DAY 6; Grand Caymans
Okay, I need to get the bias out. This was the port I was looking forward to the most. Most the Cruise was leaning in favor of my wife, this was my day. This port was an hour behind. We chartered a 18ft Boston Whaler speed boat for 4hrs through Scotch Bonnet Charters. A little pricey for just 2 people, the price could have included up to 4 others to split the cost. I would 100% charter again with just me if that helps. The freedom for a private craft taking us anywhere we wanted to go dodging crowds and mobs was beyond worth the cost.
The charter started at noon and was for 4 hours. This gave us time to eat, wait for the tender and get some shopping done. The tenders here were much bigger and the trip much shorter than Belize. The weather was beautiful and we were ready to go. We saw a “pirate ship” in route, along with US Coast Guard Cutter at the pier when we got there. The pier shops were probably the least appealing out of all the ports, a lot of tent merchants, but a great big candy store. We headed out pretty quickly and walked the streets. Cars went fast, but this place just felt safe over all. Within 5 minutes of walking you could look over railings and see large colorful fish in the water, crabs on the rocks, and lizards in the brush, it was very cool. Lots of malls and high end shops, some standard themed restaurants and bars, and open air craft markets gave a lot of shopping options.
On to the charter; We met our guide which I will nickname CbFBG (Crazy but Fun Boat Guy). A smile and welcome, beyond friendly and talkative, in to his SUV and off to his boat. We stopped at a grocery store real quick to pick up some snacks at our request. He had bottle water, sodas, and squid on board. It took about 15minutes to get there. We passed mansions and pretty sure a modern castle, along with the other side of the income spectrum. We briefly saw the island the locals live in every day. CbFBG asked us what kind of day we had in mind, and we yielded to him. He had a day already planned out just for that choice. Stingray City, snorkeling on the reef, Rum Point and beach time, Starfish Beach, mangrove tour, drive back to the pier. This was about 3 different tours through Carnival, so I think a better value.
A fast ride out to Stingray City. Into the water we went alongside a half dozen large excursion ferry type boats. A couple hundred people in the water at once, so we went a little off from the mobs and found a stingray a plenty. Into the water we went including CbFBG. Squid in hand we wrangled stingrays for about 30min. I loved this, wife scared but handled it well. Big fish swimming around us while we stood on the sand bar. CbFBG went diving around and found a live conch, sea cumber we held. When we had our time and other boats were coming and going we left and a quick ride to a reef. Snorkeling gear provided and for about 30min we did that for the 1st time. I think we did pretty well. We saw so many fish and colors. Back aboard, a less nice ride to Rum Point. This was more a beach resort type area, not really our scene, but the half mile of deserted white sand beach we walk was incredible. No crowds, no hassles, just sun and sand and the 2 of us. CbFBG dropped us off at the docks and we just walk, he met us at the other end of the beach. Yup one of those holding hands walking down the beach moments, and it was just us, a local’s secret type of thing. Then to Starfish beach and yes it is not a tricky name. There were starfish and again CbFBG went looking around and brought back starfish of different colors and sizes, some were huge. Again no crowds. The whole time he spoke about the island, himself when asked, he asked about us, just great company. A slow trip through the mangroves, sea life and beautiful birds was just perfect ending to our boat ride. Oh funny thing was no matter where we were in the water we saw the ship. The ship was the biggest / tallest thing around this island. Back to the pier and sad goodbye to CbFBG and back to the tenders. 4 hours went by so fast, but not 1 minute seemed wasted. Back on the ship, clean up and dinner time a great day.
Thoughts of the day;
I would absolutely recommend getting a private charter if you want to make the most out your time in this port. We had heard shopping was best in the Caymans, they did have a lot, but the prices seemed higher. I give you the quick story of the hat. I saw a hat that I wanted to buy back in Cozumel. I held off. Then I saw it in Belize, and it was about $5 more expensive. I held off. In Roatan, I found the hat and same price as in Cozumel. Yup, I held off. Grand Cayman, the same hat cost $15 more than Cozumel. So no hat. We waited to shop, and found it more costly. So, in the end we bought less.