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Please review my itinerary for my Grand Cayman trip...

Please review my itinerary for my Grand Cayman trip...

Old Jan 26th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Please review my itinerary for my Grand Cayman trip...

we went was '00 before the hurricanes. Loved it then and we are so excited to go back!

We're staying at the Monster Ritz [it's a group trip about 20 people]. But we don't do many group activities so I plan stuff for hubby and I to do...

To Do:
+I don't think we made it to Rum Point last time. So is this a must? Will the ferry be up and running then? I'd love to snorkel, enjoy the hammocks, hang out at the Wreck Bar...and there's a restaurant there where we can have lunch I believe? Wreck Bar or another place to eat?
+Stingray City. We did this last time with a private charter. It was fantastic. I'm sure will do it again. Soto's or Oh Boy? Other?[In Turks & Caicos, we chartered a place that served us a private island barbeque [lobster and fresh conch that they dove for while we snorkeled], I'd love something like that.
+ Pampered Ponies...swim with the horses...this looks fun. Is PP the best place? Do you have to be experienced?
+Lounging and Enjoying the Beautiful Beach and Resort of course and we'll get a couple's massage hopefully too.
+Blowholes...sounds like something we can stop at on our way somewhere else, correct?
Fine Dining:
Here's my thoughts for our dining [5 nights]
Blue @ Ritz
Papagallos [we went last time but I was seasick from snorkeling all day so did not enjoy it]
Edoardos
Can't decide on Grand Old House or Lighthouse or ??
One night we'll do a group dinner somewhere [last time it was at the place with the British Phone Booths, Deckers?]
Any other ideas...we love enjoying the views and good wine and food of course or ones I should skip?

Opinions of the following please:
+The Reef Barefoot Man [maybe we should have dinner here also?]
+My Bar @ Sunset House [is this close to anything?]
+Coconut Joes for Happy Hour other
+Royal Palms [we enjoyed live music and dancing one evening and walked home, I believe it was here]
Other Bars we should hit? We are from mid 30's to mid 50's, 10 couples
+Lone Star or another 'bar'?
+Roland's Garden?

Any other ideas?? Good snorkeling places? Etc.

Planning on Skipping:
+caves
+turtle farm [people went and it was 'ok']
+castle
+hell [people went last time and it was 'ok']
Unless you convince me otherwise

One in the group almost always rents a car and we can do shuttles/taxis, etc. There are several couples that love to shop [we don't!]...any good ideas for them? We loved that glass blowing place since we hate to shop it was right next door to that restaurant and we were able to buy gifts for people at home without wasting a beautiful day! Other shops like this;o)

THANKS!
I really appreciate it!
Trish
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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Sounds like a plan. Here are some of my recommendations based on things I enjoyed,although I was there a couple of months before the hurricane.
--Snorkeling. I had a good time at Cemetery Reef, just north of 7 mile beach. I don't know if the hurricane has changed that. I also highly recommend going with Captain Marvin for a snorkeling day trip. We had 4 snorkeling stops in the north sound, stingray sandbar and a homemade lunch of Cayman-style Mahi Mahi on the beach. Reasonable price and Small groups too, so you get personal attention-not like the bigger groups of 100 or more. They also didn't experience stingray sandbar as well as we did either, with so many people trying to get in the water at once. Captain Marvin also had us dive for conch and made an appetizer with it. I kept the shell.
--Rum Point. This was a great day to relax and kick back. Shallow water for wading and snorkeling, some music(but not too distracting), food, enough shade to keep from burning up, all-in-all a wonderful day. There will be small children there because of the shallow water. The ferry ride was longer than I thought (about 20-30minutes if I remember right) but a pleasant ride through the North Sound.
--Food. For a great casual meal try Cimboco. They have great wood-fired pizzas and sandwhichs. For a nice dinner out my favorite was Calypso Grill. Catch of the day was Grilled Wahoo. Fabulous meal. Reef grill was also good. There is also a little Thai place in a strip mall just south of Treasure Island that was good quality for a change of pace.
--Things to skip. I agree skip the turtle farm unless there are little kids with you. And even then, it was disappointing and smelly. Hell is a small shack with "hell" being jagged black stone growing up. Interesting to look at for about a minute. The main reason to go would be to get your postcard stamped from "hell". I was disappointed in the submarine trip. Cramped and I didn't see much. Also check the cruise ship schedule to know when Georgetown will be less crowded.
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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You have some very nice things in the works, you are going to love your trip.

