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Grand Cayman-Where to stay.....

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by auto, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    I just took a lot at Christopher Columbus condos rates for the 2018 holiday season. Their small, 2 bedroom garden view unit started at $440 per night, plus 13% government tax, 6% gratuity, and a $75 per night surcharge during the holidays. That comes to $598 per night. The base prices for a 2 bedroom, garden view condo at the Anchorage for this holiday season was $470 and they will certainly add on the tax and gratuity and possibly also a per night surcharge.

    I think that it is very unlikely that the OP will find anything in his price range on Seven Mile Beach during the holidays, but there are options and he is starting early so he should be able to find someplace that will work for him as long as he books soon.

    There are not many 1 bedroom condos on 7MB, but there are a few so that may be a good place to start.
    auto likes this.
  2. auto

    auto Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The 214
    Thanks everyone, lot of great ideas and research to do.
    KathyV likes this.
  3. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
  4. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    If diving is a major focus of your trip, then you might want to look at places that have an onsite dive op. These are less likely to be family destinations so they will be quiet and they are more convenient for diving and usually the diving is cheaper. You will need a car but since you like to go exploring you will probably want a car anyway.

    These places on GC are on the water but not on 7MB, but some of them offer unlimited shore diving on their house reef, which can provide more dives at a lower costs per dive; but be aware that the shore dives may be winded out during the winter months, especially as you go further north of 7MB in West Bay.

    The lodgings that have an onsite dive op include Sunset House (Sunset Divers, breakfast included), Lighthouse Point (Dive Tech, also services the Grand Caymanian Holiday Inn), Cobalt Coast (Reef Divers, they offer an all-inclusive package or cottages with/wo the meal package), Coconut Bay Condos (I think they only have 3 bedroom condos?) and Compass Point (Ocean Frontiers, no shore diving, and quite distant from the beach and most restaurants, but good diving).

    Most other condos and hotels will have a relationship with a dive op and they will pick you up if you stay on 7MB (either by boat or van) and you may get a better deal on a dive package if you book the condo and dive package together in advance.

    Another way to reduce dive costs on GC is to focus on shore diving, often around $12-$15 for a tank and weights and with a dive op onsite. But you will need a buddy, they are not keen on solo diving in the Caymans - are you both divers?

    In addition to the shore dive locations that I mentioned with the dive resorts above, Turtle Reef/Macabuca (Sundivers) and both Eden Rock and Lobster Pot (both are in George Town so avoid the time periods of 10 am to 3 pm when the cruise ship passengers are in town).

    When you say that you like photography and exploring, do you mean nature and wildlife or do you want to be in a popular tourist destination with great restaurants, shops, and nightlife? It's your vacation so whatever works for you - and if you want a gorgeous, endless white sand beach and great restaurants and tourist activities - then Grand Cayman will be perfect for you - but it will be expensive during the holidays and it is likely to be crowded, although a condo will be much more private than a hotel.

    But if you are mostly interested in nature and wildflife and good diving, and since you like quiet, you might also want to look at the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. These are tiny, rural islands, not at all crowded, with great diving. The popular lodgings are on sandy beaches but they are not great swimming beaches.

    The Cayman Brac Beach Resort and the Little Cayman Beach Resort are all-inclusive and the lodgings are modest but clean and modern and the food is buffet but it is very, very good.

    The Condos at Little Cayman are more private but they are affiliated with the LCBR and offer packages for diving and food if desired. The Southern Cross Club on LC is more upscale and they also offer a meal package. Pirates Point is another dive resort and they are said to have the best food on the island, but they serve a pre-fixe menu each day and the choices are limited. I think that they only offer 2 dives per day but they are long dives. They are on the water but I don't know if they have a beach, as they are on the point.

    Paradise Villas are also on LC and near the Hungry Iguana restaurant but that is the only restaurant on the island so the menu will be limited.

    We really like the Sister Islands and feel that the diving is better, especially Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson's Bight off LC.

    There's not much to do on Brac and Little Cayman but relax, dive, eat, sleep, and enjoy nature. Cayman Brac has interesting topography with nature trails and caving available. The Sister Island resorts offer entertainments for their guests and the CBBR and LCBR have small spas and gyms onsite.

