Travel Destinations: The Cayman Islands

We have friends who make a trip to the Cayman Islands every year. They love it. The big attraction to them is Seven Mile Beach. Having been there several times myself, I can tell you it is very impressive -- all that warm, white sand that goes on for miles and miles. There’s nothing like that gorgeous shade of blue unique to the Caribbean -- and the Caymans are no exception.

But Grand Cayman has so much more than the perfect beach getaway. It’s noted for its Scuba diving and snorkeling also – and no wonder. The Cayman Islands are surrounded by the second largest coral reef in the world. The underwater sights are unbelievable. We did some snorkeling and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. The colors were incredible – and such a wide variety of fish and other underwater life! I’ve been told that for the really serious scuba divers, Little Cayman is the place to go. Another advantage to that is it’s less crowded.

The crowds are the one drawback to the Cayman Islands. It’s a very popular cruise ship port. Been there; done that. I remember one day counting seven other ships in port the same day as ours! You can imagine the crowds that are dumped into the downtown section of Georgetown (Grand Cayman’s main town)! It can be a bit overwhelming. But we had made arrangements in advance to ditch the crowds. Our transportation was already waiting to sweep us off to the other side of the island for an excursion to Sting Ray City.

Sting Ray City. What an experience! And, yes – you should go. There is a shallow area several miles offshore – it requires a boat to reach it. We went with one of the excursion catamarans. Sting Ray City far exceeded our expectations. The water is shallow enough to stand up (if you’re not a shorty like me; I wore a life preserver so I wouldn’t have to tread water!). The sting rays are very tame, having been exposed to humans their whole lives. They’ll swim right up to you in hopes of a handout or two.

Our tour guide helped each of us hold one and feed them. They suck the food in like a vacuum cleaner – it feels funny, but they’re very friendly. There are hundreds of them swarming around you all at once. They look like huge birds in flight – only under water. That, and the perfectly sunny day, and our personable companions -- crew and passengers alike -- made for a perfect day and a memorable experience for our whole family.

Grand Cayman also boasts a turtle farm that is a popular tourist destination. There’s also a strange rock formation that goes by the name “Hell.” It actually has a post office there so you can send your friends back home a “postcard from Hell” (with the postmark to prove it!). Yeah, I know. Gimmicky. But I have to say, the rock formation was really unusual. It kind of looked like a lava bed with deep crevices.

There’s also parasailing and shopping, and good eats to be had. All in all, the Cayman Islands was a fun place to visit.

Enjoy more holiday advice here in our guide and travel tips for warm weather

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