Postcard from Antony Boomer

Postcard from Caribbean  Antony Boomer

I think travelling to the Caribbean from New Zealand used to be regarded as quite a difficult and expensive area of the world to get to. Happily this is no longer the case with several carriers opening up alternative routes across the US accessing the Caribbean is no more difficult than travelling to the US East Coast and similarly priced. 

In our case we flew direct from Houston to Grand Cayman, a journey of around 3 hours.

Regards Grand Cayman I just need to address an elephant in the room, it is pricey so be prepared, costs on the islands are not for the fainthearted.

So what do you do on a Caribbean island nestled between Cuba and South America. Fortunately we had an expert in the form of my wife’s sister, Carol, who apparently knew most of the 70000 inhabitants of the island. As a hospitality manager we were doubly fortunate we didn’t have to think too much, or at all, about what we would be doing.

We stayed at the Sunset House in a one bedroom apartment which was perfect for our needs. The hotel specialises as a Dive Resort and has a very fine restaurant/bar which attracts as many locals as tourists.

We spent our first day exploring the multi million dollar mansions of the Grand Sound and more interestingly the amazingly versatile mangrove swamps, starfish and snorkeling at the Grand Sound reef and visiting the aptly named Stingray City where you can interact with stingrays in their natural habitat. As the locals will tell you they behave like marine cats. 

This was a really tremendous day which was followed up a couple of days later when we visited the botanical gardens, a habitat for the endangered Blue Iguana. We were really fortunate to come across three of them marauding their local domains.

We had already come across frigate birds in our exploration of the islands but encountered them again in crazy scenes at the Tukka Restaurant on the East End of the island.

We completed our exploration of Cayman wildlife by visiting the Green Turtle Sanctuary, I could watch these for hours.

There are public beaches dotted around the island along with private beaches associated with hotels and private properties. Governor’s Beach is truly stunning

A big drawcard for visitors to the island is the quality of the food. We experienced everything from beef and pork jerk to burgers at the hole in the wall Czech Grill to excellent curries at Sunset House to high quality experiences at places like Aria, Run Point and possibly the best at Morgan’s. The local beer is pretty good too from the local Caybrew brewery, my favourite was the Island Hopper IPA.

So does the unique wildlife, beaches and excellent food make Grand Cayman worth visiting … it certainly does if you are in the vicinity but I would be hesitant to recommend as a standalone visit. The island is on many cruise lines itineraries so would recommend a visit to the marine life of Grand Sound and why not round off a day on the island with a Malabar Curry and an Island Hopper at Sunset House!