The Monday morning commute on Grand Cayman promised to be very different to the typical tube journey back home in London, ticking off a major bucket list moment in the process. It was only my second time on a horse, but the beach ride on the northernmost point of West Bay was one of the most breath-taking and relaxing experiences of my life. Our guide matched us up to our four-legged friends with a quick “personality” test, then we began the morning stroll; an hour round trip alongside crystal clear aqua waters under the warm morning sun. The guide was very informative, with an impromptu history lesson of the island revealing many of its secrets. My personal favourite being the inventiveness of the 1700s islanders, who would strap lanterns to donkeys and walk them along the beach with the intention of grounding passing shjps full of food and rum, who would mistake them for genuine lighthouses. Entrepreneurial to say the least.
After our lap on the sand, we had just enough time to freshen up before lunch at the Grand Old House on the south of the island. There we met Jay, from the Cayman Tourism Board, who gave us an even more detailed run down of the key facts and history of the island. It was interesting to learn that most of the current inhabitants are descended from five or six Scottish families who first called this place home a few hundred years ago. Jay seemed to know everyone who entered the Grand Old House; the fruition of living on the island and being part of the close-knit community for more than 25 years. Our lunch went down very well, aided by a delicious French red wine. We had just enough time for a quick photo shoot by the waters edge before heading back to the Seafire Resort.
Dinner that evening was booked in for the Lobster Pot in George Town. Not being able to eat fish or seafood, I will admit that I was a little wary about what the menu would have to offer. However, even with a seafront location and a crustacean-based name, there was a surprisingly wide selection of meat and vegetarian options on the menu. I opted for a delicious fillet mignon, which ranked well within the top five steaks I’ve had in my life. Not bad for an island more famous for it’s seafare than bovine! As the evening came to a close, we were treated to a show in the water, with the resident Tarpin fish enjoying their daily feed.
Tuesday involved a visit to Camana Bay, a jewel in the more modern West Bay district. It was interesting to see the more practical side of the island; what the residents there do outside of any tourist hotspots. Camana Bay is a cool waterside paradise, served by a number of destinations. It was great to try out a few wines, as well as eat a very tasty healthy meal at Jessie’s, the juice bar of choice on the island.
Post-lunch, we then made our way to East End and tackled the loop of the island. An hour-long drive was punctuated by a few stops at some of the amazing houses that line the waters’ edge, from abandoned buildings to palatial Caribbean castles. Window shopping done, we had enough time for another photoshoot at the blowholes before heading over to Rum Point for our evening itinerary.
With the clock nearing 6pm, it was time to settle down for the sunset on Rum Point beach. The most wonderful array of oranges and reds filled the sky as the sun passed below the horizon; the high rises of West Bay in the distance looking like another world compared to the rustic décor around us. After an incredible meal on the beachside, it was then time for our bioluminescent kayak tour. No cameras, just a short ten minute kayak through the darkness and into an adjacent bay. With the sky filled with stars, it was difficult not to keep looking up. The only distraction came from the water below; out of nowhere our paddles began to glow and, on each stroke, the luminosity intensified into the most magical light show. The phytoplankton were putting on a performance and it was certainly a “pinch me” moment. Our trip to Little Cayman the next day would have a lot to live up too…