Grand Cayman Economically?

Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 08:59 AM
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McQ
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Grand Cayman Economically?

I was able to get a great airfare to Grand Cayman this July so I grabbed the seats for my wife and 3 teenaged kids. Also got what sounds like a nice 2 BR condo at Plantana for a moderate (off-season)rate for a week.
I've been all over the net looking mainly at message boards. This one, in particular, has been great. I've also just stumbled on another--ePinion.com. The overall tone on ePinion is a little more negative re:GC (as you might guess from my question, we've never been to the Caymans). On ePinion it seems as if I'll go broke eating out. We already planned on eating breakfast and some lunches in our condo. Any recommendations for good food, reasonable prices, possibly waterfront restaurants? Any opinions re: Crow's Nest, Tortuga Bay BBQ, The Edge or others? Thanks to all who reply!!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 09:21 AM
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It is possible to do Cayman on the cheap. We always try to do breakfast and lunch in our condo too, and bringing stuff that won't fill up the suitcases, like poptarts and microwave popcorn that is flat. Sounds like you beat half the battle just with cheap air.

Restaurants can run from reasonable to fancy, so just depends on your taste. And there is fast food (gasp!) but some time it fits the bill just for some cheap eats or to balance out a splurge. Here's a great website to get an idea for prices, menus, etc.
http://www.caymanrestaurants.com/

Don't know if you found this one or not, but this message board has good info too, even if its not as active as Fodors.

http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/cy/cyforum.shtml

We love Cayman. Its beautiful and some people say its more Americanized, but to me thats not a problem. One thing to keep in mind is when the cruise ships are in town. Then Stingray City and Georgetown are mobbed. Here's the port site where you can figure out your itinerary if you want to avoid the crowds.
http://www.caymanport.com/schedule.htm

Enjoy!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 09:21 AM
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My family that also has three teenagers just returned from GC a few days ago. I planned several easy meals that my family likes and then packed as many dry ingredients as possible in a very large duffel bag. Plus cereal, bagels, peanut butter and jelly, salad dressing etc.(everything in plastic packaging) we also took an ice chest full of chips and cookies. When we arrived we supplemented what I had packed with fresh foods and were set for the week. We were so happy to have the ice chest! We packed lunch and snacks and were ready for a day at the beach. When I saw that a large bag of Doritoes were $6.69 CI I was VERY happy that I had planned ahead.
Have Fun!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 09:21 AM
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Hi. For great breakfast and lunches (huge portions too), try Eats. It's 50s diner type place across from the Westin. For a fun casual dinner (good food too), go to Coconut Joe's across from the Marriott. Also reasonable is The Tree House in Georgetown.

