Grand Cayman Stingray CityThe Cayman Islands is not what it seems. Three flat islands? Nope, they’re the peaks of an underwater mountain range. Not much culture? It’s one of the most diverse countries in the world, home to over 130 nationalities. Offshore banking? That influx of wealth creates one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. Grand Cayman had the sparkly financial center and gorgeous beaches we were expecting, but the more we road tripped, dove the coral reef, sampled dynamic cuisine, and chatted with local characters, the more we were surprised and delighted…

 

Honeymoon Snapchat for Lonely Planet

 

What sparked up this Caribbean getaway? Lonely Planet’s Honeymoon Handbook. The legendary LP gave us the honor of reviewing this fab new guide (our HoneyTrek quote is on the back cover!) and asked us to give their romantic tips a whirl for Valentine’s Day. Done and done. They gave us the keys to their Snapchat account and full license to video, emoji, sticker, filter, and get silly for five days in the destination of our choosing…the Cayman Islands. Watch Day #1 (left video), from tarmac to watermelon mojito night cap, and Day #2 (right video) for more island adventures!

 

Our Hotel: The Westin Grand Cayman

Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach HotelWe landed in George Town and beelined for Seven Mile Beach. The sugary white sand and serene waters make it the resort row of the Cayman Islands–with the recently renovated Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa rising again as the hot new thing. We walked into the lobby, with modern art streaming across the ceiling and panoramic views to the sexy beachfront patio, and swooned. Word is the multi-million-dollar renovation continues with even better suites this summer.
 

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach water sportsWalking the beach each morning, we were tempted by the slew of water sports. We aren’t laze-on-the-beach people, so we loved to see the stand-up paddleboards, Hobie Cats, Flyboards, kayaks, and hot new pontoon bikes! We’d never seen these slick contraptions with pedal-powered propellers and outrigger-style floats, and had take them for a spin. They effortlessly cut through the water and really get cookin’!

 

North Sound Boat Trip

north sound grand cayman boat tripOur pontoon pedaling skills could only take us so far, so we took a proper boat trip with Cayman Luxury Charters to the North Sound. We met the “Cayman Evasion” Sport Motor Yacht (ooo la la) in Camana Bay and set out to Starfish Point, where huge sherbet-colored starfish bask in the shallow waters and soft sand. We did a little wading safari and then zipped over to the stunning Rum Point, named for the barrels of booze that washed up here after a shipwreck in the islands’ pirate days.
Tip: Come to Grand Cayman in November for the rollicking heritage festival: Pirates Week.
 

Stingray City

Stingray City Cayman IslandsNow for the day’s main event…the world-famous Stingray City! Fisherman have always stopped at this sandbar to clean their day’s catch and over time, Southern Stingrays caught onto the free buffet. Dozens of gentle creatures, some as wide as five feet and regulars like Frisbee, Scarface, Goldie, and Spot, have been coming daily for decades. Our boat pulled up and we could see the posse of rays migrating our way. We jumped in with a bit of trepidation, but they proved so friendly (even rubbing up against us!) as we swam in unison. Note: Each boat is allowed one small bag of squid, as to not overfeed them. However, we opted against feeding them and still had truly incredible encounters.
Watch our Snapchat video from Seven Mile Beach to Sting Ray City.
 

Iguana Alley

Iguana Alley Grand CaymanCruising back from our mind-boggling stingray experience, we thought that was it for wildlife encounters…then we pulled into Iguana Alley. Where the open water narrows to a channel of mangroves, massive green iguanas sun themselves on the branches hanging over the water. We saw at least 30 iguanas with their gorgeous stripes and colorful spikes. If you go to the Cayman Islands, keep an eye out for the endemic blue iguana (best bet is Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park).
 

Calypso Grill

Grand Cayman DiningNorth of Seven Mile Beach, West Bay is where the mega resorts fade to Caribbean style houses, mom-and-pop shops, and a handful of gourmet restaurants. We drove until we hit Morgan’s Harbour and saw Calypso Grill twinkling with lights. The colorful interior was alive with local art and a sea breeze. We went vegan in October 2015 (our shopping cart hasn’t seen an animal product since), though with food being such a deep part of culture and travel, we switch to flexitarian in new countries to experience the local delicacies. We tried the Caribbean Lobster “Calypso Style,” and Sticky Toffee Pudding (their dessert is so legendary, the adjacent street is actually named Sticky Toffee Lane).
 

West Bay Diving

Diving Trinity Caves-Grand CaymanThe next morning, Epic Divers picked us up for a two-tank dive on the west side. Five minutes from shore, across the teal shallows, the sea floor seemed to drop out from under us. It was a shade of blue reserved for deep sea fishing trips and trans-Atlantic voyages. Kitted out like Jacques Cousteau, we descended a hundred feet to Trinity Caves. Passing dragon whips and sea fans, we entered the craggy rock tunnel with beams of light peeking through. The Trinity reference is for the three caves but also the look of a rough-hewn cathedral. We met a spotted eagle ray, parrot fish, cling crabs, Nassau grouper with a belly full of eggs, and more beguiling creatures.
 

Wreck Diving: Doc Poulson

Diving Doc Poulson WreckOur second and absolute favorite site was the Doc Poulson Wreck. This old telecommunications cable boat has been lying on the sea floor since the 1980s and has found a second life as a coral garden. We swam into the hull, moving through mangled iron with schools of fish, emerged through the floor boards, and took the helm in the wheelhouse feeling like proper underwater explorers. (Thanks for the great dive photos, Jaxx Kienas!)
 

