9 posts categorized "Snorkeling"

03/04/2017

Cayman's Wildlife Laws

The latest edition of Destination Cayman 2017 had a great article providing the DOs and DON'Ts as it relates to the Cayman Islands Wildlife Laws. Since these are common questions for our guests, it made sense to summarize here. Everyone that goes on a vacation likes to take home a souvenir, but taking home things you find in the ocean is a little more complicated than taking home a t-shirt. In an effort to preserve the Cayman Islands ecosystem, there are several laws in place to help. If you follow these simple tips, you should be able to go home with a great new Cayman Islands memory:

  1. A very popular souvenir is the conch shell. The law states that up to three shells may be taken home by an individual without special permission.
  2. While turtles are beautiful animals, they are an endangered species. That means that all turtle products are banned, including meat, shells and anything else that comes from a turtle.
  3. The stunning beauty of Cayman is punctuated by the colorful corals in the sea. It is an absolutely no-no to export raw coral. It causes untold damage to the reefs if pieces of coral are broken off. Coral jewelry that you purchase at a Cayman Islands store do not need any special permits and is perfectly legal.
  4. The best tip is to get advice. If you have any questions about an item you want to take home, you should ask someone at the Customs Office at the airport.
  5. The Cayman Islands take great pride in protecting their wildlife. If you are caught taking wildlife out of the Cayman Islands without the proper permits or approvals, it could lead to a confiscation of the items, fine or imprisonment. The laws are very strict, but necessary to protect the beautiful Cayman Islands environment.

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This blog posting was brought to you by Cayman Condos. For information on any of our blog postings or to inquire about booking a condo, please contact our office at 800-999-1388. Something you love about the blog? Something you hate? Something you want me to write about? Let me know: joer@cicondos.com.

 

07/22/2012

My Bar at the Sunset House

Looking for a place to snorkel? Looking for a place for lunch? Looking for a place to watch the sunset? Looking for a late night drink? My Bar, at the Sunset House has it all. This open-air cabana bar and restaurant stands right on the water's edge.

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Head over for a few hours of snorkeling on the reef just off shore, where you will see beautiful corals and colorful fish. After enjoying the amazing snorkeling, grab a table at My Bar and order an amazing dolphin ceasar wrap and your favorite drink. Then settle in for one of the best views of the Cayman Islands sunsets during Happy Hour. 

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Located just East of Downtown Georgetown, My Bar is just a short drive from any of our Cayman Condos properties. 

This blog posting was brought to you by Cayman Condos. For information on any of our blog postings or to inquire about booking a condo, please contact our office at 800-999-1388. Something you love about the blog? Something you hate? Something you want me to write about? Let me know: joe@cicondos.com.

 

09/17/2011

Cayman Islands from A to Z

For a little fun this week, I decided to go a different route. Enjoy!

A: Appleton Rum--The local rum is much cheaper than the imported rums such as Captain Morgan. By the end of your trip you won't even know the difference.

B: Beach--7 Mile Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you are walking, jogging, swimming, snorkeling, wading, or relaxing, 7 Mile Beach is for people of all ages.

C: Casanova's By The Sea--There isn't a better restaurant on the entire island than Casanova's. This authentic Italian restaurant overlooks the ocean and the service is what sets this restaurant apart from any other restaurant in the world.

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D: Diving--Cayman has been known to have some of the best diving in the world. If you have never gotten certified, there are half-day certification classes offered at several places on the island. 

E: Eel--A morray eel is among the many exciting sea creatures you can see on a snorkel trip to the North Sound, including lobsters, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and barracuda to name a few.

F: Food--The Cayman Islands offer some of the best seafood in the world. It is always caught fresh and every restaurant has their own unique preparation, including the always popular "Cayman Style."

G: Georgetown--Downtown Georgetown offers the island's best shopping. From jewelry, sunglasses, watches to souveniers and t-shirts, you will find it all in Georgetown. You'll even be able to find discounts and deals due to everything being duty free and tax free.

H: Hell--Yes there is a city on Grand Cayman called Hell. You can visit for photos, and even have a postcard sent back home from the "Hell" Post Office with an official postage stamp. 

I: Iguanas--Don't be frightened by the large iguanas that sometimes hang around the pool area. They are very friendly and offer great photo opportunities.