Rum Point is a beautiful place to stop. I'd also like to mention that while you are there, you may want to take the short trek to Ivory Kai to walk the beach [secluded...we've only ever seen locals fishing there] to look a the starfish. They are out at ankle and knee depth and they are pretty abundant. If I can find my picturetrail account with pictures of them, I will post the link here.

I'd eat at the Wreck Bar and skip the Kaibo for lunch. The Wreck serves right on the beach at Rum Point, and has some really good jerk sandwiches and fish and chips.

I'd like the information on your Turks and Caicos day out with lunch ... we are heading there in 3 weeks.

I have been on Soto's and regardless of what you hear elsewhere, they are not the be all of Stingray City tours. I would call Captain Marvin's and ask about their all day snorkel trip. We love them. The trip goes out in the a.m., stopping to do a conch dive [in season], they then marinate the conch you pull up, you get the shell. You then stop at the Coral Gardens [we thought Ivan did a number on them when there in April, but I understand it has improved somewhat], and then at the beach at the Kaibo where you are served Fish cooked Caymanian style, the conch you got on your dive, salad, bread, and beverage. Nice lunch. Back on the boat and out to the Barrier Reef, where our boat guides always get out to feed the eel, and then take you on a fun follow the leader trip through the coral heads. We love this part. There is also a videographer taking movies that you can purchase [dvd] upon completion of the trip. Great service, great trip. You've such a large group, I'd contact them about having your own trip!!!

Never have done Pampered Ponies, but plan to try it next visit.

Blowholes you could stop to see on your way to Rum Point. I understand they are not quite what they have been after Ivan, but they are still 'working?'

Not a fan of Papagallos, so won't comment on that. I'd recommend the Lighthouse, The Reef Grill at the Royal Palms. Portofinos is nice too, but not near where you are staying.

The Barefoot man show is fun, the food very good, and its just a fun night out, and would be even more so with a group. Call the concierge at the Reef Resort [they always hire the best concierges] and make arrangements for your entire group to be up by the stage.

Deckers has some lobster specials, and yes, it is like a bus sitting out on the road. Fun place to go.

You may want to try the Lobster Pot while there, as well as the Wharf. The Wharf does a tarpon feed in the evenings, and the view is very nice from there.

Coconut Joes is another affordable place that you may want to stop at. For another inexpensive type meal, you may want to try Calypso Chicken, good value, good food.

Snorkeling...lots of good places.

Cemetery Reef is a pretty easy place to start with a good beach. Smiths Cove is very easy snorkeling but the beach is not the best. Pretty spot though. NOT TO MISS is Eden Rock. I'd also say behind the Cracked Conch restaurant, near the turtle farm. Go in at the dive shop there. The snorkeling there is very good too.

If you get a chance, and weather permitting do not miss Queen's monument.

Your skip list is right on. Skip all of that, but try and get to the Butterfly Farm, it is fascinating and you'll get more beautiful pictures than you know what to do with. While there run across the street to the Gelatto place. We stop there every single day just about when on the island. Delicious, and the owner, you'll love him.

We rent from McCurleys and I highly recommend them. We got a better deal with them than we did with any discount you see anywhere else, and BA and McCurley are the best.

Hope it helps!

Any other questions, ask away!

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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 02:57 AM
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Wow! Thanks so much!

I didn't like Papagallo's last time at all in '00. I thought it smelled funny. But I was a little seasick from our all day boat and snorkel trip.

