Cay­man Is­lands

IN THE CAY­MAN IS­LANDS, BY STEPHEN CHRISANTHUS

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THE WA­TERS OF THE CAY­MAN IS­LANDS ARE SOME OF THE FINEST I HAVE EN­COUN­TERED ANY­WHERE; CRYS­TAL CLEAR WHEN YOU’RE SUB­MERGED, CAR­RY­ING HINTS OF SPARKLING AQUA WHEN GAZED UPON FROM THE BEACH OR BOAT AND MAG­NIF­I­CENT, TRANSLU­CENT BLUES IN THE DEEP.

When it comes to de­cid­ing on an is­land get­away des­ti­na­tion it can be dif­fi­cult. Where do you start? For me it’s the beauty and tropical wa­ters. So when it came time to pick my next is­land ex­pe­di­tion, it was so clear – lit­er­ally.

The wa­ters of the Cay­man Is­lands are some of the finest I have en­coun­tered any­where; crys­tal clear when you’re sub­merged, car­ry­ing hints of sparkling aqua when gazed upon from the beach or boat and mag­nif­i­cent, translu­cent blues in the deep. The ocean floor, coated with soft white sand hold­ing hints of pink is the op­ti­mum can­vas for the liq­uid strokes of turquoise glass that flow above. The tem­per­a­ture is per­fect. It’s easy to get into but still re­fresh­ing. It’s the wa­ter you see in the movies and say out loud, “I want to go where the wa­ter is like that.”

You have the per­fect nat­u­ral aquar­ium for sea life and boy, is there plenty to see. The snor­kel­ing is great any­where right off the beach, but there are some places you can’t miss. One is St­ingray City, and the best way to get there is take an ex­cur­sion with Red

Sail Sports. They of­fer a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent times and ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the week and week­end. I sug­gest the St­ingray Sand­bar and Rum Point Tour.

The Red Sail crew is com­posed of com­pe­tent sailors from around the world, and they have a fleet of nice cata­ma­rans.

They pro­vide a very pleas­ant cruise to the var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, also of­fer­ing an on­board bar for those who wish to loosen up be­fore the ac­tiv­i­ties. Once you reach the st­ingray

greeted by waist-deep, clear wa­ters and a swarm of happy stingrays ea­ger for hu­man in­ter­ac­tion. The shal­low wa­ters and harm­less pets make for a very cool and safe ex­pe­ri­ence for the whole fam­ily.

Once de­part­ing the sand­bar you take a nice voy­age to fa­mous Rum Point. There you will find more great snor­kel­ing, wa­ter­sports and fun out­door, ca­sual din­ing. It’s a great way to spend the day. The crew then sails you home and trans­ports you back to the ho­tel by van.

sand bar you will be The beau­ti­ful wa­ters that sur­round the coast of the is­land and hold the lo­cals as will­ing cap­tives is just the be­gin­ning. There are some very snazzy ho­tels and in­land ac­tiv­i­ties. The is­land’s new­est sheik ho­tel is the Kimp­ton Seafire Re­sort and Spa. Less than a year old, this re­sort smells new. Named for the fiery sun­sets that set the hori­zon aglow nightly, it is a beau­ti­ful prop­erty from valet to veranda. But the staff is what re­ally sets it apart. They will spare no ef­fort to as­sist you, and they al­most feel like friends you’ll keep in touch with by the time you check out. They have 3 great restau­rants on­site. The Coc­colobo on the beach is the one for day­time fun; it of­fers Mex­i­can fare with a se­lec­tion of re­fresh­ing sal­ads and tacos. For din­ner hit Avecita for Span­ish tapas -in­spired dishes or Ave for fresh lo­cal seafood and pro­duce.

If you feel like get­ting out of the ho­tel for din­ner, try Morgan’s and the Cracked Conch. Morgan’s is si­t­u­ated on the wa­ter and has a large se­lec­tion of nightly seafood spe­cials. The laid­back but up­scale at­mos­phere in­vites you to hang all night sam­pling their var­i­ous craft cock­tails while kick­ing off your shoes at some of the ta­bles lo­cated on the sand.

The Cracked Conch is a charm­ing restau­rant si­t­u­ated on the rocks in West Bay. The crash­ing wa­ter pro­vides for dy­namic views dur­ing din­ner. The menu takes ad­van­tage of lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents, and, of course, the seafood is ex­cel­lent. I sug­gest the spicy oc­to­pus. They also have a ro­bust wine menu, and the chef has taken a non­tra­di­tional ap­proach to some tra­di­tional desserts.

If you’re not ready to call it a night af­ter din­ner then Cay­man has a cou­ple of op­tions. Haven’t got­ten

THE LAID­BACK VIBE IS SO IN­FEC­TIOUS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO LEAVE.

enough of the beach? Cal­ico Jacks Bar and Grill has a lively crowd of lo­cals and sits right on 7 Mile Beach. Kick off your shoes, lis­ten to some good tunes, maybe even take that fi­nal dip of the day. If you’re ready to dance the night away, Lil­lie’s is the night­club to do it. Open late and of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of mu­sic, it’s a fun place to let loose.

The is­land is small and easy to get around so don’t be afraid to ven­ture out be­cause there are some cool at­trac­tions to see. They do drive on the left side of the road, so if you’re not fa­mil­iar with that style show cau­tion at the round­abouts. One place you can try is the Crys­tal Caves. They are a spec­tac­u­lar se­ries of caves that give a glimpse of Cay­man’s old­est land­mark. They of­fer guided tours through­out the day and are a great es­cape from the sun for a few hours if you need a break. If you are out on that side of the is­land, check out the Blow Holes, too.

The Cay­man Is­lands are a gor­geous, aquatic oa­sis. Go and en­joy any kind of wa­ter ac­tiv­ity you can think of. But the amaz­ing clear sea is only the be­gin­ning. Check out the at­trac­tions, dine in some great restau­rants, and en­joy the is­land life. The laid­back vibe is in­fec­tious and you might not want to leave.

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