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Thread: Non-Aruba Grand Cayman trip Trip Report

  1. #1
    Senior Member AUA1989's Avatar
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    Non-Aruba Grand Cayman trip Trip Report

    I mentioned before we were headed to Grand Cayman for something different for a 30th anniversary (which is actually not til the 30th of Dec.).

    For anyone interested, here is our take... Quite a bit of our comments to each other were comparisons to Aruba.

    11/21/19 - 12/2/19

    Prior to going, we were told by everyone we knew who had been there that it was expensive. Pretty much the case.

    We stayed on Seven Mile Beach in a 2 bedroom condo. All of the condos and resorts on Seven Mile beach seemed pricier than Aruba. We chose one that was least expensive since we were there 12 days. It was fine for our needs. A little musty, but we're used to that in a tropical location. The laundry was not in the unit and both times I went to use it, all machines were in use by someone who seemed to be doing many folk's laundry. I think it's one of the older condo properties in the area and was nothing fancy, but great location. There are 45 units and it seemed that less than half were occupied while we were there, which was nice for the beach area as it seemed deserted most of the time.

    The property has trees for shade as well as 4 over sized papalas. Comically, I got up the first morning at 8:00 worried about getting a shady place on the beach. I hurriedly packed my beach bag and rushed to the beach to see if I could get one of the 4 papalas. THERE WAS NO ONE ON THE BEACH! LOL. I was so accustomed to the palapa fights in Aruba, I didn't know what to do. It was like that most of the 12 days we were there. The sand and water were amazing. We were in water 15 feet deep or more and could still see our feet. There was a reef just off the beach of our condo and it had quite a bit of marine life. DH saw a barracuda one day, always a lion fish, a couple times a lobster, flounder, and a myriad of other fish I didn't identify.

    Perfect weather!!! It was sunny with few clouds and 82 every day, upper 70s in the evening. Most of the time a breeze. I love sunset and it was odd that every night as the sun would set it seemed like any clouds that had passed over during the day had piled up on the horizon.

    The restaurants in GC are more expensive than Aruba. Our Uh-oh moment came when we found out we were wrong about the exchange rate. We thought we got $1.20 GC dollar for each US $1. We had it backwards. We got only 80 cents for every US dollar. Most places had prices in Cayman, which we kept forgetting. The first dinner we had appetizers, drinks, entree and dessert. Close to $200 US! They also add a 15% service charge. So figure a meal that is $125GC becomes $143.75 with service charge and with the exchange rate is $172.50. We learned quickly. In Aruba, it seems like we can walk to many more restaurants. Where we were located in GC, there was only one place we could walk to for dinner, Dukes. Luckily it was really good and we ate there 3 times. We did find places advertising turkey dinners on Thanksgiving. We found places to watch the Ohio State game on 2 of the Saturdays we were there.

    We rented a car, which was fairly inexpensive. We drove around the island one day but didn't find many beaches from which we could swim that were any better than at our condo. There is public beach access everywhere. We took lunch with us and found an table on a secluded beach area to eat. You couldn't really swim though as it was very rocky. It wasn't as rough as Aruba's east side, but just very rocky. Cemetery beach and Smith's Cove were highly touted, but again, they weren't any better than our beach at the condo. Rum Point is overrated. Everyone told us to go to Hell, which is the typical tourist trap where you buy postcards and mail from the post office next door and your friends and family get postcards from Hell. Nothing really to see there except some unique rock (actually, Limestone) formations.

    No casinos and not much nightlife, except at the bigger resorts. We were in our condo by 9 or 10 pm each night, which is the opposite of Aruba where we don't turn in until after we run out of money at the casinos. But, we knew this going in and were looking for a quieter trip anyhow. We were in GC for relaxation and weren't looking for crazy night life or gambling.

    We will have a fresh experience from GC to compare with AUA. It's been two years since our last Aruba trip (wow), but that will be remedied in 48 days for my 55th birthday! We booked an inexpensive trip; I found airfare on SW that was less than $700 round trip total for 2 and we're staying at a B&B for 1/2 the trip and La Cabana 1/2 the trip.

    If anyone has any specific questions about GC, please feel free to ask or message me.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you for sharing your Grand Cayman adventure with us.
    we stop at the Caymans often when we cruise the W Caribbean.
    I do think that the beaches are magnificent there and do love the sting ray city, but other than that, I find the place a real YAWN.

    Aruba sets a very high bar...........not much is comparable to Aruba.
    ​In a world where you can be anything, be kind!
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    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    I would like to know the name of the condo complex, if you don't mind sharing. I've been looking for 10th anniversary special spots but my heart says go with Aruba, the place we know and love.
    I think maybe a cruise ship is the way to go for GC, but the reef right there off the beach does sound enticing.
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    Senior Member AUA1989's Avatar
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    The condo was called Harbour Heights. Very nice, very laid back, not many amenities on the property, nice pool. The website is easy to use and easy to see what units are available.

    Here are two pics. One from our balcony and one of the beach midday. You can see how quiet it is!!Non-Aruba Grand Cayman trip Trip Report-gc1-jpgNon-Aruba Grand Cayman trip Trip Report-gc2-jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Traceyd14 View Post
    I would like to know the name of the condo complex, if you don't mind sharing. I've been looking for 10th anniversary special spots but my heart says go with Aruba, the place we know and love.
    I think maybe a cruise ship is the way to go for GC, but the reef right there off the beach does sound enticing.

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    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! We were in Grand Cayman in Dec. 2010. We were at resort that was on a golf course but not on Seven Mile Beach. It was the Great Caymanian then, but hubby thinks it changed names. The boys were supposed to be with us, but ended up going to Israel with Birthright instead, so we had a very large two bedroom to ourselves(timeshare exchange). There was a rooster and two chickens who lived on the golf course and woke us every morning at dawn. It was quiet, expensive and we had great time. One of the people I worked with daughter lived on the island and we met up and I delivered Christmas gifts to her and her hubby.

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    Good morning,

    My wife and I first found Grand Cayman back in 1986 on a cruise stop. It was a rainy day and even then we fell in love with it and went back for stay-put vacations many times.

    It is quieter than Aruba with a smaller dining scene. Back in the late 80's or early 90's an American air carrier was going to offer an airfare (MIA-GCM) of $99.00. The Cayman Authorities refused the airline's proposal and they weren't very subtle about it. They didn't want the tourists a $99.00 airfare would bring. Hey, it's their place!

    It is expensive, no doubt about that. Got to remember, The Cayman Islands is the world's 5th largest financial centre. Lots of high-rolling solicitors and the world's largest accounting firms all have a presence there. Their economy is strong and not dependant only on tourism.

    We hope to return to Cayman next year.


    Glenn
    Winnipeg, Canada
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