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-   -   First timer - Paradise Island or Grand Cayman? (https://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/first-timer-paradise-island-or-grand-cayman-528777/)

mangogirl May 13th, 2005 08:39 AM

First timer - Paradise Island or Grand Cayman?
 
My husband and I are considering a trip to the Carribean for the first time. We've narrowed down our choices to Paradise Island and Grand Cayman. We like to snorkel, hang out at the beach, and exploring local hangouts, a pretty good balance between being "active" and just lounging around. Not so much into the bar/club nightlife.

We're from the San Francisco area, but we'll be in Dallas for a friend's wedding in late October, and figured we might as well hop over to the Carribean for about 5 days. We hope to get an exchange timeshare though my mother, and we are planning to buy travel insurance in case there is stormy weather.

Any advice/suggestions of which island to visit, especially for a first timer with an open mind, would be greatly appreciated!

KVR May 13th, 2005 09:34 AM

We've been to both and IMHO, Grand Cayman hands down. We loved the Island. Lots of things to see and do. 7 Mile Beach is the nicest beach we've seen to date. Take an Island tour and do a trip to Sting Ray City. We loved shopping in George Town.
Paradise Island felt a little too built up for us. The Atlantis hotel is a montrosity. (sp) Grand Cayman had more of the Island feel.

We went to Nassau/Paradise Island the first week of September, 2003 and the weather was great. Hurricane Fabian went right past us and hit Bermuda instead. We went to Grand Cayman the first week of November, 2003 and weather again was great. It rained one day.

girlonthego May 13th, 2005 01:15 PM

My recommendation is the Grand Cayman. I have only been to Paradise Island (Atlantis), but everything you describe is Grand Cayman, not PI. Paradise Island is a crowded and outside of the Atlantis not that great. The Atlantis is fun, but if you are into relaxing without a thousand people (with kids) running around you, go to the Cayman Islands.
The cayman is known for it's snorkeling right off the beach. The island is relaxing and has some great local hangouts.

Traveler863 May 13th, 2005 01:58 PM

I have to agree with recommendations for Grand Cayman. I've been to both Paradise Island and Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman has better snorkeling. Paradise Island and Nassau have better nightlife but thats not what you are looking for. You'll find many beach areas to hang on on Grand Cayman, from busier 7 mile to other areas around the island more secluded if thats your cup of tea. And there's plenty of local hangouts.

mangogirl May 13th, 2005 03:56 PM

Wow, thanks for the unianimous advice so far. Now I'll have to convince my husband that less convenient flight schedules to Grand Cayman will be worth it! =)

Thanks again!

KVR May 13th, 2005 09:44 PM

Check this web-site for Grand Cayman. Lots of good info. If your flying out of DFW there are several direct flights on Continental. We flew Cayman Air direct out of Houston.

http://www.caymanislands.ky/

jacketwatch May 14th, 2005 06:58 AM

Agree about GC for your interests. Bring alot of dough! Its expensive there if that is a factor. Personally however my choice would be Aruba. You are virtually out of the hurricane belt, the water is very clear (as is the H2O in GC)and the people are super friendly and it is less costly. However you should be fine with either one.

Lorio May 14th, 2005 10:01 AM

Grand Cayman Hands down... if you are staying a a timeshare it won't be that expensive - you can buy your own breakfast food and snacks and go out for dinner. There are a variety of restaurants to fit any budget so you'll be fine... I've paid $150 US for a nice dinner for two including appetizers, entree's and drinks to $65 US for pasta and wine at Ragazzi to $25 for a great burger and beer at Lone Star! Again, restaurants for every budget. The beach is second to none - and great snorkelling - try Paradise Reef located int he harbour of Georgtown at the beginning of South Sound Road, Smith's Cove in South Sound Road and Cemetary Reef on West Bay Road (it's by the cemetary). Also Govenor's Reef isn't that bad - it's just in front of the Governor's House on 7 Mile Beach next to the Westin. The area in front of Treasure Island is not that bad but has a really rocky entry. Just to name a few - have fun!

Lori

meta May 14th, 2005 10:08 AM

The Caymans hands down. Go to caymanvacations.com where you can check out various accomodations and prices. We used caymanislandscondo.com when we booked our vacation. They have a toll free number and the people there are wonderful.


meta May 14th, 2005 01:49 PM

Messed up. It's caymancondoservice.com

Bill is the owner and the people that work with him are great. If they can't answer a question right away, they'll call you back when they have the answer.

NYGiants27 May 14th, 2005 08:22 PM

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this, but I would pick Grand Cayman.

summer04 May 14th, 2005 09:30 PM

I was at Paradise Island once. Enjoyed Atlantis, but when you leave the resort, the island is not impressive in the least. Also, the beach at Atlantis was not nearly as impressive as 7 MB.
Been to Cayman 3 times and love it. It is safe, clean, and has absolutely gorgeous beaches. It is expensive, but you can cut food costs by renting a condo. Plantana is a good one at an affordable price.


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