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lenlu Feb 13th, 2010 05:24 PM

Any reason to go stay at a condo in the North Shore or Cayman Kai area?
I can't believe it but I've never been out there. We're thinking of doing a couple days at the Ritz and a couple elsewhere. Does anyone recommend going to Cayman Kai?

StanKase Feb 13th, 2010 07:24 PM

Yes, if you want to dive or snorkel some of the better spots are there. But, if you snorkel there are sometimes an under-tow and you should wear an inflatiable vest and make sure you do not go closer than 50 the reef. Do not stay in the huts but we had a condo down from the resort ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD. They sometimes have 2 attached units but are much nicer than the more motel-style ones on the same sidee iof the road as the resorrt. Also, if you are interested you are 1/54 mile or so from Sting Ray City. But, the last time we were there, 2006, we had to go into Georgetown for decent though expensive food. The Ritz is 10 times nicer but the snorkeling access is not good.

CaymanKaiVacations Feb 14th, 2010 07:34 AM

You should look at the Island Houses of Cayman Kai located in the heart of Cayman Kai and right across the road to the famous Rum Point Beach.
Go to

virginia Feb 14th, 2010 08:49 AM

last spring we rented a house on the beach, located just before you get to rum point/cayman kai. we loved the area for it's peace, quiet & beauty. snorkeling was good, no under tow. dive companies nearby at rum point (red sail sports) and 20 mins away at the reef resort (ocean frontiers) on east end of island.
you might consider spending your extra days at the reef resort. it's fairly nice, all condo units, has restaurant, activities & one day a week offers a resort guests only excursion to stingray city after the cruise ppl have returned their ships:
at rum point/cayman kai i think you should look at the kaibo yacht club condos. the phase 1 bldings are behind a nice/small infinity pool. phase 2 bldings are slighty more remote - just down the beach on the other side of the pool/restaurant/bar/marina area. we stayed one night there and these are very nice condos - some listed on vrbo.
this page has a google map of the area:

dinner at kaibo upstairs was good but not great.
we loved dinner at rum point restaurant at sunset. rum pt. beach food is good & their cocktails are killer.
had fun breakfast at funky 'over the edge' which you'll pass on drive out to kaibo.

if you've not been to the botanical gardens add that to your must do list. it's just beautiful! it's on the north sound road on your way out to rum point.

there are loads of fabulous rental villas in this area. most will do nightly rate so if this interests you, you might contact or call 345.945.4144. tell them you'd like a house with a view out to sea as opposed to view across channel to other houses.

you're going to need a car no matter where you decide to stay.

mymoosie Feb 14th, 2010 09:01 AM

Hi virginia,
How's the beach (sand/water) in front of Kaibo Ph 2? I think we might go back to GC and rent something in the Cayman Kai or Rum Point area just because we loved the ease of snorkeling at Rum Point.


luvtotravl Feb 14th, 2010 04:31 PM

I second the suggestion to check out the Reef Resort on the east end. There is excellent snorkeling right in front of the resort. You don't need to go out as far as you do at Rum Point, and there is no under tow. Also, there are more activites/pools/etc as well. The beach bar is fun, and the view from all of the condo's is just plain excellent. The Morritt's Grand Resort (not Totuga) has very nice ocean front condo's as well. It's right next to the Reef Resort, and the snorkeling between the two resorts is great.

TurtleTagger Feb 16th, 2010 12:29 PM

We just spent 10 days on Grand Cayman, splitting time at the Westin on Seven Mile Beach and the Retreat Condos at Rum Point in Cayman Kai. While Seven Mile Beach was great for the beach itself and the wonderful restaurants, we found we much preferred the beautiful waters around Rum Point and the overall sense of tranquility much more to our liking.

The snorkeling was 100 times better on the North Side and East End of the island than around SMB. I found lots of information on the best places to go on various websites and they all were excellent. I snorkeled right up to the reef all along Cayman Kai and never experienced any undertows. I used to think St. John had the best snorkeling, but some of the sights near Rum Point and Old Man Bay just blew them away.

We looked at staying at the Kaibo condos, but were glad we ended up at the Retreat. The beach at the Kaibo looks man-made with hard packed sand. It is on a very calm lagoon, but the water is quit stagnant and the real is busy with boaters, since a marina is smack in the middle. The pool looked very nice (we did take a dip ;-) )The Retreat had a great little beach on the sea and was next door to a small scale beach club where you can eat, rent water toys and grab a trip to Sting Ray Center. The Reef Resort and Moritz looked nice, but they are full scale resorts and the two times we went there it was too windy to stay on the beach or go into the water.

We liked eating at Kaibo restaurant for both lunch and dinner (dinner was hit or miss) and the Rum Point Club for dinner (lunch was horrible). Over The Edge was our favorite for super fresh, simply prepare fish and the Lighthouse was the best fancy meal. Portofino's was also good, not great. We stayed away from the Italian dishes and opted instead for the seafood (did not see any Italians in the kitchen...)

