I have traveled all over the world and feel fortunate to have visited some of the amazing and beautiful places that I have, but it wasn’t until my recent trip to Grand Cayman that I fell in LOVE with a particular place, like I did there. I have always had a strong appreciation and connection to the water (I grew up on a lake in Michigan and now reside minutes from the Atlantic Ocean in Charleston, South Carolina). Sunshine, sand and water are three of my favorite things. So when I was recently invited to attend the Slow Food Day Festival at Camana Bay on Grand Cayman, it was an easy decision to schedule the trip. Once I arrived, I was blown away by the beauty of the island; the clearness of the water, the thoughtfulness in community planning and development, which often is overlooked, and the food scene was dynamite… IMMEDIATE LOVE!
My 5 day adventure on Grand Cayman is too extensive to compile into one post, so I have decided to break the experience into 4 articles (3 of which will be featured on my personal blog and the 4th article will be in the May edition for Skirt Magazine’s blog) :
1. Falling in Love with Grand Cayman 2. The Food Scene on Grand Cayman 3. Slow Food Day Festival 2016 (Savour The South) 4. Skirt Magazine’s blog (posting on May 16th) on skirt.com
The Beauty of Grand Cayman
I have never been anywhere that was so clean, pristine, safe and lovely as the 5 days I spent on Seven Mile Beach. The water there is absolutely the clearest and bluest. While I had never snorkeled before in my life, I quickly learned how to maneuver my way around the equipment and spent every chance I had capturing my experience with my GoPro camera. (Sidenote: I stayed at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and it was AMAZING! They complimentarily lent out all of the equipment to guests daily which made the entire experience so easy and much more fun.) A short walk from my hotel was the super cool town center of Camana Bay, which hosts everything you could possibly want and need while not in or on the water. There are over a dozen restaurants and eateries which are all delicious! Trust me, I think I ate at most of them at least once. There are nearly 2 dozen shops as well as several outdoor activities to enjoy, ranging from water fountains to shaded parks. There is an amazing public observation tower offering great views and is a work of art itself as the entire tower is a large mosaic depicting marine life constructed from gorgeous Italian tiles. There is also an outdoor movie screen for evening shows. It is evident the community planning that went into developing this area was done very thoughtfully, with much consideration of protecting the physical beauty of the island while creating an amazing international travel destination. I LOVED IT ALL!!!
We chartered a boat one day and enjoyed exploring Sting Ray City where we swam with the sting rays and got up close and personal with them. Local legend has it that if you kiss a stingray, you receive 7 years of good luck — let’s just say I’ve got some good years coming my way! Next, we headed to Star Fish Point where I got to hold starfish that were bigger than my hands; it was absolutely spectacular. These excursion sites are a must! Another day we went parasailing where we were able to view the entire island and soak in the splendor of the varying shades of blue of the water below us; during this breathtaking event, I actually shed a tear (or 3) due to being overwhelmed with the beauty of the island, the water and the entire experience. While we didn’t have time to experience everything, there were countless more water actives waiting to be experienced right out on the beach at our hotel, including chartered sailboats, kayaks, diving, submarine excursions and more.
Fantastic Food Scene
There was an impressive selection of local fresh fish to enjoy; some of my favorites were the fresh tuna, lion fish and snapper. Farm-to-table restaurants that were my favorites included Jessie’s Juice Bar, which is KILLER GOOD and I’m still thinking about the incredible tomato and avocado toast, and Abacus, which was my #1 favorite restaurant experience — I highly advise anyone visiting the area to go and enjoy! Chef Will O’Hara is fantastic; I experienced his food on 4 different occasions and each one left me wanting more! SO MANY MORE GREAT FOOD EXPERIENCES (I will be describing them in more detail in the next article).
Visit Grand Cayman and Camana Bay
There are few times that I can honestly say that this is a place for everyone. But it really is. If you love sun, sand and water as much as I do, then you need to book a trip ASAP! It is the perfect escape for everyone; a perfect romantic getaway, a great destination to go and just hang out with friends, or pack up the entire family and go for a vacation that you’ll never forget! It is hard to appeal to all of those demographics at once, yet while I was there, I could envision myself returning for any of the above mentioned trips. I could see myself returning for a girls trip with a group of my besties, escaping for a romantic trip with my partner, or bringing the whole family and having a blast! So, I intend to return and do it all.
Check out Camana Bay here.