Macabuca: Dine & Dive

In addition to wall dives, the Cayman Islands is known for their shore dives—where the colorful reef and caves are so accessible, you don’t even need a boat. We went for lunch at the amazing Macabuca—part tiki bar/part scuba shop—and loved that divers were descending into the water right from the dining area. We had a delicious spiced veggie sandwich and battered lion fish on coconut bread. (Lion fish are an invasive species, so in efforts to restore the reef, it’s become a popular local dish).

 

Next Up

Seven Mile Beach Wave Grand CaymanDon’t miss Part II of our Cayman Islands adventures, where we road trip to “Off the Beaten Path Road,” have a date with the devil in Hell, and have one of the best meals of our lives. Read the post, here.
 

Cayman Islands Getaway HoneyTrek
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A big thank you to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism for sponsoring this post.

42 thoughts on “Cayman Islands Getaway

    • March 10, 2017 at 4:05 am
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      More than pretty, they definitely know romance. Just wait until you see our next post on the spa treatment–you’ll love it!

      Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm
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    Grand Cayman is such a gorgeous place. We’ve been there a couple of times, and no other place in the Caribbean can match it.

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    • March 16, 2017 at 11:47 am
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      Love that you haven’t been once…but a couple times! We’ve been all over the Caribbean, you are right, it’s really unique and quite swanky.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm
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    Wow this looks like so much fun. The water is so beautiful. I think I wouldnt want to come back home after visiting.

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    • March 16, 2017 at 11:46 am
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      That water is my new favorite color. You are right–leaving was tough!

      Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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    Grand Cayman is one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean. It’s perfect for romantic OR family getaways.

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    • March 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm
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      Agreed on both! We also saw tons of families having a blast. It also felt super safe here.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm
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    OMG!! What a beautiful getaway! I have always wanted to swim with Stingrays! That hotel looks fabulous too!

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    • May 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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      Swimming with stingrays was an unforgettable experience. As for the Westin…their renovation is gorgeous and about to get even better!

      Reply
  • March 9, 2017 at 10:17 pm
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    What a fabulous getaway! The pontoon bikes look like fun. Sting rays look so cool, but every since the whole Steve Erwin thing they make me nervous.

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    • March 10, 2017 at 4:04 am
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      We had a blast! These stingrays are so friendly, no worries at all. The pontoon bikes were an absolute blast too–so much to see and do here!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 12:43 am
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    AHHH this looks amazing! My husband and I need a vacation so badly, and your pictures have me so jealous!

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    • March 16, 2017 at 11:44 am
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      Make it happen, Betty. Romantic getaways are not only lovely–they’re important!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 8:01 am
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    What a beautiful place. I was just thinking of a beach getaway. I am adding this to my bucket list.

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  • March 10, 2017 at 9:49 am
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    I would love the chance to go to the Grand Cayman’s one day!! Your photos are fabulous!!

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    • March 16, 2017 at 11:42 am
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      Lots of direct and flights from the States. You could even go for a long weekend. Check it out!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 11:09 am
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    This looks like a fun place to getaway. I love how clear the water is, so pretty!

    Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 11:16 am
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    I wish I could zap myself to the Cayman Islands right now. It looks like an amazing getaway. I will have to add it to my travel bucket list.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2017 at 1:02 pm
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      Lol, if only there was a wanderlust remote control. We’d zap back there too, Ann!

      Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm
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    We visited the Grand Cayman when we were on our last cruise. I wish we had pictures in the water! You guys got some really great ones!

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    • May 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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      Thanks a bunch, to capture below and above the water really captures the true beauty of Grand Cayman.

      Reply
  • March 10, 2017 at 11:28 pm
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    Awww .. what a fun post! My hubby and I would love to go there some day. It would be fun to go diving!

    Reply
  • March 11, 2017 at 11:51 am
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    This looks like such an amazing trip! I am so jealous! Going to the Caribbean is on the top of my bucket list and seeing all of the marine animals too! My mom was just in the Cayman and she got to go to Stingray City. She said it was amazing!

    Reply
    • May 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm
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      If you are into marine life, it’s epic…as your mom can attest!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm
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    Wow… amazing place. I have never been there but would love to visit someday! I love clean and blue water!

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    • March 16, 2017 at 11:48 am
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      it’s total a delight. Especially if you are a water baby.

      Reply
  • March 12, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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    What a fantastic getaway! I would love to go to the Cayman Islands, they look so magical.

    Reply
  • March 13, 2017 at 1:45 am
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    These gorgeous photos have me so jealous! One day my bf and I hope to have a fab getaway like this! We’re pinching pennies to save

    Reply
    • May 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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      You can make it happen! There are some lovely airbnbs too if you are looking to keep you costs down.

      Reply
  • March 13, 2017 at 9:26 am
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    I would love to visit the Grand Cayman Islands. It is on my bucket list!

    Reply
  • March 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm
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    What an absolutely gorgeous place to be! I’ve always wanted to visit the Grand Caymans – I’ll definitely have to go there sometime soon.

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    • May 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm
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      The teal water, white sand, and cool breeze…it’s dreamy. Glad it’s on your radar!

      Reply
  • March 16, 2017 at 11:40 am
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    Cayman Islands is such a lovely place. Definitely go!

    Reply
  • August 13, 2017 at 11:48 pm
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    No underwater ballcap?? You’d think they would have come out with one by now.

    Reply

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