Here is a list of things to do while you are on the island:
Camana Bay is a destination you cannot miss on your visit to Grand Cayman!
The Town of Camana Bay is situated on the western peninsula of Grand Cayman, just a few minutes’ drive from the capital George Town and the Owen Roberts International Airport. Stretching over 600 acres from Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound, Camana Bay has been designed by world-class, award-winning architects and a must-stop destination for many reasons:
For great entertainment, dining and shopping options; for design features such as the amazing lighting which came from the same consultants whose work lights Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; for the birds which gather in Cassia Court to enjoy the figs grown on Ficus Aurea, the Town Centre’s biggest tree which is native to Cayman and produces supermarket-quality figs; for the spectacular 360-degree island views from the Observation Tower, one of the island’s tallest structures; and for the interactive fountains with sprays reaching 30 feet high, which offer fun for kids and a cooling backdrop for all who visit the Town Centre.
One thing that you can’t absolutely miss is to taste the best Ice Cream you will find on the island, and beyond. Find it on the left side of the shops facing the garden and marina.
Gelato & Co. Cremeria Italiana
Authentic Italian ice cream made fresh daily plus home-baked pastries and cakes.
Breakfast at Westin Hotel: On a planned trip to 7-Mile beach/Turtle farm; a great way to start the day is with an early breakfast at the Westin. It and the Hyatt are the best on the island, only the Westin is on the beach. When you enter the Westin driveway, take a left into their parking lot…Ferdinand’s (the restaurant) opens at 7:00 AM; and has a wonderful buffet breakfast. After breakfast, walk through the hotel, as they have 2-3 very nice gift/dress shops inside. Great place to shop on your last day, too! After breakfast, relax on their beach for a while or proceed north to the Turtle Farm. When the beach waiters show up, they may not want you sitting on their lounge chairs, but you will be gone to the Turtle Farm by then!
Turtle Farm. 949-3893: Nice visit for the kids. Great Gift Shop. Turtles are raised for release and commerce. Tortuga Rum Cake Factory (they make them here) is right next-door. On the other side is “The Cracked Conch” restaurant (for lunch) AND they have a dive shop right underneath with a great dining patio at night on the water. This is a great place for snorkeling. They have a swimming pool ladder into the water, and lots to see in their cove. If you are certified, and aren’t flying in 24 hours…rent their underwater scooters (Divetech) for CI$25.00 each. It is a great dive, with a 50’ mini-wall. Lots of turtles, eagle rays and tarpon. Before you buy a Cuban cigar from the stand across the street from the turtle farm, know they are 30-40% cheaper at the duty-free shop in the departure lounge at the airport.
Stingray City: Absolutely required while on the island. My favorite operator on the East End is Ocean Frontiers for everything, but Red Sail Sports does a great job too. Ocean Frontiers only makes one/two Stingray City trips a week, and picks you up at the Kaibo yacht club. Red Sail Sports has their 65’ catamaran with aluminum stairs that lower into the water (easy for elderly or unsure swimmers). Red Sail leaves from Kaibo Yacht Club as well. Shawn Lunt (above) can also take you privately.
4. Her Majesty’s Botanical Park: Only 15 minutes from Cayman Castle, this is a wonderful morning or late afternoon stroll. It costs about $8.00/per; and is un crowded. The park offers a number of areas that are planted with different species of flowering plants, trees, etc…only those indigenous to the Cayman Islands. There are quite a few benches to rest on, and restroom located on the farthest point from the giftshop (300 yds). There is also a great white Gazebo with adirondack chairs you can relax in during the self-guided tour (bring refreshments in a pack..no alcohol, though). They also have a small snack shop/gazebo. 947-3558.
