Impressions from our first trip:
The People: Are incredibly friendly. We did not encounter a single person who seemed weary with tourists. Instead, people seemed genuinely happy and glad to see us.
Seven Mile Beach: Completely gorgeous. Crystal clear with intense shades of aquamarine, soft white sand, perfect and picturesque. Some of the resorts along SMB have a row of causarina trees along the beach in front. While they provide nice shade on the beach, it appeared they could possibly block the view of the ocean from some of the rooms. A few resorts had multiple rows of chairs placed closely side by side close with few umbrellas. Others provided space, privacy, a great view and shade! So nice the websites all have photos.
Snorkeling: Loved the numerous locations for “off the beach” snorkeling. Some of these required a 100 yard or more swim out to the coral. Gentle waves made this an easy swim at each location we tried. Just off SMB, a five min walk from our condo, we enjoyed the north end of Governor’s Beach. I will be writing a review with more info. We saw a lot of different fish there, but not much coral. We also snorkeled off of Cemetery Beach (murky water), as well as several locations along the reef on the East End with Ocean Frontiers, the arc from Cayman Kai to Rum Point, and Sandbar City. In general, the reef we saw appeared very healthy. Fish were plentiful, varied, and colorful. We snorkeled every single day and for so many hours that by the end of the week, I felt like I was floating even when out of the water, (and lost 4 pounds haha). Testudo’s guide was very helpful and there were quite a few places we just did not have time to discover for snorkeling (next trip!). Grand Cayman is an excellent snorkeling destination.
Food: We ate only three of our meals out at restaurants. Macabuca, Tukka, and Sunshine Grille. I will write reviews for each of these. All great! Tukka was our favorite for best food, best drinks, best waiter, and absolutely best atmosphere. Worth the drive out to the east end to dine there. I should note that my husband and son cooked all our other meals!
The Island: We drove around much of the island. I was impressed with how well maintained the island appeared to be. Attractive landscaping flanked the public roads, and the modest cottages we drove past had well-kept lawns behind their attractive low concrete walls. Roads were very good although I was sometimes confused by the traffic circles. Glad I let my husband drive and my son navigate! Beautiful red flowering trees bloomed all over the island, (Flamboyant trees?) The island is well developed without being overly touristy, I did spot the occasional American fast food restaurant and wish I had not, but that is just my travel preference. I am not sure how to best describe this, but some other islands we have visited showed apparent signs of poverty. Grand Cayman seems to enjoy a better standard of living. Even with increased development, GC still retained a lot of island charm and individuality. I felt a sense of Cayman pride.
The Airport: Ah, cool, comfortable, and quick. Disclaimer – we had a Monday flight, so that probably made a big difference. We had no issues with getting through security and customs lines, found seats easily for our flight, and discovered that we were likely on the last flight out of the day as the room emptied before our departure. (Special thanks to the US Airways clerk who moved us from our back row seats to much roomier ones when they became available just before boarding – yay!) Looking forward to a return trip!