Got back yesterday from a week at GC; our first vaca like this in many years, so here are our impressions as ‘rookies.’
Stayed at the Marriott, nice room, clean, great service—front desk made calls for us, car rental on site, restaurants were nice but a little pricey, artificial reef right offshore.
Our eating pattern in summer usually involves a light breakfast (in our room), then a late lunch around 2:00 or 3:00, then munchies at night. So we stayed away from the real expensive sit-down dinners. BUT we would recommend any of the places we ate: Coconut Joes, Mecabuca, Breezes, The Wreck and Kaibo Beach at Rum Point, Over the Edge. We had our anniversary dinner at the Lighthouse, highly recommended! We reserved the table on the private balcony.
Dive shops were generally very helpful, friendly staff. My wife dove with Divetech, and it was great; picked her up at the hotel, treated her well, small groups. She did a night dive with Don Foster’s, leader Paul did a great job! The kid at Eden Rock helped us read the map, and pointed out great places to snorkel. The only exception was Divers Down; they displayed an arrogant attitude and acted as though they just couldn’t be bothered. The conversation literally went like this: “Can you tell us where the Cali wreck is?” “Out there (pointing at the water).” In their defense, though, it was closing time, and we had our own snorkeling gear, so we weren’t going to spend any money.
Snorkeling (I don’t dive) was amazing!! We carried our gear with us, and went at least once every day, right from shore. Eden Rock & Devil’s Grotto, Cali wreck, Turtle Reef, Rum Point, Barefoot Beach—every place was different! We used Captain Marvin for Stingray Sandbar and snorkeling tour--very entertaining, excellent service!
I golfed Brittania—greens were about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, but the layout was superb! Every hole was unique, and I used every club in the bag(rental clubs are Titleist AP1--awesome clubs). Richard the cart guy was great—offered to call a cab, even offered to play a round with me next time.
Guided hike on the Mastic Trail was a nice change of pace, Stewart is a very knowledgeable guide.
Driving on the left wasn’t that bad, but I really had to concentrate at intersections! The local drivers were polite, although they tend to tailgate.
What we learned, recommendations for first-time visitors:
1: don’t obsess about money. Vacations are expensive, and GC is even more expensive. We weren’t extravagant, and just enjoyed ourselves. NOTE: check your bill; some places added a 15% gratuity.
2: take the bus! Easier than described. If you’re walking, they’ll beep and pick you up, you don't even need to be at a stop. They'll let you off wherever you want, just ask. $2 CI
3: try not to be an obnoxious tourist—leave the speedo, tank tops, and Hawaiian shirts at home. The culture seems very proper and respectful—not “stuffy” but “classy.” Every conversation begins with "Good morning" or "Good afternoon." Cover up when you leave the beach, and it doesn’t take any more effort to put on a collared shirt than a T-shirt.
4: enjoy yourself!! We're so glad we went, and we can’t wait to go back! Thanks TA community for all your recommendations!