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Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 #18289
01/08/2013 08:42 PM
01/08/2013 08:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 90
Missouri
R
RetireSXM2022 Offline OP
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Missouri
Our first visit to Grand Caymen.

Day 1

Early am AA flight from STL via MIA arrived at approx 1:30 (on time). Based on advice from many forums, opted no to rent a car. Hailed a cab for the ride from the airport to Seven Mile Beach where we were staying at the Westin. Cab ride was $35us with tip. As expected, our room was not ready when we arrived. The hotel stored our bags in a secure room, gave us a card for beach towels, and suggested that we enjoy the beach, wait in the lobby, or have lunch at the restaraunt and said our room should be ready in about 45 minutes. We opted to eat lunch on the beach. Consisted of a Mahi-Mahi sandwich and a Turkey Club sandwich along with 4 adult beverages. Cost for lunch $70us without tip. Went back to check the status of our room at the front desk. It was now ready. Bellhop retrieved our bags from the secure area and left us to schlep our own bags to the room. Room was nothing special. So far the service and room have not been up to Westin standards. After unpacking I lay down for a quick nap while my wife ventured directly across the street to Blackbeards Liquors. She purchased 4 bottles of wine and a 12pk of Budlight. Cost $95us. We then proceeded out to the beach at the Westin for a quick swim, drinks, and some sun. Stayed long enough to watch an absolutely beautiful sunset. (I'll attempt to post a few pics later) Then it was time to clean up for dinner at Calypso's. Doorman hailed a cab for the 10 min ride to the restaraunt (cost $25us) Our table was ready for us upon arrival. Wonderful atmosphere, but a bit cramped as they try to get as many seated on the pier as possible. Chose Fish Cakes as our appetizer, and the House Salad. For our entree, I had the Chefs Selection which was Giant (14 inch long)Shrimp (from Nigeria) stuffed with crabmeat while my wife chose the Seafood Linguine. We had two bottles of very nice wine with dinner. Food was wonderful and service was excellent. Cost of dinner $350us without tip. We returned to the hotel (another $25us cab ride) and decided to grab a bottle of wine from the icebox and head out to the beach for a nightcap. We began talking about our overall impression of the Island so far and about the hotel. We both agreed that we weren't giving GC a fair chance by comparing it to our beloved SXM. And that we had a feeling of being trapped without the convenience of having our own transportation and agreed that we would rent a car for the remainder of our stay. We both agreed that the staff needed to be a little more attentive to the guest. Doormen texting on their phones, and beach waitresses ignoring you is not acceptable. After finishing our bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio we were off to bed.

Day 2

Up early a.m. for breakfast at "EATS" directly across the street from the Westin. Excellent choice. Great food at ultra reasonable prices. 2 Large Breakfast Plates with juice and coffee for under $30us. Then it was back to the hotel to rent a car. $100/day with insurance. It took a little getting used to driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car. And I continuously turned on the wipers instead of the blinkers, but it was great to have a car and be able to explore like we are used to doing. Our first stop was at a grocery store."Fosters". They have a nice and clean looking hot food bar, and a full line of groceries. We stocked up on a few snacks for the hotel room. (Jotted down some prices while we were inside: 8pk Hotdogs $6ci, 18pk Miller Lite $22ci, Large bag Doritos $5ci, 2Litre Pepsi $2.69ci, Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $2.69ci, Lobster $16ci/lb, Gas $5.78/litre) We also stopped at Jacques to pick up a few more bottles of wine, and headed back to drop off our supplies at the hotel and to pick up our snorkeling gear. Then we were off to Cemetary Beach to see the fishies. Very nice little beach, not very crowded, calm crystal clear water, and an abundance of overly friendly/hungry fish. Had a wonderful time, spent about two hours there and then headed back to the hotel for a little snack and to swim, sun, and swill on the Westin beach. Stayed long enough to view another incredibly beautiful sunset and then we were off to dinner at Coconut Joes. Reasonably priced bar fare. Had a burger and fajita's with calamari appetize, washed down with 4 margaritas (2 for $5 special) and a bottle of wine. Cost $100us without tip. We then went back to the hotel for our nightcap bottle on the beach before bed.

