What's the best hotel to stay at for off-shore snorkeling?
What's the best hotel to stay at for off-shore snorkeling?
It is so easy to find great snorkeling spots I wouldn't make it the most important issue for the hotel. Keep in mind that most hotel guests like sandy beach and sandy water entrance which isn't the best for snorkeling. However there certainly are some that are better than others. More importantly are you renting a car to get around? If you go away from the southern and central SMB area you will need one!! That stretch has the most restaurants, shops etc within walking distance and a very regular bus service. It also has the sandiest beach so the less in terms of nooks and crannies for marine life! The Marriott has put in reef balls to help protect its beach and there is a nice little community starting up there but it is yet a thriving reef. If you are getting a car you have many more options. Check out the bullet to the right ----------> Where is the best snorkeling and diving from shore . . . . .
We stay at The Retreat at Rum Point, a 23 unit condo complex right on the 'point' of Rum Point. We love it there! It is perfect for our family who prefers the comforts of a home in a quiet, natural setting versus the great restaurants and shops available in the busier area along the beautiful Seven Mile Beach. We also pre-order grocery delivery since it is a drive to the nearest full service grocery. There are no hotels per se' on this area of the island. There are many rental villas in addition to a few small condo complexes not only in the Cayman Kai / Rum Point area but also many other areas along the main road that encircles the island. The snorkeling is absolutely fabulous right off our beach at Rum Point and we spend much of our time straight off our beach snorkeling. It is necessary to have a car since this is located on the opposite end of the island from the airport (and Seven Mile Beach). There are some very good restaurant options nearby but much fewer than near the west side of the island but we cook most of our meals anyway. Testudo's Snorkeling Guide is a wealth of information that I urge you to read before you determine where you will stay. It details the various snorkeling sites around the island amazingly well and includes a map showing the various locations. The island is small enough that you could drive to the various sites to snorkel as you choose. As Retrip suggested, your lodging doesn't necessarily need to be determined by the snorkel locations. Many people seem to determine lodging that meets other criteria. We chose Cayman Kai / Rum Point because we knew we wanted less hustle and bustle, didn't need the restaurants, and wanted a beautiful natural setting. And it was just what we wanted. There are also many villas to rent all along the north shore, Old Man Bay, or the East End which is also the location of the popular Morritt's and The Reef timeshare with condo rentals. It seems many people prefer Seven Mile Beach which is near restaurants and shopping with several places on the far north end of SMB that offer lower priced options. So, I suggest you consider your personal requirements (price, restaurants & shops, swimming pool, beach specifics, car availability and if you mind driving to the best snorkeling sites or restaurants & grocery stores), read the various threads regarding lodging and return with specific questions once you determine your requirements. Also, you may want to peruse the following websites for some ideas: www.grandcaymanvillas.net; www.caydirect.com/; www.caymanvacation.com/; http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g147367-Seven_Mile_Beach_Grand_Cayman_Cayman_Islands-Hotels.html; The DEs on this forum are very knowledgeable and once you advise of your specific needs, they can provide tremendous assistance. You will LOVE Cayman!Edited: 09 June 2013, 19:27
What a wealth of information... thanks for the input! Retrip, I'm thinking that when we get there we will rent a car.. I've looked at Andy's and can get one for only about $35 a day. There will be days that we just want to hangout at the beach and not go anywhere.. we are only staying a week. But I'm seeing lots of cool wrecks and reefs on the other side of the island that we def want to explore as I look thru the bullets on TA per your suggestion so a car is necessary!
KansasMamaBear, Testudo's Snorkeling Guide is the bomb! Great guide to snorkeling activity! Since the hotel may not be that big a deal as you both have mentioned, I think we are going with GC Beachsuites.. looks like some basic off-shore snorkeling from all the hotels on that 7MB strip and now will rent a car to get some serious snorkeling in. By the same token, we are 2 single women who want a bit of the nightlife and hustle and bustle, plus looks like there's a liquor store right across the street from that hotel with little kitchenettes included as well. We just need the basics as we plan on spending as little time as possible in the hotel.
Sounds like a plan! Yes, Testudo has contributed GREATLY to the enjoyment of all visitors to Cayman with his guide. I know it made a tremendous difference for our family.
A few other thoughts...
When renting the car, keep in mind that, apparently, small cars to those of us in the U.S. are not really so small. The first year we rented a car in Cayman, we almost couldn't fit everything. So be specific as to size when you reserve. Both left and right hand drive cars are available for rental in Cayman where you drive on the left side of the road. We had the normal left hand drive the first year. This last trip we chose to request a right hand drive when we made the reservation and MUCH prefer it. YMMV. Also, you may already know, check with your credit card company and your auto insurer before you go. Many will save you quite a bit of green because they will cover the insurance EXCEPT for the 3rd party liability which doesn't cost much. You will also need to purchase a license that runs around $20 as I recall. Be certain to pick up a Cayman map near the baggage claim at the airport or maybe Andy's has one. We didn't receive one or think to ask the year we rented from them.
Red Sail sports at Rum Point runs a 'free' catamaran trip out to the Rum Point Club restaurant for dinner some evenings. Might be something you girls would enjoy: redsailcayman.com/free-catamaran-ferry-to-ru…
A visit to Stingray City dive site (seep water) or Stingray Sandbar(Shallow water) is a must IMO. There are many tour ops that offer trips to this area and usually include a couple of other snorkel stops. We used Red Sail Sports from the Rum Point pier but we were staying on Rum Point. tortugadivers.com/redsailcaymanactivityrum-p…
Something else you may like to consider is the night time kayak tour to the Bioluminescence Bay with Tom from Cayman Kayaks. It is only on the darker nights of the month, not near the full moon and the schedule is listed on the website. It is well worth the time and money and would be safe and fun: http://www.caymankayaks.com/
Something we have yet to do that is often mentioned on this forum is the Mastic Trail hike with Stuart (he seems to be THE one to go with according to TA) from the National Trust. It sounds like a fun adventure (I understand there are no facilities along the trail): http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/?p=866
As a Denverite, I believe you would appreciate a place that is frequently mentioned, Pure Art: http://www.pureart.ky/
I didn't make it by this place but sounds like a good spot to check out for some items to go with your favorite libations: ecayonline.com/bay-market-grand-cayman-islan…
There is a Foster's Food Fair grocery store as you leave the airport area. There is also Foster's Foods in the Strand not far from your lodging. http://fosters-iga.com/fff/store-locations/
As far as clubs & nightlife, DE Saj may chime in and share his expertise about fun, safe places for two singles ladies to enjoy.
Beachsuites is more than perfect for 2! When husband and I go to GC without adult children, grand kids, Beachsuites is our top choice. There is a Big Daddy's liquor store located directly across the street, as well as Ragazzi restaurant with many other great restaurants within nearby walking distance. Foster's grocery store at Strand shopping center also an easy walk away, as is Camana Bay. You will be most happy and comfortable with choosing to lodge @ Beachsuites:-)
Alas... the trip has fallen through with my friend. :-(
I don't mind traveling solo but to book the vacay package alone is too expensive. It all boils down to the cost of not being able to share a room. Any ideas? Anybody wanna share a room with me? Looking to travel the last week of August and through the labor day weekend.
Thanks so much for the feedback.. am hoping to make this happen :-)
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