When our Carnival Cruise itinerary changed for the third time because there were even more hurricanes around, they added Grand Cayman to the list. When I first thought of The Cayman Islands I just knew that it was where all the criminals laundered their money right?!?
We had a look at what tours the cruise was selling, to get an idea of how we could spend our day and as soon as I saw swimming with Stingrays I was so excited. Carnival was charging $84 + plus taxes for this tour, no chance we’d be paying their inflated prices.
When you first get off the ship, within the cruise terminal there are a number of tour operators selling the same tours, (here they were charging $42 p/p for the Stingrays). Everyone was super nice and happy to answer questions or give directions.
We exited out of the terminal gates and there was even more tour operators selling day trips. It must be such a massive pay day for them whenever cruise ships are in port.
We ended up purchasing tickets from a lovely lady on the street, for $35USD per person we got:
A bus to the boat (15 minute drive),
25 minute boat ride to the sand bank,
45 minutes swimming at Stingray City,
20 minute snorkel at a spot called Coral Gardens,
Then the bus dropped us off at a beach afterwards.
The water here was ridiculously amazing, as perfect as any picture suggested. The most beautiful turquoise blue colour and so crystal clear and warm. I was blown away; I didn’t expect it to be this good. Some areas you could stand up and some areas were just above my head but it was calm and easy enough for anyone to swim around.
As soon as we pulled up it was obvious this was a very popular spot, there would have easily been 100 people in the water. There were so many Rays though that it was easy enough to find a quiet area to swim alone with them.
Part of the tour was getting to feed, cuddle & kiss a ray. The feeding part was fun, you’d hold the food between your thumb and forefinger and soon enough they’d swim up and suck it out like a vacuum cleaner. I didn’t really like the kiss and cuddle part though, the guides would somehow get a hold of them and hold them out of the water; I just found them to be a bit rough.
The rays on their own would happily come up to you, probably looking for food, but they never seemed scared. They’d swim between our legs & over our backs. It was so funny that although we were so excited to get in the water with them, we’d still squeal every time they touch us.
It was such a fun experience and definitely something I want to do again.
This was a nice little extra on the trip. The snorkelling area was really big and we got great visibility. There wasn’t a whole lot of fish around though, I was hanging to see a turtle but it wasn’t until we got back in the boat we saw one swimming by!
7 Mile Beach
Before we arrived at Grand Cayman, I had googled what’s the best beach and the top result was 7 Mile Beach, so with a few hours before we had to be back on the ship we figured we could spend the afternoon there.
The beach was lined with hotels, and large sections were roped off for hotel guests or you could pay $2 to sit there. Unfortunately the day we were there the beach was covered in seaweed and the water here was really murky. I would assume this was due to the recent hurricanes.
There were a couple of food trucks on the beach, for $10 you could get a plate of meat, beans, rice and BBQ corn cob and it was delicious. After lunch we decided to head back to town, near the cruise port.
We were heading towards the bus stop from the beach and we were approached by a van driver and said he’d take us for $3 each (only .50c more than the bus) and that he’d be leaving soon. We were more than happy with that because it was going to be quicker and less walking.
I didn’t realise how good the shopping was going to be here, not that I actually brought much but there was some big name stores and heaps of jewellery shops. On board they were actually selling shopping tours and I could see why. It’s all tax free too!
The Cayman Islands is somewhere I’d love to go back to, without a cruise ship, it was so beautiful and everyone was super nice.
Have you been to The Cayman Islands? I’d love it if you shared any tips or stories with me in the comment section below.