January 2003 In Grand Cayman - First Visit

Sep 17th, 2002, 12:46 PM
  #1  
TC
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
January 2003 In Grand Cayman - First Visit

Hi,

My wife and I are thinking about a vacation at the Grand Cayman in January 2003. Would like to stay one week.

Questions:

Is January a good time to visit? Would one week be enough?

Where is the best condo to stay "bang for the buck"? We would prefer not to be in crowded areas, but definately want a nice part of the beach. Although it seems the best, the Avalon is out of our league on cost.

Will we need a rental car? If so what is the vehicle of choice for most?

Places that are a must to visit other than Stingray City?

Tightly run boat charters...not crowded... for visiting Stingray City?

What is the typical dress for most establishments (shopping, dining)? Hopefully nice shorts, shirt and sandals will be fine.

Any tips on saving (eats, shopping, souveneirs, trips, etc.) money while there would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in advance,

TC

 
Sep 17th, 2002, 07:16 PM
  #2  
Nina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We were there in February, so not sure about Jan. One week is plenty of time to rent jetski's, to do Stingray City, etc. We stayed at the Westin and were very unhappy with our room. Wish we had done a condo. Generally, you can take the bus to any of the restaurants or a taxi to someplace like Grand Old House. There isn't a lot of sightseeing in GC. We found it to be a great island for eating and enjoying the water, but were not impressed other than that. Everything is pretty casual. My husband wore button down shirts at night and I wore skirts and tops. GC is an expensive island, but a condo should help you save some money.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 03:41 AM
  #3  
emily
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
For discounts on dining etc you can print coupons from www.caymanislandsdiscounts.com,
see the Am Express discounts on www.caribbean-on-line.com/cy/cyforum.shtml,
there are promotions at www.caymanislands.ky such as the H2Go program, and at the airport you can pick up guides at the info counter that are loaded with coupons.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 05:19 AM
  #4  
JH
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Cayman is my absolute favorite. Very beautiful. Last trip, we stayed toward the end of 7 mile beach near Georgetown and there were lots of places within walking distance (my idea of walking distance is less than a 30 minute walk). Its true that there is not a lot of night life but we found a great beach bar on that end of 7 mile beach. There are great resturants, tons of them with wonderful sunset views, ie, The Grand Old House and the Wharf. Most resturants serve big portions so skip salads and appetizers to help save money. Some places, like the Almond Tree are open for lunch and are less expensive during the day but the food is still fantastic.

The Turtle farm is a fun visit if you like turtles. We enjoyed it but there is not alot there. Big turtles and baby turtles are about it. I liked it and would go again but some have a different opinion.

We enjoyed a day a Rum Point. Took the ferry from the Hyatt. We also took a collapsible (sp?) cooler and some beer from home and packed a cooler with beer and water to spend the day at Rum Pointe. Plus a bottle of wine from home to enjoy a glass on the beach at Sunset. No one ever said anything about having our own drinks so I assume it was OK. That helped on costs.

You will love Sting Ray City and you are right to look for a smaller charter. I think its Capt Dexter that has smaller groups to Sting Ray City. Just ask around and also check out some of the web sites. Sorry I don't have any web addresses but they are not hard to find.

We did without a rental car but that's just a preference. We used our two feet, the public transportation and taxis. Had to wait some but we did not mind, we were not in a hurry!! But you are in a more secluded area, you would probably need a car.

Can't help on an a condo or January weather.

There are great places to snorkel. Doctor's Cove and the reef downtown Georgetown to name a few. We had our own snorkel equipment. These places are accessible from land, no boat or charter needed.

