Winter escape to Grand Cayman
It has been freezing cold and snow is coming on its way but we escaped it (well at least for a week) to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands where average temperature is mid-80’s!!! I have been to George Town only half a day during a cruise years ago so it’s great to be able to spend more time to explore the island. Usually weeks before my trip, I will start packing and having daydreams about my trip but this time I have been too busy with work to even think about it and then before I realized…it’s time for vacation! Don’t worry, I planned ahead for this trip and booked all the excursions 🙂
The 4 hour and 15 minutes flight felt so long but thanks to JetBlue’s in flight TV kept me entertained. The flight attendants started to pass out customs and immigration forms; a hint that we are soon arriving the island! Each person has to fill out a white cardboard embarkation form, you must keep the bottom section till you leave the island! Only one blue (customs declaration) form is required per family with the same last name. I carried two pens with me hahaha prepared right? We finally arrived at Grand Cayman wohooo! The moment I stepped out of the flight oh boy I wanted to change my sneakers into flip flops right away….it was warm and humid! The airport is very small so you actually have to walk out of the plane via the stairs and then walk into the building. The passport control was slow then we claimed our luggage and headed out to car rental. The lady said go across the street and turn left….we found out it was actually turn left and walk to the end of the road and then cross the street! It wasn’t a long walk though!
I reserved the car weeks ahead on Expedia, the rate for one week for a small compact car is $128 included tax, not bad at all compared to the price of taxi from airport to hotel around $24! I also did my research from Trip Advisor and found out that a driving permit is required and it will cost $20 USD but someone said that an international permit will work so hubby went to AAA and got an international driving permit for $15 and it’s valid for one year. Important to note that driving in Cayman Islands is on the left side…….and most of the cars’ driver’s side are on the right!!! Sighh by the time we arrived all the available compact cars’ driver’s seat are on the right and the only left side cars are the big SUVs which we don’t want to upgrade. Hubby took a few seconds to practice in the parking lot and off we go!!
Warning…I printed out a map from Google map but it wasn’t detailed enough to make it out of the airport area to Seven Miles Beach!!! We followed cars and generally guessing on the direction “right turn” LOL and there were tons of rotaries but we managed to made it to our hotel…Sunshine Suites! I highly recommended to print out a more detail map to show at least each rotary on which exit to take! By the time we arrived the hotel, it was almost 4 pm! We were upgraded from a studio to a one-bedroom suite; difference was a king bed instead of queen and addition of a sofa bed. I got a good rate from Expedia – $122 per night excluding tax, good deal for Cayman Islands! Our room was clean, it has all the amenities, the only down sides I could think of were the AC was loud and the bathroom was small.
Our one-bedroom suite with a spacious sitting area.
A large fridge to store drinks!
The king size bed, it was pretty comforty!
Small but clean bathroom.
As soon as I arrived in the room, I changed into my shorts and flip flops! There was an event tonight at Camana Bay – Parade of Lights from 6-8. I was thinking to take the bus to go since it will be dark when we come back and hubby wasn’t familiar with the road nor diving on the left nor on the right side of the wheel! I checked with the front desk, the lady said best to take the taxi back since Cayman bus at night wasn’t reliable…urg!! Hubby decided to drive! Venture off we go driving slow; speed limit was usually 40 mph! We passed Camana Bay when we were driving from the airport to the hotel was we know the way, it was straight down on Esterly Tibbetts Hwy, passed two rotaries. We safely arrived Camana Bay yay!!!!
We walked to the waterfront area to see if we could find a table with a good view for dinner but unfortunately all the good seating were reserved. We ate at The Waterfront Restaurant:
We got there early so it was pretty empty. The salt and pepper hahaha!
We ordered two appetizers and two main:
The Moroccan meatballs, it was alright but at $9 (Cayman Island Dollars) for 3 meatballs….pretty expensive!
Calamaris were pretty good.
Hubby ordered the lime and chili shrimp pasta, it was the first time we had spicy pasta and it was good!
I ordered the steak sandwich, it cooked medium as I wanted and it was yummy! The total cost of the dinner was $74 USD (the bill showed both amount in Cayman Dollars and US Dollars, the restaurant automatically converted to US Dollars by $1 USD = 0.8 CI which is the standard in the island), ohhh forget to mention $74 USD included 15% gratitude. Most restaurants included 15% tips in the bill already so don’t forget to check!
After dinner, we walked around to get a good viewing area and it was packed with tourists and locals. We heard that the show actually starts at 7 pm. As we were looking for a good spot, we passed trees wrapped with lights and a big Christmas tree – the atmosphere was filled with holiday spirits!
The locals already reserved the best viewing area with their beach chairs and coolers. We walked pass the big Christmas tree, it was beautiful at night with the lights turned on and a lighted water fountain 🙂
This was the 2nd time that I associated shorts with Christmas tree, love the feeling!
I went up close and took a pic of the beautiful Christmas tree, the clouds on the background made the photo dramatic 🙂
All the spots right next to the water were filled so we stand on the back row but it was unobstructed because people were sitting down in front of us. We waited and waited for it to start, the wait was so long we felt like. Then the lady in front of us told us it should start at 7 pm but it’s already 7:06 right now but it’s Cayman Island late is normal LOL! She was also nice to point us to the other side of the bay where the tents were for less people, greater chance to get a good spot, and the view should be better! We took her advise and walked to the other side of the bay where the tents, yep she was correct, it did offered a better viewing since the buildings of the bay is now the backdrop. The show finally started at 7:15 ish!!!
The first boat was decorated as a Christmas tree with lights, you couldn’t see from the photo but you could see from the water reflection:
The second boat was by the Glass Recycling with a lot of multi-colored LED lights:
The 3rd boat was Santa themed and Santa and Mrs. Claus were on the boat 🙂
Then the other smaller boats came out from the other side and didn’t came over to our side so we decided to leave so we don’t need to stuck in traffic to get out of the mall. It was a fun event but we weren’t impressed. The tents filled with local vendors:
Driving at night was an adventure since it was our first night on the island, on the rotary, we took the wrong exit to Seven Mile Beach!!! That led us to West Bay Road instead of Esterly Tibbetts Hwy but it still work to get back to our hotel. We passed by many hotels along the Seven Mile Beach and then saw the sign Sunset Suites but we passed it LOL! We had to go around to the next rotary and turned back but we safely made it back to our hotel! That concluded our first night at Grand Cayman 🙂
We checked the weather forecast at home and it was 90% of snowing so we escaped the snow hahaha or else the scene at home would look like this:
Can’t wait for tomorrow!