J: Jolly Roger: This sunset cruise on an old pirate ship offers a great opportunity to sip on some rum punch while watching the sun hit the horizon. They also offer a day time lunch cruise, geared towards children, complete with walking the plank, like the old pirates.

K: Kirk's--This supermarket is centrally located near 7 Mile Beach for you to stock up on groceries for your stay.

L: Lobster Pot--Another popular Cayman Restuarant that over looks the ocean and offers some of the best lobster dishes you will ever find.

M: Moon--When the full moon reflects off the ocean at night, there isn't a more romantic moment.

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N: North Sound--This is the area between the two points of the North side of the island, where all the snorkel trips visit. The snorkel reef at the North Sound is second to none with the beautiful corrals and colorful fish.

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O: Ocean--The Cayman Islands waters offer great clarity for snorkeling and optimum temperatures for swimming or wading all day. They also are safe for children because the Cayman Islands have no current or high waves.

P: People--Caymanians are some of the friendliest people in all the world. They are always willing to help and are quite entertaining to talk to with all their stories. You will also see Jamaicans on the island who make their way over from the nearby island.

Q: Quiet--Grand Cayman is not a place to go if you are looking for a lot of noise and night life. It is a very quiet, relaxing island, whicn is perfect for a vacation. 

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R: Rum Point--Home of the Original Mudslide, Rum Point is a must-visit place. It's a good 45 minute drive from Georgetown, but offers an opportunity to see the native land and you are rewarded with a mudslide when you get there. This quiet beach offers a nice swimming area as well.

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S: Stingray City--One of the more unique places in the world, Stingray City offers the opportunity to swim with, pet, and feed these amazing animals. If you have the right captain, you might even be able to get a stingray back massage. 

T: Turtle Farm--The Cayman Island's Turtle Farm is a great spot for children to visit where then can pet, hold, and learn all about turtles.

U: UV Rays--No matter how much sun you are used to or how much you tanned before you visited, lots of sunscreen is going to be needed. The Cayman Islands are located on the equator and combined with the reflection of the sun off the pool and ocean, the perfect receipe for sunburn.

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V: Vacation--There is no better vacation spot in my mind than Grand Cayman. It combines sunshine, water, drinks, great food, relaxation, and beautiful sunsets all into one amazing visit.

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W: Watersports--Take a walk down 7 Mile Beach and visit any of the Watersports stands. Jetski. Parasail. Kayak. Banana Boat Rides. They have it all for you or your family to enjoy.

X: XoXo: Weddings. Honeymoons. Anniversaries. There is no more romantic place than Grand Cayman in the world.

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Y: Year-round: Grand Cayman is a year-round destination. There is never a bad time to visit Cayman. Whether in the hot summer months, or the warm winter months, the Cayman Islands are always comfortable and the water is always warm.

Z: Zoo: The Grand Cayman waters offer your very own under-water zoo full of animals and fish.

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So there you have it--a quick A to Z guide of the Cayman Islands. Enjoy your next visit!

This blog posting was brought to you by Cayman Condos. For information on any of our blog postings or to inquire about booking a condo, please contact our office at 800-999-1388. Something you love about the blog? Something you hate? Something you want me to wrtie about? Let me know: joe@cicondos.com.

 

08/21/2011

Cayman Islands Water Takes Crystal Clear to New Level

I vividly remember the conversation. I was about 10 years old and we were snorkeling in Grand Cayman. My Dad says to his buddy, "How deep do you think it is here?" His buddy looks down and responds "I don't know? 8-10 feet?" My dad points to a shell on the ocean floor and says, "I'll give you 50 bucks if you can dive down and pick up that shell." Thinking he just made a quick 50 dollars, his friend dove down and kicked (and kicked and kicked). It was a good 30 feet down. Needless to say, the guy didn't get his money.

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One of the most identifiable traits with the Cayman Islands is the crystal clear waters, which make it ideal for snorkeling or diving. So many snorkel spots around the world are ruined by muddy waters that make it hard to see or identify any of the fish or sea life around you. That's not the case in the Cayman Islands. The beautiful fish and colorful coral are easily distinguishable because of the high level of water clarity.

