For the past several months my inbox has been flooded with discounted airfare to various warm weather destinations. The airlines often advertize special rates to their customers. Your favorite airline is one of the few commercial places to consider giving your email address. That is, if you want to receive news of special reduced ticket prices.
Last week Heidi Casper shared some great ideas for a trip to Grand Cayman Island. Read last week’s post for her first tip and why it’s important. In today’s post she gives more suggestions for vacationing on this beautiful island.
Guest Post by Heidi Casper
Everyone who visits Grand Cayman must take a trip to Sting Ray City. This unique experience allows you to swim in waist deep water with wild stingrays. Some of the largest ones were five feet in diameter! A charter boat will take you to a sand bar near the edge of the coral reef where fishermen used to clean the fish they caught. This drew in the stingrays and they’ve hung around ever since.
The stingrays are very docile and like to rub up against you in the water, somewhat like a cat. This is especially true when it’s feeding time. The boat’s captain has squid available to hand feed them, which is a little like putting your hand next to a vacuum tube. The crew will also insist that they get a picture of you kissing a stingray as that is supposed to be good luck.
Grand Cayman is likely not the best location for anyone who loves to shop. First of all, it can be very expensive, especially for items such as clothing. Everything on the island has to be shipped in and is heavily taxed in the process, so this drives prices up. Additionally, when you return to the United States you will have to claim anything you purchased on the customs form. If you’re bringing back more than $300 in island booty, expect to pay a tax to the U.S. as well.
However, there are some good points to shopping there. For one thing, since it’s a British territory, everyone speaks English. (Many people do speak an island dialect that can be hard to understand sometimes, but for the most part, you’ll have no trouble communicating.)
Also, there’s no need to exchange your U.S. dollars for Cayman dollars because everyone accepts either form of money. You may get Cayman dollars as change at the exchange rate of one Cayman dollar to 1.25 U.S. dollars. That means your $20 bill equals $16 in Cayman dollars. However, most places can give you change in U.S. dollars. (Check current exchange rates before your trip.)
Since we rented a car, we were able to explore around the island. Here are some of the things we did off resort:
• Boat trip to Sting Ray City, which included snorkeling at two different places and a sunset stop at Starfish Point where we found beautiful red starfish of varying sizes.
• Snorkeling at Spott’s Beach occasionally provided sightings of wild sea turtles
• Relaxing on Governor’s Beach, which is part of Seven-Mile Beach
• Night kayaking at Rum Point to see bio-luminescence in the water
• Exploring historical sites such as East End Lighthouse, Wreck of the Ten Sail, and the Queen’s Monument
For me two memorable parts made me really fall in love with the island. Since I’m a huge cat lover, I was thrilled to learn about the feral cat population. Locals care for them on the East end. Some of the cats were very skittish, but many were used to people. They followed us around and allowed us to pet them. The locals have the cats fixed to control the population and feed them with help from the local Humane Society and donations from tourists.
Most memorable of all, however, was making friends with a local couple (U.S. ex-pats) our first full day on the island. Everyone is very friendly, and this couple was no exception. They invited us to Seven-Mile Beach for the day, told us about all the great things the island offered, and had dinner with us before we left. I’m certain that friendship will take us back to Grand Cayman again one day!
In fact, we already know what we’ll do when we return.
For Future Adventures:
• Visit the Botanical Gardens in the jungle center of the island
• Explore Crystal Caves on the North side
• Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery on the West side
• Visit the Cayman Rum Distillery and Rum Cake Factory
You can read more from Heidi on her blog: https://heidisdropofink.blogspot.com/
Thank you for sharing your vacation with us, Heidi. And your future plans, too. It all sounds wonderful—all except kissing a stingray. That is so NOT happening.
What about you? Will the guides be able to talk you into kissing a stingray? What’s been your most memorable vacation experience? Tell me in the comments below.
Until next time . . . Travel Light,
© 2017 SuZan Klassen