George Town, Grand Cayman
By now you know we’re kind of cheap but splurge on some things. Well after a very expensive shore excursion that totally sucked (not totally, ten minutes out of the four hours was great) in Jamaica, we opted for our own thing on Grand Cayman recently.
Not our first or second visit to the island and it is really pretty easy to get around on so we opted for public transport to take us and our snorkel gear to the beach and then do some shopping. We’ll post more about the snorkel adventure when we get our underwater cameras developed. From the port it is about a three block walk to the town bus station on Edward Street (near the public library).
For anyone who hasn’t visited the islands of the Caribbean the “buses” may seem strange. They are almost all just passenger vans from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Fiat, VW or some other van you generally can’t find in the U.S. and more than likely a standard transmission (how I wish I could actually get one in the U.S. since I don’t drive automatics). The route numbers are on the buses and the entire island only has nine routes – routes 1 and 2 run the length of Seven Mile Beach and head up to Hell if anyone wants their picture taken in Hell with souvenirs that say things like “I went to Hell.” But we opted for Cemetery Beach.
You just tell the driver where you’re going and he’ll make sure you get there – and buses are plenty so they go every few minutes. The one way (single) journey is just USD2.50 or KYD2.00 so it is very cheap. We got off there and snorkeled and swam around, no more than twenty people were there the entire time we were there and there is shady pine trees to help keep you cool when not in the water. The snorkeling is very good too.
When leaving we walked through the cemetery where I was totally startled when a large green iguana ran out from behind a tomb and crossed my path. I managed to think quickly and get a picture of him when he came to a rest two tombs away. But he did scare the hell out of me. We crossed the road to the bus stop (cars and buses drive on the left in the Cayman Islands – please don’t be an ass and say they drive on the wrong side of the road – like no one has heard that said before by some ass). It is easy to flag down a bus even if you aren’t at a stop so don’t panic if you see one and are not at a stop – or if you just missed one – another will be by shortly.
Yes, we schlepped into the supermarket with loads of snorkel gear and bought up a ton of stuff. There were a lot of British products that were relatively cheap compared to imported priced in the states and many products you cannot buy in the states. Walkers Crisps, Lucozade, Blackbeard’s rum cakes and plenty of other things became part of our haul. We also nipped into the local KFC located inside the same plaza for a soda and a toilet.
On our way to the KFC just outside of the Food Fair we ran into this little rooster that could easily have frightened someone who wasn’t expecting it – like a rooster did to us in St. Croix once. The plaza is only about five or ten minutes south of Cemetery Beach and is easy to see from the bus – lots of shopping there too. So it was another USD2.50 to get there. Once loaded up we caught the bus again on the main road for another USD2.50 and headed back to George Town.
At George Town we walked around for a little bit (not much since we had snorkel gear and bags of shopping stuffed into our rucksacks. It was nice seeing the town center all decorated for Christmas. We didn’t go into any of the shops downtown but there was no shortage of upscale brand names visible all over the place. We did pop into a couple of the little huts at the port for the usual magnet and cap.
So there you have a great little island tour for just $7.50 that includes beach and shopping and features three places to visit. You can easily add in the trip to Hell also for some additional fun since most ships are in port long enough to handle that. If you’re looking to try some independent travel this is the place to start – it really is quite simple and will give you some confidence to do it in places that are just a bit more challenging.