Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Traveling to islands, near and far... big and small, has sort of become my thing. Typically, not too much changes over time... especially in the Caribbean. Time moves slowly. It keeps the island authentic to its origins and you can feel a wave of nostalgia once you return.
However, change can be a good thing... especially for island locals that depend on economic growth, and visitors that want a brand new experience at a luxurious resort. I had no idea just how true that could be as I stepped off the plane at Owen Roberts International Airport.
Grand Cayman has had plenty of changes since my last trip, three (short) years ago. The Kimpton Seafire on Seven Mile Beach was newly established on my previous visit, which I ended up frequenting (almost every evening) because of their charming beach bar, Coccoloba...and ever since, I have dreamed of returning to stay there in all of its luxurious island splendor. Thus, I would spend my first few days in paradise at the Seafire. Then, make my way down Seven Mile Beach to the unwavering retreat at The Westin.
Why I Love Going
Easy flight. There are some direct flights depending on when and where you're traveling from. It takes less than 5 hours flight time to get there from Minneapolis and there's only a one hour time difference.
It's safe. There's very little criminal activity and the locals are very friendly.
Beautiful weather, beaches and water. There's a reason Grand Cayman has such a high tourist rate. Actually, there's lots of reasons. But, the weather is spectacular, the beaches are pristine and the water is crystal clear.
Where to Stay
...There are several new resorts being built, so watch out for some more lavish getaways.
What to Do
Walk Seven Mile Beach. It's actually not quite seven miles, but it's still a great way to get your steps in. Stop along the way for a cocktail at a beach bar! Some favorites: Coccoloba at the Kimpton, Bar Jack at the Ritz, Tortuga Beach Bar at the Westin. If you're feeling adventurous, take flight on one of the beach's many parasails.
Bike to Conch Point. The Kimpton has (the cutest) bikes for its guests to take out and explore the island! A great route is from the resort to Conch Point (at the West End) ...where you can stop to have lunch along the water at the Cracked Conch or their fabulous tiki bar, Macabuca. Crack a Corona and watch the snorkelers swim by.
Take a ferry to Rum Point. There is a ferry boat that runs out of Camana Bay and heads over to Kaibo Yacht Club almost every day (seasonal). Once you're on Rum Point you can check out the starfish and have mudslides at the very bar they were first created back in the 70's: The Wreck.
Swim with the stingrays & snorkel. This is my favorite thing to do on Grand Cayman! And you must go with Red Sail Sports, they are the very best. The snorkeling is premium; want to feel like you're in an actual fish tank? PS- Watch out for the...rum punch, it's extra tasty after a long day in the water.
Shop in George Town. Fine jewelry stores are sprinkled all throughout Grand Cayman's capital. In addition to duty-free pricing, there is no sales tax in Grand Cayman...making it one of the best places to purchase that watch or bracelet you've had your eye on.
Where to Eat & Drink
Ave. Perched right off the front of Kimpton Seafire with sweeping ocean views; once you are seated for dinner, you'll end up staying for the ambiance (and good company). Order some fresh fish ceviche and...more fresh seafood. In the mood for something smaller? Located inside is Avecita serving up tapas and wood-fired pizzas. And if you don't feel like taking your salty sandals off, stick around the beach at the Kimpton's Coccoloba bar and Mexican street food restaurant...make sure to order their ceviche and out-of-this-world piña colada.
Brasserie. Not your typical island restaurant... especially if you're used to dining around 7 Mile Beach. This "locals" spot is hidden right in George Town. As soon as you walk in the door, you will begin your grand experience, starting with heartwarming service. The dimly lit dining room is filled with dark mahogany furniture and Bob Marley tunes. Brasserie is not only farm-to-table (their immaculate garden rests right behind the kitchen) but they also have their own fishing boats, bakery, honey bees, and coconut farm. Yep, that's about as real as it gets. *MUST TRY!*
Morgan's. No wonder I found myself here for dinner, it's on the waterfront... right next to the Yacht Club. Off the beaten path, many locals enjoy dining here because of their extremely fresh seafood. I had the best tuna hamachi of my life, dining by candlelight on the water. What more could a girl ask for?
Things Left On My Bucketlist
Drink a mudslide on Rum Point
Snorkel Starfish Point
Go golfing (there's a couple courses, the one at the Ritz looks fantastic).
Take a bioluminescent tour at night.
Until next time, travelers... Have fun and be safe!
XOXO Golden Girl