
several days so they needed food! We rushed through the store like crazy
people and it was a very unpleasant way to begin vacation! We did not give
him a tip.. so on the return trip.. he watched my husband load and unload
every bit of our luggage! Thankfully his was the only rudeness we encountered
the whole week!
Sea Cliff Resort:
We stayed at the Sea Cliff Resort Teal House. The Teal House exceeded my
high expectations. It was spotless, very nicely decorated, well appointed. We
had a two bedroom plus sleeping loft. A technically shared pool was two steps
out our door, but we had it to ourselves the whole week. The whole complex is
just so pretty we loved pulling into it and knowing it was our home away from
home for the week. A good snorkel beach where I saw the biggest sea star of my
life was a one minute walk away. Please feel free to email me for more details
of Sea Cliff.
In hindsight I wish we would have exchanged our spending money on arrival. We
would have went "GULP" one time instead of every time we paid for something!
We were traveling on a budget. The smartest thing I did was pack an ice chest
full of chips, cookies crackers and other breakables and a duffel bag full of
much more food.. we supplemented this with fresh food from the grocery and were
set for the week at a minimal cost. We used the cooler every day on the beach
with sandwiches etc. The kids were happy to have their favorite foods
available and I was happy not to be spending CI$6.69 for a large bag of Doritoes!!
We did eat out at the Hard Rock Cafe. Typical but good. Watch for the automatic
15% on the bill.
A little stand with picnic tables downtown. Good and cheap food.
The breakfast buffet at the Marriott Courtyard. Great buffet and made to order
omelets at $9.00 per person. We thought we were seeing the price wrong.. great value and food.
The Cracked Conch. We were a little disappointed in this one, the food was good
but no free drink refills and the glasses were tiny. We spent almost as much
on soft drinks as dinner and the service was lacking with the automatic 15%! We
felt as if they were trying to get every dollar they could out of tourists.
We enjoyed this and it was a good way for the kids to get a little island
history. They have a nice movie with effects that kept them entertained while
learning and a great guide that was friendly and informative.
We visited the new Lutheran congregation that meets in the Courtyard Marriott.
It was a wonderful way to begin our day with friendly people. We were very
thankful to be in GC!
We had a family photo session with Lucy Best Photography. Lucy was great to
work with and we are looking forward to receiving our photos in the mail soon.
Email me for more details if interested.
Stingray Sandbar trip:
We went with Soto's on an afternoon trip when there were NO cruise ships in town.
There were still approx 10 boats on the sandbar! I can't imagine what crowded
is like out there! The trip was enjoyable. The boat nothing fancy and the crew
seemed a little bored, who can blame them twice day?? But it was fine and a
good value. If you on a budget do not hesitate to book them, if not? I think
I would try someone else. The snorkeling and stingrays were of course excellent.
This is what we came to GC for! When we arrived on Tuesday it was partly
cloudy and stayed that way until Friday when it RAINED most of the day.
Needless to say we were not expecting that but the main problem was the waves.
The ocean was so rough on those days that we had trouble snorkeling at all. We
found ourselves driving around the island looking for spots that were calm.
This was completely unexpected. In our Oklahoma ignorance about these issues
we thought you could always just walk right in to a calm sea. (We still do not
know what was going on with that water! was it the weather??) Thankfully as
the days progressed the waves calmed down and by the end of our week we had
snorkeled all of the usual places that you read about. The snorkeling once
those waves were gone was excellent and all I had hoped for! We saw all kinds
of amazing sea life! One other thing I wish I would have known.. if you are
planning on snorkeling on 7 Mile Beach to see anything you will have to go out
of the protected swim areas. This puts you IN the wave runner areas. That was
totally unacceptable for me so that limited the snorkeling there greatly.
Overall impression of GC:
We were not prepared for the ocean conditions which had us greatly concerned
at the first of the week not knowing if things would change. Everything is
expensive but we were completely prepared for that and combated that beautifully.
I knew that the island was Americanized but did not expect things to be built
so closely together not only in George Town but throughout the island. But the
pluses much outweighed the negatives! The island is beautiful, clean and safe.
We explored every inch and always felt completely comfortable. It was
different enough with the money, driving etc for our kids to feel like we were
far from home but not out of our comfort zone. It was a wonderful first
Caribbean experience for our kids and a great family vacation!!