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Grand Cayman

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Caribbean : Cayman Islands : Grand Cayman
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Grand Cayman, shaped like a giant claw "pinching" the North Sound, is the largest of the three islands in the Cayman Islands, a rich territory of the U.K. George Town, at the southwest "knuckle" of Grand Cayman, is the capital of the Cayman Islands and its largest city. Grand Cayman's Seven Mile beach, on the west coast north of George Town, is one of the finest beaches in the world.

Since 1972 the Cayman Islands has its own currency, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1 equals US$1.25. Or, the US dollar equals CI $.80.

Districts

Grand Cayman Districts, towns, villages, and attractions
  • Bodden Town
Seven Mile Beach, located on the west coast of Grand Cayman.
  • East End
  • George Town
  • Seven Mile Beach (not a district)
  • North Side
  • West Bay

Get in

By plane

Owen Roberts International Airport (IATA: GCM) (ICAO: MWCR), Airport information: 345-949-5252 or +1 345 949-7811, Flight information: 345-949-7811. Located 2.5 km (1.5 mi) east of George Town. The airport has one runway and one terminal. Taxis are easily available with fixed rates to all island areas. Hotels are not allowed courtesy shuttles. They are planning to expand the airport. So far all they have improved is the parking lot. Note that it can take an hour to get through security and Immigration even though the part of the line you see from outside looks short. Taxis to the Seven Mile Beach hotels are $19.75. To save money you could take the taxis to the George Town bus depot and ride Bus 1 or 2 (they will guide you to the correct bus) for $2.50 per person. They are the same Toyota vans.

By boat

Cruise ships anchor offshore and tender passengers to the harbor dock by downtown George Town. George Town is a very popular port of call and is included by many cruise lines in "Western Caribbean" itineraries.

Get around

Part of downtown Georgetown.
  • There is a small walkable area of shops around the George Town harbor. Seven Mile beach is not within walking distance of the harbor cruise docks.
  • Taxis are available at the cruise ship docks in downtown George Town, and at all resorts.

By bus

  • Grand Cayman Public Bus Transport[1], Edward St. next to the library, Georgetown, Phone: 945-5100. Licensed buses are identified by blue licence plates. Daily service starts at 6AM from the depot and the schedule is as follows from George Town to:
Bus routes traveling through George Town
Line Route
Route 1
George Town to West Bay.
Route 2
George Town to West Bay.
Route 3
service between the depot in George Town and Bodden Town
Route 4
service between the depot and East End.
Route 5
service between North Side and East End.
Route 6
service between North Side and West Bay.
Route 7
George Town inter district service.
Route 8
service between the depot to Hutland in North Side.
Route 9
service between George Town through Frank Sound North Side.

By vehicle

Car rentals are readily available. You must be 21 years old to rent a car. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and seatbelt use is mandatory. Visitors must get a temporary driver's license from the police station or car rental agency. This is obtained by showing a valid drivers license from their home state, county or parish and paying a US$20 fee (changed from $7.50 in October 2012). Speed limits are posted in Miles per hour.

Mopeds and scooter rentals are available on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Helmet use is required. Usual daily rate is US$25 for helmet and permit.

See

  • The first three sites below are within walking distance in George Town.
    • Cayman Islands National Museum, Harbour Drive, George Town. Phone: 345-949-8368, Fax: 345-949-0309[2]. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-2PM. $4/$2.
    • Ft. George remains, Harbour Dr. and Fort St., George Town[3]. Remains of a 1790 fort built to protect the harbor.
    • Cayman Maritime Treasure Museum, North Church St., George Town. Boat building, turtling and pirates. $5/$3.
    • Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, North Side. Phone: 345-947-3558, Fax: 345-947-7873, email:guthrie@candw.ky[4]. Daily 9AM-6:60PM. Much to see here, with a visitor center, short walking trail, endemic blue iguanas, and a c. 1900 Cayman farmhouse and sand garden. Adults $6, age 6-12 $3.50.
    • Boatswain's Beach, 825 Northwest Point Road, West Bay. Phone: 345-949-3894, Fax: 345-949-1387[5]. Over fourteen thousand turtles from the tiniest to over 600 pounds. Visitors are allowed to pick up turtles from some of the hexagonal pools. Turtle Farm Tour: Adults US$18, age 4-12 US$9.
    • Pedro St. James Castle, Savannah. Phone: 345-947-3329. This 1780 stone structure, surrounded by a preserve, has hourly multimedia shows.
    • Hell, West Bay. This is a common tour stop, often shrugged at by those who go there. It consists of black volcanic rock formations that are thought to resemble what Hell might be like. You can get postcards postmarked there, and there are a couple of gift shops selling all the Hell-themed souvenirs imaginable.
    • Cemetery Beach, Seven Mile Beach. This is the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, beautiful spot with snorkeling right off shore. Access is off the road through a small path. Next to a small island cemetery, hence the name.

