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Grand Cayman : Compiled info : beaches, transport, snorkling, interesting facts, etc


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While researching our upcoming cruise, I compiled these info from various threads from the boards. Thought they would be helpful for others.

Of all the island stops in Western Caribbean, Cayman is the best with beautiful beaches, lots of water activities, shopping and very nice locals. None of the hawking and pestering that goes on in the other ports. Discover the warm, crystal-clear waters and abundant underwater life in the coral reefs and sunken ships that surround the island. The major attraction for visitors continues to be the undersea world.


Grand Cayman was severely damaged by the Category 5 Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, which destroyed many buildings and damaged 70% of them. Power, water and communications were all disrupted. Ivan was the worst hurricane to hit the islands in 86 years. Grand Cayman had taken such a hit from the devastating 36-hour storm that cruise ships halted visits for more than two months. As of June, 2006 Grand Cayman has fully recovered since Ivan.


Government : The Cayman Islands, with George Town, as the capital, is a British Crown dependent territory, listed by the U.N. as one of the last non self governing territories. A Governor is appointed by the British government to represent the monarch, he can exercise complete executive authority. George Town is a British- and West Indian-style city.


The Cayman Islands have three official national symbols: the wild banana orchid, Cayman parrot, and silver thatch palm. Sir Turtle, whose swashbuckling mug you'll find just about everywhere in the Cayman Islands, was adopted as the country's unofficial symbol.


"Cayman" is derived from "caymanas," a Spanish-Carib word meaning crocodiles. Evidently, some "eager" crocodiles greeted early exploration parties led by Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake. For the next 300 or so years, Sunday crocodile shoots were a favorite pastime among the island's bourgeois residents.


Geography : The Cayman Islands, in the western Caribbean sea, consists of three main islands with a total area of approximately 100 square miles. Board a flight from of Miami and in just one hour you'll be in the Cayman Islands, situated about 480 miles (770 km) south of Miami, 150 miles (240 km) south of Cuba, and 180 miles (290 km) northwest of Jamaica. Grand Cayman is the biggest, with an area of 76 square miles (197 km²). The other two, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are located about 90 miles (145 km) east of Grand Cayman and have areas of 14 square miles (36 km²) and 10 square miles (25.9 km²) respectively.


The Cayman Islands are emergent peaks of the submarine Cayman Ridge, and were formed by living corals gradually capping the mountain peaks. All three islands were formed by large coral heads covering submerged ice age peaks and are mostly flat. One notable exception to this is The Bluff on Cayman Brac, which rises to 140 feet (42.6 m) above sea level, the highest point on the island. Cayman Brac, owes its name to the limestone brac, or ridge, that runs from the east to the west coast. The brac dominates the island's geography, sculpting deep crevices and caves into the landscape and serving as the nesting ground for myriad species of tropical birds.


Cayman avian fauna includes two endemic subspecies of Amazona parrots: Cayman Brac Parrot, native only to Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman Parrot, which is native only to Grand Cayman. Another notable fauna is the endangered Blue Iguana, which is native to Grand Cayman.


History - The Caymans were first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1503 during his disastrous fourth and final voyage to the New World. He discovered Little Cayman and Cayman Brac after a storm knocked his ship off course. The explorer named the two small islands “Las Tortugas” due to the large number of sea turtles his ship encountered in surrounding waters. Although the islands have been known as the Caymans since the 16th century, the name "Tortuga" lives on as one of the West Indies' most renowned brands of rum.


The first recorded English visitor to the islands was Sir Francis Drake, who landed there in 1586 and named them the Cayman Islands after the Neo-Taino nations term (caiman) for crocodile. In 1670 England took control from Spain, when the islands, along with nearby Jamaica, were captured. They were governed as a single colony with Jamaica until 1962 when the islands chose to remain a British Colony.and Jamaica became an independent commonwealth realm. The "Birth of Democracy" came about in 1831, when representatives from each island gathered at Pedro St. James Castle to decide what type of government the island would have. Four years later, the Caymanian legislature voted to emancipate all slaves on the island.


During the 18th century, the Cayman Islands developed a reputation as being a hideaway for pirates. Such fearsome figures as Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, Neal Walker, and Henry Morgan (whose name and rank appear in liquor stores all over the world) were reported to have occupied the island at one time or another. Today, many island tour companies include stops at the pirate caves near BoddenTown. The islands have a rich seafaring history, and tales of buccaneering feats have reached near mythical status.


Demographics : Cayman Islands Population : 58 000 ( 2006 ) , representing a mix of more than 100 nationalities. Out of that number, about half are of Caymanian descent. About 60% of the population is of mixed race, mostly African-European. The vast majority of the population resides on Grand Cayman. Cayman Brac has about 2,000 residents, and Little Cayman with around 200 permanent residents. The civil manners of the locals reflect their British heritage. The Caymans are somewhat upscale.


Economy : The economy used to be built around turtling. However, this industry began to disappear in the 20th century and tourism and financial services began to become the economic mainstays. The United States is the Islands' largest trading partner. With an average income of around $42,000, Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. The islands print their own currency, the Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD), is equivalent to US $1.25. American currency is generally accepted as are major credit cards.


The government's primary source of income is indirect taxation. An import duty of 20% is levied against goods imported into the islands. Few goods are exempt; eg include books, cameras & baby formula. Duty on automobiles is charged on a sliding scale with the duty reaching 40% for expensive models. The government charges a flat licensing fee to financial institutions that operate in the islands. A small fee is also charged to each tourist that arrives on the islands. With more than 500 banks, George Town, is the offshore banking center of the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands enjoy a tax-free status. Caymanians and Caymanian companies are not subject to any form of direct taxation. Legend says this status was granted by King George III of England in the late 1780s, in gratitude to the islanders for saving the crews of 10 merchant ships wrecked off the coast


The Cayman Islands is a world banking and business center, widely recognised to be one of the leading offshore financial centres, encompasses banking, mutual funds, captive insurance, vessel registration, companies and partnerships, trusts, structured finance and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.


