Grand Cayman Trip Report

Jun 5th, 2005, 05:25 PM
  #1  
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Grand Cayman Trip Report

Just returned from a 7-night stay at the Marriott Courtyard in Grand Cayman (June 2nd). The weather was wonderful and although the damage by Ivan is still evident, the island is beautiful and the warm carribean water is turquoise and perfect!

Restaurants:
Our favorite was Calypso Grill...excellent!! We also enjoyed Pappagallos and Cracked Conch. For light lunch, we ate at Azurro's by Ragazzi....excellent desserts and food and very reasonable prices. The Sea Grape at the Courtyard is fine for snacks and lunch too.

Diving/Snorkeling:
We went on 4 days of diving with Blaire at Divers Down. I highly recommend this dive operation. They take a minimum of eight divers and allow you flexibility in the dive sites you would like to visit. Nice boats and equipment and very friendly. Favorite dive sites were Trinity Caves, Eagle Ray Pass, and Princess Penny. We saw turtles, stingray, spotted eagle ray, lobster and an octopus.

We went on Captain Marvin's 1/2 day snorkel tour which stops at Stingray City. It was great! Our boat had only about 13 people which I realized was very nice compared to the other boats circling Stingray City which had at least twice as many people. Captain Marvin will ensure that you don't stop at snorkel sites which are bombarded with other boats and snorkelers, which is also very nice. If you have a car, definitely make a trip to Eden Rock for snorkeling...we saw three sea turtles and all sorts of colorful fish there.

Hotel:
I enjoy the water and the island and am not inclined to care too much about where I stay.....as long as it is clean, air conditioned, and a hairdryer is provided The Courtyard is comparable to any Courtyard in the US. It is clean and practical. The beach is right across the street and there isn't anything in between, so it may as well be beachfront.

We loved Grand Cayman and hope to return soon! The diving was the best I have seen!
tobster is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the trip report. We leave for Grand Cayman on June 13! We are divers as well, so I'm glad to hear good news about the diving.

Would the Calypso Grill be a good place for an anniversary dinner? Did you eat at Ragazzi?

Any other tips for us?

Thanks!

Barbara
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 08:46 PM
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KVR
 
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We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott when it was still the Holiday Inn. We enjoyed the hotel and loved the beach. Even though it's across the street it was no problem. Of all the vacations we've been on, we love 7 Mile Beach the best.
KVR is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 04:39 AM
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In my opinion, Pappagallos is more suited for a romantic anniversary dinner. That and Reef Grill are our two favorites on the island.
joanie433 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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Thanks for the restaurant suggestions. We are staying at the Treasure Island Condos and diving with Wall to Wall Divers.

We have rented a car for only the day we arrive, but I'm wondering if we should have a car for the entire five days.

Also, I can't decide if we should do a dive at Stingray City or just snorkel. Tobster why did you decide to do the snorkel trip?
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Jun 7th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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ttt
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Jun 7th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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bamakelly
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It's been awhile since I have been to Grand Cayman, but I would say that snorkeling is fine at Stingray City. It's very shallow there and not much to see other than the stingrays, which come right up to you like housepets. We did dives elsewhere and just snorkled at Stingray City.

We also rented a car for one full day while there. It was plenty, but we spent the entire day from danw to dusk exploring the island from tip to tip. The rest of the time we just took a cab or walked. If you want to get around the island some, maybe you could rent the car for a couple of days and then cab it the rest of the time.

Calypso Grill was excellent! I'd go somewhere more fancy for anniversary dinner, but do get to Calypso at some point during your stay. The food is packed with flavor.

 
Jun 7th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Haven't been to Cayman in awhile but love the place. Just wondering though....did the Lone Star make it through Ivan? I had heard conflicting stories right after the Ivan - one that it just lost the roof - the other being that it was a complete loss.
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Jun 7th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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Tobster~~Thanks for the report. We love Grand Cayman-went there the past 2 summers. Calypso is also our favorite restaurant! Liked Ragazzi, Lobster Pot, and Smuggler's Cove, too. Pappagallo was a beautiful setting, but I wasn't at all impressed with the Lobster Ravioli that everyone raves about. Another good one was Cafe Med. My husband had great diving there, too. Glad you had a wonderful trip!

For a special anniversary dinner, you might try the Grand Old House, also.
summer04 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Thanks for the restaurant suggestions.

What about shopping? Is there a place that is less expensive than another?
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 8th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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BarbaraS~~I just saw your question about a car. We rented one both times we were there for the whole week. They aren't that expensive and the good restaurants are in various locations, so if you're going to Calypso Grill, Pappagallo's, Ragazzi, etc., you would need a car. Taxi's are too expensive. (Pappagallo's and Calyso are about a 10-15 min. drive from Treasure Island.

As far as shopping, prices are a little higher in Georgetown because of all the cruise people. But down the side streets, prices are better. There are great things to buy downtown and in the little shopping centers on 7MB, so check it all out. My FAVORITE place to shop is Pure Art. They have a shop in a cottage south of Georgetown by Don Foster's Dive Shop (assuming they rebuilt in the same spot).
Have a great time and let us know how you liked it!
summer04 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 05:50 AM
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Summer04 - thanks for the shopping tips. I'll definitely check out Pure Art.
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 10th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Barbara, I agree that Pappagallos is probably more romantic than Calypso Grill. It would be a better anniversary place. I also heard Grand Old House is good. We paid about $120 for a rental car for the entire week. It is very cheap compared to the price you will pay a cab to get anywhere. (I think the cab to and from the airport was about $20 each way. You will have more freedom if you have your own car.

There are actually two "stingray city"s. One is about 12-15 feet deep and the other is a sandbar about 3 feet deep. We went on a snorkeling trip to the sandbar and I think it would be equal or better than the diving. I heard horror stories about the dive site. Apparently, there are certain fish that like to hang around where the stingrays are fed and they occasionally bite people. One girl didn't let go of the squid she was holding and the fish basically skinned all of her fingers! I highly recommend Capatin Marvin's Snorkel trip.

I am not a shopper, so I can't comment on the shopping.

tobster is offline  
Jun 10th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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I didn't eat at Lone Star, but it appeared to be up and running.

I did eat at Ragazzi's. It was very good, however, we spent most of our time at Azuro's by Ragazzi. It is a smaller, more casual coffee shop type atmosphere. It's great for a quick bite and the coffee is good.
tobster is offline  
Jun 10th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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Thanks tobster - where did you rent your car from for $120 a week?
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for all the help. We are back from our trip and took your advice to eat at Pappagallo which was perfect. We also rented the car for the entire time, which was definitely a good decision. The Treasure Island condo we stayed at was fabulous and the diving with Wall to Wall Diving was amazing. We could not have asked for a better trip.

Thanks again for the help!
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 06:37 PM
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So happy to hear you had a great time! Where else did you eat that you enjoyed? We are hoping to go back to GC next year. How is the island progressing at this point from Ivan?
Summer
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Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:29 PM
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summer - We ate at the condo every other night except when the kids insisted on eating at the Hard Rock.

Recovery from Ivan seemed to be going well, lots of construction going on, but it never really affected our enjoyment of the island.
BarbaraS is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Barbara
Good to know that the recovery is progressing. Thanks so much for your reply.
Summer
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Jun 26th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Happy to hear you enjoyed your stay! Sorry I didn't check the messages in time to answer your question about the car. Just for future information, we rented from Andy's Car Rental. Sounds like you were able to find a place anyway.
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