Grand Cayman | Days 1 & 2


Parker's first official school holiday break was earlier this month. To celebrate we knew we wanted to go to the beach... so I suggested earlier this year when we were brainstorming that we go to the prettiest one I know, Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman! Since we knew we might be pregnant, I studied up on Zika-free destinations, and The Cayman Islands have actually been free of the virus since 2017 (the other two Zika-free options in the Caribbean area are Bermuda and Bahamas). Since we had already been to Grand Cayman once and knew what to expect, we thought it would be the perfect island introduction for our five-year-old!



We ended up booking tickets for Monday of fall break so we could have the weekend before to settle and pack before we left. Leaving on Monday turned out to be super fortuitous for two reasons: one, I was still getting over a horrible cough and cold virus I caught from Parker at that point, and two, Hurricane Michael was headed right by the Cayman Islands on Sunday/early Monday, which meant we missed the very worst of it.


The flights to Grand Cayman were relatively easy. We were a little overambitious and booked a 6AM flight out of Huntsville, connecting in Charlotte, to put us on the island by 1PM.


Immigration was super fast, and before we knew it, we were walking to the car rental agency! Now, our first time on the island, we relied on taxis, shuttles, and the "Public Bus" which is actually a collection of mini vans that come and go with no particular route or schedule. None of these had seatbelts from what I could recall; it was all very island-y. So since we were traveling with a child this time, I convinced Max that we should rent a car for the week and keep Parker's booster seat in there.


We hopped in our car (a right-drive vehicle), and I realized I had never been in a right-drive vehicle on the left side of the road with Max driving (remember, the Cayman Islands are a British territory, so the roads and rules follow). I really had the intent of trying this left side of the road driving at some point over our holiday, but literally three minutes into the drive while Max was navigating the first unmarked roundabout, I promptly let him know he would be the only driver that week 😂 Y'all, it was so much crazier than I anticipated! Max actually has quite a bit of English driving experience under his belt (the super difficult kind, like flying into Heathrow on a red-eye and driving away in a rental car, and pulling an all-nighter working then driving through London with a car of sleeping Brits), but since he hadn't done it in a while, I was privy to all those "tourist driving signs" I had heard so much about over the years. The first time he clicked the windshield wipers on, I burst out laughing, because I remembered he had told me that's the way to spot a foreign driver - windshield wipers at the roundabout (with the drivers sides switched, so are the controls, so you think you're hitting your turn signal when you're actually starting the windshield wipers).


Fifteen hilarious minutes later (some wrong turns included because #nosignage), we were at our hotel! Hurricane Michael had just blown through to the west, but it was still beautiful out (though windy). 


We loved the Westin when we stayed seven years ago, so we booked basically the same room again (but with two beds). Bonus - they had renovated since our last stay! We checked into our room and headed for a late lunch at the pool restaurant, Tortuga. Fish tacos for everyone! Max ordered the "El Diablo" which he has already tried to recreate at home: tequila, ginger beer, Chambord, fresh lime. I opted for a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri. 


Since we had all been up since 4AM that morning, we decided we needed a family nap. Parker convinced us that we needed to put "just our toes" in the ocean first. The remnants from the hurricane made for the biggest waves I've ever seen at Seven Mile Beach (though they were relatively quite small).


And "just my toes" turned into an outfit change for this sweet guy. 


We all passed out in our room and had to wake Parker up for dinner. 


We slept through the Westin's Monday outdoor $10 Paella night, so we headed to Ferdinand's (the hotels all-purpose restaurant) for dinner instead. We dined on the screened in patio and listened to the ocean, and stuffed ourselves with more seafood.


The next morning, Parker was up bright and early, ready to hit the beach! This was the view from our hotel room patio - we could walk right out to the ocean which was perfect for us!


The view from the other side looking into our room.


So happy to be on the ocean! This guy could spend all day in the sand. 



My handsome boys! Did I make sure they had matching swim trucks for every day? Well, obviously 😉



Bump pic! Baby was the size of a lime at this point.



There was still a bit of wind and waves on this day (by the next day, it was back to normal with almost completely still water). 


We still had fun frolicking in the waves. 



Since we knew this would be the choppiest water of the whole trip, we decided it was the perfect day to see the Turtle Centre. It was lovely having our own car on this trip - we hopped in and headed up the island to my favorite restaurant from the last visit, The Cracked Conch, for lunch before seeing the turtles. 


We actually had only previously eaten at their more casual outdoor bar area - but when we arrived, the entire section was under water! This part of the island was seeing even bigger waves! Their fancy upstairs room is usually closed for lunch, but they opened it on this day so they could still do lunch service. 



To continue our seafood trend, Max and I both ordered the Cracked Conch Sandwich, while Parker munched on fish and chips. I'm pretty sure Max ended up ordering the Cracked Conch Sandwich every single time we dined there this trip! Yes, it was that good, but it's also just fun ordering something that's unique to the Caribbean. 





The Cracked Conch is right across the street from the Turtle Centre, so we walked there next. 


Parker was stoked to hold the turtles! The center raises them so we saw turtles of all sizes - even baby hatchlings!







Back across the street, we hit up one of the Tortuga Liquor Stores to purchase some island-made rum cakes to take home. Then, since we had our own car, we looked for a grocery store to stop in on our way back to the hotel. We found the island chain, Foster's, which ended up being huge! We were so surprised to find something so big on the island.


We love perusing foreign grocery stores - it's just so much fun to see the exotic fruits and vegetables offered, and how the shelves look different. But mostly we were there for milk and cereal for breakfasts for this guy.


Back at the hotel, we took another family nap, and woke up just in time to enjoy the sunset and live music around the pool/beach area.



Parker requested sushi for dinner that night, which was just a walk across the street for us. You can't tell by the face in this photo, but sushi is his very favorite cuisine! Being preggers, I chose a cooked roll, just in case


We headed back to our room for bed after sushi, because the next day, we had big plans for Stingray City!! 

2 comments

  1. What an amazing time there. I love that red and white dress that you wore there. And that water is sooo beautiful and clear!!!

    ReplyDelete

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