Tourism : accounts for 70-75% of the annual GDP. Of the millions of tourists that visit the islands annually, 99% stay on Grand Cayman. George Town also serves as a major cruise ship port, which brings in 4,000 -22,000 tourists a day.


Grand Cayman's major tourist attraction is the world-famous SevenMileBeach, regarded by many as one of the best beaches in the world. Most of the island's hotels and resorts are located here. The Cayman Islands are also world famous as a Scuba Diving destination because of their crystal-clear waters and their proximity to the Cayman Wall,dive site. There are several snorkeling locations where tourists can swim with stingrays. Scuba diving is one of the Cayman Islands' main attractions, lots of dive and snorkeling operators.


Shopping : includes artifacts for making handcrafted jewelry, antiques, salvaged coins and old maps. Cardinal Avenue is the main shopping street. On it, you'll find Caymania Duty Free, one of the island's best-known duty free shops for perfumes, cosmetics and gemstones. Kirk Freeport is another terrific duty free choice, with Swiss watches, fine china and crystal. The JewelryCenter offers designer baubles. GalleriaPlaza (West Bay Road), lots of shops sell duty free.


There are several Tortuga rum cake stores near the pier --you can sample all the different flavors. Just be aware though, that if you plan on buying booze on the island, don't wait until the last minute. You cannot buy liquor and carry it with you---due to some local regulations, the store must transport the liquor to the ship. There is a cutoff time where they will no longer sell to cruise passengers--usually about 2 hours before sailing--some stores post the cutoff time. Shop early, when you first get off the ship. Gift shops selling rum cake near the tender piers, several of these offer samples. My favorite is still the golden original flavor of Tortuga Rum Cake


Grand Cayman is one of the busiest Caribbean cruise ship ports. All ships are required to anchor in the harbor ..the water surrounding the island is very shallow, and tender boats ferry people to shore 200 at a time to one of 3 docks (North or South), both of which are right in downtown. A new cruise pier is under construction. To avoid a long wait for a tender and to maximize your time in port you should plan to be at the gang way early.


Cayman is regarded as a world-class SCUBA diving destination. Wall, wreck, reef and the famous StingrayCity diving excursions are conducted daily by over 30 professional diving organizations. Sportfishing is also big and the annual Million Dollar Month tournament continues to gain popularity among international anglers. Other watersports include snorkelling, parasailing, board sailing, and skiing.


City Bus : bus looks like a large van along the main routes. The bus depot is next to the library - across from the Hero's Square Fountain. Walk about two blocks inland on Edward St.... You can grab a bus at the library... much cheaper than a cab. The buses are parked and waiting right next door... a short 5 minute walk from the dock. $2.50 US per person rather than $5 US or more for a cab.

To hail one, respond with a wave when the driver toots his horn. Sightseeing : one direction to Pedro St. James and in the other direction to Hell (and back). Any bus marked WB is bound for WestBay to 7 mile beach, and will drive right past your destination. Just tell the driver where you want to get off. The difference between the bus and the taxi: Taxis license plates are red numbers on a white background; the bus has white numbers on a blue background. Buses to/from 7MileBeach run every 15 minutes. The bus will stop where you ask it to; coming back to town; just cross the street from where you got off and flag the bus down. They will stop to pick you up. The fare is 1.50CI but we just gave the drive $2 US and he took it. We walked out to the main road and waited for a public bus with blue license plates. The ones to the beach have a yellow circle with #1 or #2 WB on the windshield. The fare was $5 for the 2 of us.


Daily service starts at 6 a.m. from the depot and the schedule is to :

WestBay beach areas - every 15 minutes, from 6 a.m.. Fare CI$1.50 each way.

BoddenTown - Every 30 minutes from 6 a.m . Fare CI$1.50 each way.


East End and North Side - Every hour, 6 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fare: CI$2 each way.

logos located on the front and rear of buses to identify routes: Route 1 (yellow) and Route 2 (lime green) cover George Town to WestBay; Route 3 (blue) provides service between the depot in George Town and BoddenTown.

Route 4 (purple) operates between the depot and East End. Route 5 (red) goes from the depot to East End and North Side. Route 6 (dark green) operates from North Side to WestBay. Route 7 (dark green with white numbers) is an inter-district service for George Town. Route 8 (orange) runs from the depot to Hutland in North Side. Licensed buses are identified by blue licence plates. each bus must display a fare table outlining standard government-authorized fares.


How crowded will it be? Six ships is a total disaster. I talked to a couple of people that said the town was a mob scene and they didn't stay long.


Taxis: cab fare from the pier to SevenMileBeach fare is $4 /pp around the Colony Beach Club section of SevenMileBeach. I like going a little bit further down to Sea Grape. The fare there is $4/pp. Taxi to all locations on SevenMileBeach : Royal Palms $4, Beach Club $4 PublicBeach $5 Sea Grape $5

Courtyard Marriott $6 CemeteryBeach $6 (Good snorkeling) Rates are fixed and posted, but be sure to confirm the fare before the driver takes off.


