We all love to travel but who actually enjoys planning the trip? I sure don’t! It’s always so stressful to plan every minuscule aspect of the trip. I wish someone else could just do it for me, am I right? We’re technically not professional travel agents here at Nell but recently I went on an amazing trip that was easy to get to and an incredible place to stay. I’ll make it easy for you to plan your own trip by sharing my itinerary in case you decide you want to travel there as well.
What destination are we talking about? Drum roll, please… The Grand Cayman Islands. If you love warm weather, constant sunshine, and clear aquamarine water, this is the place for you. The Grand Cayman is a British territory located in the Caribbean Sea underneath Cuba. It’s one of the safest islands in the Caribbean and definitely one of the most beautiful. The area has incredible wildlife and sunsets that will put any “pretty sunset” you’ve ever seen to shame.
There's nothing worse than finding a gorgeous destination only to find that you have to take a 10-hour flight there just to take a 2-hour cab ride, and a 45-minute ferry just to arrive at your hotel. That does not sound like the relaxing vacation you were planning on. With that said, let's start with how easy it is to get to Grand Cayman. A direct flight from JFK to the Grand Cayman Airport (GCM) is a measly 3h 55m flight. Since the island is only 76 miles in area, once you arrive you have no issues getting to your hotel or resort in a matter of minutes.
Where To Stay
There are many resorts, condos, and houses you can rent on the island. But, if you’re looking to treat yourself and really kick back and relax I recommend staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. From the moment you walk into the hotel, you’ll feel like an A-lister. They welcome you with traditional Grand Cayman rum cakes. The staff is incredibly attentive and ready to help you with anything you need. You can tell the staff members love their job and want to ensure you have an amazing vacation.
What To Do
The first few days I just relaxed on the beach in the shaded sun chairs to build up a good base tan. The hotel places QR-coded flags on your chair so you can scan to see the menu and then place the flag up when you’re ready for them to come to take your order. Talk about relaxing!
If you get bored of the beach and pool there are plenty of other activities. If you’re traveling in the Spring you have to go on a bioluminescent tour. The Grand Cayman is home to one of the most concentrated bays of bioluminescent algae. You go at night and when you swim in the seemingly normal water it will suddenly illuminate. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you will remember forever.
On a different day, I recommend doing a boat tour. This way you can travel all around the island while still enjoying the fresh outdoors. We booked a trip with Sail Cayman on a motor-powered catamaran.
This boat has a max capacity of 24 so there will be plenty of room for whoever you invite. On our trip, they took us to Stingray City, an area off the coast that has a large number of tame stingrays who love to be held and petted. It is quite an experience.
We then went to Starfish City which is a shallow part of the coast that has a large concentration of starfish. You can pick them up and check out their unique patterns. We finished off the day of my snorkeling at one of the coral reefs. There we saw an array of colorful fish and even a sea turtle. The great thing about this tour is you get to decide where they take you.
Where To Eat!
We didn’t venture off of the hotel property too much since the food was so amazing! If you’re looking for a fancy night out you have to try Taikun. This is an amazing sushi restaurant that will leave your taste buds in awe. You have to try the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Wagyu Beef Roll.
If you're looking for a more relaxed meal and want to try the local cuisine, check out Peppers. Their barbecue is supposed to be the best on the island, and I can say, it sure tasted like it. Try their fried plantains as an appetizer, they were a crowd-pleaser at my table.
There's so much more to do there and the weather is always fabulous. It's a no-stress trip that will have you looking up real estate to move there full time.