Seadoos on 7 Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
GRAND CAYMAN ACCOMMODATIONS
There are endless options for top-notch resorts and hotels on Grand Cayman. We used our vacation membership points to stay at the Morritts Tortuga Club, located on the quiet, east end of the island. Morritts provides fully-equipped suites for a comfy week-long stay. There are three large pools, two with swim-up cocktail bars, a hot-tub, a jacuzzi, and a spa, two restaurants and bars offering excellent ocean views and island food delights, and a variety of watersports activities. One could simply stay at the resort enjoying a full week of island fun and activities. But we weren't here for just relaxation at the resort. We had places to go and things to do in Grand Cayman.
Morritts Resort/Cayman Tourism/Don McDougall
Sunrise at Morritts
Where do we begin here? There is simply so much to do here. Since we're beach-lovers and snorkeling enthusiasts, our top priority was finding the prettiest beaches with the best snorkeling. Grand Cayman certainly delivered on both.
The famous 7-Mile beach was a must, of course, with its endless strand of sugar-white sandy beaches, gentle waves, brilliant turquoise water, with lots of watersports activities, and plenty of people, mainly near the resorts. You can walk along the beach for almost 5.5 miles and admire the dozens of resorts along the way, or pull up to a bar for a cocktail or stop at one of the many excellent restaurants for a drink or a meal.
We didn't do any snorkeling here, but decided to relax under an umbrella at a picnic table and admire the sublime scenery while we cooled off from the broiling heat with Caybrews at Calico Jacks located about midway along Seven Mile Beach. The waves on this beach simply don't exist. It's like a big swimming pool of bathwater-warm water.
Calico Jacks, 7 Mile Beach
Calico Jack's Captain Morgan
Spotts Beach was another beautiful expansive beach, located on the southern end of the island. It's a natural, unspoiled beach lined with palm trees, and is a wonderful area to swim with sea turtles. Spotts is the spot for swimming with the turtles, although you have to go early in the morning to see them. We spotted a couple, but we were a little too late.
Spotts Beach, Grand Cayman
Spotts Beach and Dock, Grand Cayman
Smith Cove, located on the South Sound, was our favorite beach on the island. It has it all with a gently sloping sandy beach entry, great snorkeling in a protected cove, picnic tables, shade trees, facilities, and stunning scenery.
Smith's Cove, Grand Cayman
Beach at Smith's Cove
A frequent visitor to the island whom we asked about the best snorkeling locations said that there were two areas that are overlooked by the cruise ship visitors and tourists - Eden Rock and Cheeseburger Point. We checked out Eden Rock and found that it was just like he said - like being on another planet for snorkeling. The entry is right off a dock at a dive shop along the harbor in George Town. It's not a beach, just a very HOT concrete dock with a ladder. The water is deep from the moment you get in, but paddle your way out to Devil's Point and you will experience some of the most fantastic snorkeling imaginable. There were hordes of fish everywhere along the coral reef about 50 feet from shore. Hardly anyone was there. It was magical, but you must feel comfortable in deep water to enjoy it. It's well worth the experience.
We did not have time for Cheeseburger Point, which is another snorkeling location highly recommended and located across from the Burger King (hence the name) in George Town.
Rum Point is a must-do as well, located on the north coast of Grand Cayman and known for its powdery white sand beaches and clear blue water. Twice we visited this area and stopped by the Wreck Bar and Grill and had a mudslide cocktail, supposedly invented here, while enjoying the views and being entertained by our sassy server, who pointed over to Seven Mile Beach and said that was Cay-America, and the Rum Point side of the island was Cay-Man.
Pier at Rum Point, Grand Cayman
DIVING IN THE CAYMANS
If you're a scuba diver, then the Cayman Islands is the place to be for some of the best diving in the world. There are plenty of dive shops all around the Cayman Islands so finding a good dive shop wasn't a problem. We dove with Ocean Frontiers Dive Shop who took us to two of the most amazing dive sites among the 365 dives sites on Grand Cayman. We dove at High Rock and Fantasea Land, both incredibly amazing dive sites where schools of fish are everywhere and you can maneuver through stunning coral tunnels.