Beaches: 7 mile beach is located just north of George Town and actually closer to 5 miles long. All the beaches on the Cayman Islands are Public, no charge at all. Some of the hotels will either charge you to use their chairs and facilities or reserve them for guests only. You can take a public bus to the "PublicBeach" for $2.50 USD and the rest is free or you can take the bus or a taxi to one of the hotels that charges for their chairs and spend the day there. Most of the hotels have water sports available for a charge. Since 7 mile is a sand beach, do NOT expect any kind of decent snorkeling. Good snorkeling and sandy beaches are mutually exclusive. The southern part of the sandy stretch is the most heavily developed, saturated with condos, villas, restaurants, hotels, apartment buildings, a number of shopping centers, and fast-food dives. This is the most congested part of Grand Cayman. 2 chairs & umbrella were $21


PublicBeach is a section of the overall 7 mile beach. There is no hotel directly behind it, just some parking were a snack truck is often found. There are a couple of covered picnic tables.


We asked to be dropped off at CementaryBeach which is further out than Sea Grape or the Public beach. You will see them as the bus passes them. There is a cementary that has a public beach access path.


Our plan was to get dropped off at the far end and walk along the beach back towards the ship. We stopped to snorkel at various spots along the way. Some places had public restrooms. We ended up walking about 3 miles. It was fun and the beaches were beautiful. I was surprised at how empty the beaches were( 5 ships in port that day). The only time we saw any people at all was at the PublicBeach and SeaGrapeBeach, not crowded at all. We stopped several times and sat on some of the beach chairs in front of hotels for about 15 minutes or so. No one said anything, in fact most of the places appeared deserted.


The shore snorkeling was good but you really have to go out far, about 100-200 feet. The better spots are marked with bouys so it is easy to know where to go in. Saw lots of fish, some quite large. Uncomfortably large. After seeing a 4 foot barracuda I decided that was enough for the day. We got back on the main road at the next public beach access and caught another bus for $5 for the 2 of us that dropped us off near the tender port. Buses run every 15 minutes (or less) all along the main beach road. You can catch them at the marked bus stops or just wave at one as it approaches you. It was no problem at all.


Snorkel at Eden Rock Dive centre - to the right of the tender dock, within walking distance, a few hundred yards from the pier, its the second place you come to walking from the pier. ..about two blocks. 5 ships in port , it was not crowded at all...a good place to spend a couple of hours.... they do have a rental place, restaurant, bathrooms, picnic tables and a few loungers. There are steps going into the water we wore water shoes as they are slick... It's not a bad place to snorkel. It's not a good place for a beach though as most of it's rocky. The water is choppy too so this could be a bit intimdating if someone's a first timer. If you are going to Cozumel, Chanakaab would be a better option for snorkling and beach if you want both. One of the best diving sites for novices. The snorkeling is pretty good there. It is a fair swim to some of the nicer looking spots. I would not do it without a vest. Close in there is plenty of marine life to see though. When getting in the water I'd wear gloves or booties. There are LOTS of small sea urchens that have lots of spines. Nothing to scare you off, but something to be aware of. It was great lots of fish.... I would def. rent a vest so you fell more comfortable.....They rent them for $5.00. Nov 2006 We snorkeled at Eden Rock …had a fantastic time. The snorkeling was incredible. seas were very smooth, not much (if any) current, and the sun was out. Wow! I'm glad we choose to snorkel there as it was very convenient. We went to the Eden Rock dive center, rather than stopping at the Paradise restaurant - as Eden Rock seemed to have more space, had lockers available, and had a fresh water shower by the water. We rented fins there We have some cheap neoprene socks that help walking on rocky areas into the water a little, but have no sole, and also keep the full foot snorkeling fins from chafing our ankles & feet. The people at Eden Rock were very helpful and pointed out where the Eden Rock reef and the other different reefs were. We saw tons of fish, varied kinds, and some common ones (parrot fish and yellow snappers) that were larger than we've seen before. Also saw several large schools of fish. The people at the Eden Rock dive shop are very helpful and can inform you of what to be concerned about.Their are channel markers to keep boats out of the area. At some points the rocks are only a few feet below the surface. While there is good snorkeling all around the area, the actual Eden Rock reef was the best. It is a fair ways out, but not too far to snorkel out to, so you need to know where to go…. rent a locker …tey are all outside. We just left our towels and stuff sitting by a wall outside of the Eden Rock shop. Actually this time we rented fins from the shop and they kept our ship cards until we returned the fins.There were a few places to enter the water, we picked one that had a small beach and beach chairs. (Right next to a small bar/restaurant with a bathroom. Renting the chairs was not necessary as the area was not crowded but for $4 US you are guaranteed a chair. If you rent equipment, a beach chair is free. No charge to use the entrance. As soon as you put your face in the water there are fish everywhere. 4ft Tarpin to little Nemo and all his friends. If you venture away from the entrance, the water can get deep(45ft) but most of the area was 15-20ft. To top it off, shopping is right across the street. It is not like a nice beach area you snorkle off of. It is basically a town entry down a flight of steps into the water with the cruise ships as a backdrop. Eden Rock is just not a pretty place to snorkle, if you are thinking sandy beaches or a nice reef this is not it.


Cali shipwreck @ Hammerheads restaurant, is about as far to the left as you exit the pier as Eden Rock is to the right - about a five minute walk. The two are a good 10 minute walk from each other. …there is public access just past Hammerheads …a couple of blocks to your left from the tenders. it's never crowded … ate lunch at Hammerheads (recommended for fresh catch seafood lunch) Snorkling at Hammerheads backyard - you can enter the water via their ladder, …. the beach behind Divers Down was the easier entry. Some glass around, so watch your step. I asked a waitress at Hammerheads if she would put my stuff behind the bar and she was ok with that, I tipped extra for the service. The pieces did resemble a ship. Wreck is about 30 yards offshore. We did swim out there from shore - right behind Rackums Pub. There is no platform for resting. It's a little bit of a swim out there but once you get out there you can just float on the surface and look around.