Rum Point Resort: About 10 miles Northwest of CaymanChillin, this property belongs to the Hyatt, and the Hyatt runs a ferry 3-4 times a day between the Rum Point pier and the Hyatt canal on 7MB. At the Rum Point Resort, there is a good restaurant (make reservations), a great “Wreck Bar”, and table service for the picnic tables, good lunch items. Their Saturday afternoon “Jerk” chicken and pork dishes are tremendous. The Red Sail Sports franchise also rents waverunners, kayaks, etc…There is also a very large public restroom complex with a freshwater shower in front. Also located here is a cute giftshop (The Treasure Chest). The “Barefoot Man” (search www.Kaaza.com for songs) sings here and at the Royal Reef (the days change, unfortunately).
The Kaibo Yacht Club: Down in Cayman Kai (go to Rum Point, take a left just before you get there). This yacht club is recently built, and has a great bar/restaurant underneath, and a nicer evening restaurant (Cecil’s) up top At this time Cecil’s is not open since hurricane Ivan.. They have a small gift shop, and rent ocean kayaks. There is a public park on the sea adjacent to it, and the water is clear, but have the kids wear pool shoes, and bring goggles/masks. See some fish swim by while you are there! 947-9975.
Morritt’s Tortuga: This is a time-share resort just 1 mile north of CaymanChillin. The reason I mention it, is that it is a great place for little kids and big kids alike. They have a nice sandy beach, and a bar hut for ordering drinks. They also rent catamarans, windsurfers, paddleboats, kayaks, etc… Very protected reef lagoon. The highlight is when your kids walk into the beautiful water around the pier/dock (with their goggles/masks) they will see thousands of little minnows and some 3-4 foot Tarpon in schools! (they are safe). Very shallow, safe beach, with few waves. The restaurant is spotty, and drinks are overpriced, given that there are no waiters, so bring stuff from home. But a great beach, with sand chairs and lounges…and a few shady gazebos. 947-7449
Vivine’s Backyard: If you are looking for a cheap local place to eat an authentic Caymanian lunch, ¾ mile South of CaymanChillin is Vivine’s Backyard to her house!! Cute black/white checkered sign, she (literally) cooks out of her kitchen!! Great home-cooked meals on picnic tables overlooking the ocean. Very reasonable prices, no beer/wine. The B-B-Q Chicken is fantastic.
Lighthouse Restaurant: Absolutely one of the best restaurants in the east of the island. Make reservations for the screened porch or ocean deck (if not too breezy). The food and atmosphere are fantastic. Save room for their signature dessert, Beignettes! Order only one plate for every 4-5 people! It is large, but this is the best advice I will give you during your visit. If you eat somewhere else in town, and are driving back to CaymanChillin, and only get to stop for Beignettes and coffee, do it…also, they sell the little lighthouse coffeepot/teapots out front…a great (cheap) memento. 947-2047.
Atlantis Submarine Trip: In Georgetown, near the main harbor, is the Atlantis shop on the water. They take you out (on a boat) to their submarine docking station just offshore. For about $80.00 (the cost of a two-tank dive) you get to go in a state-of-the-art submarine down to about 100 feet. They have a truly professional crew of Australian/Canadian/Americans that operate these around the world. Very safe tour. If your group won’t do it…there is the Nautilus semi-submersible just up the street (I think they are still open after hurricane Ivan). It, however, never submerges. It is like the Disneyland submarine, but larger, with drink service. Whichever you choose, the evening tours are the best, as the predators/nocturnals start to come out (Tarpon, barracuda, sharks, squid, lobster, and octopus). 949-7700 (Atlantis); 945-1355 (Nautilus).
Go to Hell?: North of 7 Mile Beach, in West Bay, is a stark, limestone/stalagmite field that the locals have named “Hell” (Complete with t-shirts, etc..) The only thing redeeming, is that it is close to “Ristorante Papagallo”, which is a very nice, (Polynesian Architecture) restaurant…but it is so far away from everything..especially CaymanChillin, that we have never been!
Calypso Grill: If you are on 7 Mile Beach for the day, you might go to Morgan’s Harbor above 7MB on the sound (Call for directions). The food is supposed to be very good. Nothing to see, unless you are chartering a boat out of there, but great seafood, and it catches an easterly breeze.