There are underwater mountains covered with colorful coral and a huge variety of marine life around Grand Cayman. It was the most spectacular diving we had ever done. The water clarity, color and brilliant sea life and coral was beyond compare.
Scuba Diving/Cayman Tourism/Deep Blue
Coral Tunnels, Fantasea Land, Grand Cayman
An absolute must while visiting Grand Cayman is Stingray City. There are numerous companies that offer several variations on ways to visit Stingray City, which is the #1 thing to do in Grand Cayman and we now know why. It's an experience unlike anything else. Stingrays swim right up to you and brush against you. They'll happily suck some squid right out of your hand if offered to them. Definitely bring your mask and snorkel with you into water so you can dip under the surface and see these graceful animals gliding through the water. The water is about waist deep so you can simply stand there and watch them swimming by. All perfectly safe and so much fun. Our Stingray City Best Grand Cayman Excursion video will show you what it's really like.
Stingray City, Grand Cayman
Starfish Point, located near Rum Point, is also worth a look and can be included in a Stingray City tour. Starfish congregate near the quiet sandy beach at the point. You can pick them up for a closer look, but do not take them out of the water.
Starfish Point, Grand Cayman
Besides the diving and snorkeling, we did the ECO Rides Cayman Sunrise 12-mile Bike Tour of the East End of Grand Cayman. Nothing like getting up early for an exhilarating bike ride that takes you along the upper east side of the island with frequent stops along the way to see the hidden Family Cave, the historic Lighthouse Point, Blue Rock, Blowholes, the Wreck of the Ten Sails, the Colliers Wilderness - Blue Iguana Reserve, Colliers Beach and Colliers Pond Bird Sanctuary. This 3-hour tour provided a good sampling of the culture, history, and beautiful nature of this part of the island. All equipment is included so we just showed up with comfortable clothes and a camera. Water and a snack is provided along the way. The tour guide, a native of the island, was very knowledgeable, patient and a lot of fun.
Blow Holes in East End
Colliers Public Beach Entrance, Grand Cayman
If diving in the Caymans has caught your eye, then you might want to check out this shark dive video that we love.
Who knows where to begin with restaurants as there are countless ones to enjoy on the Cayman Islands. But since we stayed on the east end of Grand Cayman, we decided on a few highly recommended places near the Morritts. Although we intended to prepare our own meals most of the trip, it didn't turn out that way.
We tried the much raved about Tukka Restaurant, which offered an interesting Australian with a Caribbean twist cuisine. It had awesome ocean views, but being that it was September, there was kind of a lackluster atmosphere and quite possibly the head chef was on vacation as the food was so-so. But we imagine it's quite a lively place during the high season.
Their sister restaurant, Eagle Ray Dive Bar and Grill, had a little bit of everything food-wise to satisfy most tastes and in a casual beachside location on the East End. We had our first appetizer meal and Caybrews at this casual outdoor bar and grill.
Best restaurant on the north side was Over the Edge Cafe. The food was a gourmet blend of Caribbean and French and was delicious. From the cocktails and appetizers to the entree and dessert, everything was prepared to perfection. Read more about this excellent restaurant in our Tripadvisor review.
Over The Edge Cafe, North End, Grand Cayman
For a more casual and reasonably priced meal, try Big Tree BBQ, a family run establishment on the east end. If you're mouth is watering for some homemade Cayman flavored BBQ, this is the place to go. They offer a variety of BBQ'ed beef, chicken, pork and even turtle, with several side items included. It's perfect for take out or dining on one of their picnic tables on their front lawn. More details are in our Tripadvisor review.
If you visit the East End of Grand Cayman and you're looking for some better prices on souvenirs, local arts, crafts, and jewelry, then stop in at The Wreck View Art Gallery where you will find every kind of treasure you're looking for at reasonable prices.
The Wreck View Art Gallery, East End
Long overdue for us Caribbean island lovers, here's to our first trip to the Cayman Islands. We'd heard so much about it for years, so we found our "Caymankind" on this trip and plan to return someday because there was so much more to see - and definitely a lot more diving for us to do while there.
Grand Cayman island nearly took our heart away from French Polynesia, so if you like blue water, check our our 11-day cruise of the Tahitian islands with Windstar Cruises.