Cemetary Beach - If you want to snorkel, the best places on Grand Cayman are at Cemetary Reef, about 15 minutes drive from the pier and about 3-4 miles north ... a bit too far to walk. Cemetery Reef is a very popular spot for both snorkeling and sun tanning with trees for shade. This beautiful location will offer the best of both worlds, a beach entrance and good snorkeling nearby. You get dropped off pretty much in the middle of a neighborhood and you walk down a sand path beside a cemetery. The beach is on the backside of the cemetery and pretty much deserted. It has a small marine park right off the beach.

Many cemeteries are on the beach in the islands. The one you are looking for is a large cemetery on SevenMileBeach as you are heading up into the district of West Bay. You will see the sign for beach access to walk to the beach. There is a path on the northern edge of the cemetery which is signposted for public access to the beach. Any minibus with the letters WB will go right past, as will all tours going to Hell or the Turtle Farm. saw some great fish some very large and some colorful (they feed them so they stick around) swim out and you will be rewarded by some nice coral and more fish...snorkeling is very nice there. We saw some large and colorful fish along with a baracuda. We brought cheese whiz …. The fish love it and come all around you. Just put a little in your fingers and rub it into the water. The snorkeling there is very good, but not really excellent. No services available. Be prepared to stay a couple of hours and then hail a taxi or minibus back toward town for lunch. walk in from the beach and you don't have to swim very far to get to the coral heads. dry cat food fed the fish. it offered awesome snorkeling, BUT, it was so shallow that i felt in most of the areas that the coral was actually touching my stomach. There is no place for food or refreshments It's never very crowded due to lack of ammenities.


There is a small grocery store about a 10 minute walk called Fosters Food Fair.. You can catch the bus back to George Town from Cemetary Reef. they are great and run every 15 minutes or so. They charge US$2.50 pp. The public transportation is much cheaper than a taxi, and very accessable. Cemetary beach is a great place to go if you want a nice quiet beach. The snorkeling is wonderful and there are trees if you get too hot in the sun. We found a nice place on the beach under the shade of a tree. and all in the shade.

The Reef is about 200 yards from the beach where we saw the stingray and the coral and many beautiflly colored fish. There were some fish closer to the shore, but they were mostly 100 yards or more out too. There were some smaller fish closer to the beach that small children would like seeing. Take along food for the fish. If the fish come in closer to the beach like they did further out, they were all around us when we were feeding them! We used canned cheese. There is an IGA grocery store about 2 blocks further along 7 MileBeach where we bought the cheese, sandwiches for lunch, water, etc. It is a very beautiful beach. There are no services or restrooms .The reef probably starts about 50-100 feet off shore. Once you get away from the cloudy water at the shoreline you should see it! Distance from shore: 20 to 100 yards Marker buoy: Yes Dept: 15 to 40ft The reefs are few minutes away resting in about 20ft of water. The marine life is very abundant, of you are brave, bring some fish food with you so you can have the "Cayman Piranhas" experience. Sergeant Majors, so called "Cayman Piranhas", will literally swarm you for a morsel, better yet, look for somebody else with food so you can watch the "other guy" get enveloped by fish. (Probably a smarter move) Sea Turtle are also known to frequent the area, some al large as the biggest found at the Turtle Farm swim by on a daily basis.


Being one of the most picturesque areas in Grand Cayman this spot should not be missed. Huge Australian Pines offer plenty of shade on the shore for the whole day at the beach you might be looking for. Tons of fish, and while we were there, we saw a school of squid! So peaceful and the water was so warm. Just walk into the water, and about 10 feet in is some reefs. We had this beautiful, warm beach with a snorkeling park all to ourselves. Peaceful and quiet. There are no services there, so if you're looking for bars and bathrooms, this isn't a place for you. On the way back, we walked down the beach until we passed a small hotel. We crossed by their pool, walked around the front and found a taxi stand. Another $5, 10 minute cab ride and we were back at the dock ready for the tender. It is an absolutely gorgeous beach but there were no services there at all. You must bring your own snorkel equipment with you. The reef we swam to was about 100 yards off shore, but the current was very mild. It was definitely worth the swim! We saw a stingray and starfish. We also saw and fed many other fish! Be aware - when you feed the fish they come around you by the 100's, it seems. So if that will cause you a problem don't feed them or do it closer to shore. There is a grocery store not far away that our cab driver took us to for some snacks and we had lunch on the beach.


the snorkeling was awesome. Keep your eyes open for a Esso gas station that was destroyed by Ivan. Believe it or not that it where the reef is right behind the station. You can actually park down the street a bit at the public beach and walk to where the gas station is. The reef is just offshore, not even 3 feet into the water. Walk past the gas station until the reef has an opening you can enter. It is great, you never have to be in more than 5 feet of water and we saw so many fish, all sizes, shapes and colors! The beach itself is nice. a great spot and had amazing snorkeling right off shore. CemetaryBeach did have a small amount of shade, but remember, they had a MAJOR hurricane and much of the vegetation was compromised. The snorkeling right off that beach has been great every time we stayed in Grand Cayman.


Most of the properties that line the beach allow you to pass through to walk back to the main road. You can hail a taxi (about $5.oo US per person, or wait for a bus, 2.00 per person). If you are in good shape, you can even walk back to Georgetown along the road - which is a pleasant experience in and of itself.


