If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some photos I shared of my incredible trip down to Grand Cayman for a girls getaway. The safest island in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman offers so much to do and our 5 day / 4 night excursion proved just the thing I needed to escape New York’s never ending winter and hit the internal “refresh” button.
So today I’m sharing my first travel diary from the trip and can’t wait to show you all we did! (P.S if you’re interested in what I packed/wore, see HERE.) We fit so much in and had such an amazing experience getting to know Grand Cayman and the overall history of the Cayman Islands. A quick trip (the flight is under 4 hours from New York City! I flew Delta on the way down and Cayman Airways on the way back and could barely believe what an easy flight it is. It’s less time than getting back to California!)
I think it is important to note also that I did not edit my photos prior to sharing them so the colors, visuals, scenes you’re seeing are 100% authentic and truly representative of the views you take in from this gorgeous place…
Cayman Food Tours: This food tour took us away from the beach but it was so worthwhile. Marzeta shepherds an impeccable walking tour around Grand Cayman’s main town, George Town weaving in the island’s history and architectural gems alongside stops that feature amazing tastings. We made several stops to take in everything from local snapper in a delicious traditional sauce and iced tea made on the island to the famous hot pepper jelly (so spicy and so good!) to a traditional West Indies Roti.
Sunset Cruise on the Jolly Roger: When I first saw the Jolly Roger I didn’t know if it was going to be quite my speed (it is boat designed to look like an old time pirate ship), but the sunset sail we took on it was a trip highlight. Come aboard and enjoy an open well bar (including island punch) and a gorgeously long cruise along the famed Seven Mile Beach.
Stingray City: I kissed a stingray and I liked it! No, seriously – I held and gave a string ray a quick wet one to hopefully bring me seven years of good luck at Grand Cayman’s famous Stingray City. Cayman Luxury Charters was kind enough to bring us out on their beautiful boat, The Cayman Evasion and we had the most glorious day. Our captain, Paul, could not have been more knowledgeable, patient or kind and we had the best time learning from him about the island and all of the creatures its waters hold. We soaked up the sun, felt the water on our faces, snorkeled, saw starfish up close and personal in Starfish Cove and Paul made us feel like we were seeing the island and everything its waters hold through the eyes of a local. Our experience on The Cayman Evasion with Paul was easily a major highlight of our trip and it was an experience I would recommend to anyone visiting.
Snorkeling: The Cayman Islands’ reefs are some of the best in the world for snorkeling and diving. As part of our chartered boat experience, we snorkeled in the unbelievably clear water and saw stingray and so, so many fish. Our captain Paul had a handy guide on the boat that allowed us to identify the various species and because the water is so clear surrounding the island, we got up close and personal with the fish which was spectacular. I have previously had major anxiety when snorkeling but due to the water being so calm in Grand Cayman, I was actually able to breathe through it and get myself more calm. So many beautiful fish come right up to you (I had a stare down with one at one point!) and I think I could have stayed in that water with its unbelievably warm temperatures for hours.
La Mer Spa: Housed at The Marriott Grand Cayman, I indulged in the most relaxing massage I have had in recent memory. It was centered around aromatherapy and I think I became so relaxed I fell asleep at some point. Note to self: go before getting any sun as my back was a bit sun-burnt which made things less divine than they could have been but my therapist did put redness reducer on and healing oils which certainly helped. As I am typing this I realized that I haven’t had upper back pain from stress ever since this massage – a miracle, if you ask me.
Yoga Class: I generally don’t take time for fitness while on vacation but given my half marathon training, my schedule dictated the perfect excuse to chill out and calm down. Just a short walk from the Marriott on Seven Mile Beach where we stayed (more on that in next week’s travel diary) is a gorgeous yoga studio, Bliss Yoga Living. We took a flow class with Danielle and it was so relaxing that my roommate Alyson actually managed to fall asleep during savasana (HA!) Their space is beautiful and I loved unplugging, getting out of the sun for a bit and managing to get my required stretch + strengthen time in.
Cayman Helicopter Tours: Oh my gosh was my first helicopter ride an exhilarating experience! If you’ve never done a helicopter tour, I can’t imagine a better place to do it than the Caribbean. To see the colors of the water from above is truly breathtaking. Our pilot Jerome who began doing tours many years ago, took us up and had us soaring over the cruise ships, Stingray City, the various reefs and the island itself and I felt like my face was in a permanent smile for the entirety of the trip. With my feet on the ground, Grand Cayman was amazing…from above it was even more spectacular (who knew that was possible!)
Nightly Sunsets: The sunsets in Grand Cayman are not to be missed. They are some of the most magical ones I’ve been privileged enough to take in and there’s no better place to take the scene in than the beautiful white sand Seven Mile Beach. Settling up on a beach chair with a glass of wine and my camera was my nightly routine and the most peace I’ve felt in quite some time.
Other places not to miss include the Cayman Spirits (the tour of their distillery is the #2 activity on the island after Stringray City according to Tripadvisor and home to the most delicious gin and coconut rum I’ve ever tasted) and the island’s National Gallery houses some incredible pieces from local artists.
Next week I’ll be sharing more of where we stayed + what we ate and drank so be sure to check back for my second post in my travel diary series for this trip!
A huge thank you to The Department of Tourism of The Cayman Islands for helping to arrange such a fantastic trip…a getaway I won’t soon forget. Special thanks to Blacklane Limousine for providing my reliable, clean + awesome car service to and from the airport.
[All photos taken by me]