Spring Break in Grand Cayman on the Island’s East End


Inside: Looking for a relaxing vacation in a gorgeous locale? We spent spring break in Grand Cayman on the East End with our teen. Here’s our day-to-day itinerary.

View overlooking beach bar at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman East End
Overlooking the beach bar where we had lunch every day.

Years ago, my husband and I vowed to take a family vacation every year to build memories with our kids.

After a couple of trips that were fun but more adventurous than relaxing (read Our Spring Break in San Francisco and One Amazing Week in Costa Rica With Teens), I was ready to press the easy button.

I didn’t know much about the Cayman Islands (I had to look on a map to figure out where they were!), but a friend of mine recently vacationed there and had good things to say.

The Cayman Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea. They’re just south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands, but it’s only 22 miles long.

Though the most popular area in Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach, known to be one of the prettiest and most pristine beaches in the world, we stayed on the opposite side of the island, called the East End. During my research, I ran across this blog post from Our Sweet Adventures and was convinced that this quieter, less crowded side of the island was a better fit for us.

I was right. Though it was a longer drive from the airport and further from some of the big attractions, the East End was much more our speed and a great place for a truly relaxing vacation.

If you need inspiration for a new vacation destination, here are more details about our trip, including our day-to-day itinerary:

View from a ground-floor condo at the Wyndham Reef in Grand Cayman's East EndView from a ground-floor condo at the Wyndham Reef in Grand Cayman's East End
The view from the back door of our condo.

DAY ONE

  • Arrived in Grand Cayman early afternoon. Walked across the street to Alamo and picked up our rental car.
  • Drove 40 minutes to the Wyndham Reef Resort, stopping at the small grocery store across the street from the resort to pick up items like sunscreen and snacks.
  • Checked in to the resort, and talked to the folks at the concierge desk about possible outings. Also grabbed a calendar of resort events.
  • Picked up our snorkel gear, which is a free rental with the all-inclusive package (which we did).
  • Settled in to our room. We had a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, ground-level condo. The bedroom had a king-size bed, and there were two single beds in the living room that pulled down from the wall. The condo had a full kitchen as well.
  • Explored the resort a bit, had dinner, and went to bed.
Woman on chaise lounge holding a pink drink in Grand CaymanWoman on chaise lounge holding a pink drink in Grand Cayman
I wanted a relaxing spring break, and that’s what we got!

DAY TWO

  • Had the breakfast buffet, and spent the morning snorkeling. Grand Cayman is known for its snorkeling spots and incredible dive sites. And though there are much more robust areas on the island for snorkeling, we were happy with our beach. We could go in right at the shore and saw plenty of fish, especially around the two piers on and near the resort.
  • Ate lunch at the beach bar.
  • Drove to George’s Watersports for the Bioluminescent Bay Night Snorkeling Tour. This was my one planning misstep. It was a long (and hairy–15 roundabouts each way!) drive from the resort. Though it was cool to snorkel in the dark and see the bioluminescent plankton light up as we moved, we were disappointed in the tour guides, who largely spent the boat ride flirting with a pair of young women on the tour!
  • Got back home after the resort restaurant was closed, so we made peanut butter sandwiches in our condo for dinner and went to bed.
Charcuterie Board at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand CaymanCharcuterie Board at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman
The charcuterie board at the resort’s beach bar.