    We love all 3 Cayman islands and there are a lot of options in a variety of price ranges, you just have to figure out what you want to do on vacation and how much you can afford to spend.

    When we are on GC we prefer staying at a condo and preparing some simple meals and going out to eat because there are many great restaurants, and we tend to do shore diving, and snorkeling and some boat dives on GC because there are lots of other things to do.

    When we are on the Sister Islands of Brac or Little, we prefer to focus on boat diving and stay at an all-inclusive dive resort (CBBR or LCBR) because that is easy, the resorts are small and nice, and there aren't many other choices available.

    Good luck!
    doogisar likes this.
  5. kensuf

    kensuf Cave Instructor

    I've rented an AirBNB type thing at Cayman Kai, proximity to rum point and some nice beaches is good, but it's also pretty far from everything except rum point.

    I've also done the Morritts/Reef condo rental thing at the very east end of the island, found those very nice and mostly quiet, but during Christmas season may be a bit crowded. Pro's, there's a grocery store right across the street and it's quiet (you can actually see stars), Con's it's also pretty far from everything.

    7 mile beach is going to be crowded, but you'll be near a bunch of night life (if that's your thing). My last 3 trips we stayed off 7 mile beach, truth be told it's too crowded for my tastes by it does have proximity to everything. Be aware though, although we've been going to Grand off and on forever, we once made a mistake and did an airbnb at a place that was literally next to the dump. The smell was awful.

    If you're willing to forego the "beach is a must" requirement and are willing to drive a little bit to get to real sand, I would strongly suggest some places in west bay. I've rented condos at Coconut Bay, which is maybe a 5 minute walk from the turtle farm, and have been happy every single time. They're right on the water, but it's ironshore (fossilized coral) not beach. However, they also have the best sunsets you'll see on the island, with maybe the exception of Cobalt Coast.

    Final thing.. I'm going to throw a shout out to the sister islands. Two years ago we rented an apartment at Carib Sands in the Brac and it was literally right on the beach. Great place, highly recommend it, and the diving there was better than Grand.
    Sue/Dave and KathyV like this.
  6. howswedeofme

    howswedeofme Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Michigan
    Coconut Bay does have a tiny manmade beach! At least it did last time we were there. The townhouse was larger than we needed but for the price, you can't beat it. And the pools were mostly quiet. It also helps that there are multiple pools so you can move around if the one right outside your door happens to be busy. We were there for the new year holiday a couple years ago and and we were the only people in or around the pool right outside out patio most days.

    We did the Brac in May 2018 and were very disappointed with the diving. The shore diving we did was pretty good on a few sites, but the boat diving was lackluster. The reef was largely covered with an aggressive algae and many of the sites had few fish as a result. We briefly saw one nurse shark in the distance and only a handful of turtles. East End GC (and possibly West Bay/NW Point GC) beats the Brac, in my book. Maybe the algae will have cleared out by the time the OP travels which would make a difference. Carib Sands is in a great location for getting to basically everything on the Brac, though. Also, it is right next door to Brac Scuba Shack who we dove with and is a truly excellent op. The only op that rivals the wonderful people and incredible service from BSS for us so far was Sea Saba (on Saba, obviously). If recall correctly, I believe the Carib Sands beach is also sheltered, so even if the winds are coming in, the beach would still be usable.
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  7. Kate Morris

    Kate Morris Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida USA

    We love Grand Cayman and staying at the Reef Resort on the East End. It has a nice beach, the units are nice and there’s a nice drift snorkel right there. Good local restaurants nearby but you would need a car. The east end is where the locals spend their weekends. It’s remote but lovely. Best of all is being able to dive with George and his crew at Silver Thatch Watersports. They take a max of 8 divers out and are the best dive operation I’ve dove with in my limited experience.
    KathyV likes this.
  8. O-ring

    O-ring Solo Diver

    It's been a while and I don't recall all the costs, but we stayed at the Ritz and I dove with Divetech. No complaints about either of them and the beach was fantastic.
    KathyV likes this.

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