The botanical gardens was having an orchid show which was really wonderful and we also took a hike on the mastic trail, but headed back when it started to rain.

If you want the best food and all the pampering and amenities than stay over on Seven Mile Beach. If you want more of a get away from it all vacation, slightly more authentic Caribbean in feel then checkout Cayman Kai.

StanKase Feb 16th, 2010 03:52 PM

It is good to hear the food around Cayman Kai has improved. But, I would not put all your faith in TurtleTiger's comment abount the undertow. We weree carried slightly less than 1/2 a mile before the current changed and allowed us, both good swimmers, to get in to shore. A local was nice enough to give us a lift back seeing how exhausted we were after a nother local gave us tea and blankets for about 45 minutes. Our neigbor had 32 stitches in her forehead last Nov. when a wave pushed her over the reef. She was staying at the Reef so you could easily confirmm the danger of going too close to the reef.

lenlu Feb 16th, 2010 06:41 PM

This is all really good information, thanks everybody. I will start checking out places to stay. Maybe we'll spend the bulk of the time at The Ritz or Cayman Beach Suites and then a few days in Cayman Kai. Anyone been to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman?

TurtleTagger Feb 16th, 2010 06:45 PM

Oh Yea of Little Faith StanCase. According to Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster an undertow is the current beneath the surface that sets seaward or along the beach when waves are breaking upon the shore. Further, according to a resident dive master friend, this does not happen in non-stormy conditions on the North Side of Grand Cayman. What you may experience is a strong current or tidal flow.

The take away here is to be aware of the water conditions and know your limitations before of soon after entering the sea. If there are strong waves breaking against the North Side shore there is really no good reason one should venture out snorkeling, especially since the waves breaking along the barrier reef will be much, much bigger.

There are channels in the reef on the East End, once near the Reef Resort and Morritz and one closer to the wreck of the Ten Sails that do have very strong tidal flows. I was advised to avoid snorkeling near them, especially if the tide is going out. Maybe this is where you ran into trouble? There really is nothing to see, but sandy bottom 50ft from the reef at Cayman Kai. The good stuff is along the reef.

TurtleTagger Feb 16th, 2010 07:18 PM

I just checked with a guy I met on our trip who snorkels around Rum Point all the time regarding undertows. Like StanCase, he seems to be a snorkel expert, but what do I know. He echoed what my diving friend said, no undertows but there can be currents from weather systems, especially in winter months.

After watching him snorkel the reef for a few days I asked to join him. He was trying out a new camera and graciously showed my the prime spots. I asked him to come and post here, but he prefers to stay on another site. He did give me this link to some pictures he took right up next to the reef we snorkeled.

eastave Feb 22nd, 2010 04:39 AM

We just got back from a week at the phase two condos at kaibo yacht club. We really enjoyed our time up there - we never even made it to seven mile beach. We probably wouldn't stay in the same place again though. You wouldn't want to swim at the beach outside the complex as the water is pretty stagnant looking. The pool was freezing - although it sounds like that is true of most of the places around there. The hot tub was out of order the whole time. And, this was just bad timing on our part, the big Mardis Gras party is thrown by the yach club next door. So while that part of the island is normally a nice place to get away from it all, for at least one night it wasn't.

In the end we spent most of our time at Rum Point, so it would make more sense to stay at the retreat. Rum Point was fantastic. We had a few days that were fairly windy, but the rest of the time we had great weather.

We were fairly disappointed in the food. The nice places were just ok. Usually there was one thing that we ordered that was very good, but the rest was mediocre. It probably grated on me more since it was so expensive. We ate in a few nights, but since the nearest true grocery store is a half houe away, it was hard to do on a whim.

StanKase Feb 23rd, 2010 06:15 AM

It may have been strong current but we were not concerned about terminology when we were not able to get into shore. We both earned our WSI-Red Cross certificates as swimmers so as said it surely was not our swimming capability that limited us from getting into shore. Yes, it could have been the weater conditions, for sure. As for the closeness to the reff, we were able to see an excellent variety of fish and coral staying 50 feet before the water breaks over the reef. It just seems safer than as we saw some folks get a bit sratched up by coral when they were pushed around by a wave when on top of the reef.But, eastave's report says a lot worth considering about the area now relative to other things other than snorkeling though we found that area the only real good area on GC to snorkel since it has been bashed with so many hurricanes and tropical depressions the past 10 years combined with global warming and pollution killing the coral.

TurtleTagger Feb 23rd, 2010 07:05 PM


Sorry to be a stickler, but I would hate for people to get the wrong idea from some of the comments here, as innocent as they sound, that dangerous rip tides or undertows are found on the North Side and Cayman Kai, as that is simply not true. Though it sounds Hawaiian, Cayman Kai has none of the surf issues of the Hawaiian islands. I would also dispel the notion that there are not decent eating establishments in the area. While it is accurate that true five star dining and prices will only be found along the cosmopolitan West Bay, a more authentic and affordable Caribbean experience can be found in the other areas of the island.