One week is enough but I am never ready to come home from there. We have been twice. But you really have to love water, the snorkeling or diving and just relaxing. Dress is casual. never needed a jacket or a tie. Cayman can be expensive but I love it! Let me know if you have any questions.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 06:03 PM
  #5  
allen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As far as condos on the best part of 7MB- Avalon and Coralstone win.
But they are pricey-although a much better value than any hotel. Try Discovery Point Condo or Treasure Island. Stay way from any condo too close to Georgetown. The beach is rocky and hoardes of people coming off the ships. January is an ideal time of year to go. If you rent a car, a jeep is economical and fun, but you can taxi pretty much anywhere. Gr
Cayman is not much for sight seeing. Stay away from Hell. It's a tourist trap to sell postcards and t-shirts that say."I've been to Hell"
And finally, it's one of the most pricey islands I have ever visited. So there's no advice on how to save $ there.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 06:15 PM
  #6  
maggie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We stayed at the Victoria House (condo). Big units, nothing fancy, but an awesome beach location with hammocks between the trees. I would ask for the first floor. If you like to sun and snorkel then I would also go to Rum Point. Food and drink here is very expensive as is most of Grand Caymen. We went on a small boat (8 people) with Captain Clinton and had a great time at Stingray City.
 
Sep 19th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #7  
Scott
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
TC,

First off, yes, January is a great time to go weather wise, but it does fall into the "prime season" and thus making the room rates go up.

As far as one week being enough, that really depends on the traveler. My wife & I have always done 10 days which seems to be just right. We never seem to settle down & relax quick enough when only staying 1 week.

As afar as condo choices, there are many. If you wish to be away from the crowds, and be on the best stretch of beach, then you definitely want to be on the northern end of 7MB. Check out: www.caymanvacations.com This will list most of the good condo choices on 7MB, and the site will have rates, pictures, ratings, and also a map of 7MB showing the location of each. A great site to help you make the right choice. Aquabay condos, Discovery Point, Victoria House are all choices that have had good reviews, and the rates are not too bad. You are right, Avalon is one of the nicest condos, but the prices are out of control.

As far as rental cars, if you stay on the northern section of &MB, you will definitely need a car. Check out Andys Rent-a-car. They generally have the lowest rates. The cars usually aren't brand new, but they'll do the trick for sure. We have rented with them on two occaisions, and had good luck.

Other places to visit than Stingray City include many different snorkel sites around the island. Botanic Gardens is a pretty cool spot to walk. We enjoyed just driving the perimeter of the island, and stopping at certain places along the coast that had a great view. The roads are very easy to navigate. This is an amazing snorkeling & diving island, so that is by far the #1 activity. I highly recomend bringing your own snorkel gear. Other activities we enjoy are parasailing, jetskis, dinner cruise/booze cruise, golf and whatever else you can find.

The key to a good stingray city tour is hiring an operator who limits the number of people on the boat. You want to avoid the "cattle boats" who take large numbers of people, and the experience is just not that enjoyable when you have to battle the crowds out there. We used Capt Dexter, who has a 30 foot catamaran, and only takes 16 people. It was a great time, and cheap too...only around $24 bucks a piece.

The dress code is casual for the most part. A pair of decent shorts & a golf shirt will be fine for the guys, and sundress or something similar for the ladies. I brought long pants on our first visit to GC, and never wore them once. And we dined at most of the higher end places. There are (VERY) few places that don't allow shorts. Obviously a bathing suit & tank-top is a bit ridiculous at the nicer places for dinner.

As far as saving money, your idea of getting a condo is a good one. What we did to save money is buy breakfast & lunch foods at the grocery store like cereal & cold-cuts & fruit, and eat most of our lunches & breakfasts in. Then we'd go out for dinner. To save more, you could obviously do a few dinners in as well. There are some decent take-out places like Pizza & Ribs, or Chicken Chicken for cheap take out food.

Hope this helps you out, GC is a great place, with one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen in the caribbean. Enjoy!!
 
