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Travel Guide: Grand Cayman Islands

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One weekend over spring break with my daughter, I needed a quick getaway. I didn’t have much time to take an all-out vacation, nor was I trying to spend much money, knowing that summer was fast-approaching. I’d rather spend on a bigger trip than overindulge on a short stay. I knew I wanted to explore a new place where we had never been, but was also looking for somewhere we could be comfortable; not to mention, somewhere that was only a plane ride away.

Last minute, I decided on the Cayman Islands, a British territory. It ended up being exactly what I needed for quality time with my daughter.

We took an early morning flight from JFK on JetBlue. Now, mind you, JetBlue is more of no-frills kind of airline. We arrived to check in for our international flight with no bags to check. (As a general rule, be sure to check in two hours before your flight time to allow enough time to get your boarding pass, check any luggage, and get through security.)

It was a challenge to be packed in like sardines and sitting in the exit row — but I didn’t focus on that. I told myself to focus on where we were going rather than where we were sitting, and truly, we were excited to be on our way. The three hours from New York City to The Caymans was the medicine we needed at this moment; and really, all that matters is landing safely. With sleepy eyes, I passed the time with a nap.

We arrived at Owen Roberts International in Grand Cayman and walked off the plane, down the stairs, and into customs. The line moved quickly, but there was still a bit of a wait. A car service greeted us and took us to our destination. It was March, and the island weather was sunny, hot, and clean.

We stayed at the Kimpton Seafire Resort. This hotel was new, which we liked and so appreciated, and had a staff from all over the world — Brazil, the States, Hungary, Jamaica, France, and more — and they were all so friendly. My daughter and I loved how inclusive it felt.

Our ocean view room had two queen-size beds, but the best part was there no carpet in our room, just nice hardwood floors. (FYI, I think all carpet should be removed, as it can be toxic to the lungs since it holds onto dander, dust, and other yucky stuff.) It was very clean, but I still wiped down the sink and toilet — that’s just my nature.

The wet bar was fully stocked (even though we only had the water) and there was a nice-sized TV too, so I knew we would be comfortable coming back here after the beach. We did not want for anything other than the sun and laying by the ocean.

We quickly changed from our winter gear and heavy coats, and off we went to the restaurant for lunch. We ate at the Coccoloba, the hotel’s Mexican restaurant. They were very conscious of our food allergies, and they even stressed there wouldn’t be any food cross-contamination, which I always appreciate.

I had black beans and sliced avocados, and the beans had that delicious island taste. My daughter had the chicken tortillas. We were just so happy to be able to eat safely — and food that was good, too.

On the beach, we staked out our spot for the next two days and set up our sun gear. We laid out, ordered water and virgin pina coladas (I use to order the same with my mother), talked, napped, took photos, and I did my brain exercises, which were word searches — I love challenging myself to do them.

There are many sport activities that one can do at the hotel as well, and the concierge can help set them up for you. One thing I loved was using the sand directly from the ocean to scrub my face and body; it was real, genuine salt scrub.

Later, we ordered in room service and it was hands-down one of the best room service experiences I have ever had. Seriously. It was so good, we looked forward to ordering it again the next night for dinner.

Be prepared: On the way back to the States, the airport insisted we have everything in a clear Ziploc bag. And all of your toiletries better fit into one Ziploc bag, or say bye-bye — in the garbage they go.

All in all, The Cayman Islands made for the perfect quick, lay by the beach, get a tan, eat well, and go home trip.

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