Grand Cayman: Paradise Found
Whenever someone says they’ve been to Grand Cayman they rave about Seven Mile Beach and its calm sea-foamy colored water that remains undisturbed no matter how many people jump in. They also boast about the great shopping, nightlife and restaurants in the port city, George Town.
Yet rarely does anyone have anything to say about the rest of the island except as a place to drive through and turn back around.
I wrote to a flickr friend that lives on Grand Cayman to inquire about his favorite places to eat and visit. He laughed when he found out that I was staying on the East End. ‘Well’ he replied, ‘if you’re adventurous then you might enjoy that side but you’ll still have to come to George Town to defeat boredom and get a decent meal.’
Oh, how wrong he was.
My friends traded a timeshare for Morritt’s Grand Resort in the laid-back East End. Morritt’s has a round pool that is 6-feet deep at its maximum, a kiddie pool, a pool bar, and a hot tub to be enjoyed by the numerous occupants.
Morritt’s Grand Resort and Tortuga club share a Spa and a Dive Shop between them and a long and lovely stretch of beach.
On this side of the island, you can learn to Wind Surf, Kite-Sail, and jump waves on a WaveRunner. And for those of us not-so-adventurous, there’s excellent snorkeling and the opportunity to splash and be splashed by small crashing waves of less than 1 foot high and a gorgeous sunrise each morning.
What else is there to do on the island?
Welcome to Grand Cayman where chickens have their own crossings; they literally rule the road.
Most grand beach houses have names such as: Reef Romance, No Big Ting, Conch’ed Out, Kai Conut, and Ecstasea. You could spend an entire day jotting down names, laughing at the double entendres, and peeking through windows as more than half of them seemed to be rentals.
Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden is a lovely area just off the North Side main road where a retiree from Wisconsin builds concrete sculptures in his spare time on his own property for all to enjoy.
Visit the The Blow Holes, Bodden Town, Starfish Beach, and the QE2 Botanic Park where the iguanas are easily approached by strangers.
Rum Point on the North Side is private property but open to all with just the right amount of restaurants and snack food/drink shacks for hundreds of people to enjoy.
The Dive Shop at Rum Point also runs the glass-bottom boat to Stingray City.
Every beach is public; large resorts and hotels are not allowed to “fence” off their part of the beach.
Most cemeteries are seaside.
Who wants this view in their after-life? Well, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if offered.
Oh, I almost forgot… my Cayman friend was right about one thing: he said to go wherever Barefoot Man, a legendary storyteller, was playing. Fortunately, The Reef, a resort next door to Morritt’s, has a long-standing engagement every Thursday night with the Barefoot Man. I merely had to walk a few hundred feet to hear this man’s performance, both humorous and real; I truly enjoyed his show.
What about the food?
There are plenty of places that serve decent meals but my friends found 3 little gems on the East End: Over the Edge Cafe, where a Chicago-transplant is the chef; Capt Herman’s, a sailboat captain and excellent fish fry-er; and Tukka Restaurant & Bar, an Aussie and Caribbean fusion restaurant with delightful appetizers, such as Kangaroo Lollipops (Kangaroo Sausages and sauce).
Tourism is a large part of the economy but finance is even more important to the country’s growth. Of course, this is where a lot of rich people keep their millions hidden but the disparity between the “haves” and “have-nots” isn’t as noticeable as on some of the other islands. We met so many permanent residents formerly from the US, Jamaica, Honduras, etc. that had their own successful small businesses, were building their own rental houses, attending the university, managing a resort or restaurant, or teaching there.
Crime is low. Even in the “lower-income” neighborhoods the locals live in houses; not shacks or shanties like Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic and so many other island countries. We felt safe walking up to Pirates Cove, a neighborhood bar, having a drink and enjoying the cook-off/dance contest.
Seriously, there is much to see and do and love on Grand Cayman island beyond Seven Mile Beach; please explore it to be assured of a well-rounded and fun-filled vacation.