For a splurge, definitely go to the Reef Grill.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 05:47 PM
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We just got back last night from Grand Cayman (with our 3 teenagers). We packed a lot of non-perishable food with us in a large duffel bag and also stuffed boxes of poptarts, popcorn, crackers, etc., in the suitcases. We stopped at the grocery store when we left the airport; we ate breakfast and lunch in our condo (or packed a picnic for lunch). Also, if you have your own snorkeling equipment, there are lots of places around the island to snorkel for free. Our kids love to snorkel, so we did a lot of that.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:34 PM
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We just returned from Grand Cayman also. We stayed at the Westin. We packed enough breakfast foods for the week (poptarts for husband and son, Atkins bars for me and granola bars for daughter) and some peanut butter and jelly for lunches. I also packed some snacks like trail mix and pringles (nice because they don't get crushed in their can). I packed plastic spoons and knives in a baggie. When we arrived we hit the grocery for lunch meat, cheese, paper plates, cups, soda, water, mayo, mustard, buns, milk, etc. We ate breakfast and lunch in the room every day. A couple of nights we ate fast food. One night at Wendy's and one night at Pizza Hut. The fast food prices are much higher than in the US. For our family of 4 it was around $4O US I think. We ate there fast on the way to the movie theatre as there was just one showing of Troy per night. Pizza Hut was about half that for a large pepperoni pizza and 2 litre of pop. We got that one night after our sunset sail. We ate at the Crow's Nest on our last night. My husband really wanted to try conch fritters and the concierge at the Westin said they had the best ones. The setting and service are very nice at the Crow's Nest. My daughter got the Jerk Chicken Dinner and liked it a lot. My husband got the seafood combination special of the night and said it was good, my son got fettucine alfredo and really liked it, but I got the coconut fried shrimp and mine was terrible. It tasted like they had been fried in really old grease. My daughter stated her french fries had that same taste. We all had sodas which were basically a can poured into a glass of ice. They did not give free refills. The bill with tip was around $16
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:40 PM
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We just returned from Grand Cayman also. We stayed at the Westin. We packed enough breakfast foods for the week (poptarts for husband and son, Atkins bars for me and granola bars for daughter) and some peanut butter and jelly for lunches. I also packed some snacks like trail mix, combos and pringles (nice because they don't get crushed in their can). I packed plastic spoons and knives in a baggie. When we arrived we hit the grocery for lunch meat, cheese, paper plates, cups, soda, water, mayo, mustard, buns, milk, etc. We ate breakfast and lunch in the room every day. A couple of nights we ate fast food. One night at Wendy's and one night at Pizza Hut. The fast food prices are much higher than in the US. For our family of 4 it was around $4O US I think. We ate there fast on the way to the movie theatre as there was just one showing of Troy per night. Pizza Hut was about half that for a large pepperoni pizza and 2 litre of pop. We got Pizza Hut one night after our sunset sail. We ate at the Crow's Nest on our last night. My husband really wanted to try conch fritters and the concierge at the Westin said they had the best ones. The setting and service are very nice at the Crow's Nest. My daughter got the Jerk Chicken Dinner and liked it a lot. My husband got the seafood combination special of the night and said it was good, my son got fettucine alfredo and really liked it, but I got the coconut fried shrimp and mine was terrible. It tasted like they had been fried in really old grease. My daughter stated her french fries had that same taste. We all had sodas which were basically a can poured into a glass of ice. They did not give free refills. The bill with tip was around $160 US. This meal was definitely not worth that price. Also, we all felt queasy later on that night. So, I definitely would not recommend the Crow's Nest. Papagallo's was really good and reasonably priced though and I would definitely recommend eating there. Cimboco was also delicious and very reasonably priced. Hope this helps. The stories you hear are true. Grand Cayman is really unbelievabley expensive. Also, make sure you take magazines with you. Most issues we saw were about eight dollars each. Hope this helps.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:52 PM
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Sorry! After reading my post again, I realized it should say the Wendy's fast food was $40. Also, be sure and get copies of the Activity Guide and What's To Do and those type publications as they have a lot of coupons in them. We had a coupon for 10% off Papgallos, $5 off Hard Rock Cafe meal (our teens love eating there) and there are many more coupons in there to help save money. Also, watch you bill closely as most places we encountered automatically add in a 15% service charge/ gratuity, but also leave a space for an additional tip. If you don't watch carefully you could double tip. Of course, if the service is wonderful and you want to leave extra that is great!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:32 AM
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For local food on the cheap I have heard Champion house is good. There is also a Tony Romas. On the whole eating out in GC is $$$$.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the ideas. Has anyone run into any trouble bringing food through customs?
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 06:08 PM
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The only question they asked us in customs was if we had any meat with us. We said no, and they didn't even check our bags.
Sherry
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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I really liked Cimboco. It has fabulous pizzas and sandwiches. For a reasonable price, the portions were generous too.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Hi,
We go yearly,
My husband packs steaks and hamburgers in a collapsable cooler and wasnt even checked. We pick up hamburger buns and enough groceries for the week before going to our northshore rental and then grill burgers the first night because were usually too tired from the flight etc to go out anyway. For nice dining I would recommend Lighthouse, crows nest, rum point grill(great fish & chips) rackams pub.
Susan
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 07:08 AM
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We just got back last night from Grand Cayman. We also have 3 teens, ages 19, 17, 15. We all had a fabulous time and booked a condo for next year before we left. We stayed at the Lacovia and highly recommend it! We did have a ground floor unit and could walk right out on the beach, which is the only way to go in my opinion. Lots to do and everyone kept busy: snorkeling, diving, parasailing, deep sea fishing, Sting Ray City, etc. If you snorkel, definitely go to Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto...just drive to Eden Rock's dive shop, pay $5 to park in their lot and you can use their ladder to enter the water. Fantastic!

