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Almost there!!

Bergen County NJ
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129 posts
26 reviews
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Almost there!!

I've been to Cayman 3 times, but not since 1999. I'm so excited to go back. I can well imagine that a lot has changed since I was there last! We're heading down on Monday for 13 days!! Staying at the CC. My husband and I will be traveling with our 7YO son and my 63YO very able bodied MIL, both of whom have never been anywhere in the Caribbean! It will be really nice to see the island through their eyes.

Is Papagallos still good? We've had several great meals there in the past, and I'm looking forward to going back. We're "foodies" -- all of us including my hot-dog-chicken-finger-snubbing 7YO -- so we're looking to go out for really great memorable meals for dinner. Will do most breakfasts & lunches in our condo, barring, from what I've read, the not to be missed brunch at Luca. Any and all really special, not to be missed restaurant recommendations are welcome! It doesn't have to be a fancy schmancy place - food is key.

Anything new on the island that we absolutely shouldn't miss? I don't recall the dolphin encounters being there. Not too sure how I feel about this, though. Any thoughts on that?

We plan to snorkel every day, and thanks to Testudo we have a very handy guide to follow! My husband and I are advanced PADI certified divers, my husband has technicial certifications as well. Lots of dive experience, but sadly none recent, I know I'm a bit rusty, I haven't dove since 2001. We're bringing all of our own equipment, just had it serviced so it's good to go.

We taught our son to snorkel in Hawaii last year, and he's so excited to do it this year. We plan to take him out on a dive boat with us. One of us will snorkel with him while the other does the first tank, then we'll switch. That way he can see both of us diving. Trying to foster the bug in him early!

I plan to post trip reports, too. I know I haven't posted a lot here, but I've been lurking every day!! I also like to post reviews, so there will be some of that. Hopefully my trip reports will entertain you. I got a lot of reads on my reports from Hawaii last year, and it's a nice way to write the highlights of the trip down for posterity. Thanks for listening to me ramble. My employees aren't nearly as excited about this trip as I am, go figure! ;)

Destination Expert
for East End, Grand Cayman
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924 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Almost there!!

We ate at Pappagallo in July and it was excellent, so you should keep it on your list.

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207 posts
218 reviews
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2. Re: Almost there!!

I would recommend Calypso Grill for a good meal in a lovely ambiance. The Grand Cayman Motor Museum next door to the Turtle Farm in West Bay is also very well presented and really entertaining, especially if the weather is not great. You will also be surprised with the Camana Bay development which is very attractive and has some good restaurants,

So Cal
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50 posts
101 reviews
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3. Re: Almost there!!

Ate at Pappagallo, as well, in July. Still great.

What you will notice first, not having been there in several years, is the increased amount of car traffic along SMB. Much more than 10 years ago. Some times risky to run across the road, now days.

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
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5,901 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Almost there!!

make sure you talk to your dive op and let them know you want to bring a snorkeler. Some don't allow it. Many of the dive sites are not great for snorkeling also as they are deep or there is too much chop (on the North East or South sides. Try to find someone who will let you snorkel the Kittiwake


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438 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Almost there!!

Highly recomend Macabuca (ocean side bar/restuarent) behind the Cracked Conch in West Bay. The Conch Platter is TO DIE FOR. You can also snorkle / dive from the patio. Several snorkelers took the ladder into the water when we were there last spring and had a great time.

Yes, Lucca is a fabulous spot for brunch, lunch and dinner ! Right in your lobby,

Their sister restaurant, Ragazzi, is also a great spot that we never miss. More casual, but they do a delicious mussel appetizer and my husband dreams about their gnocchi in 3 cheese sauce with pitachios. Their pizzas are wood fired to order.... delish.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Ecotourism
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1,735 posts
81 reviews
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6. Re: Almost there!!

After not diving for 10 years, you will definitely need a refresher course before anyone will let you dive. Try to do it at home so you don't waste time on your holiday -- may also be cheaper at home. It will cost somewhere between $99 and $150. You could start with PADI e-learning or just go the the shop where you got your stuff serviced.

This will also give you a chance to try out your recently-serviced equipment in a pool before your trip to ensure there are no problems.

Grand Cayman
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18 posts
11 reviews
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7. Re: Almost there!!

Pappagallos is still fantastic! Might look a liitle different from back then as it has major fix- ups and improvements after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The parrots are still there and the staff is amazing!

There has a lot of things changed since 1999!

A lot of new fabulous restaurants! e.g. Dolce Vita (unfortunately closed for a summer break while u will be here), Luca, Morgan,s Harbour, Rum Point Restaurant, Karma, The Ritz Carlton,......

A must visit is Calypso Grill! Please make sure you call ahead for reservations and go early on your trip as they are closing for a month as well.

A highlight is to charter a private boat and see Stingray City, Starfish Beach and some great snorkeling like Coral Gardens or by the Reef.

The Dolphins are a lot of fun to swim with. You have companies to choose from:

Dolphin Discover is across the Turtle Farm in West Bay and you swim with the mammals in a pool.

Dolphin Cove is around the corner from Calypso Grill in west Bay and nestled in a Cove, here you are swimming with the dolphins in their natural enviroment. I can highly recommend to book the Ultimate Swim (done it twice) you get towed by a dolphin, swim with them, get kissed and they lift you out of the water.

Make sure you dive the USS Kittewake, Caymans newest dive site! Also great to snorkel there!

I live in Cayman since 8 years and there is lots of things to do, and great restaurant with superb food. If you have any further questions let me know... i am delighted to help!

Bergen County NJ
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129 posts
26 reviews
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8. Re: Almost there!!

Thank you everyone! And, Bettina, if I have some questions while I'm here, I may just send you a PM.

We got in this afternoon (after a 2+ hour delay departing JFK thanks to a storm last night). It has changed so much! It's so much more built up and so busy! It's still beautiful here, just as I remember. :)

A special thanks to @Retrip for recommending the Caribbean Club. It's gorgeous and we are thrilled with our accommodations. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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1,993 posts
14 reviews
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9. Re: Almost there!!

If you decide to do the dolphin experience, I'd recommend Dolphin Discovery(personal experience) because you also get free admission to Turtle Farm portion of Boatswain Beach. You can book it online or call ahead to reserve a spot. Try to do it when the least amount of cruise ships are in. By the way if you find you want to visit the Turtle Farm first, just go to Dolphin Discovery 30-45 minutes before your scheduled time, check in and get your turtle farm wristlet then you can walk over to view turtles and come back to do the dolphin experience.

And since you're in the area, as mentioned previously the Cayman Motor Museum is right down the street from these places. The Batmobile is there so it might be something your son would think is fun.

Glad to hear you like Caribbean Club! Have fun!!!

10. Re: Almost there!!

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