Do

The island's most famous excursion is to Stingray City, where boatloads of tourists debark at nearby Stingray Sandbar and squeal nervously while adjusting to the presence of large rays, which they can feed and "pet" while snorkeling in waist-deep water. Once fed, the rays will placidly let you do just about anything to them, including being lifted up to pose for photos while jetting water out of their mouths.

  • Moby Dick Tours - Stingray City, Phone: 480-626-5429[6]. Stingray city tours $40, under 12 $30.
  • Carib Select Watersports, P.O. Box 30146,Phone: 888-452-7928.[7] Carib Select provides trips to Stingray City that include free transportation to and from the Cruise Ship dock. Specializes in Stingray City tours and snorkeling at Coral Gardens/The Barrier Reef (snorkeling equipment and refreshments included), with photo packages of the excursion burned to CD and ready for purchase on board as you return to the dock.
  • Native Way Watersports, Cayman Yacht Club, Phone: 1-345-916-5027[8]. Locally owned and staffed with a variety of tours available.
  • Soto's Cruises, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-4576, email: scruises@candw.ky,[9]. Stingray city tours. $30.
  • Nautilus Undersea Tours, 2 state-of-art air-conditioned 80 ft. semi-submersible vessels take you on tour of shipwrecks and reefs offshore in Georgetown. Snorkling is also available. Launch from Rackmans Pub. Short walk from Cruise ship docks".
  • Allura Catamaran Stingray City Snorkling/Sail trip sails to famous Stingray City from Cayman Yacht Club. Short walk from Cruise ship docks.".
  • Boatswain’s Beach, formerly the Cayman Turtle Farm, is a 24-acre marine park. The world’s only commercial Green Sea Turtle farm, it is home to over 16,000 sea turtles, ranging in size from six ounces to six hundred pounds and now even houses an alligator. Boatswain’s Beach features a 1.3 Million Gallon Saltwater Snorkel Lagoon where visitors can swim with turtles and other marine life; a Predator Tank (viewable by snorkelers)is filled with sharks and huge turtles; an Aviary and Iguana sanctuary; a Nature Trail and “Blue Hole” Sunken Cave, turtle farm tours with full access around the breeding ponds; Caymanian Heritage Street with porch-side artisans and crafts and restaurants featuring classic and contemporary Caymanian cuisine;a large pool with a waterfall and a state of the art research and educational facility focusing on the conservation of sea turtles.[10] $12.

- Across from Boatswain's Beach is Dolphin Discovery where people are allowed to swim with dolphins <3 -

  • Atlantis Adventures, South Church Street, George Town Harbor, Phone: 345-949-7700[11]. See the reefs from a 48-person submarine.
  • Silver Thatch Excursions, Phone: 345-945-6588. Eco-tourism award winning biologist Geddes Hislop. Walking tours and eco-tours to the rainforest, or historical tours.
  • Blackbeard's Nancy, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 349-949-8988. This replica schooner offers a variety of options, including a dinner cruise.

