The Cayman Islands are not just a place to hide your assets from the tax collector – it’s also a gorgeous, warm, friendly vacation spot perfect for a singles, couples or even family getaway.
As Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there.” Photo: The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa
The Good: It’s a safe small island with great weather and world class beaches.
The Bad: The exchange rate is $1.25 USD = $1 Cayman, so it can get a bit expensive. Also, ladies should be ready for some crazy hair days! The humidity is often 100%.
The Questionable: There’s an automatic 15% service charge added to all food and services.
You have to really love beaches and seafood to enjoy this Caribbean hideaway to the fullest – my entire trip was like being on an episode of the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here.” Every spot along the Seven Mile Beach has an amazing restaurant with an equally impressive view of the shore. The beach measures 5.5 km and is one of the most pristine, clean and white sandy beaches of its kind.
Where to Stay
Medium-High Price Range: I had a great stay at the Westin Seven Mile Grand Cayman and everyone was very hospitable. Other great spots include the Marriott and the Ritz Carlton, which is known for its outstanding service.
My favourite restaurants included Hemingway’s, Blue, Ferdinand’s, Yoshi Sushi, Mizu, and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Do not leave without trying the amazing ceviche! Every restaurant I visited made its claim to fame with its staple ceviche. The conch soup, tuna tartar, crab cakes, sashimi and scallops are a must try.
For dessert, you can’t get better than a visit to the Ritz Carlton’s Blue to experience Chef Eric Ripert’s genius. I ordered a trio of desserts (extremely decadent!). The first was the “Chocolate” with soft foam, crunchy peanuts, and a warm tart with hazelnut, while the second was the “Praline,” which my server described as something his Nona would make in Italy as a torta caprese. It was crunchy and the dichotomy of flavours with the local orange mandarin pulp was spot on. Last was the “Caramel” with mousse, caramelized popcorn and popcorn sorbet – the perfect way to end off a Cayman seafood dinner.
Chefs at the above mentioned restaurants pride themselves in using sustainable, fresh and organic fish and produce. To balance any overindulging, Jessie’s Juice Bar is a great place to hit up for natural smoothies, herbal teas and nutritional sources like spirulina.
What to Do
Do not leave the Grand Cayman without visiting Stingray City. Pucker up! A kiss with a stingray will give you 7 years of good luck! It’s absolutely safe and a once in a lifetime opportunity to be among stingrays in the middle of the Caribbean Sea at just 3 feet deep. If you’re a diver, Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman are ideal locations to explore some world class reefs. You can also pamper yourself after a day of sun and sand at the spa. I had a foot balm massage at the Westin Seven Mile’s Hibuscus Spa using menthol, eucalyptus and lavender, and it felt like heaven.
A trip to the Grand Cayman would not be complete without some shopping at Camana Bay. There’s a movie night under the stars for kids on Tuesdays, and a farmer’s market every Wednesday where local chefs purchase the freshest produce. The island is tax free, so watches, jewelry, and alcohol at Kirkland Free Port are some great options.
The Bottom Line: The Cayman Islands are definitely a 5-star vacation spot for singles, couples and families.
Story By: Priya Chopra | Photography: The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman and caymanluxurycharters.com