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In addition to water clarity, the Cayman Islands also have limited waves, no current, and warm waters. This combination makes it an ideal place to lounge in the water either on shore or even out by the snorkel reef. In the summer months, the water temperature can hover around 80-85 degrees, which makes it feel like bath water. You can stay in literally all day without getting cold. Even in the winter months, when the water temperature dips down into the low to mid 70s it is still warm enough to swim or snorkel all day (but you better have on a lot of sun screen!!).

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All this talk about the Cayman Islands waters is making me want to grab a mask and snorkel and check out what creatures are out there today. Take a friend or family member snorkeling sometime and they'll be amazed at the clarity of the water. And  you might just win a bet.

This blog posting was brought to you by Cayman Condos. For information on any of our blog postings or to inquire about booking a condo, please contact our office at 800-999-1388. Something you love about the blog? Something you hate? Something you want me to wrtie about? Let me know: joe@cicondos.com.

06/05/2011

Starry Starry Starfish: Hidden Beauty in the North Sound

When people talk about trips to the North Sound, you often hear them rave about stingray city, the reef, and the coral gardens. All three of these stops are beautiful and staples of any snorkel trip in Grand Cayman. However, a hidden gem in the North Sound is the obscure area that has hundreds of beautiful starfish of all sizes. It might be worth the visit for some amazing photo opportunities.

The area  is about 10-15 feet deep, which makes it a fairly simple dive down to pick up the live starfish that are living at the bottom of the sea. They come in all different sizes and although you can not take them home with you, you can play with them and feel their unique texture. 

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So if you ever visit Grand Cayman and go on a North Sound snorkel trip, make sure to ask your captain if he can swing by the Starfish area. You won't be disappointed.

01/30/2011

Is Cayman Fun For Kids?

While Cayman is an extremely relaxing island that gives adults a much needed escape from reality, people often wonder if it is a good place to take kids. I've been going since I was born, which was in 1980. From as early as I can remember, I always loved my visits to the Cayman Islands. While Cayman is a different type of destination than a place like Disney World, it still has a lot to offer children. Here are some great suggestions of things to do with your kids in Cayman:

1. Dolphin Cove: While a bit pricey, swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove is a once in a lifetime opportunity for kids. The great trainers teach kids all about the dolphins and also let you touch, pet, and swim with these amazing creatures.

Dolphin Cove Website

2. Stingray City: This is an absolute must during any trip to Cayman. These creatures are truly amazing and, while intimidated at first, kids eventually warm up to them.

Stingray City Website

3. Turtle Farm: Since the turtle is used in the logo of the Cayman Islands, visiting the Turtle Farm during your visit seems appropriate. It gives children the opportunity to learn about the wildlife heritage and culture of the Cayman Islands, through interactive activities with beautiful sea turtles.

Turtle Farm Website

4. Snorkeling: This can be done right in front of Treasure Island Condos, which is great for introducing children to the sport of snorkeling. If they have never done it before, I highly recommend teaching them in the pool. It's a lot less frustrating getting pool water in your eyes and mouth, than the sting of salt water. Once they have it down, take them out into the new enclosed cove area before venturing out to the beautiful reef. Finally, towards the end of your trip, take a snorkel trip to the North Sound with stops at Stingray City as well as the beautiful reef, where you can see nurse sharks, lobsters, and beautiful fish.

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5. Look for seashells and hermit crabs: This sounds pretty simple, but it truly is the most vivid memory I have of my early years in Cayman. Obviously they are all over the beach and each one is very unique.

6. Eat lunch at Billy Bones pool bar: If staying at Treasure Island Condos, the kids will love the ability to sit in the water and eat lunch. Mom will love not having to cook lunch every day. The novelty of eating while sitting in the pool is pretty cool to most kids.

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7. Listen to steel drums performance: A sound that is native to the Cayman Islands is a steel drum performance. Locals perform at least once a week in the Treasure Island Hotel lobby. Children will enjoy this unique musical sound, while adults can enjoy complimentary rum punch.

8. Atlantis submarine: This 48 passenger submarine goes to depths of greater than 100 feet, which gives you a chance to view marine life, without having to be certified to scuba dive. 

Atlantis Submarine Website

9. Jolly Roger Cruise: This pirate cruise on a real pirate ship is a daytime trip that kids can enjoy. They offer fruit punch and rum punch that is sure to cool you down in the hot Cayman Islands sun. Kids can enjoy a Pirate Trial ending in an intense sword fight. Don't forget to have the kids bring their swim suits though for when they have to walk the pirate's plank.

