Looking for the next place to go on vacation to? Been to Grand Cayman? I’m not talking about spending a day on shore in Grand Cayman fresh off a cruise ship. I mean stay on the island! The hubs’ family has been every other year since 2007. I think by now we have seen and done it all. Here’s our experience and your “vacation guide” if you will.
Christopher Columbus Condos of course! Located on the quieter side of Seven Mile Beach, Christopher Columbus Condos is steps away from the ocean. With only 30 units you are bound to have a good time in this quiet community. Pool, beach, gorgeous blue ocean, and the most amazing sunsets you will ever see…you don’t have to leave the property. But you’re going to want to…so much to see and do on the island.
Each unit is privately owned and then operated by a property manager (Lisa). Since each unit has a different owner, they are all decorated and outfitted differently. Three condo options; third floor penthouse (3 bedroom/2 bath), ocean front (3 bedroom/2 bath), garden view (2 bedroom/2 bath).
There are two seasons (regular and peak). We typically go in late July or August so that’s regular season. The prices are a little higher during peak season.
As an alternative, the hubs and I have stayed at Sunshine Suites Resort. It is located just across the street from The Westin and is their sister property, meaning you can use all the amenities The Westin has to offer. They even offer a shuttle between the two properties. The location is great, it is a smaller property which means it is a little hidden and also quiet. The staff is friendly and helpful. The grounds are well taken care of and manicured. I will say, the rooms could use a refresh or update, but it’s not a bad option if you want to stay near Seven Mile Beach at a cheaper rate.
You can easily lay on the beach for your entire trip, but if you want to explore the island here are a few places to try.
Stingray City, Rum Point, Starfish Point, Bio Bay: I have lumped all three of these into one because there is a jetski tour that takes you to all of them in one trip. Action Watersports is who we use. We recommend going on the last tour of the day because you hit all three stops. At Stingray City you get in the water with the stingrays to feed and interact with them. They’re beautiful creatures and are fun to be around. It’s a little intimidating at first, but the guides are great. Rum Point has beautiful shallow water, a restaurant and bar, a couple of shops, and an overall chill vibe. Last stop on the tour is Starfish Point where you can see huge starfish in their natural habitat.
If taking a jetski isn’t your thing, look into Crazy Crab Cayman. They are a private boat charter and have great guides! You make your trip your own, but we visited Stingray City, a beautiful snorkeling area off the shore of Rum Point, and chartered another trip the next night for a tour of bio bay.
It’s rumored to be good luck to kiss a stingray.
Yoga: The last time the family was visiting, my sister-in-law and I attended a yoga class each day at Bliss Yoga. At that time they had a great visitor rate and you could rent a mat for $1 a visit.
Hell: You cannot go to Grand Cayman and not go to Hell. It’s an area of jagged black, limestone formations. All in all there isn’t much to see/do, but you can purchase a postcard and mail it from Hell.
Snorkeling: Grand Cayman is a snorkeler’s heaven! I don’t personally snorkel, but all of the hubs family does. Of course right in front of the condos is an amazing area to snorkel, but some of the other popular places include Cemetery Reef and Smith’s Cove.
Wine Tasting: At Camana Bay is a fun wine shop called West Indies Wine Company. Here you can sign up for a tasting course or other events or pay as you go using their Napa Technology Wine Station machines. You preload a card and take it to the machines to decide if you want a taste (1 oz), a half glass (3 oz), or a full glass (6 oz).
Shopping: Between George Town and Camana Bay there is tons of shopping.
One of the great things about the Christopher Columbus Condos is there is a kitchen. Now I know a lot of people hate cooking while they are on vacation, but it’s any easy way to save money on at least breakfast and lunch. There is a grocery store one minute from the condo and you can pick up groceries easily.
If you do decide to eat out, these are my top picks.
Copper Falls Steakhouse: I would rank this in the top 5 steaks I have had. They only serve dinner and do take reservations. All steaks and entrees include 1 martini, highball, or beer, 1 starch side, 1 vegetable side, and 1 steak sauce (if you ordered a steak). For drink I recommend the raspberry cosmo. As for dessert, the hubs and I still compare every bread pudding to their white chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Over the Edge: A casual place on the water. The deck extends out over the water and is a perfect place to watch a sunset. Try the conch fritters as an appetizer and blackened mahi mahi for an entree.
Sunshine Grill: Located on Sunshine Suite’s property, this little hidden gem is worth the stop. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a happy hour. For an appetizer, I highly recommend the Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls and for entree, try the Island Fish Tacos or Tres Tacos!
Casa 43: As a Texan, we eat a lot of Mexican food and are always on the lookout for Mexican restaurants. This is a winner! If you like guacamole, check out the Guacamole Tasting. It includes their homemade guac, mango and scotch bonnet guac, and roasted corn + cotija cheese guac. The hubs and I split the Sizzling Fajitas. It was plenty of food for two people and was delicious!
Alfresco: Short drive from Christopher Columbus Condos, this is a beautiful spot on Seven Mile Beach. This is usually our first stop after checking into our condo. Beer aficionado? Try Caybrew, the beer of the Cayman Islands.
Jessie’s Juice Bar: That yoga studio I mentioned above…check out this juice bar after yoga. It’s located in Camana Bay and is a trendy little spot with juice, smoothies, teas/coffee, and light lunch items and snacks.
There are always chain restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, but we prefer to visit the locally owned restaurants.
I hope this guide is helpful. My only other piece of advise is to get a rental car so you can make trips around the island as needed.
Until next post…xoxo Becca
Last updated June 2018
One of the perks of working for a university is access to the recreation center and group fitness classes. Luckily, I have a great group of student assistants and friends who workout with me regularly. The new addition to the group fitness schedule this semester is Barre. I have done this type of class before and I’m so excited it has been added to the schedule. Anyone who has experience in dance, yoga, and/or Pilates would probably love it.
I tell people it is a combination of ballet, yoga, and Pilates and concentrates on isolated movements to target muscle groups. The “barre” is used for stability, much like in ballet warmups.
First off, it is very low impact so for anyone who may be starting out or has injuries this is a good option (always talk to your doctor though!). You can see results very quickly in a short amount of time (with consistency of course). This type of workout can be done anywhere, check out this workout to tone and tighten and this 5 minute home workout! Barre helps improve posture, strength, and flexibility. Not to mention how great your legs are going to look…hello sexy legs!
Barre involves a lot of stretching, reaching, and bending so I recommend something comfortable and flexible. Most workouts will be done barefoot or in socks so no special shoes are required.
I shared (here and here) the importance of wellness and why I workout. Barre is one of my favorite classes because it is low impact and not high intensity. HIIT and Tabata are awesome for cardio and engery, but I don’t always want that in a workout. For me, barre, yoga, and Pilates do a great job of increasing flexibility and toning, two things I find important.
I tell everyone to find a fitness class you look forward to and it won’t feel like working out! What is your go to workout?
Until next post…xoxo Becca