14 posts categorized "Travel"

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.

 

12/12/2010

How to Pack for a trip to Grand Cayman

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There is not an easier destination to pack for than Grand Cayman. People often wonder what they need to bring, but it really is quite simple. First of all, the island is extremely laid back. There are no dress codes requiring long pants at restaurants. Beach attire, with cover-up or t-shirt, is acceptable at most stores. Sandals or flip-flops are appropriate everywhere.

It's to the point now where I am able to pack everything into a carry-on every time I go down. This blog will give you a quick checklist of things to make sure you have before you head to the airport.

  • Passport. The Cayman Islands are a British Colony and not part of the United States. You must have a passport to leave and enter the country.
  • Swimsuit. In all honesty, you could probably survive with the clothes you wore on the airplane and a swimsuit for a few days. If you check a bag, always throw a swimsuit and cover-up in your carry-on. At least then you can lay by the pool, in case you have to wait for lost bags. 
  • Dress shorts. A few pairs to wear to dinner. (Men)
  • Collared shirts. A few to wear to dinner. (Men)
  • Sun dresses. A few to wear to dinner. (Women)
  • T-Shirts and cover-ups
  • Sandals or flip-flops to wear to dinner or to the store
  • Workout attire. If you plan on working out, pack a pair of tennis shoes as there are several options to workout near the various condo complexes.
  • Ipod and reading material for relaxing on the beach or by the pool
  • Sunscreen!!! Whatever SPF you think you should wear, add about 15 to it. If you typically wear 15, take 30. The sun is intense, even on the cloudy days.
  • Sunglasses. If you forget these, you'll want to make a trip to one of the many sunglass shops in downtown Georgetown, where you can buy a nice duty free pair of your favorite brand.
  • Camera. There are numerous photo opportunities in Cayman, including sunsets, under water, and beach photos. Make sure you don't forget the charger!!
  • Money. There are ATMs on the island, and virtually everywhere accepts credit cards, so you don't need to bring a ton of cash. Bring enough cash for taxis and anywhere else you would rather use cash than a charge card. Don't forget the US Dollar is only worth 80 cents in Cayman. You are able to use US money at stores, but change is always given in Cayman money. For example, don't pay for a $5.00 purchase with $100 US bill or you will end up with a lot of Cayman change.
  • Snorkel gear. If you plan to do a lot of snorkeling you could bring your own, but it is included in any of the boat snorkel trips.
  • No Need for Beach Towels. All Cayman Condos properties are equipped with towels and hair dryers so save the room in your bag and take advantage of these amenities. (No electrical converters are required in the Cayman Islands for items such as hair dryers, as outlets are the same as the U.S.)
  • Cell phones. Unless you need it for work, leave the cell phones turned off after you land in Grand Cayman. Most carriers have extremely high rates for internet charges, text messaging, and talking. Be sure to check with your provider before going on vacation. No matter who your provider is, make certain your data roaming is turned off or you could be looking at thousands of dollars worth of charges. Most places have wi-fi on the island, which allows you to do the same things on your phone that data roaming would allow. If you want to call back to the states, phone cards can be purchased on the island. It is safer to purchase after you get to Cayman as some of them purchased in the United States don't work. Cayman Condos has prepaid phones available to rent, which is the cheapest way to call home frequently, while controlling what you are spending on phone calls. However, smart phones or lap tops with Wi-Fi capabilities are the best way to stay in touch with people back home.
  • Laptop. Many units have free wi-fi. Inquire about this before leaving for Cayman. There are also internet towers available for rent for the units that do not have internet yet. Having a laptop can be the cheapest and easiest way to keep in touch with people back in the states, via e-mail, facebook, or skype.

Once you've completed this check-list, print off your boarding pass and go to bed. When you wake up you'll be heading to paradise and you can rest easy that you didn't forget anything.

11/21/2010

My Top 5 Cayman Islands Attractions

When someone plans a vacation, undoubtedly the first question is “What is there to do there?” The nice thing about a trip to the Cayman Islands is laying on the beach, soaking up the rays, listening to the waves, and relaxing with an island drink in hand is enough to make any vacation great. However, if you want to get some relief from the sun, here are five must-see attractions on Grand Cayman.

