I am a total sucker for tropical vacations. If there is turquoise water and palm trees, I’m sold. My friend and I wanted to vacation somewhere warm in the dead of winter when we came across a JetBlue vacation package to Grand Cayman island. Neither of us had ever been before and we had no idea what to expect- that’s the best part of traveling after all! I tend to favor Aruba for tropical vacations and I was hesitant that Grand Cayman would feel like a let down… let’s just say I was wrong! Grand Cayman reminded me a lot of Aruba in a good way with a few minor differences. Let’s lay out the pros and cons.
Alright, let’s start with the good. Grand Cayman is similar to Aruba when it comes to weather. The island is known for having temps averaging in the 80’s year round! Yup… you read that right! You can rely on the sun shining when you visit Grand Cayman, even in January and February!
The island is also located in the western part of the Caribbean, meaning it is not hit as hard during hurricane season. We all know how disastrous hurricane season can be for these small islands. If tropical storms are a concern for you, I recommend looking into Grand Cayman!
Grand Cayman has a very low crime rate which was a big relief for me as I like to leave the resort and explore other parts of the island when I travel. I felt comfortable being out and about walking at night and bouncing around from one bar to the next. Of course, always use the buddy system and don’t trust just anyone. Lock up your belongings as well as wallets and phones are notorious for being stolen, no matter where you are in the world!
Wooooo! The food in Grand Cayman is a good enough reason to visit the island in itself. I was blown away by how diverse and extravagant the food options were. I’m not talking about the types of restaurants either, the menus had a wide range of dishes I had never heard of. There were plenty of fine dining options with most menus focusing on the island’s native cuisine, seafood. If you enjoy fresh fish then this is the island for you! While most menus were seafood centered there were still plenty of options for those who shy away from it. We had the best Italian dinner and ambiance at Casanova’s, I highly recommend spending an evening here!
Our hotel offered a magazine highlighting over 50 restaurants on the island and small snippets on what to expect from each one. This was super helpful! We sat down every night and reviewed the magazine before heading out to dinner. Ask your hotel if they have something similar to this!
All beaches are not created equally! While you can’t go wrong with most of the beaches in the Caribbean, the sand and turquoise waters of Grand Cayman far exceed many of the beaches I have been to, even Aruba’s! The water was calm, warm and crystal clear. I mean, I could see my toes when I was neck deep in water! That’s how clear it is. The sand was some of the softest I’ve been on and there wasn’t a ton of coral or seaweed on the shore either!
We stayed on Seven Mile beach and had a wonderful experience. This part of the island is similar to Palm Beach in Aruba, it’s where most of the big name hotels are and where most tourists stay, shop and dine. I consider January peak travel season in the Caribbean and Grand Cayman felt VERY quiet to me. We were able to get chairs on the beach around 10:00am, which is unheard of at some islands and resorts. When we went on an excursion it was only us and one other couple on the boat. I couldn’t believe it, and honestly I LOVED it.. The beaches weren’t packed and we were able to get into most restaurants without a reservation. The only downfall to this was that most bars were pretty quiet and seemed fairly empty. We hoped to find a lively place but couldn’t…
Things to Do:
The good news is Grand Cayman does offer some fantastic adventures for those of us who can’t sit still on a beach. Stingray City is probably the most common excursion that Grand Cayman has to offer. We did the Starfish, Stingray and Snorkeling adventure and it was amazing! We were able to swim with stingray and feed the smaller tropical fish while snorkeling, followed by getting up close and personal with stingrays on a sandbar and then finished off the tour looking for starfish along the beach.
A few other things the island has to offer; Rum tours, food and beverage tours, bioluminescent tours, crystal caves, jet ski rentals and more.
Ok now it’s on to the “bad”. While I LOVED Grand Cayman Island and would be thrilled to return, however I don’t think I could last a full 7 days here. I really look forward to having something to do after dinner, whether it’s hitting the casinos, going to a bar, or heading to a show. I didn’t find much of that in Grand Cayman. There are no casinos on the island and the nightlife seemed almost non-existent. We did find one bar that was pretty lively one night because they had tons of TV’s and sports games on, but the following night we went back and it was fairly empty.
If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation then this is your spot! BUT if you are hoping for a lively bachelor/bachelorette weekend or spring break trip then I would not recommend this as your go-to spot.
Have you been to Grand Cayman? What is your favorite part of the island?