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Grand Cayman 1st time!

Level Contributor
15 posts
2 reviews
Grand Cayman 1st time!

We are a family of 8. Kids are 25-15 yrs . We staying at Turtle Nest. My first question do I book things like StingRay City/Turtle Farm Now or wait til we arrive? Do you need to pay to snorkel most places? Can you rent snorkel equipment for the week or just daily? Is there a place to rent Jet Skis, and Kite Boards. We love to eat at local places off the beaten path. All price ranges. Recommendation? Is there lots of night life/Dancing at the bars or pretty quite at night? I know there are a lot of questions here. Any help would be appreciated.

22 replies to this topic
Illinois
Level Contributor
1,702 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

We love Turtle Nest Inn and they do provide free loaner snorkel gear but I don't know if they would be able to outfit your large family! We bring our own snorkel gear and I am sure that you can rent from a dive shop or from "empty suitcases" but if you think that you are likely to snorkel during future vacations then it might be worthwhile to purchase gear now.

The hardest item to buy in my opinion is the mask because it needs to fit well without leakage. Is there a local dive shop in your area? If you went and talked to the owner/manager he may be able to work out a good (volume) deal for you so that it won't be prohibitively expensive.

If you plan to snorkel from a boat or with a guide you will have to pay fees, but there is excellent free snorkeling from shore widely available on Grand Cayman. There is very good snorkeling right outside the door at TNI.

Take a look at Testudo's guide at the link below. At TNI they will loan you chairs and a cooler so that you can travel out and about, but again, your family is so big that it may be a bit too much for their resources. Contact Alaine and Duane at TNI and ask for advice and they will advise you.

http://snorkelblog.tumblr.com/

As far as making reservations in advance, when will you be traveling to Cayman? If it is during the high season then advance reservations might be a good idea, but if it is during the slower seasons then there is usually no need. We like to wait and book after we get there to see what the weather will be like. If you want to book in advance, pick a date in the beginning of the week so if the weather is bad you may be able to reschedule for later the same week.

Regarding visiting popular tourist spots like Stingray City, the Turtle Farm, George Town, etc. try to avoid the peak hours for cruise boat visitors. They are usually around in force from 10 am to 3 pm so try to go early or late. Also avoid Seven Mile Beach and George Town during rush hours because the traffic is bad.

I advise you to either download interactive Google maps before you arrive on the island - or bring a GPS and car charger with you. TNI isn't very far from the airport, 7MB, and George Town, but the combination of driving on the left, navigating roundabouts, and negotiating the narrow-angled streets of George Town can be confusing and the street signage isn't always the best. If you travel East and North from TNI the traffic and the roads are easy - it is when you go west toward the airport, George Town and 7MB that it can be difficult.

You will pass some nice grocery stores on the way to TNI, we usually stop in Savannah on our way in from the airport. Be aware that most stores are closed on Sunday so if you arrive on Saturday you should to pick up enough supplies to get through a day or two.

Liquor is very pricey in Cayman and we usually pick up some duty-free at the airport before we leave the US, each adult is allowed to bring in a liter of alcohol duty-free.

There are some great local food venues right near TNI in Bodden Town. The Grapetree Café serves local fish dishes right on the beach but they are only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can buy a beverage right next door or bring the food back to TNI. The Czech Inn is across the street and they serve some great food and you can buy a beverage next door. The local Domino's Pizza will deliver.

If you head East from TNI there are a few nice spots to try like the Lighthouse, Over the Edge. and Tukka's. The frigate bird feeding at Tukka during happy hour is a lot of fun; they also have a popular Sunday brunch.

You made a great choice, I hope that you have a fantastic trip!

Edited: 07 August 2018, 03:05
Illinois
Level Contributor
1,702 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Regarding dancing at the bars and night life - not in Bodden Town, that is more 7MB. BT is a quiet district, and it would be unwise to go drinking and dancing and then drive all the way back to TNI on the left side of the road. We like the quiet but I see that you have young adults in your party so you will have to figure something out. I don't think that Uber is available but Lyft is - but we haven't used it so I don't really know.

There is a barbeque with music on the beach at Kaibo (East and North of TNI) on Tuesday night:

https:/…barefoot_beach_bbq.php

Edited: 07 August 2018, 03:12
Plano, Texas
Level Contributor
145 posts
3. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Regarding local food places: Rankin's Jerk is in Bodden Town, and going east - Captain Herman Fish Fry and Vivine's kitchen are all great, imo.

North Richland...
Level Contributor
514 posts
9 reviews
4. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

For an elegant sunset dinner on the patio, look for the Grand Old House. It is a must for us on every visit. It is located in southern Georgetown on a beautiful rocky shore facing the sunset. It’s not a terribly far drive from the Bodden Town area. As for excursions, I recommend timing them when cruise ships are not in port. Availability will be greater, and popular sites like Stingray City/sandbar will be far less crowded. You can check on the daily schedule for ships here. Just look for the big name cruise lines. The transport ships are obviously not a problem.

https://www.caymanport.com/ship-schedules/

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,702 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Every morning they post a list by reception at TNI detailing all the cruise ships that will be in port that day and the expected number of cruise passengers.

6. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

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Rhode Island
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
Level Contributor
6,593 posts
34 reviews
7. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Lyft on Grand Cayman???? Since WHEN????

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,702 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Sorry, I had read something about Flex being proposed as GC's version of Uber or Lyft and got mixed up - but I don't have any experience with taxi-like services on GC because we always rent a car. Is Flex an option for someone looking for a ride on GC, or are there other similar services?

Edited: 07 August 2018, 18:37
Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
6,297 posts
100 reviews
9. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

No there are no ride-sharing services currently active in the Cayman Islands.

As with so many other projects, it was an idea with big plans that either take a long while, or never get off the ground.

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,702 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Grand Cayman 1st time!

Thanks for the clarification TravellingBritNY!

lorieg928, if nightlife, bars, and dancing are a priority for members of your party (and why not? They're on vacation!) then Bodden Town really is NOT the right area for your stay, it's very quiet. You should be in Central Seven Mile Beach where it is easy to walk and/or take a cab ride to various venues; but the prices will be higher and that area is more developed.

TNI seems to meet your other requirements but not that one.

Edited: 07 August 2018, 21:05
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