 #5. Head to Georgetown for Duty-Free Shopping: I will admit, I’m not much for shopping, but even I like to visit the shops downtown once per trip. The shops are all duty and tax free, which allows for some great deals not found in the United States. Shop for sunglasses, jewelry, watches, leather, souvenirs, and more. Helpful tip: Visit the shops in Georgetown on a day when there are no cruise ships. You will be able to have several shops to yourself in a small walking radius. You can find out the cruise schedule at: 

Cayman Islands Cruise Schedule

 #4. Swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove: While this is kind of pricey, I feel it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You get to pet, kiss, and hold the dolphins, while learning all about this amazing creature. Plus there is no bigger thrill than floating on your stomach and waiting for two huge dolphins to swim up from behind you at full speed and push you up in the air by your feet (see picture). As a guy asked the trainer when we were there, "What happens if they miss your feet?", the trainer responded, "They won't miss." Let's hope not...

Dolphin Cove

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#3. Dine at Casanova’s By The Sea. I don’t typically consider a good restaurant a tourist attraction, but Casanova’s is always a highlight of my trip. This Italian restaurant, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, offers a wide variety of pasta, seafood, and chicken entrees. Tony Crescente, a true Italian, is the owner and prides himself on authentic food from his homeland with family recipes. The service is impeccable and they definitely make every person feel welcome, as though you are part of their family. Whether on a romantic honeymoon get-away or there with a large group, the atmosphere at Casanova's makes this a must-try attraction. Even if you are making your first ever visit to Casanova's, the staff will make you feel like Norm from "Cheers", where everyone knows your name.

Casanova Restaurant

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#2. Have a mudslide at the Wreck Bar at Rum Point: If you have ever had a mudslide in America or at any other bar in Cayman, you might think it’s pretty good. You haven’t had a mudslide until you try one from the Wreck Bar at Rum Point. The sign at the bar says it best: “How much for a virgin mudslide? Cups of ice are FREE!!” If you can find a captain to take you over via boat, that allows you to enjoy the mudslides without worrying about driving. If you have a rental car, it is about a 45 minute drive across the beautiful scenery of the Cayman Islands along the East End. Whether by boat or by car, Rum Point is a must visit attraction. Spend an afternoon here lounging on the beach and floating in the shallow water, or relaxing in a hammock after a mudslide and a mahi sandwich! Friendly tip from experience: when you are with 7 people---42 mudslides in one afternoon is about 28 too many.

Rum Point

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#1. Take a boat on a snorkel trip to Stingray City. The highlight of any trip to the Cayman Islands is a day on the Sea Fire with Captain Gleason Ebanks. However, there are several different captains that will take you out. The trip starts with a visit to Stingray City for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hold, pet, and play with these fascinating creatures. These create some great photo opportunities as the captains will feed and hold the stingrays allowing them to be held in a calm manner. The next stop is along the coral reef in the North Sound. It is here that you might see lobsters, nurse sharks, and lots of beautiful fish. After the snorkeling, a wonderful meal is served on the boat that consists of Mahi Mahi, islands style potato salad, and banana plantain. Finally a stop by the coral gardens to look at schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even a moray eel, ends the wonderful day. 

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While there are many things to do in the Cayman Islands, and everyone has different tastes, these five attractions are “must-see” whenever I visit!!

 

11/06/2010

Travel Tips for a Grand Cayman Getaway

Have you ever been ready to go on a vacation, but found yourself spending hours browsing the Internet looking for information on your destination? You probably wonder where to look, what is real, and what is accurate. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to go to find stories, insight, and pertinent information from someone who has been going to your destination for 30 years? The new Cayman Condos blog will be the perfect source for information to anybody that has any intention of ever making a trip to Grand Cayman.

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I have been going to the Cayman Islands for 30 years, since I was 3 months old. I have seen many changes, eaten at many restaurants, tried several snorkel spots, and walked 7 Mile Beach more times than I can count. Through the Cayman Condos Blog, I hope to give everyone a taste of the island, while providing useful information, and hopefully some good laughs.

One of the best things about the island is you always know what you are going to get when you go to Grand Cayman. You're always going to get warm weather, great food, beautiful sunsets, and friendly service. Despite knowing this, no two trips are the same. Every sunset is different. Every snorkel trip is different. Every meal is different. Grand Cayman is the perfect blend of normalcy and intrigue that any traveler relishes.

This weekly blog will touch on things to do while in Cayman, hot new attractions, tasty new restaurants, some historical insight on key landmarks, and even what to pack for your big trip. It will have exclusive one on one interviews with key Cayman Islands figures, talk about the different types of weather during the different seasons, and provide a variety of can’t miss dive spots.

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The idea is that if you become a regular follower of the blog, you will gain extensive insight that will prepare you for an upcoming trip to the beautiful Cayman Islands. Please don’t hesitate to provide any feedback, questions, comments or even share your own stories. I’m open to suggestions on different topics you’d like to hear about, so without further ado, I introduce the first ever Cayman Condos blog.