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A couple weeks ago we took an unforgettable vacation to the Cayman Islands as part of a sponsored partnership with Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Before we left, we visited the Visit Cayman Islands website to get a good look at all the fun that was in store for us, and it got us so excited! Our family vacation to Grand Cayman turned out to be even better than we expected!
Here is how we spent our time on this beautiful island!
We left San Diego on an early morning flight, had a quick stop in Texas, and we were in the Cayman Islands that afternoon!
Our first stop was at Andy’s Rent-A-Car to pick up our rental car. I was a little unsure about transportation on the island because they drive on the left side of the road. Pete was totally excited about getting to experience this and it turned out to be easy and something we look back on as a fun adventure.
The drive from the airport to the hotel was interesting because our brains were confused but the actual driving part was easy. You just stay left. Plus they have roundabouts which keep the traffic moving. This was our first time driving in a foreign country (as we normally hire a driver when we want to leave the hotel), but it won't be our last.
A couple things to note: They have both left and right hand side driving cars so you can choose what you are most comfortable with. Also, the locals go out of their way to make the experience easy. The rental cars have stickers on them so they can tell you are a tourist and they purposely go above and beyond to keep their roads easy to navigate and super friendly. There are also taxis and island buses (that are minivans) if you are more comfortable not driving or if you want to have some drinks and obviously not drive after.
We couldn't wait to get to our hotel, the Caribbean Club!
As soon as we arrived, we took care of registering quickly and then set off to Foster’s Food Fair for groceries. This grocery store could have been in the US and I would never have questioned it. We planned on picking up snacks and some things for breakfast each day and they had everything we wanted. We also bought sunscreen and bug spray.
The grocery store was barely a 5-minute walk from our hotel and we carried the groceries back to our room. In the same shopping center is a liquor store too since the grocery stores don't sell alcohol. Inside the liquor store were also kid friendly beverages and it was fun seeing all the different options!
The whole island is very accessible and this area in particular is very pedestrian friendly. There are crosswalks and the drivers immediately stop for those crossing the road. I've never seen anything like this in any other place in the world.
Back at the Caribbean Club, we couldn't wait to see where we would be calling home for the next few days.
This luxury boutique hotel has just 37 suites and is located on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach! This was our first glimpse of the ocean and I was blown away at the colors.
Nothing could have prepared us for this view though. Plus almost nothing could get Emmy to leave this spot. Seriously, she told us “I think I'll just stay right here until we have to leave”. Totally can't blame her!
It took us all of five seconds to fall in LOVE with Grand Cayman. If we did nothing more than stare at this view on our private wrap around balcony, we would have been thrilled. Can you believe that this was just the beginning of more amazing moments here?
We stayed in an ocean front villa. It had three bedrooms and three full baths, a full kitchen, four flat screen TV's, a washer and dryer, twice daily housekeeping, and did I mention that view?! Swoon!
We were spoiled from the moment we got here with welcome gifts for all of us and a platter of fresh fruit and cheese. Everyone we spoke to that was staying here said the level of service, impeccable accommodations, and the absolutely perfect location were the reasons so many of them come back year after year. I can't say enough wonderful things about the Caribbean Club!
The master bedroom and bath were my favorite places along with the lounge chairs you can see off to the left. Pete and I both fell in love with the room colors and are going to be duplicating this at home. We do that all the time after a really good vacation and this one has topped our list of awesome places we have been.
Maddie loved her room too. It overlooked the pool area and her balcony was mostly shaded over so she spent most of her time there relaxing.
We all felt so rejuvenated already and having come from the West Coast, we were now two hours ahead of where we started the day that we opted to have a late dinner at LUCA, the restaurant inside our hotel. LUCA is a favorite of locals too and it was delicious. We love to relax, explore, and eat on vacation and the Cayman Islands is a foodie paradise. I don't think I have ever been to a destination that takes freshly prepared cuisine so seriously. Every single meal we had on the island was amazing and there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
It got dark quickly but I was able to get this one picture of Ashley's appetizer. Everything was beautifully plated and so flavorful. Plus it didn't hurt that we had a little breeze and the sounds of the water in the background as we ate our food. I also wanted to mention that we did use bug spray in the evenings even though we never saw a bug on the island.
