My most recent adventure was a trip with my family to the BEAUTIFUL Grand Cayman. Instead of going for a typical hotel stay, I opted for a VRBO rental right on the beach and away from the crowds. This may be one of the best decisions I have ever made ;) While I love the convenience of room service, amenities, and house keeping, I wanted something a little more low key and convenient. (Having a private beach all to ourselves wasn't bad either!) While I probably could stay in this paradise forever, 3 1/2 days, and 4 nights was the perfect amount of time to see everything, and have time to relax.
The moment I stepped off the plane I could smell the salt water air and was immediately comforted by the ocean breeze. We arrived to this marvelous place on Thursday around 3pm. Getting out of the airport and through customs was easy breezy. (There were 6 of us, and no checked bags. #goteam) The car rental spot is about a two minute walk from the airport, and super easy. The price for a 5 day rental, that fit 6 people, was around $120, which in my opinion is a steal! Just make sure your driver is comfortable learning to drive on the left ;) Our condo was about a 10 minute drive from the airport, and not too hard to find. We were greeted by one of the owners who showed us around, and gave us some great suggestions on where to go and what to see. The condo was equipped with all the essentials, and we could not have been closer to the gorgeous beach. (Want to stay HERE?)
After settling in, hanger was beginning to settle as well. After a quick search on trip advisor, we made our way to Calypso Grill. This was perfect! They had delicious drinks and food, along with the perfect ambiance! While we waited for a table ( We did not have a reservation, but I highly suggest trying to get one so you can sit outside by the ocean) we parked ourselves at the bar, where we were greeted by a very friendly bartender. She made us ladies some delicious rum beverages, and recommended the local beers for the gentleman. She also made us aware that it was Pirates week, (more details on that later) and filled us in on some great local spots to check out.
Everything was delightful! All six of us were very pleased with our meals, and although we were really full, the waitress somehow managed to convince us to try the island famous “Sticky Toffee Pudding.” (It's was vacation after all!)
DAY 1 - Friday
I woke up bright and early to make some breakfast and go on a Stingray adventure... However, I actually booked it for Saturday... not Friday. ( #oops) After finishing our practice run for the next morning, we decided to make some mimosas, and snorkel right outside of our rental.
(Side note: The polaroid cube with it's waterproof case is awesome! We got the cube as a wedding gift from Zola, and the Waterproof case from Amazon)
After checking out our local fish friends, we decided to take a drive to the other side of the island, and visit Rum Point. It was about a 50 minute drive, without much traffic at all. :) We sipped on drinks by the ocean before heading back to explore more.
On our way back from Rum Point we stopped at Over the Edge to try the fried bread we had heard about from our friendly bartender. This was a great place to stop for some apps, drinks, and more incredible ocean views. The bread did not disappoint either ;)
After we were done "snacking," we made our way back to the condo, but not before stopping at "Lover's Wall'" to snap a photo. ( Not touristy or cheese at all..... #IDONTCAREILOVEIT )
We ended the day watching the sunset, followed by steaks on the grill (another pro to vrbo) with creamy mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. The blender got quite a work out in with the amount of strawberry daiquiris and piña coladas we mixed up!
DAY 2 - Saturday
Waking up early to make breakfast was welcomed when I was greeted by this incredible view !
After some avocado toast with eggs and bacon, we were out the door to set sail on The Moby Dick.
The first part of this adventure was snorkeling near a large coral reef. We geared up in our large goggles and floppy fins and dived (okay, maybe plopped) right in! I was instantly greeted by an array of different fish and coral (Don't touch!). 45 minutes in the water seemed to fly by when it was time to float on over to the much anticipated stingrays!
Not going to lie, I was a little nervous (okay, very nervous) about swimming with these large creatures in their natural habitat. Those nerves were instantly put to rest when I saw the other groups in the water, feeding, taking pictures, stealing kisses, and even getting massages by these funny looking creatures. I decided to go for it! I stuck that squid in my hand, and let these crazy creatures suck it right out. ( so weird... so cool!) I even held and kissed one! ( 7 years good luck... or so they tell me)
After some quick naps after the extraneous morning activities, we walked onto the beach, drinks in hand, and soaked up that Caribbean sun. Mid-afternoon snacks were made and then we were right back out into the salty sea. While some of the group continued to nap..(snooozefest) My sister and I decided to walk to cemetery beach. Unfortunately it seem like the sea life there was napping too, so we channeled our inner mermaids and swam around a bit. We may have also taken a break on a hammock we spotted.
Of course, no day spent on an island this enchanting is complete without watching the sun sink behind the clear, warm, water.
As I mentioned earlier, we happened to book our trip during pirates week. This is from what I hear, the Grand Cayman's largest celebration. The festivities include a mock pirate invasion, competitions, treasure hunts, and fireworks (which we were able to experience from our back yard!) So naturally, after the sun set, we decided to hit the town and check it out. People, and their pets, crowded the streets dressed as pirates, while dancing to music and eating from the local food stands. While this seemed like a grand time for the locals and vacationerrrrrrrs ( get it? pirates?! rrrrr? ) looking for a great party, it was a little overwhelming for the relaxed vibes we had going. (I guess that was me accepting I'm not 21 anymore #sosad) We decided to grab a quick bit to eat (and drink) and head back to the condo. The blender got quite a work out in with the amount of strawberry daiquiris and piña coladas we mixed up!
Day 3- Sunday
While the clouds hung over our heads because we knew this was our last full day, the sun continued to shine outside. What is one to do when you realize your last day in paradise is quickly coming to an end? Well .. grab a mimosa, goggles, and a float, and head outside of course!
After some fun in the sun, we decide we wanted to check out Smith's Cove. We had researched and read great things about the views and snorkeling and figured since it was our last full day we better get over there! What we didn't realize is Sunday is the one day a week most locals have off, ( How dare they!) and Smith's Cove is where everyone seems to go. Needless to say, it was pretty crowded with picnics and parties, and the sea life had no interest in attending. We beat ourselves up a bit for not going on Friday or Saturday, but hey .. you live you learn.
Here's another "fun" fact, grocery and liquor stores are also closed on Sundays. If you find your self in a pickle, you can buy some groceries at the local gas stations. You can also grab some alcohol at Anchor's Store (part of the Cayman Yacht Club), but only after 1pm. (Hey, It's 5 o'clock somewhere)
After our little excursion, we decided to head back and lay out on our own private beach, away from the crowds. We relaxed, floated around, and watched the sunset before it was time for our "last supper."
For our last dinner on the Island, we went to a delicious Italian restaurant, LUCA. Fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and Beef carpaccio?! I mean... we couldn't go wrong here! Everything was exceptional, and it was the perfect meal to send us off. ( I'm drooling on my keyboard right now.)
Day 4 - Goodbye Grand Cayman! We sure will miss you!
Sadly it was time to pack up our things, but not before laying out and swimming a bit more. I guess you could say we were in denial.....
Until next time .............