DAY THREE

  • Had the breakfast buffet–I ate lightly because I went to water aerobics at the pool afterwards!
  • Snorkeled in the morning, ate lunch at the beach bar, then headed to Cayman Crystal Caves, which was a very short drive from the resort. We liked this guided walking tour through multiple caves that were formed over millions of years. My teen especially enjoyed this outing.
  • Ate dinner at the resort restaurant and went to bed.
Cayman Crystal Caves in Grand Cayman East EndCayman Crystal Caves in Grand Cayman East End
Cayman Crystal Caves

DAY FOUR

  • I attended yoga by the pool while the guys slept in.
  • Ate breakfast at the buffet, then drove to Starfish Point, about 30 minutes away. We thought this might be a good snorkeling spot, but it wasn’t. Instead, we checked out the starfish that dotted the sand in the clear water. This is a more crowded spot, and there were multiple tour boats there. I was happy we could drive there ourselves and see it for free.
  • Ate lunch at the beach bar.
  • Snorkeled at the resort.
  • Drove back to Starfish Point to watch the sunset. If you’re staying on the East End, this was a great spot for the sunset.
  • Had a late dinner at the resort, did some stargazing, then went to bed.
Boy holding a starfish at Star Fish Point in Grand CaymanBoy holding a starfish at Star Fish Point in Grand Cayman
Getting in touch with sea life at Starfish Point

DAY FIVE

  • Watched the sunrise from the resort dock then read on the beach for two hours (heaven!)
  • Had the breakfast buffet, snorkeled, and ate lunch at the beach bar
  • Drove to Spott’s Beach. Along the way, we made pit stops at the Wreck of the 10 Sails Memorial and the Blow Holes (the Blow Holes were a favorite!).
  • Snorkeled at Spott’s Beach. I had read this was one of the popular spots for snorkeling, but the water was too deep and choppy for me. My husband and teen stayed in and ended up seeing three sea turtles.
  • Ate dinner at the resort.
Blow Holes on the East End of Grand CaymanBlow Holes on the East End of Grand Cayman
The Blow Holes on the East End were worth the pitstop!

DAY SIX

  • Ate breakfast at the buffet, checked out, and left for home.

What we liked about the resort

Staying at an all-inclusive resort has its pros and cons. If you’re looking for a relaxing place where you can simply show up and have everything taken care of, it’s perfect. If you prefer to try different restaurants and have a more private experience overall, you’re better off at a hotel or Airbnb.

This is what we liked about the Wyndham Reef Resort:

  • Our condo felt spacious, and each one has an ocean view. If you go, ask for a condo away from the beach bar, which tends to get noisy especially in the evening.
  • You can snorkel right from the shore (you won’t see as much variety as you would at some of the popular snorkel spots or on a snorkel tour, but it was fine for us).
  • There was ample shade. This was important for me. There were plenty of umbrellas, as well as palm trees that provided shade.
  • The food was good. I loved the fresh fruit and overnight oats at breakfast (the first time I’ve actually enjoyed overnight oats!). My husband and teen thought the wings at the beach bar were some of the best they’d had. We ordered the mahi mahi multiple nights for dinner. And my son and I ate key lime pie every night for dessert.
  • The beach was steps away from our room. It was easy to go back and forth from the beach to the condo throughout the day. We had read that the seagrass could get heavy on the Grand Cayman East End beach, but it wasn’t bad and didn’t bother us at all.
  • It felt small and casual. The buildings were only two stories high. And while it was lovely, it didn’t feel fussy or fancy. Some people were dressed up at dinner, but we felt just fine in our shorts and Birkenstocks.
View from the beach bar at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand CaymanView from the beach bar at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman
The view from a seat at the beach bar.

What we didn’t like:

  • Because it’s a small resort, the beach area is right in front of the pools, which could get loud with kids playing.
  • The beach bar could get noisy with nighttime activities like karaoke and theme dinners, which we didn’t do. But it was quiet in our condo, which was a distance away.
The beach at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand CaymanThe beach at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman
The beach at the Wyndham Reef Resort

What I’d do next time

We wanted to spend more time relaxing than driving around, so we didn’t hit everything we wanted to see. Here are some of the spots I’d like to go if I return someday:

  • Cayman Parrot Sanctuary: Located on the East End, and a four-minute drive from the resort.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Garden: This is located on the East End, about 15 minutes away from the resort.
  • Stingray City: A sandbar where you can get up close and personal with stingrays. This is farther off shore and requires a boat ride.
  • Cayman Turtle Centre: This is located on the west side, which was longer drive from the resort.
  • Hell: It’s a cool geological site on the island of black limestone and is free to visit. I really wanted to go to the post office there and send a postcard from Hell!
  • Snorkel tour: The Wyndham has a dive shop called Ocean Frontiers and charters tours to shipwrecks and reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Woman walking in the Grand Cayman's East EndWoman walking in the Grand Cayman's East End
The East End was less crowded and less developed, which we liked.

