Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cayman Islands Highlights


After visiting the Cayman Islands a little over a year ago, I highly recommend it, especially as a respite from the cold winters like we often have in Minnesota.

Grand Cayman offers so much for everyone, from beaches to snorkeling to helicopter rides over the beach to swimming with dolphins to visiting turtle farms.


If you have a week or so to visit Grand Cayman, consider these activities and attractions. I hope you enjoy the Cayman Islands as much as I did!

Helicopter Ride

This was on my bucket list. I was excited to get to go on a helicopter ride and check this one off my bucket list! Me and my friends paid for a short ride, about 45 minutes or so, over the ocean. But it was totally worth it.

The helicopter gently rose in the air, and it was so smooth I hardly realized we were so high in the air so quickly. The pilot guided the helicopter along Seven Mile Beach, and we looked down on hotels, the beach and, best of all, the ocean with clear waters, offering us views of coral and sea life from high up in the air. A little tour of Grand Cayman from the air was an awesome way to spend some time. Check out Cayman Islands Helicopters for helicopter ride options.




















Snorkeling

I had never been snorkeling, but I wanted to try it in Grand Cayman, as Grand Cayman is known for its snorkeling and scuba diving. Grand Cayman has many scuba diving operators and snorkeling operators to choose from. Some resorts even offer resort courses. If you go snorkeling, don’t miss Stingray City, where you can pet and feed stingrays.

I’d recommend Captain Marvin’s for snorkeling. The staff on our boat were very helpful to newbie snorkelers like me, pointing out and explaining the sea life to me and giving tips about how to use the snorkel tube and mask. It turned out to be a really fun experience! Here’s more about my snorkeling experience.



















Night kayaking

Kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay, with water that seemed to glow when we glided our paddles through the water, was awesome. Night kayaking in the bioluminescent bay is only offered certain nights, but it’s an experience not to be missed. We went kayaking with Cayman Kayaks. Read more about my experience kayaking in the bioluminescent bay.

Swim with the dolphins

I know this sounds a bit touristy. But, check out Dolphin Discovery. It’s well worth the money to go, especially if you’re a fan of dolphins, like me. Before this, I'd only see dolphins in Sea World or a couple times from boats in the ocean. 

At Dolphin Discovery, we interacted with the dolphins, pet the dolphins, swam with them and watched them do flips and jumps and tricks. What a fun experience! And we left with many memorable photos of our adventure.



Pet a turtle

At the Turtle Farm, you can see turtles of all sizes, from huge sea turtles to tiny turtles. You can even hold small turtles. If you go to Dolphin Discovery, ask about special discounts for the Turtle Farm.



Eat and drink by the ocean

For any island vacation, take the opportunity to eat at restaurants with views of the ocean. Try the fresh seafood. Have a specialty drink, like a refreshing fruit drink with a bit of the Cayman Tortuga rum in it.

One of the best restaurants I tried was Calypso Grill, which had an interesting d├ęcor, excellent service and fresh food. If you go, sit out on the patio along the water.





Sit in a hammock with a view of palm trees and the sea

Living in the northern United States, I don’t get to do this often. I thoroughly enjoyed lounging in a hammock with a book, with a view of the sea.




*Some photos courtesy of Marissa Fitzgibbons and Rachel Thomas.

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