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3 posts from February 2011

02/27/2011

The Wonderful People of Grand Cayman

Besides the weather, dining, and water, one of the things that makes Grand Cayman so special is the people that reside there. Natives of the Cayman Islands are termed Caymanian and they are a very proud bunch. The population of the islands is under 60,000 people, which is the size of a small American town. Caymanians are a mixture of Afro-European, African, and European. There is a distinct Caymanian dialect that can be difficult for visitors to understand, but they do speak English. The most prolific trait of Caymanians is their genuine personality. They are all very welcoming of their visitors, unlike many European countries. I've yet to meet a Caymanian that wasn't willing to help me with directions or advice on things to do. 

The Cayman Islands are a very wealthy island with low unemployment. Due to this fact, there is very little crime on the island, making it one of the safest travel destinations in the world. Recently there has been some talk of crime on the island, but relative to other cities around the world, the Cayman Islands have the lowest crime rate of anywhere. Crime is so rare on the Island, that when something does happen, it is major news. If you take general travel precautions (don't walk alone late at night, lock your doors, and stay in the populated areas of the island) you will have no issues.

From the moment you land at the airport, each and every Caymanian makes you feel welcome. It typically starts with the taxi driver on the way to your condo. They are always willing to chat about the weather, where you're from, and if it is your first visit. I recommend using the taxi driver as a tour guide. Ask them questions and you will have a nice understanding of where things are and what to do, before you ever get to your condo. A few examples of the great personalities of Caymanians is evident here:

Debbie Myers Greets You Upon Your Arrival

Kerry Ebanks Talks About a Trip on the Sea Fire

Don't be afraid to rely on the local personalities to make your trip to Grand Cayman even more special. They truly are some of the nicest people around the world. One small piece of advice, don't expect them to be on time, or move very fast to get things done. But you can't really blame them because they are on "Cayman Time". After all, when your in the Cayman Islands, your watches should be left in the luggage anyway. Enjoy!

02/13/2011

Casanova Restaurant By the Sea

There are very few restaurants in the world that I would consider a "top attraction" to a city, but Casanova Restaurant by the Sea in Grand Cayman truly is. In my 30 years of going to Grand Cayman, I have seen restaurants open and close. I have tried them all. However, no matter how hard they try, nobody has topped the atmosphere, charisma, and charm of Casanova's. Oh yea, and their food is pretty darn good too. 

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Click here for: Casanova's Website

For 20 years Tony Crescente has owned this quaint Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Georgetown. The emphasis he puts on making his customers feel at home is what separates Casanova's from any other restaurant in Cayman. Every time you walk through the door, they make you feel like you truly are the most important person that has ever dined there. The emphasis has always been on the customer, which goes a long ways.

Click here and see video where Tony talks about Casanova's

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Not only does Casanova's have impeccable service, but they have an amazing menu to choose from. Whether you are in the mood for an authentic Italian dish or a freshly caught local fish, you will find something that everyone in your party can enjoy. In addition, they offer a wine list that is second to none. My favorite dish is the classic spaghetti or the fresh mahi-mahi. They finish off any dinner with an excellent dessert menu and always bring out an after dinner drink, such as Limoncello.

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Casanova's has not made it this long without overcoming a little adversity. They have suffered damage from hurricanes, including one that totally wiped the entire restaurant out. However, in his persistent Italian way, Tony Crescente would not allow that to dampen his passion for Casanova's. He reopened in a beautiful ocean-front location, with patio seating that is literally on the Caribbean Sea. If you are looking for the most beautiful setting, ask to be seated outside on the patio. 

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It doesn't matter if you are going on a honeymoon dinner or going for a birthday party with 12 people, Casanova's caters to both types of parties. For the romantic dining experience, Eugeno will come and serenade you with beautiful harp music, including the ability to play almost any love song you request.

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Or if you are celebrating a birthday, they put on quite the show, making the birthday seem like the biggest event they've ever hosted.

Click here to view a Birthday Celebration at Casanova's

All in all, Casanova Restaurant by the Sea has the food, atmosphere, and charm that any vacationer would want to experience in their dining experience. The bottom line, if you visit Grand Cayman and don't visit Casanova's, then you wasted an amazing opportunity. Ciao!!

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02/06/2011

Cayman Islands: Where the Sun Goes Down Every Night

The Cayman Islands have a lot of attractions that cost money. Swim with the dolphins? Play with the stingrays? Parasail? They are all neat experiences, but they are all going to make your wallet a little lighter. One of the neatest experiences in the Cayman Islands is absolutely free! Every night of your vacation, the sun will go down. (I know--what a concept?) You might think once you've seen a sunset, you've seen them all, but each one truly is unique and they provide amazing photo opportunities.

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My recommendation is to gather on your patio (or somewhere with a view of the sunset) with your favorite appetizers and a glass of wine by 5:15. This gives you ample time to converse with family and friends, while waiting for the sun to set. 

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You might think that the sunset isn't going to be anything special some night, but always give it a chance. Those clouds can move out just in time for an amazing photo opportunity.

There is a certain buzz around the beach as the sun approaches the horizon with everyone hoping for that perfect sunset that elicits a green flash. You might wonder "what in the world is a green flash?"

Well, it is a real phenomenon that occurs when there is absolutely no cloud cover between your eyes and the sun, at the moment it disappears below the horizon. As someone who has seen about 5 green flashes in my life, it IS real. And it IS real cool. Every day gives you a new opportunity to see it, so I suggest taking advantage of those chances.

Click Here: YouTube Video of Visitors at Treasure Island Unit 101 Waiting for Green Flash

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I think so highly of the Cayman Islands sunsets that I chose to propose to my wife in front of one in 2004. There isn't a more romantic spot than on the beach in the Cayman Islands during a sunset.

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The clouds surrounding the sun during a Cayman Islands sunset are different every night and create a variety of colors and images that make each moment unique. Over the years we have had a lot of fun trying to find animals out of the shapes of the clouds.

Click Here: YouTube video of Looking for Animals in the Clouds

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As I sit here and look out the window at another blizzard dumping snow on us in the Midwest, I realize I could really go for a Cayman sunset right about now. A lot of things about your trip to the Cayman Islands will be a surprise to you, but one thing you can always count on is the sun going down every night.