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Grand Cayman - Tips and What to Expect

semi-overcast 82 °F

Customs: When you land in Grand Cayman you will have to go through customs. Hopefully it will only be your plane arriving when you land. We had 3 planes all arriving the same time and had to wait 30 min. before we got through. Not a great way to start your vacation.

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Car rental: We rented through Avis and picked up the jeep right at the airport. Its about a 2 min. walk from the airport (if that). If you plan on
renting a car, be sure to request a car with the driver’s wheel on the left (not the right).

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Driving: Drive on the left side, and yield to your right. One thing we learned, if you are at a stop light and need to make a right, when the light turns green, turn right using the “turn lane” and then merge into the left lane. We didn’t realize that cars can still come through and almost had an accident!

Stingray City: This is a must do! If your kids (or yourself) are a bit hesitant, you can always stay on the boat. The boat will take you out to a sandbar where the stingrays are. (Its about a 45 - 50 min. sail out) There, you will be given a snorkel mask and the captain of the boat will explain the stingrays, etc. It is a bit alarming at first - they are very tame and are used to people. You will get into the water and they will brush up against you. My husband had no problems and held 3 of them! After the stingray stop we then went to the reef for snorkeling. Normally I would have snorkeled, but the sun was in and it was dark (I don’t like snorkeling if the sun isn’t out). Then you head back. We were told by the Captain that we were more then welcome to bring a soft-sided cooler with a few beers, so we had a couple on the return. Otherwise they will provide you with soda, water, etc.

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We went with Captain Dexter and it was a catamaran (which is always a more steady boat to sail on) and booked ahead of time:
www.dexters-fantaseatours.com

Kaibo Beach BBQ and Water/Taxi: Every Tuesday there is an all you can eat BBQ and live entertainment. For an additional $20 per person, you can use a water taxi. They will pick you up at the Safe Haven Dock, which is located about 5-7 min. from the Marriot. The entertainment was fun, but the food was just okay. Unless you really want to see a live “island” band, I wouldn’t waste the money. www.kaibo.ky/events/beach-bbq (if you do go, bring bug spray!)

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Red Sail Sports FREE Catamaran Sail to Rum Point: This is a must do! You can drive to Rum Point while you are staying there and spend the entire day. Its a bit of a hike and we never did it, but the snorkeling is supposed to be very good. Red Sail Sports operates this sail. You basically go to the same place as before (The Safe Haven Dock) and they will take you to Rum Point. The sail itself is free, but there is a cash bar. The sail is about an hour each way. Then you walk to the Rum Point Club restaurant for dinner (ala carte). The dinner is a bit pricey but VERY good. I had the lobster and my husband had the surf and turf. Red Sail Sports operates right at the Westin (where we were staying) but you can always book ahead of time which I did:
www.redsailcayman.com/modules/resqwest/display_activity_details/2384

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Georgetown: If you want to do some shopping, this is the place to do it. Located about 10 min. from the Westin (a little closer from the Marriot). Here you will find a lot of duty free shops, Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, etc. The Caymans are know for their Rum Cake and Tortuga Rum. If you do plan on going, be sure to check the cruise ship schedule. If there are more then 2 ships in, it may get crowded for walking and harder to find a parking spot. (There is a place to park behind the Bay Shore Mall - just before the Hard Rock Cafe). The parking is free if you buy something from the mall and get your ticket stamped. www.caymanport.com/shipschedules.php

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Hell: This is an easy drive (just to left onto West Bay Road when you leave the Marriot). You head towards the side of the island “West Bay”. The town itself isn’t much. Basically there is a post office and an area of odd coral formations which gave the name “Hell”. Its good for photos though.

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Breakfast: We knew that eating at the Westin would be very $$$ so I heard of a place that is right across from the Marriot called Cimboco’s.
VERY good breakfast. We ate here almost everyday: www.caymangoodtaste.com/restaurants_menu.asp?restaurantID=18&menu_headingID=221

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Dinner: Generally when we travel, we tend to eat a good breakfast, skip lunch and have a good dinner. Below are the list of restaurants we did eat at and recommend everyone. I also emailed each restaurant ahead of time for reservations (except for the Sunshine Grill):

Sunshine Grill: Very reasonable and great fish tacos! The restaurant is located across from the Westin. You will see the Sunshine Suites sign. You walk/drive down the road and the restaurant is located on the premises near the pool area.
www.sunshinesuites.com/grill

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The Cracked Conch: $$$$ but the food is very good. The outside area is beautiful. Next door is a tiki bar that serves light fare as well.
www.caymanactivityguide.com/CrackedConch.htm

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The Reef Grill: This is also a very good restaurant. If you do eat here, request to sit upstairs. Like the previous restaurant, there is a bar/casual restaurant below. The view of the ocean is beautiful: www.reefgrill.com/pages/reefintro.html

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Calypso Grill: We saved this restaurant for our last night. This place supposedly has the best seafood on the island. Everything we ordered was excellent. I would also request to sit outside by the water: www.calypsogrillcayman.com

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Seven Mile Beach: Just beautiful! We used our soft-sided cooler when we went to the beach. We would fill it up with bottled water and ice before
heading to the beach. The sun is HOT and you will need it. Be sure to wear at least 30 spf for the first few days - the sun is very strong!

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Exchange Rate: As of now it is $1.00US to $.80CI. When you go out to eat, shop, all prices are listed in Cayman (CI). So a $5 beer is really $6.25.
No need to exchange money. Restaurants will give you your bill with both prices listed on it. Just be careful, because some places will charge 15%
service charge so you do not have to tip, etc. You will though (besides some stores in Georgetown), will get back change in Cayman.
Be sure to use it up before you leave! I only came back with a few coins.

Cell Phone: In the morning, the day your are leaving, you will have to Dial *228 (if you have Verizon) and select Option 2. Your phone will then be set up for international. However, if you do call or someone calls you, it is $2 a min and $.50 to text. Also be sure to leave your phone off while you are not using it because you will be charged for “Roaming”. When you are calling back to the states, its just like here - just be sure to dial “1” before the area code and number.

Departing: We were told to be at the airport 3 hours ahead of time. Our flight was at 1:40pm and we were at the airport by 11:00am and had more then enough time. Plus our flight was delayed to 3:00pm! It is a small airport, but there is a place to eat and several duty free shops to get liquor, cigars, etc. Once you land back in Newark (or wherever you are flying back to) you will have to go through customs again. If your flight is a connecting flight (not direct), anything you buy at the airport (liquor, hot sauce, etc.) you will have to put in your checked luggage before you go on to your connecting flight.

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Posted by susannj 05:27 Archived in Cayman Islands Tagged cayman grand

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Comments

nic post!

by Harvey Smith

gd post!!

by Harvey Smith

I love Cayman since my childhood, father would take us there mostly every year but for last few years I have not gone there. Still that’s in my memory the stunning beauty of beaches, clear blue water, looking for fishes and snorkeling. Amazing! My father always believes that Cayman bars are the world’s most wonderful bars. For more information you can visit http://www.yabsta.ky/searchresults/1/bars

by Harvey Smith

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