We are all very good about acclimating to the current time, so we were up bright and early to watch the sky fill with color as the new day began. Emmy and Pete headed straight down to the beach. The hotel has beach toys, boogie boards, and other pool toys for hotel guests to use, so Em enjoyed all of them.
We had an espresso maker in the room, so we had coffee and did some work with this view. Although it is hard to consider anything “work” when you have this as your office backyard!
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch at Ragazzi. This was a short ten-minute walk from our hotel and the cutest restaurant I've seen.
This was also a very vegan and vegetarian-friendly island and almost all of the restaurants we ate at had either dedicated items already on their menus or were happy to modify dishes to fit our diets.
I love that Pete caught me enjoying my lunch! It is proof that I really was here since I'm normally always behind the camera! PS. The pizza here was amazing!
From here we walked down the beach to the Westin where we were taking a boat out!
We sailed on the Kittiwake Snorkel & Sail via Red Sail Sports excursion and it was awesome!
We didn't have to go too far off the coast to find some really great snorkeling. From their website, here is what we enjoyed:
Take a cruise along Seven Mile Beach on one of our luxurious catamarans to some of the best snorkeling on the island. The catamaran stops for snorkeling at two locations; the first stop takes you to Cayman's newest attraction, the USS Kittiwake wreck. The 251 foot submarine rescue ship allows guests to take a leisurely swim through a window into the past. The second stop is to a beautiful coral reef where guests can enjoy the plentiful marine life in the crystal clear, blue waters of Grand Cayman. Dry snacks are included and there is a full cash bar on board. Snorkel equipment is included and lessons are also available.
This was the girls' first time really snorkeling. They had done it before at the shore in other places but nothing prepared them for how amazing of an experience it was. They saw tons of fish and thought the ship below was really cool to see!
Pete didn't want to come up!
It was a great family memory-making time for us all.
Towards the end of the swim, they put out Cheetos and Doritos for everyone, so Emmy stopped for a snack and then spent the rest of the time sliding into the water
and lounging on the boat! The crew was so friendly and knowledgeable, but most importantly, kept safety their most important duty. They were in the water with everyone and kept a very watchful eye over the guests. They supplied all the snorkeling gear and were there to assist you in any way possible. They made this extra special for us.
It was the perfect way to spend our first full day on Grand Cayman and we shared all about what we all saw as we walked back to our hotel.
So there was a bit of physical activity with all the sliding and swimming, but we had no idea Emmy was this tired! She slipped a hotel robe over her swimsuit, placed her little feet in slippers and said she was going to sit and watch the water from our balcony. Seconds later she was out!
Don't worry, she rebounded quickly and was ready for dinner at Agua! This was a restaurant we had been looking forward to for awhile. We had heard about it, and their vegan menu way before we even planned our family vacation to the Cayman Islands. It was fantastic!
It is about a ten-minute walk from our hotel and it was packed. It is a popular spot and for good reason. Look at this food!
We didn't even have room for dessert because we were so filled up with our appetizers and entrees. This is a must eat at spot and totally perfect for both romantic adult meals and for those with the kids!
We took it slow walking back to the hotel and I would love to tell you we squished in a night out on the town, but we were all exhausted. Plus the beds in our hotel were super comfy so we had some coffee on that amazing balcony and tried to recall all the fun we had that day. I knew the next few days were going to be just as exciting so we tried to get as much rest as possible. With the sound of the ocean in the background, sleep came easy for us all.
Up next: the rest of our epic vacation to the Cayman Islands with kids! We also have daily videos of our time in the Cayman Islands. You can see them all here.