Helpful things to bring

  • Cover-ups, including swim shirts (both long and short sleeve). The sun is intense!
  • Water shoes. The floor of the ocean off the shore can be rocky, and water shoes are a lifesaver. I actually wore them in lieu of flippers while snorkeling (my husband and teen preferred flippers). These are the ones I got for everyone.
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Closed toed shoes to explore the caves
  • Sweatshirt or light jacket for evenings. The evenings got cool with the breeze, and I wish I’d packed more than one long-sleeved top.
  • Reusable bag. I packed the one shown in the photo above to use for shopping and as a beach bag.
  • Waterproof phone case. Not a necessity, but we used this for taking pictures underwater and to protect the phone during the boat ride to the bay.
  • Some cash for tipping, especially tour guides.
The view of the sunset at Star Fish Point in Grand CaymanThe view of the sunset at Star Fish Point in Grand Cayman
Going to see the sunset at Starfish Point

Q&A about spring break in Grand Cayman

What is the currency?

They accept US Dollars and Cayman Island Dollars, so we did not convert any of our money. Keep in mind that if you pay cash in US Dollars, you may get Cayman Island Dollars back in change. When we paid for things, we mostly used our credit card.

What airport do you fly into?

You’ll arrive in Grand Cayman at the Owen Roberts International Airport. If you want to visit the other two islands, you’ll need to take another short flight.

What is the best time to go to Grand Cayman?

The Caymans stay pretty warm year-round. The most popular time to visit is March-June. The summer months and fall tend to be the most affordable, according to the tourist bureau.

Overlooking the Wreck of the Ten Sails Memorial in Grand Cayman's East EndOverlooking the Wreck of the Ten Sails Memorial in Grand Cayman's East End
The water’s many blue hues were beautiful!

Is Grand Cayman safe?

We felt very safe in Grand Cayman. Unlike in Costa Rica, we weren’t given any warnings about leaving our rental car or belongings unattended. We didn’t have negative experiences anywhere. As of this writing (Spring 2024), the US Department of State doesn’t have any advisories or cautions against traveling to the Caymans.

What time zone is Grand Cayman in?

The Caymans are on Eastern Standard Time but don’t observe daylight savings time. So when we were there in April, it was an hour earlier than our home state of Ohio, which is on EST as well.

Do we need passports?

Yes. The Caymans are a British Overseas Territory. So unless you are a British citizen, you will need a passport to travel there.

What was the driving like?

In Grand Cayman, they drive on the left side of the road. Our rental car’s steering wheel was on the opposite side as well. My husband did all the driving (I plan the trip, and he drives!). He’s a confident driver and did fine. But personally, just the idea of doing roundabouts on the other side of the road makes my head spin! The roads were emptier and easier to navigate on the East End.

What language do they speak in the Caymans?

According to the Cayman Islands Tourist Bureau they speak a “British form of English”, but each district has a unique dialect. We had no trouble communicating with anyone.

More travel posts

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.





Source link

spot_imgspot_img

Related articles

Russia targets Ukrainian airbase with new type of cruise missiles

Russia has begun using its latest long-range Kh-101...

Is Inventory a Current Asset? Some Examples

Have you ever sold something you own on...

What Makes Grand Cayman Safe?

Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands,...

Canary Speech secures $13M for AI-enabled speech recognition software

Canary Speech, maker of AI-enabled speech analysis software,...
spot_imgspot_img

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here