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and life along the winding road

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is northwest of Jamaica, has a flat terrain with the highest point being a little over a hundred and forty feet, and a major financial center. Britain took control of the Cayman Islands, along with Jamaica, in 1670 under the Treaty of Madrid. When Jamaica chose to be an Independent Commonwealth Realm in 1962, the Cayman Islands became a separate British Overseas Territory. For the second time, we booked the Turtle Farm and Stingray tour. When we visited in 2008, water tours were cancelled because of storms and this time we were disappointed yet again. More than one cruise ship had docked, and the small octagonal tour excursion area in George Town was chaotic. After waiting for thirty minutes, we discovered the tour bus (Kelly Tours) had left, apparently not noticing that they were missing over ten passengers. There are many buses near the area where tenders bring passengers in from the ships, and we came across the driver for K-Man Native Tours which turned out to be considerably cheaper than the tour we had booked through Carnival (our money for the cancelled tour was refunded). We drove past Government House, along Seven Mile Beach and our guide pointed out a house that was typical of houses built on the island just over a hundred years ago. Hell is little more than a tourist sight consisting of a tourist shop and unusual rock formations. Dolphin Discovery and the Turtle Farm are close to each other but our time there was limited so we chose to watch the dolphins (the tour guide can negotiate a lower entrance fee for the turtle exhibit if you want to take a quick look). If you are planning on riding with dolphins, Grand Cayman is probably the best place to go as entrance is free for spectators. In Cozumel there is a steep entrance fee even if you are not getting into the water with the dolphins and photography is frowned upon. After our tour, I visited a few of the many jewelry stores. The shops recommended by Carnival are not necessarily the best value. They pay a large sum both in advertising and for their name to be recommended by the cruise companies. I found a small shop near the museum (the white building in the above picture) called Sterling & Stone Limited where I purchased a beautiful Caribbean Topaz pendant. You can also purchase Caribbean/mystic topaz here. Although the islands are exempt from most taxes, imported goods are heavily taxed (a gallon of milk can cost in excess of $6). Before taking the tender back to the ship, I stopped at George Town Museum which is across from the docking area. We left Grand Cayman behind and headed to our next port – Cozumel, Mexico.


Joanne said...

I have friends (Linda T,et al) who's fave resort/beach ever is Cayman. Said the water is the prettiest in the world. Lovely pictures. I want to go to the Devil's Hangout - ha!

maria said...

I like to go on beach and islands very much so I am always looking for a nice beaches and resort. I have heard a little about Cayman that it is awesome place but I found it very awesome and so beautiful place in the world after watching your pictures and reading the article.
cruise reviews

K9friend said...

Gorgeous photos, Ann. Makes me want to plan a trip!

Jane said...

Glad you had a good visit this time. We spend a lot of time there, and really enjoy the island and the people. This winter we have had unusual weather, so you were fortunate to get on island. Our favorite activity is Stingray City sandbar - that is a great experience.
If you are able to go back for a longer time, there are excellent restaurants - Calypso Grill, Sunset house - to name a few.
Enjoy the water sports too - the water is gorgeous, and usually calm!!
Jane Warren, Publisher