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10. Pirates Week: If you are fortunate enough to visit during Pirate's Week in November, there are all kinds of various activities for kids, including treasure hunts and parades.

Pirate's Week Website

11. Play on the beach: This sounds pretty simple, but it really could pass hours of time for kids. The warm sun, bath-water ocean, and white sand gives kids lots of fun options on the beach. Typically, a visit to the Cayman Islands is a kid's first experience with a beach so they are intrigued by it and can spend hours playing on it. Please view the video below of several kids in front of Treasure Island Condos building a sand castle.

YouTube Video of Sand Castle


 

01/02/2011

Seven Mile Beach

One of my favorite things to do in Grand Cayman is walk along 7 Mile Beach. Whether going for an early morning run or going for an afternoon walk, the beauty of the beach is evident. Located along the western shore of Grand Cayman, this sandy beach runs for 5.5 miles, despite the world-known name of 7 Mile Beach. Due to it’s pristine beauty, this beach recently received the Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine’s award for “The Caribbean’s Best Beach.”

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The beach begins just north of the capital city of Georgetown, which is the shopping district of Cayman, and extends all the way to the West Bay district, which is the home of the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. In between you will find miles of beautiful sandy beaches that are open to the public. It is possible to walk the full length of the beach past many hotels, villas, restaurants, and bars.

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A great spot to stop and grab lunch or a drink is The Royal Palms, a great outside beach bar, which is centrally located in the heart of 7 Mile Beach. (The Royal Palms also offers live music at night on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.) There are also several great snorkeling spots along 7 mile beach, thanks to both natural and artificial reefs. Treasure Island Condominiums offers some of the best snorkeling with a natural reef just in front of their $750,000 beach renovation (see photo below). There are several other spots with great snorkeling, including an artificial reef in front of the Marriott and a natural reef in front of the Governor’s residence. Further to the North there is another great snorkel spot just to the north of the Seven Mile Public Beach.

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While the entire beach is public and can be walked on freely, many of the homes and resorts are private property, which means you can’t use their chairs, towels, and pools. However, you are able to use the beach and ocean along the entire beach. In addition, several resorts offer restaurants and beach bars that are open to the public. The Cayman Islands government does allow grilling on the beach, but does not allow loud music or nudity.

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When you visit the Cayman Islands, enjoy the beach to the fullest. Go for a morning jog, walk to a hot snorkel spot, or spend hours floating in the warm Caribbean Sea. The nice thing about the Cayman Islands, compared to somewhere like Hawaii, is the lack of big waves. This calm shore allows for children and even babies to enjoy the water, without fear of big waves. Remember, though, you will want to wear plenty of sunscreen as the sun beats off the white sand and turquoise water to cause intense sun exposure, even on cloudy days. Also, don’t forget to take some cash or a credit card because you never know when you might want to stop for a rum punch. Remember, in Cayman, it’s always 5:00 somewhere!

Wishing everyone a safe, prosperous and Happy 2011!!

 

12/19/2010

Photography Opportunities Endless in Grand Cayman

When you leave for a trip to the Cayman Islands, there is one thing you don't want to forget, your camera! It doesn't matter if you are a photography pro or have never taken a picture before in your life. There are many memorable moments in Grand Cayman that you will want to capture on film. Every trip to Grand Cayman I come home with about 500 pictures--oh the joys of digital cameras. So what are the best photo opportunities in Grand Cayman? I'm here to tell you.

5. 7 Mile Beach: The pictures you can take up and down the beautiful and sandy 7 mile beach are incredible. The waves, lighting, and colors are never the same. There are portions of the beach that are very quiet (by our White Sands property) which makes for uninhabited pictures of a deserted  beach with no tourists in the shots. 

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4. Nature and Wildlife: Keep the camera handy at all times because you never know when you might come across an iguana, crab, exotic bird, or beautiful palm tree. While walking over to the swimming pool, it's not uncommon to come across a friendly iguana. While sleeping, it's not uncommon to hear a crab scratching against the wall outside. Have the camera ready for these moments because you'll want to have these pictures when you return home.