We loved Cemetary Reef. I always take a taxi and then when I am ready to go home I head back to the main road in front of the cemetary and it is usually only a few minutes to flag down a taxi. or take a bus there for $2.50. Hop on at the library. I do not believe there are chairs for rent because it'a at a cemetary, not a hotel. I don't believe there is anything to rent or eat there. It is just past a cemetery, not in one. When you pass the cemetery you walk into a parking lot of a very small apartment complex. It has a wooden dock into 6-8 feet of water. We felt like we were trespassing, but all beaches in Grand Cayman are public.


Snorkling locations close the the pier with great pics:




It is funny to think back about how much you worried about details such as transportation, before your first cruise isn't it? I found that haggeling with the locals that crowd the pier when you arrive, is the best way to save. Everything is negotiable from cab fare to guided tours. We spent maybe one third the money on excursions by negotiating with the locals versus booking a tour on the ship. One advantage to booking on the ship though is that you get to get off the ship first, but its no big deal, you shouldn't lose more than an hour.


Taxi to WestBay (7 Mile beach area) . cost only a couple dollars pp, At least 10-15 minutes in a moving taxi (going 35 miles an hour)... There are vans right at the tender pier that will take you to SeaGrape for 5-6 $ea. way. Much easier then walking over to the public bus station.


We are planning a stroll down to the right to Sunset Resort, where they have great snorkeling, a dive shop, bar and restaurant and showers. It's about a mile walk I think.


Seagrape beautiful beach....but the snorkeling isn't great. The reef there has been over snorkeled and is mostly dead. You'll see a few fish, I wouldn't reccomend it for that. Sea Grape is good because it is between the big PublicBeach - Sir Francis Drake, and the MariottCourtyardBeach. It allows you to choose between 3 beaches from one taxi stand. It is also the only bit of 7 mile beach left without condos and hotels smothering the natural beauty. Sea Grape is right across the street from the Courtyard Marriott. Plenty of cabs lined up there. Just give youself plenty of time to get back to the tender line, at least 45 minutes. If you have time to spare, you could always walk around town and do a little shopping. Sea Grape has Calico Jacks bar and grill, changing rooms, bathrooms, etc... and you don't have to rent a chair. You can sit at the tables or just bring a beach towel. Public beach is great, and is completely free... Mariott's beach is lovely as well. They have beach chairs ($10.00), umbrellas ($5.00 if you rent them with a chair), towels ($5.00) and lockers ($2.00 per day) for rent. water sport rentals onsight. It depends on the traffic...it's a 10-15 minute drive to get to Sea Grape.


Royal Palms is closer to the port area, 7 minutes The beach is free to enter. This area had lockers, showers, bathrooms. Chairs were provided on the beach. The water was the most beautiful shade of blue and off in a distance we could see our ship. I cant wait to go back. We ate lunch at the Royal Palms lunch stand, we had burgers that were $10. each, the cab ride was less than 5 minutes from the tender drop off to this beach.


Rum Point Beach : Secluded on northern Grand Cayman, actually benefited from Ivan, and is bigger than ever ……40 mins by car…a good beach, got its name from the barrels of rum that once washed ashore here after a shipwreck. Today it is dreamy and quaint, surrounded by towering casuarina trees. Most of these trees have hammocks suspended from their trunks. Featuring cays, reefs, mangroves, and shallows, Rum Point is a refuge that extends west and south for 11km (7 miles). It divides the two "arms" of Grand Cayman. The sound's many spits of land and its plentiful lagoons are ideal for snorkeling, swimming, wading, and birding. Wreck Bar for a juicy burger. The barrier reef area (which you can swim out to) is up around at Rum point, good snorkeling there.


Next we wanted to go to Margaritaville. It is just across from the port, it was a lot of fun and a must see, but beware the prices are in Grand Cayman and we ended up spending $74 (us) on 4 drinks and 3 nice glasses including tip. We decided we couldn't afford a "cheeseburger in paradise" so we compromised and headed back to the ship for some free cheeseburgers, while looking at paradise.


Lone Star Bar and Grill, Seven Mile Beach All major games are televised in the bar.


Best Cocktail -A "Cayman Mama" consists of a mix of Caribbean fruit juices along with both gold and coconut rum. Try it at the Cracked Conch by the Sea (just past the Turtle Farm in WestBay.


We usually go to Blackbeards for their Rum, Rum Cake and Jerk Seasonings, you can sample all the rum and rum cake that you want. West Indian rums


Lunching : The Cracked Conch , WestBay, near the Turtle Farm) has jerk chicken and conch fritters. Kaibo Yacht Club's Beach Bar & Grill (from 11:00 a.m., Rum Point) is known for its crab cakes. Also on Rum Point is the Wreck Bar for burgers. Gourmet Lunching: The Grand Old House, located in an old plantation house, is full of atmosphere. The building was shipped from Boston and reassembled in George Town nearly 100 years ago.

have lunch at Hammerheads. - fresh fish lunch.


Internet : Cable and Wireless 2 locations: right at the North Terminal dock and on Cardinal Avenue behind Columbian Emeralds. It costs 25 cents per minute. You'll find other options at GalleriaPlaza, West Bay Road. Free internet at The English Bakery, a yellow building with a red roof, right in front of Capt. Bryan's stingray excursion‘s office i… just a few blocks from the tender area.


StingrayCity - Located at the North Sound sandbar, is accessible only by boat. Stingrays gather here to be fed. This shallow, sandy area is one of two spots on Grand Cayman that are ideal for snorkeling among the stingrays. In StingrayCity the stingrays are so tame they suck the squid right out of your hand. Duration 3-4 hours. Price: $38-$46.50


North Wall - Diving area that hosts sting and eagle rays, turtles and masses of coral. Reef; Waterway, Cemetery Reef


Cayman Wall - The underwater landscape is densely encrusted with forests of corals, giant sponges and other marine life. Waterway; Reef


Blow Holes - The water pressure in underwater caverns causes a large geyser to spray high out of the water. Hot spring/geyser … there was still debris from the hurricane that was blocking up the blowholes so there was nothing to see.near the hamlet of High Rock, where onshore sprays of water shoot up like geysers, creating a roar like a lion.


