Time to Kill….on Grand Cayman Island
If someone ever invites you to come along while they're on business in the Cayman Islands, even if it's only for three days and requires you to fly diagonally from one end of the continent to the other; you have to move your schedule around, cancel plans, board your dog and you don't have time for a pedicure - do it.
The Cayman Islands are a British territory comprised of three islands, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. They are located in the western Caribbean sea, to the south of Cuba. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit. And after the experience I had, I am sure to return.
While it is not an especially cultural place and full of mostly tourists and banker types who live there, if you are in search of something easy, family friendly, beautiful with fantastic weather, Grand Cayman will not disappoint.
The newly renovated Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is the nicest I’ve seen from this worldwide chain. Staff are friendly, the amenities are vast and the coffee bar and breakfast buffet will impress the harshest critic (me). And the bartender even knows how to make a proper martini (a shockingly rare occurrence). The property is designed with a modern beach house aesthetic – lots of white and wood – and is suitable whether you’re looking for a family vacation, a romantic getaway or you’re traveling solo.
The Marriott has crowd pleasing options for casual dining (especially Sunday brunch). For excellent seafood head to Catch Restaurant and Lounge. I’ve learned that wherever you are dining, but especially when on a small island with limited imports, it is wise to order the catch of the day or to inquire about what is freshest. I’d never even heard of the white fish that had just come in, but it tasted like a cross between mahi mahi and halibut and it was divine. This local gem is on the water, has a large patio and a relaxed Caribbean vibe. Plus the prices are good.
If you’re feeling rich, head over to The Ritz Carlton for dinner at Blue. If you’re a foodie and don’t mind paying for it along with extraordinary service this will be a highlight of your trip.
My number one fear of death is being eaten alive by an underwater animal. So agreeing to check out Stingray City wasn’t an easy one – after all, The Crocodile Hunter died when a giant stingray plunged its jagged tail through his heart! But there I was, standing and swimming amongst them. I even held one. And brushed my arm against that death tail! It turns out stingrays are docile creatures and the females are particularly friendly, even flirty. (A kiss from a stingray is said to bring seven years of good luck). If you go – and you really should – don’t miss the chance to feed them. (The suction rivals that of a Dyson.)
Wherever you’re staying, but sure to take a walk along Seven Mile Beach. The soft white sand and unbelievably blue, clear water makes you want to walk forever (which I basically did). It’s up there with the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen. Also, given the island is only 35 kilometres (22 miles) long and at its widest is only 13 kilometres (8 miles) across, a bike is the perfect way to get around and explore. Lots of hotels have them available to rent or borrow.
Georgetown is the capital of the Cayman Islands and a reminder that this is a world famous off shore banking centre, with almost 500 banks and trust companies present. It’s worth taking a stroll through downtown just to get a sense of that.
And now that I think about it, Grand Cayman is also the perfect place to do a whole lot of nothing. I can’t wait to go back and do just that.