Travel Adventures: Cayman Islands

This post is a long time coming, but I’m finally getting around to sharing our spring break trip to the Cayman Islands!

GENERAL CAYMAN ISLANDS INFO

This is actually our second time visiting the Cayman Islands – we came here on our honeymoon in 2015! While we prefer to visit new places, we wanted to travel somewhere over spring break that was a direct flight or one layover, less than six hours, and not insanely expensive. We found good flights to Grand Cayman and remembered enjoying our time there, so decided to go back with the girls!

Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands and we flew into the Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM), which is the main airport. There are several areas of the island where you can stay. Seven Mile Beach is a very popular strip with gorgeous, soft sand beaches with clear water. There are tons of hotels here. The Georgetown area is where all the cruises dock. There are also the quieter West and East areas of the island. We stayed on both sides of the island during our honeymoon and enjoyed both experiences.

The Cayman Islands is known for its snorkeling and diving – there are tons of amazing reefs here! We didn’t dive on this trip and only did a little snorkeling, but when we came years ago, we snorkeled at different beaches every day – it was amazing!

We opted to rent a car just because we wanted (and liked) the flexibility of being able to bop around as we pleased. One thing to know if you rent a car is that you have to drive on the left side of the road here! If you don’t want to drive/rent a car and book an excursion, most hotels will have shuttle buses for excursions to popular tourist spots.

THINGS TO DO

We spent most of our time just rotating between the beach and pool at our hotel and it was delightful. The girls LOVE swimming and they loved being at the hotel. We did a couple of activities/outings during our trip

Rum Point is a popular beach on the north coast of the island known for its shallow and calm water. This makes it a great spot for snorkeling, swimming, and splashing around with kids. There’s a casual restaurant here and lots of space to hang out. Many people arrive by boat or kayak!

Starfish Point is a picturesque beach near Rum Point. Similar to Rum Point, it’s a lot less crowded than other beaches on the island. There’s shallow, calm water here, and tons of starfish! Lucy LOVED getting to touch starfish! Both Rum Point and Starfish Point are common stops on boating excursions.

Cayman Turtle Centre was a GREAT stop for the kids. They didn’t want to leave!  This is on the West Bay part of the island and is a turtle conservation facility with so much to do for families! There is a large turtle lagoon where you can swim and snorkel in the water with turtles (my favorite!), a hands-on turtle touch tank, where you can get in the water and touch baby turtles, a large swimming pool and water slide area (the girls’ favorite) and areas to observe birds, butterflies, a crocodile, sharks, barracuda, and more. Plus, there’s lots of other interactive exhibits, tours, talks, etc. It’s really a great stop especially for families to break up the pool and beach time!

Camana Bay is an inland, walkable community near Seven Mile Beach with tons of shops and restaurants, plus open play spaces. There’s often live entertainment there, too! We came here two different evenings—once for dinner and one for ice cream (and to tell the girls about Baby #3!). There is a little sandy island connected with lots of palm trees, hammocks, and chairs and the girls LOVED playing here after dinner/ice cream. They called it ‘Palm Tree Island’ (Gabby’s Dollhouse reference) and still talk about it.

Stingray Tour: We didn’t do this with the kids because they were VERY uninterested in this activity, but this was a unique experience we had years ago! You quite literally get to swim with stingrays…a bit terrifying but very cool! This is probably a better option for slightly older kids.

Bioluminescence Tour: This is another popular activity in the Cayman Islands that we did years ago, but not this trip. I do think it would be very kid-friendly, even for our 4 and 6-year-olds!  Most of these tours happen in Bioluminescent Bay (North area of the island)

Beaches: Cemetary Beach, Barefoot Beach (West), Spotts Beach, Seven Mile Beach, Turtle Reef, Governors’ Beach, Rum Point / Starfish Point

PLACES TO EAT

Personally, I don’t think dining is the main perk of traveling to a place like Grand Cayman – we’re there for the weather and the beach!  That being said, here are a few places we ate during our trip.

One place we remember eating at during our honeymoon (in 2015!) and have happy food memories from is Tukka. Back then, we went to their East location, but they opened up a second location on the West side of the island (closer to the Seven Mile area). This is my top food recommendation in Grand Cayman! It has a great vibe and is actually super delicious and unique!

Another place we visited a couple of times on our honeymoon was Kaibo (on the west side), and we went back this time, too! It’s very close to Rum Point / Starfish Point if you’re over in that area. They had a large menu and it’s right on the water with plenty of space and room to relax and play.

The Edgy Vedge was a delicious vegan spot in Camana Bay that was really good!

Other restaurants we went to in 2015 and/or were recommended to us were The Brasserie, Casanova, Cracked Conch, Calypso Grill, Sunshine Grill, Coccoloba Bar, Mr Piper’s Kitchen & Garden, Ristorante Pappagallo, Island Naturals Cafe (smoothies and acai bowls), Waterfront Urban Diner, and The Brooklyn.

WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed at the Westin Grand Cayman which was centrally located on Seven Mile Beach. We actually stayed here years ago when we visited, too! A few things that were great, especially traveling with kids:

  • Daily activities included, which were SO fun for the girls, like a temporary tattoo station, necklace and bracelet making, games by the pool, afternoon BINGO, s’mores on the beach, etc.
  • SUP and kayak rentals
  • Large pool with two shallow areas
  • There is a private beach area with plenty of chairs and umbrellas and two large floating rafts to swim to or jump off of!
  • Room upgrades are available. We got a suite, which was so great because it had a separate room for the girls to sleep in, two balconies, and a small kitchen area (fridge, microwave, sink, etc.).
  • Several onsite restaurants with all-day dining, ranging from fancy-ish to more casual. We opted for casual most of the time 😉

PACKING FOR BEACH AND POOL

Hooded Towel Ponchos are a must for beach vacations! The girls wore these to/from the beach and pool every day. They dry quickly and are super thick and plush.

The girls LOVE these diving gems! They come in a little treasure box and they seem to love these more than the standard diving rings (which we also have and brought on this trip).

This collapsible sand toy set was used daily! It’s super easy and flat to pack in the suitcase, and perfect for beach days. It comes with lots of little pieces for sand play, but everything fits in the collapsible bucket for easy packing. It also comes with a water bag to easily clean it out. 10/10 recommend this.

These colorful bags are perfect for collecting seashells or beach treasures, and the girls fill them with little toys/figurines for eating out at restaurants

We brought our inflatable body boards for the girls. They are great for playing in shallow water and going on ‘rides’. They roll up small and tight, so they are easy to pack and inflate at your destination.

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