Turtle Farm - $25 adults. Government-run operation raises the endangered green sea turtles to increase their population in the wild. The islands once had a multitude of turtles in the surrounding waters, the green sea turtle now has been designated an endangered species. This eco-sensitive turtle farm exists to provide the local market with edible turtle meat (preventing the need to hunt them in the wild) and to replenish the waters with hatchling and yearling turtles. Visitors can observe turtles in every stage of development in 100 circular concrete tanks. Turtles here range in size from 6 ounces to 600 pounds. At a snack bar and restaurant, you can sample farm-raised-turtle dishes. home to 16,000 turtles. It's a unique breeding ground and research center for five species of green sea turtles. Northwest Point Road, West Bay This is one of the major sights on Grand Cayman. Established in 1968, it's the world's only commercial green-sea-turtle farm.


Hell - a tiny seaside village on the northwest side of the island. Jagged black rock formations in Grand Cayman's northwest fabled to resemble the actual "hell." s. We thought we were at the post office in Hell when we sent the postcards, actually we were at a small red store just down the road from the actual post office, the store is a tourist stop and cards can be mailed from there. ..odd rock formations are…. the black limestone spires of Hell is a tourist trap, but go there anyway, it's still worth seeing! I at first assumed were volcanic. Turns out they are actually ironshore, a type of limestone, and algae is responsible for the black coloration. The ironically-named Hell has its own post office and one of the most picturesque shorelines on the island. This is the most overrated tourist trap in the Cayman Islands. It's a rugged outcrop of iron shore with a bleak lunar landscape that does indeed look like the charred remains of Hellfire. Hell is said to be the setting for a few scenes in Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, but some biographers dispute this claim. The town of Hell is, admittedly, a tourist trap (it's centered on a field of crusty black, razor-sharp rocks that look like the surface of, well, hell), but you may find it difficult to resist the impulse to send a postcard that's postmarked "hell."


Pedro St. James "Castle" Oldest building in the Caymans, now a historic site and museum. The Pedro St. James "Castle" is considered the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands. In 1831, residents met here to elect the Cayman's first legislative assembly. The great house itself, circa 1780, is the island's oldest stone structure. It has lovely grounds, ideal for strolling. …panoramic view from the Great Pedro Bluff. $8.


Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park - off Frank Sound Road toward the eastern end of Grand Cayman. This is a bit far for a taxi, and generally there are NOT taxis waiting for a return to the port. Plan ahead for your return or rent a car.. Home to orchids (in bloom late May through June) and elusive iguanas as well as parrots and other birds. Since it is well removed from Georgetown, you are unlikely to find the gardens overrun by fellow cruise passengers. Instead you will find beautifully landscaped gardens and perhaps a few of the Cayman Blue Iguanas that make the park home, 60-plus acres of unspoiled wetlands, mahogany forests, and a stunning array of orchids, bromeliads, crotons, and hibiscus….65 acres of everything from nature walks to natural wetlands to colorful floral gardens. $7.50


Butterfly Farm - on a side street near the Marriott at SevenMileBeach, only about a mile and a half north of the tender piers. We're planning on walking from the pier. $15 adults, $9 children….with butterflies everywhere, they land on you alot....different paths to take with different plants. A great treat with natures beauty. The farm has several walking paths and secret sitting nooks. The butterfly area is approx 20x20 and packed with plants and butterflies. they give you a little tour and give you a background on butterflies which was interesting. To attract butterflies : bring a peach or some fruit, bite into and smear it on your arms and shoulders. I have had a half dozen flutterbys at once on me because I smell like food. You enter an area enclosed in mesh where butterflies from all over the world flutter freely. You'll find a wealth of information on the butterfly life cycle here. We learned that females perpetuate the butterfly world, as males spend most of their lives getting drunk on rotten fruit. The males flirt about showing off their vivid, beautiful wings, trying to attract the females (who are usually drably colored in comparison). The farm also features several species of moths, including the Atlas moth, the largest moth in the world. With a typical wingspan of 36 centimeters (14 in.), it's the size of a small bird.


Mastic Trail - Guided tours are offered on this old nature trail that takes visitors through several of the island's various ecosystems. Explore this tropical paradise by making your way up Frank Sound Road to the surreal Mastic Trail, a 200-year-old trail that winds its way into one of the West Indies' few remaining tropical rain forests, a hiking trail through the dry forests in the centre of the island.


Cayman Islands National Museum - on the waterfront $5 adults,$3.15 children One of the best museums in the Caribbean, it features changing exhibits on the islands' human and natural history. - the museum is housed in a dignified clapboard-covered building that's one of the oldest on the island and one of the few to have survived the disastrous hurricane of 1932. The 557-sq.-m (6,000-sq.-ft.) interior is a repository for the lore, history, and memorabilia of the Cayman Islands. Exhibits focus on the sociological, archaeological, and mercantile history of the Caymans, with a heavy emphasis on the hardships suffered by the Caymanians prior to the advent of tourism and the modern-day financial-services industries. The formal exhibits feature more than 2,000 items depicting the natural, social, and cultural history of the Caymans. Also a gift shop, a theater, and a cafe.The museum features dioramas on the islands' seafaring days and a robotic Blackbeard that spins yarns about the Caymans' swashbuckling past.