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3. Underwater: If you are fortunate to have an underwater camera, make sure to bring it. However, even if you don't, I highly suggest purchasing a disposable underwater camera. Even though the quality of pictures won't be nearly as high, you won't want to miss some of the things you will see while snorkeling. On any given snorkel trip you may see a sea turtle, nurse shark, moray eel, beautiful schools of fish, colorful coral, lobster, starfish, and more. The camera makes it great for when you get back and tell people that you saw a huge barracuda and they say "yea right." You can whip out the visual proof and that's a pretty cool feeling. 
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2. Stingray City: When you make the trip to Stingray City, your camera is a must. Whether you take pictures from the boat, or take a waterproof camera into the water, you won't want to miss the photo opportunities that exist while playing with these amazing creatures. The captain will allow for great photos while holding, petting, or feeding a stingray. It's also pretty cool to take a picture from the boat as the dozens of stingray flock to the boat as it anchors. They know they are about to get fed!
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1. Sunsets: It doesn't matter if there are clouds or not, every sunset deserves attention. The colors, clouds, and sunset are never the same. This is the number one photo opportunity in Grand Cayman. These pictures make great holiday cards, framed photos for your home, or great screen savers on your computer. If you get a perfect sunset with no clouds in front of the horizon, you might even be lucky enough to see the "infamous" green flash.
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So next time you head down to Grand Cayman, make sure to pack your camera and then click, click, click during your trip for some memorable, framable moments. If you come home with any pictures you'd like to share, please e-mail them to us at joe@cicondos.com and we will post them. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday week, wherever you may be.

 

11/14/2010

Treasure Island Beach Restoration Project

When you think of the Cayman Islands, you think of a pristine beach that goes on for miles, hence the name 7 Mile Beach. For owners and guests at the beautiful Treasure Island Condominiums, that hasn’t been the case. Over the years, the great snorkel reef and beautiful coral located in front of Treasure Island have offset a less than desirable beach. However, many guests return from a stay at Treasure Island with rave reviews of their trip, the island, and their condo, but often suggest a nicer beach. Well, the owners have listened and an almost $700,000 beach renovation project was completed last week, with a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to introduce the new and improved beach.

 

When the Treasure Island property was built more than 30 years ago, the developers dug out the iron shore in an attempt to make a swimming area. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, over the years the lack of iron shore has eliminated the natural protection against beach erosion. The 2 groynes made out of large rocks contained an opening to the sea in the middle (see picture), which allowed for the large waves to hit the beach and pull the sand out to sea. Year by year, the condo owners have tried to replace the lost sand, but this was becoming too costly.

Cove without overlap

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*It's clear the groynes had deteriorated over the years.

For 30 years I’ve been traveling to Treasure Island and have often wondered why the beach was so much nicer at other properties. Many of our guests have had the same thought. Owners have been throwing around the idea of trying to fix the beach and doing something different with the groynes for almost 20 years. So this decision to make the financial commitment to providing guests with a beach that visitors of the Cayman Islands deserve, makes this 2010 beach restoration project a landmark year for the Treasure Island Complex and Cayman Condos as a whole.

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*Notice the rocky beach to the left. With the completion of the project, this will no longer exist as it will be a sandy beach with a beautiful swimming cove.

 

In the summer of 2009, they began the initial stages of the project when they called on Dr. Sorenson, a renowned beach restoration project consultant in the Caribbean. After his research and guidance, a permit was applied for from the Department of Environment. This project was looked on very favorably by the DOE because of the extensive shoreline erosion. In May of this year, a permit was issued. The plan was to re-create the groynes with rocks that were to be shaped in local quarries. However, this time the groynes would overlap in the middle, preventing large waves from coming into the newly created swimming cove. While they will overlap, they will not actually connect in the middle, which allows access from the swimming cove to the snorkel reef (see picture).

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They began the shaping of the large rocks in May and moved onto the Treasure Island property in August. After the shaping of the rocks and creation of the groynes was complete, the final step was to add 1000 cubic yards of fresh new sand to the beach. By coupling this beautiful new beach with the snorkeling reef directly in front of the property, Treasure Island has now become one of the most desirable beach properties on beautiful Seven Mile Beach.

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With the extensive research that went into this project, it is expected to last for many years. So whenever you return to the Cayman Islands, this new sandy beach will be in tact for you and your family to enjoy. It is something we can all look forward to on our next visit to Cayman. After all, this is the Cayman Islands. No shirt. No Shoes. No Problem. And now, No Rocks on your beach at Treasure Island!