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First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions #13826
02/21/2011 05:30 PM
02/21/2011 05:30 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
BobA Offline OP
Traveler
BobA  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
We (6 adults, 2 children 3yr & 5 yrs) may be heading to Grand Cayman in Jan 2012 for 1 week. The parents of the 2 children just returned from a stay on 7 Mile, and are encouraging us to join them next year.

The 6 adults have been to USVI & BVI several times, and have bareboated there several times. Some of us have been exposed to the Playa del Carmen area at AI resort. This is the 1st time 4 of the adults have been to Grand Cayman.

The parents of the 2 children are starting to look for a 3-4 bedroom unit with kitchen near Rum Point and Kaibo Beach. Because of children preference is for a sandy beach front location, not a rock front beach. We acknowledge that we will need to rent a car. We will be provisioning the kitchen so most meals can be eaten at unit.

I prefer relaxing, snorkeling with the fish, and hiking.

I've already found the TTOL web person that has the summary of snorkeling information which will quite useful.

I'm looking to buying a map and travel book on-line. Frommers appears to be the only thorough book. Any recommendations? Not sure about which map to buy?

A few beginning questions:
1. does the bus service go all the way around to the north end of island at Rum Point, and if so how regularly does it go back and forth?
2. i'd like to go to stringray city, but just how crowded does it get, as I've seen some awfully crowded videos on youtube.
3. we are used to the abundance of fish in the BVI, is GC on par?
4. i know the exchange rate puts a 20% premium on food and booze and dining costs, but it appears prices are considerably higher than in the VI; what is the explanation?
5. if we are staying away from the crowds of 7 mile and George town (yes well be going there, but not staying there), are there less expensive places to eat and drink than what I've heard are $10-20 drink prices & $30-50 meal prices? Surely, the locals can't pay such touristy prices!

I'll keep reviewing TTOL for other info, but thought I'd start off with a few things that I'm already wondering about. I know Jan 2012 will be here all to soon. We hope that by planning now, we can take get some better flight and lodging prices.

Thanks for any assistance.

BobA
Long Time TTOL member.

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Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: BobA] #13827
02/21/2011 06:24 PM
02/21/2011 06:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Testudo Offline
Traveler
Testudo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
The Rum Point area will be a bit more reminiscent of the VI's than staying on the more developed Seven Mile Beach areas. There are many condos and villa/condos on sandy beaches, but only a handful with sandy (i.e. no iron shore rocks) water entrances. So make sure you know what your villa/condo has to avoid disappointment. Also, shop at the larger grocery stores you will pass on the way out to Rum Point vs relying on the smaller mini-stores in the area (Chisholm's and Foster's Express) or having to drive back to "town" for provisions. Sort of like stocking up at Tutu Mall on STT before heading to Redhook for the ferry to STJ. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />

I will be responding in segments to bypass the spam filter.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: Testudo] #13828
02/21/2011 06:25 PM
02/21/2011 06:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Testudo Offline
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Testudo  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
To respond to your queries:
1)Bus Service: It does NOT regularly service all the way out to Rum Point. The closest regular stop is Chisholm's mini-mart about 5 miles away. If you catch the bus from town, they MAY take you all the way out to Rum Point with some di$cu$$ion. A rental car(s) are highly advisable.
2)Sting Ray City: Crowds vary and are most affected by the number of cruise ship visitors. Staying at Rum Point you have the option of taking an afternoon or even a weekend tour with RedSail that will pretty much may result in a visit devoid of cruise tourists (since they will have long headed back to their tender lines). Also, for any planned trips to Seven Mile Beach, George Town or other "tourist" spots, refer to the Cayman Port Ship Schedule Calendar to plan visits on lighter volume days.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: Testudo] #13829
02/21/2011 06:31 PM
02/21/2011 06:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Testudo Offline
Traveler
Testudo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
3)Abundance of Fish: If you mean for snorkeling, yes there are a similar amount of fish compared to the VI's (STJ) more than you would find in the BVIs. Overall comparable snorkeling to STJ (especially on the North Side where Rum Point is), better than the BVIs (including Anegada and VG). Check out/Google "Testudo's Snorkel Guides" or the sister site Cayman Snorkel Guides for info on where to go. If you meant for eating, same deal. Mahi mahi, Wahoo, Grouper, Smapper and Tuna are the local eating fish.
4) Costs: Like many islands everything is imported. There are no sales or income taxes in Cayman so the majority of revenue is raised solely via duty. Unlike the USVI or BVI, Booze is especially hit hard with and over 40% duty on average <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Yikes.gif" alt="" />! It pays to purchase some favorites at the duty free store at your departure airport of last connection airport. Unlike the USVI, purchasing duty free liquor is only availble for outbound persons, no stocking up like at the STT airport or K-Mart<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/duh.gif" alt="" />. The CI$/KYD$ also exchanges at a 25% premium to the USD ($1USD=$.80KYD or $1KYD=$1.25USD). Grocery items are comparable to the VI's and Manhattan <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" /> and dinning out is a bit more expensive, but not too much more than the "better" restaurants in the VI's.
5) Costs part Deux: There are plenty of places to enjoy drinks and meals that are not completely outrageous <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />. Refer to Cayman Good Taste menu guide for an idea of what is available and the costs (remember to add 25% to listed CI costs). Most fru-fru drinks on the island will be $10US or less and beers and cocktails $5-$8. If you drink beer, buy a case or more of the local brewed beer from the Cayman Islands Brewery on the way to Rum Point. A case is $35 US vs $45+ at liquor stores. Kaibo, Driftwood and Over the Edge are the local bars. Rum Point Club's Wreck bar is a bit more geared to touri$ts, but does have great Mudslides.