Atlantis Submarine is a real, 50-foot long submarine that carries 46 passengers 65 to 100 feet below the surface for a close-up look at the Cayman Wall. you won't get wet. Duration about 1-1/2 hours. Price: $82.50-$94.


BoddenTown - East of George Town, Historic village.. a pirate-lover's dream.


Boggy Sand Road - This scenic coastal road contains some of the most traditional historic Cayman houses and churches. this route is well worth exploring. Vibrant tropical plants surround many of the old gingerbread-style fisherman's cottages, which date from the first 2 decades of the 20th century. You can stop at Grandma Julia's Beach if you'd like to go for a swim. The beach is raked by hand every morning.


Batabano - At Morgan's Harbour Marina, on the North Sound in the little backwater of Batabano, fishermen tie up with their catch of the day, much to the delight of photographers. You can often buy fresh lobster, fish, and conch here. A large barrier reef protects the sound, which is surrounded on three sides and is a mecca for diving and sport fishing.

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City Bus :

WestBay beach areas - every 15 minutes, from 6 a.m.. Fare CI$1.50 each way.

BoddenTown - Every 30 minutes from 6 a.m . Fare CI$1.50 each way.

East End and North Side - Every hour, 6 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fare: CI$2 each way.

Even bus fares are based (in part) upon distance travelled. Usually CI$2 to CI$4 per person. No way you'll get to east End or Northside for CI$2.

All ships are required to anchor in the harbor ..the water surrounding the island is very shallow,...
Actually, the waters surrounding the Cayman Islands are mind-numbingly deep! Depths in excess of 6000ft can be found less than a mile from shore in many places.

Hell - a tiny seaside village...
Hell is very much an inland location.

Mastic Trail ...a hiking trail through the dry forests in the centre of the island.
Can be VERY wet toward the south end of the trail in the rainy season. Your shoes may get soaked, but proper footwear is definitely needed!
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Thanks for the wonderful compilation!!! I've been reading here and there - and though I've been to Grand Cayman twice, we haven't spent any time on the island, opting for snorkeling tours both times.


Your info is a tremendous help - thanks for sharing!! I, too, have printed it out for our January cruise on Legend!!!:D

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Can someone tell me how a group of 9 can get to Rum Pt.? We have been to GC many times and snorkled & toured the island. I am now looking to spend a quit day on a beautiful QUIET beach. Would you reccomend another spot? Thank you-Tamara

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  • 2 weeks later...

We just got back from our first trip to GC and had a wonderful relaxing day there despite being 7 ships in port that day. Tendering was fast and efficient, we did not have to fight any crowds, the sidewalks around the pier area was busy but all was well organised and the island has a layed back atmosphere, we felt right at home there and have pleasant memories of GC. Just off the tender there were lots of people holding up boards advertising trips last minute for those who have not booked anything for the day. Also there was $4 taxi service offered ( in bigger vans) right as you get off the tender, which seemed very reasonable.


We walked around for a while trying to get a feel for the place heard several roosters making their noises felt as if we were on a farm ! Then we started seeing them in parking lots and gardens also saw hens with chicks too cute and quite a surprise to me !


We headed down the main road walking towards 7 Mile Beach and enjoying the warm sunshine till we got to the 1st place where you can access a public beach, it was about a 15 minute leasurely stroll from the tender area, just past a cemetary which is right along the main street there. On this beach was only about 3 other couples enjoying the beach and few palm trees. We snorkled right there there is a ship wreck about 200 meters north of there just partly lying in the shallow water. There are no services, we had our snorkeling equipment/beach towels/water/juice with us and just lied on our beach towels near a palm tree. Soon after getting there a chicken arrived, she was very tame and spend about 2 hours with us on the beach, sometimes sitting on my tummy and other times enjoying small pieces of dog milk bone we brought to feed some fish, all the time making this cute noises. Later I figured she must be real thirsty from all that dry dog food and we offered her water and fruit juice later which she gladly drank lots of !! We went often into the water to cool down and snorkel a bit and yet this chicken stayed near our stuff and welcomed us back every time we got back ! I will never forget this chicken silly as it sounds it was quite an experience. We spend about 2 hours on this very quiete beach and then said goodbye to the beach chicken and slowly worked our way back to the port area.


We just wanted a beach day in the warm sunshine and enjoyed this beach which we found. ( Our initial plan was to take a taxi to cemetary beach)


Right across from the tender dock is a small shop that sells rum cake and rum. I was curious about rum cake, having never seen or tasted it, so I went in the little place, it was busy with potential customers for free sampling all sorts of rum cakes, I loved the coconut flavoured one. Felt in such a good mood walking out of there !


I enjoyed GC, tendering there was no problem and with 7 ships in port we felt it was a good port and a civilised island, no one hassles you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Dear Cool Cruiser,

Thank you for mentioning the Royal Palms in your write up. It sounds painful when you mention that you paid $10.00 US for your burger however I think that when I put it in context it may be somewhat less so. We do not charge an admission to the property, for the showers, changing rooms or for the security officers that make sure that we can respond to any emergency. We make our own burgers and buns in house evry day. While you are eating you get to have an unfettered view of the crystal clear Caribbean sea. If you venture downtown a burger is $15.00 US at Margeritaville and Hard Rock Cafe. One other note, our first cost for everything is about double what you pay in Canada and the US. We have to import all our product and then pay duty on them. Sorry about going on and on but I feel that we give an excellent product for the cost.

Tropical Regards from The Royal Palms


Hey RPalms,


Can you give me some reasons why I should go to RP's rather than, say SeaGrape? I'll have a family of 9 (me, DW, 5 DD's, sis, mom)? Just curious about costs and reasons to pick on spot along 7 mile beach rather than another. (I know you'll be somewhat biased, but that's ok with me).