Day 3

"EATS" for breakfast again and then drove to Georgetown to do some shopping. One cruise ship was in port so it was a little busy, but not nearly as crowded as I assumed it would be. Don't want to talk about how much we spent, but I can personally guarantee my wife secured the stability of the Islands economy for a month or two. We had lunch at Margaritaville...had to have a few margaritas to get my mind off the shopping bill, and then headed back to the Westin to sun, swim and swill until dinner time. We skipped the sunset since there was a cloud bank rolling on the horizon and went to happy our at "The Wharf". What an amazing time we had their. Spent about 2 hours talking to a couple from Canada who had attained residency on the Island. Found out later who they were, and I would have never guessed who I was talking to. Two of the nicest most down to earth people I have ever met in my life. After they left we decided to have dinner which consisted of Pecan Crusted Sea Bass, and Sea Scallops. OMG! This was the best dinner I think I have ever had. I highly recommend "The Wharf". Total cost for dinner and happy hour $310us and worth every penny of it. (I should clarify, our bar bill was about half of that amount. Dinner prices at "The Wharf" are reasonable). They also feed Tarpin off of the pier at 9pm. If you have never seen it, it is worth sticking around to see. By now it is approaching 10pm so we head back to the hotel for our usual nightcap on the beach. And then it was off to bed.

Day 4

Up early for breakfast, this time at Coconut Joes. Very good an nearly as reasonable as "EATS". Then off for a day of snorkeling when I discovered I had broke a strap on my flipper. A quick stop at one of the local dive shops had me repaired and out the door in less than 10 min and for under $7. I wish I could remember the name for a recommendation, but I cannot. Back to Cemetary Beach were we spent about 4 hours checking out the reef. Water is really calm. We were our about 400 or more yards with no problems and the reef is really nice. We then went back to the hotel for a quick in-room snack and headed out to the beach. There is a nice little reefy area quite a way out on Westins beach. You need to be a good swimmer though. We spent the rest of our afternoon sunning, swimming, and swillin. Before heading out to happy hour at "Rackams" in Georgetown. Nice little bar with pretty good happy hour specials. Enjoyed some really good spring rolls, and lobster cakes there too. We had planned on dinner at "Deckers" that evening but decided we were still full from happy hour. So we wound up back at Coconut Joes for some more libatious delights and picked up a couple of burgers to-go for a midnight snack. Then it was back to the hotel for our nightcap bottle on the beach. Glad we brought the burgers back. I was ready for one when we came inside.

Day 5
Up early and over to "EATS" for breakfast before going to Stingray City and Rum Point for snorkeling. If you don't know what Stingray City is google it, and then just go. It's well worth the money (Approx $120us/couple) Had a blast on the boat and in the water. Very fun trip. Last about 6 hours so plan on a full day. After coming back to the hotel completely exhaused, and because we were departing the next day we decided to try "EATS" for dinner. We were not disappointed. Grilled Mahi Mahi, and a Shrimp entree were wonderful. And we skipped the adult beverages, drinking iced tea instead. Our bill was $69us without tip. Then it was back to the hotel to pack, and later out to enjoy our nightcap on the beach finale.

Overview
Grand Caymen is absolutely beautiful. We totally enjoyed our time there. The only down side I see on the Island is the cost of goods. When we first arrived we were unsure if we liked it or not. Our thinking was "This is no St. Martins". We decided to give it a fair chance and not compare the two. We came home realizing St. Martins is no Grand Caymen either. St. Martins will always be our special place, but we will certainly visit GCM again.

mike

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Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: RetireSXM2022] #18290
01/08/2013 11:08 PM
01/08/2013 11:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 151
Texas
Testudo Offline
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Thanks for posting. Glad to read you enjoyed your visit.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: RetireSXM2022] #18291
01/09/2013 10:34 AM
01/09/2013 10:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 64,774
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Gas was 5.78 CI per LITRE?? $7 a LITRE or gallon?? And the car rental was $100 a DAY?? Yikes. I've actually only visited Cayman on cruise ships and I am not a diver and not a particularly good snorkler, so Cayman has never really appealed that much, so we have not stayed on island. But, based on how much your meals cost, and the cost for a car, I don't think I could afford it..