Diving

  • Deep Blue Divers George Town, Phone: 345-916-1293, Fax 345-947-0116.[12]
  • Sunset Divers at Sunset House, South Sound, Phone: 345-949-7111, Fax: 345-949-7101.[13]
  • Red Sail Sports, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-5965, Fax: 345-945-5808.[14]
  • Don Foster's Dive Cayman Islands, Toll free: 800-833-4837, Phone: 345-945-5132.[15]
  • Ocean Frontiers, East End, Toll free: 800 348 6096, phone 345-947-7500.[16]
  • Liz's Awesome Fun Bay, North Side, Toll Free: 1-800-945-7884, fax: 345-945-6875.

Horseback Riding

  • Nicki's Beach Rides, Phone: 345-945-5834.
  • Honey Suckle Trail Rides, Phone: 345-947-7976.
  • Pampered Ponies Ltd., Phone: 345-945-2262[17].

Festivals

  • Batabano[18], the Grand Cayman carnival, occurs near the end of April or early May. Batabano is a weekend of live steel band music, revelers parading the streets in colorful costumes, and eating exotic foods. Cayman Brac holds a celebration called "Brachanal" the next Saturday after Grand Cayman's.
  • Pirates Week Festival, George Town with events country-wide, Tel: 345-949-5859, Fax: 345-949-5449.[19] Mid-November (2008: November 6-16). Fireworks, "pirate landings", street dancing, heritage day events in Cayman towns, more.
  • Gimistory: The Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival Country-wide, Contact CNCF: 345-949-5477 Fax: 3456-949-4519[20]. November.
  • Cayfest: The Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts. Celebration of local arts, crafts, music, dance, drama etc. Contact CNCF: 345-949-5477 Fax: 345-949-4519[21]. April

Buy

  • Caymanite is the Cayman Islands' own semi-precious stone. It is a very hard stone which varies across the earth colors. Available at most jewelers. Black coral is also a Cayman jewelry staple.
  • Tortuga Rum Company, Phone: 345-949-6322, Georgetown, [22]. A favorite stop of many for their rum cakes. Free tasting of the cake and rum.
  • Farmer's Market Cooperative, Thomas Russell Way. Local produce, jams, sauces.

Eat

Any restaurant food can be expensive on Grand Caymen, even for fast-food.

  • SeaHarvest (at Sunset House), South Church St., Phone: 345-945-1383, [23]. Spectacular Seafood and East and West Indian dishes Great value, menus on website. $10-$28.
  • Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fort Street, George Town, (across from Senor Frogs), Phone: 345-949-5747. Contemporary International, Menu changes daily. Great dishes- Lobster bisque in cognac cream and lobster quesadillas. Excellent Service. $10-29
  • Breezes By the Bay!, Downtown George Town, Phone: 345-943-VIEW (943-8439), [24]. Two decks, right on the waterfront, Casual, fun Caribbean food & "Umbrella Drinks"!
  • Casanova's by the Sea, Georgetown, Awesome Italian food, right on the water. Romantic.
  • Chicken! Chicken!, West Shore Centre, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-2290. Slow roasted and inexpensive.
  • CIMBOCO - a Caribbean Cafe, Seven Mile Beach (next to the Marquee Cinema), Phone: 345-94-PASTA (947-2782), [25]. Ecclectic, Caribbean Cafe with Exhibition Kitchen; reasonably priced, local spot, all from scratch.
  • Corita's Copper Kettle 1 & 2, Edward St or 32 Town Hall Rd West Bay, 949-2696 or 945-8552. Reasonably priced, tasty Caymanese food by the friendly Corita Mendoza. Recommend the turtle stew.
  • Cracked Conch by the Sea, N. West Point Rd.,next to Turtle Farm, West Bay, Phone: 345-945-5217, [26]. Good family restaurant with a nautical theme. $10-$28.
  • Hemingway's, Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-5700. Outdoor fine dining. $20-$30.
  • Lone Star Bar & Grill, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-5175. Tex-Mex, burgers and steaks. $17-$28.
  • Portofino's, East End by the ocean, Phone: 345-947-2700. Beautiful site, view of the famous "Wreck of the Ten Ships", casual, friendly family atmosphere. Cayman style cuisine: jerk chicken, excellent fish, mixed drinks. $4.50-$28.
  • Neptune's, Trafalgar Place, West Bay Rd., West Bay, Phone: 345-946-8709. Great food and not overly fancy. $10-$30.
  • Reef Grill at Royal Palms, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-6358. Indoor and outdoor dining. Great views of Seven Mile Beach and great seafood dishes. $20-$30.
  • Tukka, 898 Queens Highway, East End, [27]. Oceanside gem in the east end. Vegetarian friendly. 10-40.

