Grand Cayman Adventure Highlights

Dolphin Discovery on Grand Cayman is an experience that our entire family enjoyed. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to join in, but I’m happy to say that I gave in and had a wonderful time. The only downside to the adventure was the photo prices once we finished swimming with these magnificent creatures. Since you’re not allowed to take pictures, the only pictures available are the ones for purchase.

Once the adventure was finished, my family immediately wanted something else to do. The Cayman Turtle Center was right across the street, so we traipsed over there. I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes for this adventure, especially after swimming with the dolphins, but I’m glad we went there.

Initially, I figured we might spend 30 minutes exploring this center. Instead, we stayed almost 3 hours. There are salt water pools for snorkeling. There were people of all ages engaged in this activity and they all seemed to be having a marvelous time. There’s a nature trail, a couple of water slides for kids and an aviary. Besides the turtles, the aviary was one of the highlights of the center. The colorful birds weren’t afraid to land on you and eat out of your hand.

We saved the turtles for last. We enjoyed learning about and interacting with them. If you remove your shoes, you can get in with the baby turtles. Highly recommend.

 

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Queen Elisabeth II Botanic Park

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Whenever I plan a trip, I make sure I keep the trip chock full of fun and interesting things to see and do. When I mentioned the Queen Elisabeth II Botanic Park, my family greeted this news with groans. They and I were pleasantly surprised to find nice walking paths (this is especially welcome when you’ve been busy sampling the local cuisine), and some blue friends.

I read reviews about this park on trip advisor and some reviewers were disappointed that they were unable to spot any blue iguanas. We spotted at very close range as evidenced by the picture above, several blue iguanas. This was biggest one and very happy with his spot in the sun.

In addition to the iguanas, there are colorful parrots and other birds. We visited the park over the Christmas holidays, however, we were told if we return in May or June, ┬áthe orchids are in bloom. If you decide to visit the park, which I recommend, wear sunscreen and bring water. There’s little shade and, depending on the time of year, can be quite hot.

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman is known for its coral sand beach which I found out is actually 6.3 miles long. This is also one of the most developed areas of the island. Luxury hotels and pricey restaurants litter this space of beach, so be prepared to budget in advance. Grand Cayman, in general, tends to be one of the pricier islands.

Missing Maui

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I try not to discriminate when it comes to visiting islands. I’m trying to see how many I can visit in my lifetime. A few recommendations for visiting the beautiful island of Maui include enjoying the gorgeous beaches (Ka’anapali beach is depicted in the picture above), exploring Haleakala crater, snorkeling/snuba at Molokini Crater and Hana coast day trip.

Maui is not as hectic as Oahu but not as secluded as Kaui. If visiting Haleakala crater, make sure warm clothes are included in the excursion. The temperatures at the top, which is over 10,000 feet in elevation can be 30 degrees colder than below. For sunrise enthusiasts (3 a.m. to 7 a.m.), reservations are a must and can be made online up to 60 days in advance. I was lucky to get my group up the mountain by 9:00. At that time, no reservations are necessary.

Molokini Crater is a popular snorkeling destination. Unfortunately, the day we visited this site the waves were anything but calm. Snorkeling was not an option, so a few members of our party, not me, tried snuba and seemed to enjoy it. On the way back to shore, we were accompanied by a school of dolphins!

The Road to Hana is challenging to navigate on your own because of the extremely narrow winding road and steep drop offs. That being said, I wish we would have done it ourselves instead of doing a tour. My husband loves to drive and there are plenty of places to stop, besides the tourist traps where the tour guide receives a commission. Plan on spending an entire day doing this trip because travel is slow. One of the many highlights of the trip was Honokalani Black Sand Beach. Spend the night in Hana, if you have time, and return the next day.

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Grand Cayman is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can pet and interact with the stingrays. The area is located in shallow sandbars found in the North Sound of Grand Cayman. Years ago, fishermen would clean their fish in this calm shallow area. ┬áThe stingrays would congregate and eat the fish guts and squid that were thrown overboard. Because of this practice, the stingrays associate a boat’s engine with food.

As we approached the area, we could see stingrays surrounding the other boats. The stingrays quickly transferred their attention to our boat. My family finally entered the water and were warmly greeted by gentle creatures that resemble friendly labradors. I, being inherently brave, remained in the boat and took the pictures depicted above.

The key is not to panic, however this can be quite challenging when a group of stingrays surround you. You do not want to step and/or fall on top of one. As gentle as they are, their tail has venomous tail spines or stingers which they will flip up in self defense.