Carol Hill
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Carol_Hill] #18292
01/09/2013 12:03 PM
01/09/2013 12:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 90
Missouri
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RetireSXM2022 Offline OP
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It was definately an expensive trip. We do tend to splurge on food & drink. After totalling our receipts when we arrived home, my margarita count was 67 and we consumed the equivalent of 18 bottles of wine. Gas was indeed $5.78ci/litre. Fortunately we used less than 6Litres, and keep in mind I did purchase the full amount of rider insurance on the car (long story, but I always do based on a previous bad experience).

Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: RetireSXM2022] #18293
01/09/2013 12:19 PM
01/09/2013 12:19 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
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Texas
Testudo Offline
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FYI. Gasoline/Petrol in the Cayman Islands is sold/priced by the Imperial Gallon measure(~ 20% more than a US Gallon) and not by litre.

Average cost of an economy car rental for the week (no insurance, but including taxes/fees) is about $300 - $350 depending on the season.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Testudo] #18294
01/09/2013 12:21 PM
01/09/2013 12:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 64,774
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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OK, I'm still confused--for stupid people like me, how much does gasoline normally run, per US gallon??


Carol Hill
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Carol_Hill] #18295
01/09/2013 12:41 PM
01/09/2013 12:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 151
Texas
Testudo Offline
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Testudo  Offline
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Based on the fixed exchange rate the cost of an Imperial Gallon of fuel in Cayman is approximately the same as a US Gallon in USD would be. (currently ~$5.80 USD per US Gallon)

Here is a weekly survey of gasoline prices the CI Gov't publishes: http://www.planning.gov.ky/HTML_BODY/PI/PI_Current_retail_prices.htm

In my experience, Cayman generally has some of the lower priced fuel of the Caribbean Islands I've visited.


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Testudo] #18296
01/09/2013 01:19 PM
01/09/2013 01:19 PM
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Posts: 64,774
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Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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OK, $6 a gallon isn't that bad for the Caribbean. I was just taking the OP's statement to mean the cost in Cayman was roughly 4 times that, based on his price per litre.


Carol Hill
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Carol_Hill] #18297
01/09/2013 02:56 PM
01/09/2013 02:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 90
Missouri
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RetireSXM2022 Offline OP
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RetireSXM2022  Offline OP
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Sorry for the confusion. I incorrectly assumed it was sold by the litre when I wrote it down in my trip notes that day. The actual day I refueled I payed with a cc and I am fairly sure that I was charged in CI dollars. I will have to dig that receipt up and double check.

Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: RetireSXM2022] #18298
01/09/2013 03:00 PM
01/09/2013 03:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 64,774
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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No problem, I was just shocked that the price would be that high. Glad to know that was incorrect.


Carol Hill
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Carol_Hill] #18299
01/09/2013 03:07 PM
01/09/2013 03:07 PM
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Missouri
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RetireSXM2022 Offline OP
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RetireSXM2022  Offline OP
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Ya, $23+/gal would be outrageous. Never even clicked in my mind when I read it, as I was typing the trip report.

Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Carol_Hill] #18300
01/09/2013 04:39 PM
01/09/2013 04:39 PM
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Texas
Quote
Carol_Hill said:
OK, $6 a gallon isn't that bad for the Caribbean. I was just taking the OP's statement to mean the cost in Cayman was roughly 4 times that, based on his price per litre.


That would be alcohol, not gasoline. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />


Snorkel air just tastes better than canned air...
Re: Overdue Trip Report November 21 - 26, 2012 [Re: Testudo] #18301
01/09/2013 04:42 PM
01/09/2013 04:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 64,774
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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..maybe in Cayman! In SXM, booze is cheaper than gas!! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />


Carol Hill

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