Hopes that helps.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: Testudo] #13830
02/21/2011 06:37 PM
02/21/2011 06:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
BobA Offline OP
Traveler
BobA  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
Dear Testudo!

You are a one-stop source of total information. thank you very much. I will pass this information along and print it out for reference.

I especially liked how you tied things comparatively back to VI.

Thanks Again.

Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: BobA] #13831
02/21/2011 06:42 PM
02/21/2011 06:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Testudo Offline
Traveler
Testudo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Happy to help. If you want some suggestions on above water sights to see, just let me know.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: Testudo] #13832
05/13/2011 11:49 PM
05/13/2011 11:49 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 712
Tennessee
K
KayMike Offline
Traveler
KayMike  Offline
Traveler
K
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 712
Tennessee
When we stayed there several years ago, we bought groceries to fix breakfast & meals. We frequently ate out for late lunches (to keep restaurant costs down). We found that menu items similar to evening menu but portions a bit smaller and prices considerably smaller! Plus less crowds & no waiting for a table.
The 2 times we stayed on GCM, we were on 7 Mile Beach and didn't find it that crowded. Certain places along the beach get packed when cruise ships are in, but not the entire beach. The sand and water entry is soooo much better on 7 Mile. We were all packed to go a 3rd time to stay on East End at Morritts Tortuga but Hurricane Ivan arrived a day ahead of us. That hurricane was quite destructive to that resort and other places on GCM. Since then, we have been back to GCM on 5 cruises, but have been going to St. Maarten for long stays. We are interested in going back to GCM for a week or 2. We found it easy to drive all around the island once Mike got used to driving on the left side of the roads and parking lots!

Last edited by KayMike; 05/13/2011 11:51 PM.

SXM Our favorite Carib island destination!
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: KayMike] #13833
06/15/2011 04:43 PM
06/15/2011 04:43 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 23
Florida
RumShopRyan Offline
Traveler
RumShopRyan  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 23
Florida
Definitely make a trip out to Rum Point and have a Mudslide. Legend has it that the Mudslide was invented at the Wreck Bar at Rum Point.

http://rumshopryan.com/2011/06/15/mudslide-cocktail-recipes/

Something else that might be kind of fun and different especially for the kids is rent a dog. Yes, you can rent a dog for a day. Here is the information and story if you are interested.

http://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/2011/03...g-7-mile-beach/

Cheers!


"Only worry in the world is if the tides gonna reach my chair"

RumShopRyan
Caribbean Travel Blogger
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: RumShopRyan] #13834
06/18/2011 09:12 PM
06/18/2011 09:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 26
CT
shlinds Offline
Traveler
shlinds  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 26
CT
I just got back from Grand Cayman and Testudo made some great points! We didn't head out to rum point, its more of a cruise ship stop, a couple of shacks that are bars and a beach. I would go to Kaibo and take a walk to the end of the road to see the deserted beach. Check out Sunshine Grill across from the Westin for some great Fish Tacos.

We did notice that the prices are steep there, more than I've paid in the past on an island (sxm is usually my home island). The prices for alcohol are good in the airport and we noticed that in Georgetown the only deals for the liquor was for the cruise ship customers.

Enjoy your trip!



[Linked Image]
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: shlinds] #13835
07/29/2011 01:17 AM
07/29/2011 01:17 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 261
Northern California
shiloh8912 Offline
Traveler
shiloh8912  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 261
Northern California
Check out the turtles nest inn. It's a bit from Rum Point but they have a great beach, nice kitchenettes and a pool. Very reasonable!


"We lost our corkscrew and were compelled to live on food and water for several days.
~W.C. Fields"
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: Testudo] #13836
04/21/2012 06:14 AM
04/21/2012 06:14 AM

A
Anonymous
Unregistered
Anonymous
Unregistered
A


How is the drinking water is it safe like the Dutch islands?

Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions #13837
04/21/2012 07:57 AM
04/21/2012 07:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,418
Eric_Hill Offline

Traveler
Eric_Hill  Offline

Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,418
The water is fine in the Caymans


Eric Hill
TTOL Shop
Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: shiloh8912] #13838
05/29/2012 11:59 AM
05/29/2012 11:59 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 52
skshay Offline
Traveler
skshay  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 52
Is it better to buy plastic bottles of alcohol before leaving home or to get it at your connecting city?? We will be stopping in Charlotte for our layover.

Re: First Time to Grand Cayman - Suggestions [Re: skshay] #13839
05/30/2012 09:49 AM
05/30/2012 09:49 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
Testudo Offline
Traveler
Testudo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 142
New Jersey
You can save some $ by purchasing your alcohol at the duty free stores of your last airport before leaving the US, CLT in your case, or bringing from home.

Per person Duty Free limits into Cayman:
1L of Spirits/Liquor
or
4L of Wine
or
1 Case of Beer

Tap water island-wide is desalinated and safe to drink.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...

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