Sunset House: South of 7MB is Georgetown. If you go straight south through town (along the water), Sunset House Hotel is on your right. If you see the oil storage tanks, you’ve gone too far. Park at the Sea Harvest Restaurant parking lot and walk back there. There is a great bar/snack restaurant (called “My Bar”), and Cathy Church’s photo shop under the hotels’ 100 block. In addition, it is a great place for a shore dive or snorkeling with the kids. This place has a swim ladder to help get into/out of the water. Don’t forget to see the Mermaid as she is just 50 yards off shore. She has been written up in most dive magazines. Also SunsetHouse has a nice restaurant (Sea Harvest-air-conditioned) if it is too hot to sit outside. You can watch the Atlantis shuttle go out to the rendezvous point, or dive boats come in. Best outdoor bar on the island (Thatched roof). If you are there in late afternoon, stay and see a beautiful Sunset!! 949-7111
Smith Cove: Just south of Sunset House (1 mile) in Georgetown is a small public beach cove that many people on the Island consider the best shore snorkeling on the island. Great for kids, as they can walk straight into the water.
Golf: I would leave my sticks at home. The only nice course is the Links at Safehaven, just north of 7MB. It is a well-maintained, 6,000 yd.+ course that is close to the Hyatt complex/resort. It is not cheap, and a trek to get to, unless you take the Rum Point Ferry, and then take a cab. For New Yorkers, it would be like a regular day of golfing (the commute out to Long Island)!
Shopping: Downtown Georgetown has a ton of jewelry stores, dress shops, souvenir shops, etc.. The Colombian Emerald Shop and the Diamonds in Paradise shops are pretty large. 24K-Mon Jewelers also sells mounted Atocha (and other ships’) coins. I am told the prices are pretty reasonable, especially for emerald and coral items.
Pirate Caves of Boddentown: About 15 minutes southwest of the Castle (on the way to town) is a small gift shop that advertises “Pirate Caves”. The gift shop is small but cute, and they have a mini-zoo (iguanas, parrots, rabbits, etc..) in back. The highlight of the visit is a limestone cave about 10 feet below the surface that they have “schmaltzed up” with pirate swords, chests of gold, skeletons, etc. I think the gift shop charges a nominal fee to visit the zoo/caves.
Blowholes: At this time I think Hurricane Ivan destroyed the shoreline there but have heard the Gov’t is trying to “clean them out” again.
Public Beach on 7-Mile Beach: North of the Westin and right across from the new Holiday Inn on 7MB is a public beach with about 6 brightly painted gazebos. The gazebos are nice because they offer shade, and the beach has restroom facilities (albeit modest). Also available on the beach are rental water toys and a beach bar.
Pedro Castle: In Savannah (20 minutes away) is the oldest stone building in the Cayman Islands. Pedro St. James was once the capital building of the Caymans, as well as a private residence. It is the original “island architecture” and is featured in many Cayman advertisements. There are tour guides, a multi-media theater, gift shop, café and resource center. Turn South at Texaco Station in Savannah. Nominal admission charge. 947-3329
Cayman National Museum: This museum (waterfront in Georgetown) offers an extensive insight into the past of the Cayman Islands. A presentation is offered every half-hour, and you then take a self-guided tour of the building. This landmark was home to the Island’s first Governor. It has been used as a courthouse, jail, Post Office and survey post. Nominal admission charge. 949-8368.
Mastic Trail: (Close to Botanical Park, 15-20 minutes away) For the “hikers” in the group, this 2-1/2 hour “eco”-tour of the trail used as a shortcut to the Northside in the late 1800’s is both great exercise and informative. Sensible walking shoes are a must (no sandals), even though the trail is very level. You see native birds (including parrots), their nesting places, plus many varieties of fruit, vegetable and plant life stilled farmed on the island. The Cayman National Trust oversees this preservation project. Reservations. Small admission charge. 949-1996
** Please note I try to keep this up to date but things can change without me knowing it. If you should find something not correct, or no longer there, please let me know. Passengerpicks updates weekly according to what the Delta passengers report back to it during and after their trip.
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