Usually my parents and I go to Maui every year for my mothers spring break. Since we have been over 20 times and been to every island we decided to switch our points from starwood to stay in the cayman islands. We found one westin on Seven Mile beach and will be going for 7 days. That is all we have, I know it is not very long. What should we do? We love snorkeling, caves, beaches, geological sites, rainforests, waterfall. You know, the basic tropical paradise things. We found out there are actually 3 islands, do we have enough time for all 3 islands or should we just stay on grand cayman? What is the weather usually like in april? Thanks!!
Snorkeling, check - major check. Caves? Not so much. Beaches? Oh yeah. Geological sites? Hmmm. Rainforests? Meh. Waterfalls…well, maybe in the lobby of one of the big hotels.
The "other" Caymans (Little Cayman and Cayman Brac) are pretty quiet, simple places. Not a lot there (like, not really much in the way of places to eat or things to do, unless you're staying there). They can be a nice quiet place to scuba or snorkel, but for most folks, probably not enough reason to make the side trip.
In many ways, the Caymans are not like Hawaii. Hawaii is lush, green, volcanic and mountainous. The Caymans are fairly dry, flat, coral. Both have beautiful beaches, nice clear water, lots of sunshine, and well developed tourism industries. Ironically, while Hawaii is part of the US, and the Caymans are not (nominally independent, British Caribbean), to me Hawaii feels more exotic, in some ways more "foreign". Grand Cayman feels more like Florida to me - more familiar, quite developed, well-known chain restaurants/hotels/etc, although with a Caribbean and British twists. Hawaii feels very Pacific, very Polynesian - ethnically, culturally and geologically. Grand Cayman is classic Caribbean. If this is your first time ever to the Caribbean, you will notice many differences.
Both tend to be expensive places to visit. Other comparisons to Hawaii are more tricky, and depends a lot on which island. For example, there's plenty of "mass tourism" on Grand Cayman (7 Mile Beach is the epicenter, so you're be in the thick of it) - the large numbers of cruise ships and the thousands of people they bring are hard to ignore. In some ways that's akin to the mass tourism scene on Oahu. But if you get away from 7 Mile Beach (or Waikiki) things get a little less crass and frenetic. Personally, I prefer to avoid the mass tourism scenes: I like Kauai much more than than the other, more visited/developed Hawaiian islands, and I enjoyed my week diving on Little Cayman (where there's really nothing else to do) much more than my 2 days on Grand Cayman (2 days there was enough for me, but I'm a misanthrope - plenty of people love it there). Keep in mind that Grand Cayman is relatively close to the major population centers of the US, so it's a quick easy flight for most Americans, very very accessible. One might argue too accessible, but the prices probably scare away the lower end demographic. Hawaii requires more effort (time) to get to for most.
The weather in April should be beautiful. The climate is quite nice, it's a very pretty tropical place. Bring more money than you think you'll need. Visit the corporate headquarters (PO boxes) of America's great corporations. It's a pretty easy place to have a nice, relaxing, fun-filled, sunny week.
Hope that helps.
The Cayman Islands are rather flat, but they're surrounded by the clearest water in the world. The beauty of The Caymans is under the water's surface rather than the islands themselves. It's one of the only places you can walk right off the beach and find a cliff that's something like 3000' deep. You're not going to find lush, mountainous islands with rainforests and waterfalls. They're actually rather boring if you're not a diver.
Since you have time, I strongly suggest you take an open water certification in Scuba. And when you go, find a good dive shop that takes tours with two single tank dives per day. And your last night, sign up for a night dive--a very unique experience for anyone.
I had a friend that was on a night dive on the cliffs in The Caymans, and three giant spotted manta rays came gliding by within a hand's reach. Like huge airplanes, they took a long, gentle 360 degree turn and came by a second time. Even though my friend was a very experienced scuba diver, it was the highlight of his diving world. These are just great experiences.
The weather in the Caribbean is about the best of the world--almost every day of the year.
Its all about the beach & water there. Not very scenic. They do have a sea-turtle farming operation at northern tip of the beach - if its still there its worth a visit. Yes take day trips to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
Hello, I have been to Grand Cayman several times, all of them in April. Good choice of time because the weather is usually good and it straddles winter (expensive) and summer (less expensive) accommodation rates. I know the Westin, but prefer to stay in the condos on 7 mile beach. An ocean front condo is more private and quiet and the beach areas are less crowded.. The condos are run like hotels and provide maid service and have office managers on site. There are few major hotels and they court all visitors, so all their ameneties are available without actually staying there. The last couple times I stayed at Harbour heights condos, just a bit north of the Westin.Just next to Harbour Heights is a public beach with all the "toys" you might like to try. Also, you can book snorkeling tours and be picked-up at the condo or the boat comes to your beach area to get you. One week will be a good visit fro just one of the islands. Snorkeling is good just off the beach of the condo. Maps with good snorkeling sites are available online and on the island. You can drive to the site, park along the road, and follow the signed access path to the beach.I rent a car ( driving is "on the left"). I pick up my car at the airport as the rental agency is in easy walking distance just across the airport parking lot. I'd recommend snorkeling, stingray city snorkeling trip, turtle farm,Rum Point for a day trip, sampling Tortuga Rum Cake, and shopping in Georgetown ( the capital). I enjoyed the submarine trip, both day and night. Sign on to the Cayman Islands web site , snorkeling ,and diving web sites for more information. I enjoy it every time I go and usually spend 2-3 weeks there. Hope you enjoy it! Carolyn in Toronto
Have to agree with all the above advice.... lots of time to hang out at the beach and lay around. I have been a number of times mainly to get out of the winter weather... It is very expensive...especially food. I have stayed on 7 Mile beach a few times, but usually either a home with friends or a rental house right by Rum Point. I prefer the area out that way. If you can get a car... you can practice driving on the 'other' side of the road... There is a lovely botanical gardens that I have wandered around... also a place called Hell (really cheesy). Do try to see the whole island and not just stay on 7 mile. I think there is a boat that will also take you over to Rum Point if you don't have a car. Most people love the stingray tour... but I really don 't like fish, so it wasn't for me, but sounds like it would be fun for you.