You can email me at "spamfree at kc dot rr dot com" if you think this might be borderline on doing "business" on the chat board...



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  • 2 weeks later...

:) Thank you so much! This thread is wonderful!!


I went to PS last year and really enjoyed myself. I thought the pricing was fair.


This year I did look into SG and Stingray city but still looking and this thread was a nice surprise :) Thanks for the research!


Now if there was one for Belize :D

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We headed down the main road walking towards 7 Mile Beach and enjoying the warm sunshine till we got to the 1st place where you can access a public beach, it was about a 15 minute leasurely stroll from the tender area, just past a cemetary which is right along the main street there. On this beach was only about 3 other couples enjoying the beach and few palm trees. We snorkled right there there is a ship wreck about 200 meters north of there just partly lying in the shallow water. There are no services, we had our snorkeling equipment/beach towels/water/juice with us and just lied on our beach towels near a palm tree.


We just wanted a beach day in the warm sunshine and enjoyed this beach which we found. ( Our initial plan was to take a taxi to cemetary beach)


Right across from the tender dock is a small shop that sells rum cake and rum. I was curious about rum cake, having never seen or tasted it, so I went in the little place, it was busy with potential customers for free sampling all sorts of rum cakes, I loved the coconut flavoured one. Felt in such a good mood walking out of there !


I enjoyed GC, tendering there was no problem and with 7 ships in port we felt it was a good port and a civilised island, no one hassles you.


How is the snorkling? Can you actually snorkel out to the ship wreck to see anything? Do you remember what the road name was that you travelled on??

Your adventure sounds perfect to us!

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I took a peek at the excursion list or my trip and all of the snorkel trips seem to need you to be 8, some 12... I will be coming down with a 5 year old, but he has been snorkeling since he was 2 and has his own SASY unit I was planning on bringing. :-/


If all the Stingray City dive trips need them to be 6+ to get in the water that will really bum me out. I have been telling him all about that and showing him the video of when I dove there (Before Kids).

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  • 2 weeks later...

icon1.gif Snorkeling with kids?

I took a peek at the excursion list or my trip and all of the snorkel trips seem to need you to be 8, some 12... I will be coming down with a 5 year old, but he has been snorkeling since he was 2 and has his own SASY unit I was planning on bringing. :-/


If all the Stingray City dive trips need them to be 6+ to get in the water that will really bum me out. I have been telling him all about that and showing him the video of when I dove there (Before Kids).




Just take your 5 year old to Eden Rock. It's a short walk from the drop off point for the tenders. You walk off the sidewalk down into the water. The snorkeling there is great! They have a dive shop right there where you can rent vests. Best of all, it's free!! When you're done, you are in the shopping district, or you can take a short taxi ride to the beach.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We are contemplating a cruise which includes Grand Cayman. I noticed that there were no ship sponsored fishing excursions. Do you know if there are any fishing type trips that can be taken from Grand Cayman while cruising?


Thank you,


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  • 3 weeks later...
I took a peek at the excursion list or my trip and all of the snorkel trips seem to need you to be 8, some 12... I will be coming down with a 5 year old, but he has been snorkeling since he was 2 and has his own SASY unit I was planning on bringing. :-/


If all the Stingray City dive trips need them to be 6+ to get in the water that will really bum me out. I have been telling him all about that and showing him the video of when I dove there (Before Kids).


I was wondering if you found any issues with having a 5 yr old on a Stingray City trip? Did you find a great snorkeling spot that was close to shore? My youngest child swims great and would love to experience fish up close and personal. Any helpful hints are appreciated! Thanks.

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I was wondering if you found any issues with having a 5 yr old on a Stingray City trip?
Sadly nothing online that seems to indicate a SRC trip that will take a 5yo. I did my AOW on GC quite some time ago and have not been back; I am really hoping that I can find one soon or else I'll just end up taking him to do some snorkeling. One of my silly AOW dives was at Sunset House and they had a little bar/restaurant and had a cute little house reef for some diving. I see they offer SRC trips so maybe I will jot them a note. I'll post back if they have a little better age restrictions.
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Thanks Larry for the info. The Sunset House looks like a great spot to go have lunch even if you don't dive. Have you checked into this site:



I noticed that the Bucaneer Cruise states "4 and under FREE" so does that mean a 5 year old could go? The photos from their site show small children. I'm thinking of booking with them if that is the case and they are cheaper than the cruise-coordinated activities. Anyone use this site? Thanks!

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Wow, these look great! Thanks so much for passing this on! I'll definitely be checking with the rest of my party to see if they are interested. I did write to Sunset House and hope to hear back from them soon. I'll post back with their response. Diving off their steps will be pretty easy and, if I remember correctly, there should be some stuff for the snorkelers in my group to see and the bar will help keep those that stay out of the water occupied. :)

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I spoke to some friends last night that have done the Stingray tour and they say it's no problem with a 5 yr old. They said they felt safe in Grand Cayman but not as much in Ocho Rios. Makes me think twice about taking my DD's off the ship there. They do love the Kid's Club!

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Cool, thanks, I appreciate it.


I heard back from Sunset House and while they didn't have any openings on their boat trips they said we were welcome to come enjoy their bar/restaurant/changing facilities to do some light diving off their house reef. I honestly don't remember the reef as we did our AOW "wreck" nav dives there. I don't think I even got to see their little statue so I'll have to hunt her down.


FWIW, they also don't do anything with SASY or SASY tanks, I wonder if that whole program went the way of the dinosaur. Too bad if it did, three of my 4 kids have used their SASY rigs and just loved them.

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