I was expecting high food prices but after 2 $250-plus dinners out, we decided to low-ball it the rest of the week. And the food, in our opinion, was extremely mediocre at the restaurants we went to: Pappagallo and the Reef Grill. Sorry, I know everybody loves that Sea Bass at the Reef Grill, but....? Ours didn't taste fresh and was mushy; served with hardened rice and a couple slices of carrots. We were really disappointed. Our best meal by far was at Ragazzi's, recommended by the Lacovia office. They also recommended Casa Nova's and Bed...which we will try next year. Next time we will DEFINITELY load up and bring an ice chest with spaghetti sauce, a couple of casseroles and some wine. Not just because of the prices but we enjoyed our dinners eating out on our terrace while watching the sunsets.

Bring your own snorkel gear and inflatable rafts for floating on that incredibly calm water. DO NOT RENT! $$$$!

Bring lots of sunscreen...you will need it! Oh, and don't let the reports on Weather.com discourage you. Our forecast looked like there would be big storms every day, and we never saw even one drop of rain, and barely any clouds.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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Addendum to my previous post: with regards to the restaurant seafood, I feel I need to say that we live on the Texas coast and always feel when travelling that it's hard to beat our seafood (unless we are in Maine for the lobster or Pacific Northwest). Don't mean to offend others' tastes!
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Suanniam and Arc, Great advice. Thanks. It really is interesting how different folks have different impressions of the same restaurants. Suanniem, does your husband pack frozen burgers and steaks ? If so, How does he keep them frozen? (or maybe it doesn't matter as long as they are kept cool and only gradually thaw). Arc--$250 restaurant tab...ouch!!!! Dinner in our condo sounds better every minute. I just went out today and picked up so me snorkels and masks that fit. I figure for the price of renting for a week I could buy snorkels for future use.
We don't have our own flippers. Are they necessary?
Is it possible to freeze a casserole and take it on the plane and have it remain frozen? Maybe not.
Thanks again for everyone's input.
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 08:59 PM
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McQ: yes, you need fins for snorkeling. They don't need to be the fanciest kind, but they definitely help. Some of the snorkel sites are 100-plus yards out and you can swim out there effortlessly with fins on.

I don't know where you are flying from but I would imagine your casseroles would stay frozen during your trip. However, next time I plan on buying some dry ice to put in the ice chest and not worry about them thawing out.

Something else I would do differently...we WAY overpacked. Next time I would bring 10% of what I brought this time. All we wanted to do was be in the water during the day, and there is no nightlife to speak of.

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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 10:12 AM
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Walk over to the Sunshine Suites. U can get burgers and fries for a good price. Go downtown and buy fish from the docks and save $$$. Shop at Fosters for whatnots in the way of food. Subway has buy one get one free on Tusedays. Every little bit helps. Reasonably priced waterfront? Forget it!!!!!!!!!
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Powdered Icetea/Fruitpunch/Lemonade etc may be a good thing to bring. It certainly will last you a while.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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McQ,
My husband has our butcher deepfreeze them in their cooler and picks them up the day before we leave. In a soft-sided cooler they have always stayed frozen. We are able to eat the steaks on the second-third day.
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