Amid winter rain and mudslides, California style, I escaped to the Cayman Islands for five nights. It was my second visit, and it didn’t disappoint. I knew from my initial trip that the Caymans had been discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1503 by chance as he was headed to Haiti/The Dominican Republic. Originally the islands were named Las Tortugas (after the large colony of turtle inhabitants) but were later renamed Caymanas after the marine crocodiles. The islands remained in Spanish control until 1670 when they fell to the British Crown, and that is where they remain today.
Locationwise, the Cayman Islands are situated 150 miles south of Cuba and 480 miles from Miami. We flew to Miami and then changed planes for a second flight into the Caymans. The 64,000 locals have one of the highest standards of living in the world, due to the sophisticated and professional financial services, strong retail market, and booming health care system.
Luxury hotels dot the seashore along seven-mile beach. On my first trip, I stayed on the RITZ CARLTON PROPERTY. This time, I choose the KIMPTON SEAFIRE RESORT. One can’t help but be relaxed when surrounded by the turquoise blue waters and gently lapping waves along this stretch of beach. The Kimpton spa is ranked among the best in the Carribean. My spa afternoon included a massage, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and stellar service.
Dining on the Cayman Islands is often al fresco with a view. One of my favorites is GRAND OLD HOUSE, a former oceanfront plantation built in 1908. They have a verticle Armagnac collection which dates back to 1900. We had fun sampling our birth year, anniversary year, etc… After dinner, Scott enjoyed the handmade cigars and live piano music while looking at the balmy sea. I loved touring the many antique-rich indoor dining rooms of the plantation which are used to serve diners during inclement weather.
One night we dined at COPPER FALLS STEAKHOUSE, which has a very unique menu idea. Every steak comes with a martini, beer, or well drink of your choice, a starch and veggie of your choice, and a sauce of your choice. Now, that’s my kind of place! The decor features walls and ceilings of 100-year-old douglas fir, leather booths, and an old school cozy club vibe.A trip to the Caymans isn’t complete without a boat ride out to Stingray City. The legend is that fishermen used to clean their catch in the shallow waters near North Sound. At that time, Stingrays would gather and eat the fish scraps that were being thrown into the sea. Soon, boat captains started bringing guests to watch the Stingrays eat. This slowly evolved into guests jumping into the water to swim with and feed the Stingrays themselves. Stingrays have been around longer than dinosaurs. The difference between male and females is their pelvic fins. Males have two elongated appendages known as claspers whereas females don’t have these. All rays can breathe while feeding thanks to gill slits behind their eyes. Once our chartered boat arrived at Stingray City, some of my friends were too afraid (they kept referring to Steve Irvin, the Crocodile Hunter who died after being stung by an 8-foot Stingray hundred of times in his heart) to get into the stingray laden water. As for me, I was ready for the challenge, so I jumped in to hug, feed, and swim with this cutie while being careful not to touch her razor-sharp spine or tail barb.
A day excursion into Georgetown, the capital, included some shopping, sightseeing, and photo opportunities of the local architecture. Of course, this dancing crossing guard was the highlight for me!
The sign of a good vacation is that you get a chance to relax and recuperate, the sign of a great vacation is that you want to stay longer. I wasn’t ready to depart from the Cayman Islands after 5 nights. The peace and tranquility, sunshine and tropical air, was just too sensational.