Our T&C day trip was through Silver Deep and we did the diving for Conch as well. There are lots of little private islands there so after snorkeling a bit they dropped us on our private island. I think we brought a cooler of beer and they provided 'punch'. We explored and drank while they prepared a fantastic meal. They used the fresh conch and added lobster and some spices, etc. Cooked it in a tin pan over a fire. There were side dishes and fresh fruit. It was very yummy.

The snorkeling at T&C is enjoyable but it is not as good as GC so bear that in mind. The water is beautiful and it is a different experience. It's very island time there not the Americanized service at GC, so be prepared for that.

Deckers was 'ok' ... I didn't like the location but it was fun. I'd like to skip this time.

We have used Captain Marvin on other islands and they were good.

I'm definitely planning on hitting Coconut Joe's at least for some happy hour type cocktails.

Any other hang out bars along the beach that we could walk to from the Ritz? Thanks...getting so excited!
Trish
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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I cut and pasted my tripadvisor review of T&C...you are going to love it!
I made it a new post in case others were looking at T&C.
Trish
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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Sounds like you pretty much have a good list planned....

I will agree with others about the Reef Grill @ Royal Palms. This is by far one of the best restaurants on the island. The Sea-Bass is their signature dish, and shouldn't be missed.

Rum Point depends on crowds. In our two vacations in GC, we have tried Rum Point both times, and on both occaissions, it was WAY too crowded. The setting is very nice, but it's also very small. You aren't allowed to have coolers there, and are forced to buy from their restaurant & bar. Sorry, but between the crowds & not being able to simply bring my own water in with me....never again!! Obviously Rum Point is very popular with a lot of people, but we just aren't into feeling crowded on vacation.

If you want to get to some of the better snorkeling, renting a car will help tremendously. I agree with previous poster, Eden Rock is not to be missed.
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Seymour's Jerk Chicken stand by the airport is sooooo good. Great lunch stop.

We went to Roland's garden. It was really fun. There is no menu. He just cooks what he has. No liquor license either, so bring your own. He sits at your table and talks to you and then you just pay whatever you thought the meal was worth. He's German, so the meal had a German slant. We loved it.

And driving around the national park at the north-west end was nice. I don't know if it was the hurricane or not, but there were 100's of conch shells that had washed up.

Have a great time!
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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In reply to Rum Point being crowded, since the ferry isn't running, it's not nearly as crowded as it use to be. The weekends tend to be the busy time there so if you go during the week and go early, it's not that bad. In November we stopped to have lunch around noon on a Monday and there were very few people there. No trouble getting a hammock!!!
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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We also had no problem with Rum Point this past year. We go in the morning and generally stay til around early afternoon.

Sandy's right, with the ferry no longer running, a lot of people won't make the trek by car.

it is still one of the most beautiful places on the island.

Thanks for posting the T&C report, I'll go give it a look!
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Old Jan 29th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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I'll definitely hit rum point, stop at the blow holes along the way....
still not sure about Singray Brewery although might be good for souvenirs...

Keep ideas coming please! Thanks.

Trish
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Old Jan 30th, 2006, 08:00 PM
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We just got back Saturday. Try Captain Marvins day long snorkeling trip. Lunch is included and the marinated conch that you dive for. We drove to rum point because we had small kids and took a trip to Stingray city so I am not sure if the ferry is running from the Hyatt. Ragazzi is good in Buckingham square by the Hyatt. The Reef Grill at Royal Palms was good as usual. Music at Royal palms is Wed thru Sat or Sun starting at 8:00. One place we didn't get to but love is the Calypso grill. Have fun at the Ritz...we spent a memorable afteroon there.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:55 PM
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monk21 - We are thinking of doing the all day Capt. Marvin. How many snorkel stops did you have? How long at each stop? Thanks. sue
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 03:48 AM
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Captain Marvins is GREAT. The all day snorkel trip is the BEST. No, I don't work for them, or know them, but if you can get on a trip with Paul or Eric [if they are still there] better yet!

You first stop [in season] to snorkel and do a conch dive. Bring up your own conch which you get a lesson on. Very informative, fun and good. They then tell and show how to remove the conch from the shell, determine the sex of the conch, and then they begin the cleaning of the conch while you head for stop number two. They marinate the conch to go with your lunch.