Sep 19th, 2002, 07:33 PM
  #8  
t
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
ttt
 
Sep 20th, 2002, 09:33 PM
  #9  
Larry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Would highly recommend Northern Lights Condos on the North side. Beaytiful property, tastefully furnished large upstairs / downstairs units, fantastic snorkeling along reef right in front of the condo; saw tons of fish, lobster, eel... Stayed there in May with our two teenage daughters and had a great trip. If you want to see other parts of the island, you will need a rental car. Either Thrifty or the guy nest to Northern Lights. Captain Dexter for stingray city, beach / dock / gazebo in front of condo for R&R / beach in front of Governor's House.
Try link below and say Hi to Bo Miller for us! Can e-mail us for more info if you'd like. Have a great trip!
http://www.mycaymangetaway.com/index.html
 
Sep 22nd, 2002, 06:51 AM
  #10  
x
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
January is a great time to visit. Usually good weather. One week enough depends on you. There is not much to see; Grand Cayman is really a place just to relax.

Try the Plantana towards the north end of SMB. Older, extremely well run; great part of the beach.

Needing a car depends on where you stay, how much you like to walk, and your tolerance for taxis/public transportation. The jeep rental from Andy's is a good suggestion.

Botanic Gardens and Rum Point are good places to visit. Not much at the Turtle Farm and even less in Hell.

Try Captain Marvin's for Stingray City.

Your dress comments are spot-on.

Eating in the condo is the best way to save money.

I highly recommend asking people for tips on places to eat, etc. when you get to your condo. Most people love to share their "finds" and it is a way to strike up a conversation.
 
Oct 30th, 2002, 10:47 AM
  #11  
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We just returned from seven days at Westin on Grand Cayman. Beautiful, but, to us, just didn’t have same atmosphere as other islands. Loved Tortuga rum. Swimming with stingrays is a truly unique experience. Food at most restaurants is excellent. But this is first island we visited where it wasn’t extremely painful to come home. Will not return and will never stay at a Westin again.

All-in-all a nice place but people (visitors included) are generally rude and way too expensive for what you get. Grand Cayman is stuffy (they say bloke, sir, or mate instead of "mon"). Majority of service people are students on break from Canada, Australia, etc, therefore they do not have same attitudes as career service professionals at other islands. They dont play Caribbean music in Grand Cayman. They dont even celebrate Carnaval on Grand Cayman (too good for that nonsense). Every other island we visited (Jamaica, St Marten, Bahamas, Aruba) had a Carnaval themed show with steel drums and full costumes, even if it wasn’t even close to Carnaval - but not one mention of Carnaval in Grand Cayman. But you will have to hear over and over and over again how GC is the “fifth largest financial district in the world” or if you read between the lines “we’re no banana republic”. Looking back, it is almost as if Grand Cayman tries to remind visitors that it is “better” than other Caribbean islands since it has industries other than tourism and does not have to be stereotypically Caribbean. Ironically, that is why we go to the Caribbean.

Since Grand Cayman is so expensive, the tourists are the snobby type who enjoy the exclusivity and feeling of power they get by spending gross amounts of money. These tourists are not friendly at all.

You wont find anything for sale that you cant get cheaper in the US. Even Cayman rum is cheaper in the US than in Cayman. Grand Cayman is beautiful, but so are other islands and the atmosphere and service are better. I don’t see the benefit of the extra cost.

Try to enjoy your trip but next time go to Aruba! Might sound like we like to complain but we have no complaints about our trip to Aruba two years ago, except that we had to come home.
 
Oct 30th, 2002, 12:44 PM
  #12  
Brian
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just one more strike against the Westin GC based on poor value for the price and overall mediocre rooms.

Why won't people accept this as fact?

