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Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) #19106
04/11/2013 12:24 PM
04/11/2013 12:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
BobA Offline OP
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BobA  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
Four of us ventured forth from Minnesota and Wisconsin to the warmth of Grand Cayman for seven days at the end of March 2013 and stayed at George Town Villas. For two of us this was our 2nd trip to GC, for the others it was their 1st trip. Last year we stayed in a house near Rum Point. This year we wanted to experience 7 Mile Beach.

The condo (Dr. Bartís #218, southern most building in the GTV complex) was essentially spotless and all amenities were either new, nearly new or in excellent condition. The condo is very nicely furnished in all rooms; however the dining room table was primarily used for storing daily items not dining, as we had most meals out on the balcony/deck. The king size bed in the master bedroom was very comfortable, and shower was quite spacious and all tiled.

The view from the condo is either due west out to sea, or northwesterly up the coast line. There is little sandy beach at GTV, instead it is primarily rocky at waterís edge with a ladder to climb down into the water, but there is a long sandy stretch below the protective wall that extends across the edge of GTV with lounging chairs. GTV is one if not the only complex along 7 Mile that has a vast open green space between the buildings and the pool area. The pool is well maintained with plenty of chairs, tables and lounge chairs and every evening the security guard re-arranges all the furniture around the pool so each morning all is ready for the new day.

GTV is about a 15-20 minute walk to the south to Kirkís Grocery. Kirkís is a very clean and friendly grocery, with just about everything one would need. I unfortunately could only find a liquor store another Ĺ mile or more further east down a side road from Kirkís, which made for an interesting hike back to Kirkís where the others shopped and while I was lugging a case of beer back to Kirkís, and then back to the condo. That evening I found a small Black Beardís liquor store was about 3-5 minute walk to the north from condo, and another 5 minutes further north. There are restaurants and bars within walking distance (15-25 minutes) each direction, with small shopping areas in between. So GTV is in a good location.

We used buses as much as possible. It appeared most fares were $2 Cayman/$2.50 U.S., whether going to GT or up to Turtle Farm or to Public Beach at Governorís. I simply had $3 U.S. ready at all times. One should watch and learn the relaxed, simple hand gesture to flag down a bus. Generally if you are walking along the side of the road in the direction of traffic flow, you will hear a familiar beep-beep from behind you. Just raise your arm in the air with a flat palm and turn around to see the bus pulling over. Be cautious of the slight visual difference between a taxi and a bus. Buses have the colored circle on the front indicating route; taxis have the obvious taxi sign on the dash or on the roof. A bus to GT is $2-3 U.S., a taxi is $10. The vehicles sometimes can look to be exactly the same. Just because they honk, doesnít mean it is a bus. And yes, buses divert from their route to drop off regulars and locals, and a few turns later one is back on the road again. Some passengers got nervous when the bus picked us up in front of the Turtle Farm to head back south to condo, only to do a U-turn and head north instead of south. As there are not kidnappings on island by bus drivers, I just relaxed and we all got a tour of just about every back road in West Bay and eventually wound up on the road south.

The weather did not cooperate for us intending to go swimming every day and snorkeling twice a day. It was unusually windy for days and from the unusual direction of from the west. Even with winds and surf down the water was too cloudy to see in. Gone was the typical ability to see down 20-30í through clear water. On one attempt at snorkeling I realized I could only see 5-8í around me. So unfortunately I cannot say I saw many fish.

We did take a sailing trip to Sting Ray city on SunRayToursí catamaran. This is about a 40í catamaran and there were only 15 or so of us on the boat. The captain and crew are extremely friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating, but then they are all Italians I think. The captain lives on the boat, so it is very well maintained and pizza and soft beverages are served after the Sting Ray City and reef tours are over. Sting Ray City is a must, and with a smaller group it is more intimate.

We also visited the Turtle Farm but only did the exhibit share of tour, $16 U.S., or so. A lot of turtles, amazing to see so many of the big greens at once. To think that is what early visitors to the island saw regularly out at sea.

I was the only one to visit the National Museum. It was quite small; cost for a senior was $6 U.S. But while it is small it is Very Nice. The movie at the beginning of tour was quite informative and a very surprising high quality presentation on 3 screens. The other displays were equally surprising; I had to do a double take when the fisherman appeared to come to life in his life size fishing boat to explain a big storm that happened years ago. There is a lot to see in this little museum.

We never went to GT in the morning, and we kept an eye on cruise ship schedules to only go when the crowds were down, but GT sure empties out around 3 p.m., one could essentially be alone in a bar or small restaurant after 3 p.m.

I think Iíll stop now before this is a 100 page journal. In summary; GTV is a well maintained, secure and a well located complex. It is off the road a bit and quiet, yet easy to walk out to catch the bus or walk to things. GT is primarily for shopping, but do venture off the main road to see some of the older buildings and get inside them. The post office actually looks like the inside of an old wooden ship.

If anyone has any questions let me know.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 04/11/2013 03:18 PM.
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Re: Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) [Re: BobA] #19107
04/11/2013 02:39 PM
04/11/2013 02:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
BobA Offline OP
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BobA  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
I have a typo in the opening paragraph.

For two of us this was our 2nd trip to GC, for the others it was their 1st trip.

Re: Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) [Re: BobA] #19108
04/11/2013 03:20 PM
04/11/2013 03:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,204
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 65,204
Central Florida!
Hi Bob. I fixed the typo.

Thanks for the report! Any pictures that you could share? Looks like you ate in most of the time? If you ate out, where did you go that you enjoyed? For groceries, could you compare prices for groceries, versus other places you've been?


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) [Re: Carol_Hill] #19109
04/11/2013 03:51 PM
04/11/2013 03:51 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
BobA Offline OP
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BobA  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 294
Stillwater, Minnesota
I used to put my trip photos up on Webshots until that all fell apart, so I haven't been posting photos for awhile anywhere. I think I need to shrink them to post to TTOL, but haven't tried.

Yes we ate all breakfast at condo, several lunches and only ate in town a few times. Twice at Rackam's, cheap pizzas one night up at Royal Palms, appetizers and drinks at Paradise Palms in GT (unless I have the names reversed). We liked Rackam's and went there for lunch before flying out too. Lunch at 7 Mile Beach Bar which is a part of Beach Suites or something for fish & chips.

I'm not much for fine dining, where it is mostly presentation and little food - and typically do not like paying a $100 for a meal, so we went the cheap route and ate at condo a lot.

Grocery prices in the ads look close to U.S. prices, but then there is the 20-25% exchange rate difference that equals a 20-25% surcharge/markup. Grocery prices in the Virgin Islands were more like shopping in america at a small grocery store vs. a huge grocery store, slightly higher but not out of line; especially considering the costs to get food to the VI.

Alcohol is ridiculously high in GC. $12 U.S. mixed drinks are out of my sensibility range. For some I suppose that is normal. If I told someone in a bar in Minnesota I paid $12-$15 U.S. for a rum drink, they'd wonder when I had won the lottery.

Re: Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) [Re: BobA] #19110
04/11/2013 04:42 PM
04/11/2013 04:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,204
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,204
Central Florida!
We have only visited Cayman on ships, probably that continue to be the case, as I can't offord to pay those alcohol prices! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report (23-30 March 2013) [Re: Carol_Hill] #19111
06/05/2013 04:24 PM
06/05/2013 04:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,314
MIA
I
irina Offline
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irina  Offline
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Posts: 2,314
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Haven't been there in years but remember it was very expensive in restaurants etc. Booze too!
Sounds like a nice trip. Need to go back.
Thanks
cheers
irina


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