I didn’t really know what to expect from The Cayman Islands today. We stopped off at Montego Bay in Jamaica yesterday and as this is the neighbouring island I wondered how similar it would be. Whilst the beaches we saw in Montego Bay were undoubtably stunning, I can’t say I loved the place. That’s the problem with cruises though, you’re only shown one place and the mass tourism has probably already ruined that place. So maybe I should give Jamaica another go sometime.
The first difference was getting to the islands. The cruise liner anchored itself off shore rather than mooring so we were all ferried to and from the pier by smaller boats. Now we’re fully accustomed to cruise liners hidden and often outrageous prices, we were pleased to find this shuttle over to land was free! There was a massive difference as soon as we reached land compared to Jamaica, nobody hassled us, nobody was forcing us to buy things, get our hair braided or buy their ‘one of a kind’ bracelets – which is always nice 🙂
At each cruise stop you have a choice of excursions to do for the day that you can pick prior to getting there. The choices for the Cayman Islands looked really good, if money was no object (wouldn’t that be nice) then I would have loved to go to and see the famous turtle farm or Sting Ray City but the cruise liners hike their prices massively so we just couldn’t justify another £200 for 2 hours entertainment. Seeing the Sting Rays is probably the most popular thing to do here and we had found tickets direct online for £45 each. To give you an idea of how much Carnival Cruises hike their prices, the same tour was £85 with them! We was going to go for the £45 option but when we got there we were told the seas around to the sandbars were too rough and it was advisable not to go today 🙁
So with Sting Rays off the cards and swimming with baby turtles being too expensive we decided to do what we always do, take the free option, and walk around! The beach just next to the pier is called ‘7 Mile Beach’, and yes it really is 7 miles long. Walking the whole beach and back would mean us missing our cruise and being stuck here so we set off watching the time closely.
Before leaving we checked with the information desk that it was safe to walk around the island. After our slightly scary walk in Jamaica yesterday we thought we best ask! The woman on the desk couldn’t believe we walked around in Jamaica when Nick told her :/ Apparently it’s absolutely fine to go anywhere on the Cayman Islands so off we went..
It instantly felt safer than Jamaica. Even though we were the only ones walking (as usual) nobody bothered us at all. The only locals we saw were out walking their dogs or going for a run and they all smiled and said hello in an often very British accent. It’s a very developed island, it’s clean, well maintained and civilised. Jamaica felt very run down in areas but you can tell there is a lot of wealth here, it didn’t look much different to streets in nice parts of America as we walked towards the beach.
I fell in love with the beach as soon as we got on it. Up until now my favourite in the world has been Nacpan Beach in The Philippines but this is a definite close contender. It’s one of those rare beaches where the sand is 100% power like, with no coral or shingle, just perfect golden sand for miles. Rarer still, the water was completely crystal clear, no sea weed, no rocks or sharp bits on the sea bed, it was just perfect. It didn’t take us long to go for a dip and getting up early this morning paid off as there was only a handful of other people around despite the beach being lined with swanky residences/hotels.
I think we made it about half way up the beach before we had to turn back to make it back to the boat. Before doing so we headed across the island to the North in hope of finding the harbour. This extra few KM’s walk turned out to be fruitless though. All the houses backed onto the water (as everyone has a boat here, obviously) so we couldn’t see much, other than lots of extravagant houses of course.
Today’s been one of the highlights of our cruise and a stunning beach walk we won’t forget. The Cayman Islands is somewhere we’d definitely like to revisit, it seemed a perfect holiday spot based on our brief experience and I’d highly recommend it.
For the rest of the evening we did what everyone does on cruises, ate enough food for 3 people and went to sleep with that same stomach ache thinking ‘why did I eat so much?!’… ’I’ll be good tomorrow’…. ‘I’ll start the morning by going to the gym’.
In reality tomorrow will probably start with a 4 course breakfast :-/