Bakery

  • Ye Old English Bakery, Harbour Dr., George Town, Phone: 345-945-2420. Breakfast and lunch. Cash only. Try the scones. Internet available.

Drink

Bars

  • My Bar at Sunset House, South Church St, George Town, [28].. Infamous open aired, thatch roof bar. Rated Best in the Caribbean by Caribbean Travel & Life.
  • Coconut Joes, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach. Phone: 345-943-5637. Grand Cayman's liveliest outdoor restaurants and bars. [29]
  • Pirates Den Pub & Restaurant, Galleria Plaza, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-7144. English pub type. Good place to kick back and watch sports.
  • Billy Bones, West Bay Rd, Treasure Island Resort, Phone: 345-943-BONE (2663). Cayman's most exciting and relaxing outdoor bars. Dine surrounded by palm trees with the sound of a cascading waterfall in the background.
  • Legendz, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-1950. Extremely popular, busy sportsbar with a variety of entertainment.
  • Fidel Murphy's Irish Pub, Queens Court, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-5189. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the only traditional Irish pub in the Cayman Islands.
  • Sapphire Lounge, Seven Mile Shops, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-946-3496. The only true martini lounge on the Island. Try any one of the 130 unique creations of martinis or any one of the 225 cocktails.

Nightlife

  • O Bar, Queens Court, 2nd floor, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-943-6227. Open earlier than many other clubs, the O attracts a young, trendy crowd.
  • Next Level, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-946-6398. Very popular nightclub on the island.
  • The Attic, Queens Court, 2nd floor, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-7665. [30]
  • Corner Pocket, Allista Towers, 2nd floor, George Town, Phone: 345-946-8080. One of the few billiard halls.

Sleep

Lodging is expensive on Grand Cayman.

Budget

  • Eldemire's B&B Guest House, 18 Pebbles Way, off S. Church St., George Town, Phone: 345-949-5387.[31] Six rooms.
  • Rocky Shore Guest House, 30 Grass Piece La., West Bay, Phone: 345-926-0119, Fax: 345-946-0118.[32] Four rooms, with two of them sharing baths.

Moderate

  • Aqua Bay Club Ocean Front Condos on Seven Mile Beach [33] West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Toll Free: 1 800 825-8703 (, fax: 345 945-5681). Offers 21 oceanfront apartments. $275-$625.
  • Sunshine Suites by Wyndham, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-3000, Toll free: 877-786-1110, Fax: 345-949-1200, [34].
  • "'Compass Point Dive Resort, Austin Conolly Drive, East End, Toll free: 1 800 348 6096, phone: 1 345 947 7500 [35].
  • The Retreat at Lookout, 521 Lookout Road, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman, Phone: 705-719-9144, Skype: retreatatlookout, [36]. Rates starting at $90/night including full Caribbean breakfast.
  • Cayman Calypso Villa East End John McLean Drive, East End, 1 416-691-0033 (). Sleeps 8, 3.5 bathrooms $285-$650. (+19.30,-81.1024)

Splurge

  • Grand Cayman Beach Suites (formerly Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman), West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-1234, Toll free: 800-233-1234, Fax: 345-949-8528.[37]
  • Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, 389 West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 800-223-6388. Centrally located on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach.[38]
  • Reef Resort, 1 Queens Highway, East End, Colliers Bay, Phone: 888-232-0541. An all-beachfront luxury resort located on a quiet side of the island. Watersports, diving, world class snorkelling, pool facilities and its private patio views.[39]
  • Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-943-9000.[40]
  • The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-3800.[41]

Get out

Day trips to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac are possible.

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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