I am still confused how someone would get "get a bit sratched up by coral when they were pushed around by a wave when on top of the reef"? Perhaps you may be referencing a different location than the North Side barrier reef? The waves come from the outside of the reef and break there. If you are snorkeling on the inside of the reef, the now broken waves (if unusually large enough) would push you away from the reef towards the shore, not onto the the reef. Also, the reef is exposed from the water at most times other than a full moon high tide. The sea floor rises towards the reef and and it is less than a 2 feet deep approach to the actual reef; making getting close to the actual reef extremely difficult without incurring major skin scrapage and damaging corals.

While I would consider the North Side and East End snorkel locations some of the best anywhere, there is also good snorkeling to be had right in George Town and along the South Sound if you do not want to travel far from 7 Mile Beach..

But to each their own.

StanKase Feb 24th, 2010 10:06 PM

TurtleTagger; You can confirm the laceration of the fellow that was injued with the Reef Resort because it was one of their Assistant Generat Managers drove the fellow to the hospiotal in Georgetown for fairly extensice stiching.

TurtleTagger Feb 25th, 2010 11:07 AM

For the record, while Grand Cayman is not a large island, the Reef Resort and Morritts are located in the East End and not Cayman Kai/North Side which is approximately 20 minutes away.

As previously stated, there are channels located in the reef near that resort and a farther south that can have strong tidal surges. Many of the hotels and rentals there will/should warn their guests that they are best avoided, especially if the tide is going out.

Kinkazote Mar 4th, 2010 06:23 AM

I'm with TurtleTagger.

In front of Cayman Kai Sea Lodges, there can be some current at some points of the tidal cycle, but, in non stormy weather, there is nothing a grown up couldn't cope with. I have always kept my distance from the point on the fringing reef where the waves break and where coral sticks out of the water at low tide. Injury by contact with coral is completely preventable in normal weather.

The notions that undertows, riptides, lacerations, and being boiled alive by global warming in the waters off Cayman Kai and Rum Point are the norm and are inevitable should not be inferred from the discussions above. Accidents happen, but tragedy and distress are NOT THE NORM in this area. Take pains to avoid contact with coral, especially fire coral, red lionfish, and rough water--just as you would do anywhere that these dangers exist.

BTW, the whole of Cayman Kai is essentially a land development project. It started in the 1960s with the Cayman Kai Resort and adjacent privately owned Sea Lodges. The section between Rum Point and Kaibo were built by dredging. The 10 unit resort no longer exists, but 16 of the privately owners Sea Lodges remain. (Perhaps this is what StanKase scorns as the "huts".) The Sea Lodges are excellent for persons happy with preparing most of their own meals and enjoy being about 150 feet away from safe, excellent snorkeling (if you use common sense), and miles away from the charms of Seven Mile Beach. The rest of Cayman Kai consists mostly of private homes and The Retreat. The Sea Lodges and many of the private homes can be rented through VRBO.COM and the like. In fact, many of the homes are for sale (as of last week, anyway). Most of the beachfront property is in the one million plus class. The point of this is that "staying at Cayman Kai" covers a lot of ground, and many of the older references to Cayman Kai date from the days when the resort was the only hotel in the area except for the Rum Point Club.

We just returned from 18 days in one of the delightful two bedrrom, two bath sea lodges, and loved it. If you really want to get away from it all in a place where you can emjoy nature, It's the place to be. If you have to have a top quality restaurant meal once or twice a day, you are going to be doing a lot of driving!

virginia Mar 4th, 2010 06:51 AM

kinkazote, we recently spent 2 weeks in a house called thatch hill. it's maybe 2 mins before rum point, almost directly across from the giant communications tower. we drove around a lot and i can't figure out where sea lodges are. can you give me specific directions? we'd like to go back and these condos look like they might work for us.

Kinkazote Mar 4th, 2010 08:37 AM


If you are heading toward Rum Point from the east, the first beach house in the section that includes Thatch Hill is called No Big Ting. It is bright blue and has a detached garage. The Sealodges of Cayman Kai are just before No Big Ting. A birdseye view of the lodges will show them arranged as follows "V" with the base of the V toward the sea, and the opposite end toward the road. They are not all that visible from the road, except that they have white-peaked roofs. There is a small sign near the road where the parking area is. They all tend to look better on the inside that the back porches you can see from the entrance. You would be looking at about $250 a night plus 10% tax for a two bedroom/2 bath during the high season. Much less in the warmer months. Although the property was built in the late 1960s, the Sea Lodges were restored and refurbished in 2005 after Ivan (2004). And no, I don't own one.

virginia Mar 4th, 2010 03:55 PM

ok i do remember those. we walked down one day to look around and were not sure if the place was operational or not. the price is quite good. thanks for the info.

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