When I took a break from here I did not mention where we went nor did I say where we were when I posted a few things with some hints about the location (although one of you Googled it out, you know who you are! LOL) We went to Grand Cayman, a place we had gone to once before when we were first “serious” about each other. It isn’t that too long of a trip to get from the upper Midwest here to there. Leave here, 2.5 hour flight with a couple hours layover if that much in Miami, and then a bit over an hour to the island.
Upon landing you walk off the plane, across the tarmac, and right into customs; quite simple. From there you go to the transport stand to hire a taxi (unless you had previously arranged transportation) to take you to where you will ultimately be staying. As before, we opted to rent a condo for our time there instead of a hotel (and I will be posting about that later). It offered more privacy, more room, and a kitchen to die for. When I grow up I want a kitchen like that! With this living arrangement we could opt to eat out or walk to the grocery store to get some supplies and eat in, which we did do a few times.
The condo was on the famous Seven Mile Beach (I heard someone say it was actually just over 5 miles) with our unit being on the ground floor. That meant out the door, across the patio, a few steps over some grass and right onto the beach. You have no idea how much I miss the beach. The island is pretty much flat and tropical with a bit of swampy area smack in the middle. Typically their are no problems with insects – particularly the dreaded vacation killing mosquitoe – as they have a very good insect eradication program, but when it is rainy insects tend to crop up more. On our first trip here we never had a single bug problem (other than those tiny ants that can slip in) but this time as it had been rainy and continued to rain more than usual, there were a few things to swat at occasionally. I only got bit once but that was in the jungle of the botanical garden (more on it later too) nothing even at night along the beach.
Most of what to do here involves the water, of course. Swim, snorkel, dive, go fishing, jet ski, buy fish from fisherman right off their boats…things like that along with the usual bits of shopping. Just don’t try to get in shopping when the cruise ships are in – a madhouse. There is also the Turtle Farm, Stingray City, the brewery tour, Tortuga Rum tour (good rum cake, good!), the Mastic Trail, Rum Point and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Garden. We’d been to the turtle farm before, opted to go fishing instead of stingrays, missed the beer, did the rum before, and made it to the botanical gardens. One day we rented a car and went almost completely around the island without getting lost or hitting any animals seeing more of the less touristy bits – all while on the left hand side of the road. I am very thankful DH knew how to drive this way but I had to control myself from laughing every time he meant to hit the turn signal and instead would turn on the wipers. Other than the roundabouts to get you a bit tangled up, there aren’t too many roads and one main one that goes around the entire island and another that will let you cut right through the middle.
As this is a British overseas territory everyone speaks English…but often with an accent. There was the Cayman lilt, Spanish, Jamaican, English, Irish and Australian accents all over. I was good with every accent but the Jamaican one. You don’t want to know what happened with trying to order Jerk chicken delivered! It is a very safe island and the people are helpful and friendly (except for you, bus driver, who splashed us that day we were trying to make it back to the condo in a down pour. A pox on you!!) It is a tad bit expensive as the exchange rate does not favor the dollar and confusing sometimes because they list prices in CI and then when you get your bill it will list two totals – CI and the higher $ total. When you buy with the dollar you get Cayman change back. Which is OK for souvenirs or using later such as when you take the bus. The buses – actually mini vans – are funny (and pretty cheap) as you can either wait at a stop or just wave one down, tell them where you want to go, and get dropped off there.
The best part of visiting here for me is being back to where my spirit gets renewed – the beach and the ocean with that beautiful clear turquoise water. Every day there we were in the ocean even if it was just to bob around, accompanied by this one fish that always showed up to swim around our ankles (we named him George). And the sunsets at night along with all of the beautiful tropical flowers – priceless!