The second stop is the Coral Gardens. Coral Gardens [in April and our opinion] took a hit from Ivan, but is still very beautiful. Here you snorkel again [watch for the gorgeous orange colored parrot fish, they are beautiful.] They also will toss out the things they can't use from the conch on one side of the boat, and hundreds [it seems] of fish come in for a nibble of it. Great photo op.

You then head to the Kaibo Yacht Club beach, where you get a nice lunch of your marinated conch [as a starter] with crackerers. Lunch consisted of salad, plantains, Caymanian fish, and something else...can't remember. Very good. If you are not a fish eater, you can request chicken. I have one son who will not eat seafood, so they did this for him.

You then leave there to head to the Barrier Reef. One of the guys will get off the boat here and lead you in a very fun kind of follow the leader through the maze of coral heads. Something you may not do on your own as you feel you could get lost within it. He then takes you to show you the eel and feed it. Another great photo op.

You leave here and head to stingray sandbar. Again, in the water they go with you. May introduce you to frisbee if he is there. Tailess stingray, thus the name. You get another lesson on the stingray. Males are tiny compared to females, anatomy, etc.

Get back on the boat and head on back. It is truly a delightful trip and they have a videographer on board to take movies throughout the trip you can buy.

I would again...caution you to be smart and use the Cayman Port Authority site http://www.caymanport.com/schedule.htm to check for how many cruise ships are in port when you are planning to go. I would never schedule any trip like this when there were more than one or two ships in port. No way. Even if you get on a boat that only takes out say 16 passengers, there will be other boats at the sand bar with 100.

Most of the time we go on Sundays when we see there are NO ships in port!!!

Good luck, and you will love Captain Marvins!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 06:16 AM
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Thanks irkemerson! That's what I thought it was, but on their website description for the all day snorkel trip they say you go to EITHER coral gardens or Barrier Reef - NOT both. On their half day trip - you don't do the conch for lunch dive but go to both of those snorkel stops plus stingray city. It looks like they substitute the conch dive for one of the stops. Do you suppose you got to do both just because the guys were nice? Thanks, sue
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:17 AM
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I don't know, but I can't recommend any other service like I can this one. We use them and will continue to use them. That being said...Captain Dexter, well, he's delightful, ornery and fun to be with. His trip is shorter in duration [only half day] but if I was doing half day, I'd always consider him. We had a ball with him. Engine out, and sail in, lazing on the catamaran. Nice.

Eric and Paul are awesome...I went with Soto's to try them out this past year, and their tour was cheaper, but I feel they did not deliver the experience that Captain Marvin's did.

I have heard it mentioned that Captain Marvin's may be crowded on big cruise ship days. IF they are busy with a ton of people, maybe they can't do the other stop, or maybe they don't have time for it. Takes a lot more time to load 30 people in and out of a boat than it does 12! That is why I can't stress strongly enough checking that port authority schedule and going on a "no cruise ship day!" Who wants to be on the sandbar for an experience like you'll not likely have again and have to share it with such a mass of humanity! You get to see and do more, and have more time in the water.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 09:48 AM
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We are definitely goint with Capt. marvin. I was just trying to decide between his half day with three definite snorkeling spots or his full with the conch diving and two snorkeling spots. We are going on a Saturday - only one cruise ship. Thanks, sue
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 04:13 AM
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Has anyone done pampered ponies??
Trish
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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I guess that's a no.
Trish
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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Anyone been to the Wharf? Would you pick that over Grand Old House or Papagallo? Royal Palms?

Trish
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Old Feb 9th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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I haven't been to the Grand Old House, but I would pick the Wharf over the other two. The view from the Wharf is exc. at night with great views of the ocean and cruise ship lights in the distance. However, we weren't impressed with watching the tarpon feeding while fine dining. Personally I would have dinner at the Lighthouse, and go to the Wharf for drinks and/or dessert.
 

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