 
Oct 30th, 2002, 01:10 PM
  #13  
Lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have been to Grand Cayman and Aruba. My husband and I loved Grand Cayman and did not care for Aruba at all! Aruba's beaches do not come close to 7 mile beach. The water in Aruba was not very clear and didn't care for the desert atmosphere. So it just goes to show that everyone has a different opinion of the islands. Have a great time in Grand Cayman!! Wish I were going soon!! Lisa
 
Oct 30th, 2002, 05:03 PM
  #14  
ken
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I stayed at the Villas of the Galleon in apartment #35 on Grand Cayman for most of October 2002. Apartment #35 is at the south end of the complex next to where the Ritz Carlton hotel is being built. There was very little noise from the construction and it was diminishing each day as the construction was done at closest to the "Villas" first and is moving away to the south a little more each day. By now there's probably very little noise or none at all. I recommend apartment #35 very highly. It's a 2 bedroom (one king and one queen) 2 full bathrooms, dining room, living room and balcony. The living room, balcony and master bedroom face the sea and the sunsets. Most important, it's very clean and the kitchen is fully equipped even with a washer and dryer. I recommend apartment #35 to anyone who wants a comfortable, clean place to stay. It's one of the largest at the "Villas" and it is in the top level of the grading system on the island so you probably should specify that you want that particular apartment when making your reservation. You The "Villas" is less than a five minute walk to some of the best shopping and restaurants on the island.
 
Jan 15th, 2003, 06:40 AM
  #15  
MARY
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
MY HUSBAND AND I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED OUR STAY AT LACOVIA CONDO. WE WERE UPGRADED TO A 2BR 2.5 BATH WHEN A 1BR WASN'T AVAILABLE. BEAUTIFUL CONDO AND OCEANVIEW. PEACEFUL. MY FAVORATE TIME WAS SNORKELING AT TURTLE BAY FOLLOWED BY A MEAL AT THE CRACKED CONCH (LOCATED AT THE TURTLE BAY NEXT TO THE TURTLE FARM). SOTO CRUISE TO STINGRAY CITY WAS ONLY 15.00 PP. SNORKELING WAS TAPED BY A SCUBA TOUR GUIDE AND THE TOUR GUIDES WERE AWSOME. THEY KNEW THE HOT SPOTS TO SEE UNUSUAL FISH. VERY ATTENTIVE. IT WAS EASY TO GET ANYWHERE ON 7 MILE BEACH BY MINI BUS $5.00ONE WAY. PLENTY OF BUSES AND TAXIS THE TAXI WAS USUALLY 7-9 DOLLARS A TRIP ONE WAY. WE HAD OUR OWN SNORKEL GEAR BUT WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE WITH RENTING. THE WEATHER WAS ALWAYS IN THE 80'S AND THE OCEAN A COMFORTABLE 80 DEGREES. WE ARE ANXIOUS TO RETURN AND DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. WE MIGHT GET BRAVE AND RENT A CAR. NEITHER OF US WANT TO DRIVE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROAD BUT DID NOT SEE THE EAST SIDE OF THE ISLAND YET. WILL PROBABLY GET SCUBA INSTRUCTIONS IN THE STATES THEN DO OUR CERTIFICATION DIVES ON THE ISLAND. THIS IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE TROPICAL VACATION SITE. WORTH THE HIGH RENT. WE ARE EVEN LOOKING INTO SEAL ESTATE THERE. WISHFUL THINKING.
 
Jan 15th, 2003, 07:18 AM
  #16  
x
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mary,
For God's sake please stop shouting.
 
Jan 16th, 2003, 01:51 PM
  #17  
Lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi,
I agree with most comments posted so far. Hope you have a great trip -- I am jealous!

The one thing I'd add is that I wouldn't rent a car from Andy's Rent-a-Car. We used them in December and got a real junker 4 x 4. We never knew if it would start or not, backfired all the time, and had a major transmission problem.

When I told the woman about it at check in, she said she already knew it was bad but they would have a decent vehicle for us the next time we came to the island. She won't have the chance with us, though!

Also, we stayed at the Aqua Bay and loved it. All condos mentioned in this thread looked great. It's fun to walk the beach and decide where you might stay next time.

Have a great time!
Lisa
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:19 AM.