Set Sail and Relax on the Island of Grand Caymans

Posted on: May 19, 2016

Set sail, we’re headed to the Grand Cayman islands.

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I was so thrilled to go to Grand Cayman islands. This would be a first time visiting the island and I couldn’t wait to explore it all.  So, Grand Cayman was one of the stops on my cruise. So, I had to maximize my time since we only had a few hours there. So, as soon as we docked, it was time to explore! We arrived at 8am and were set to sail at 5pm. So, I wanted to cover as much as I could during that time frame. First, I had breakfast on the boat, then my next stop was Seven Mile beach.

 Grand Cayman Islands Facts:

  • Grand Cayman is the largest of the 3 islands that make up the caymans.
  • The Cayman Islands capital is located in the Grand Cayman island which is called Georgetown.
  • In relation to the other two islands, Grand Cayman is about 75 miles away from Little Cayman and 95 miles away from Cayman Brac.
  • The island itself isn’t big at all, to me it’s comparable to the town of Newport, Rhode Island. The island is about 22 miles long with its widest points being around 8 miles wide.
  • I’m sure many know this and have seen and heard this from many movies. The Cayman Island’s capital: Georgetown is world-famous for being the center for off-shore investments and banking. It’s population is currently 20,676
  • No gambling is allowed whatsoever on the island. The casino on the boat wasn’t allowed to open until it was in legal regulations and proximity away from the islands.

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Next stop, Seven Miles Beach. Seven Miles beach is best known for its beauty and was honored in receiving “The Caribbean’s Best Beach” from Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. It’s the most popular, and most developed in the Grand Cayman’s. Seven Miles beach is the home of the islands luxury resorts and hotels. Despite its name, it’s actually stretches a bit over 6.3 miles. Once you walk the stretch you’ll be able to enjoy beach for miles, restaurants along the beach in and outside the resorts are open to the public. Definitely an area where tourist visit, an where we spent most of our time. You can enjoy water sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling which are the most popular activities on the island. Our day was spent enjoying the beach and having fun in the sun. We also, had fun on the jet ski’s! If you haven’t gone jet skiing before, I highly recommend it. It’s so much fun!

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After a few drinks and some sun, and my newly bronzed and tan self I made my way back towards the boat. But before getting on the boat, I stopped into the local shops in the downtown area close to port. As I said before, the island isn’t that big, so you can literally walk and drive around the entire island. I made my way back to the downtown/ George town area, enjoyed some authentic rum cake, purchased a few souvenirs for family, friends and myself and made my way back onto the boat.

If your looking for beach, water sports activities, great views, and just time to relax and unwind then Grand Cayman Islands is a place to visit. It’s truly a beautiful island, where the people are friendly, and welcoming. Grand Cayman isn’t a big island, but it has a lot to offer.

Where to Stay: 

Top 3 Hotel +Resorts on the island

 

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach+Resort+Spa; 4 Star Resort

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30620 Seven Mile Beach, Seven Mile Beach 0, Cayman Islands

A seafront resort on Seven Mile Beach thats 1.8 km from the Blue Tip Golf Course and 7km from the city of George town. Beautiful interior design, resort and spa accommodations. 4 eateries on the property, 3 on the beach, 2 bars and cafe.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; 5 star Resort

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Seven Mile Beach,  George Town, Cayman Islands.

Located on Seven Mile Beach, this luxury resort is 7km away from Owen Roberts International Airport and 8km from Cayman Turtle Farm. Sophisticated, plush and luxe accommodations that offers 6 restaurants and bars, spa, recreational activities+areas, pools, hot tub, shops, a cinema and much more. Fine dining by Chef Eric Ripert.

Grand Cayman Beach Suites; 4 Star Resort 

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Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands.

Overlooking Seven Mile Beach, this relaxed resort surrounded by palm trees is 2.1 km from The Blue Tip Golf Course and 3.9 km from the Cayman Islands National Museum.A resort fee includes Wi-Fi and fitness center access. There are 2 restaurants offering terrace seating and regular live music, as well as 3 bars. Other amenities include 2 outdoor pools and a spa. There’s a kids’ club, and parking is complimentary.

Where to Eat: 

It’s been said that Grand Cayman is known for the best food in the Caribbean. If your looking for local finds, beachfront fish shacks to even fine dining the island has you covered. Here are some restaurants to try when visiting this gem of an island.

Ortanique is a family owned Caribbean fine dining restaurant. They’ve been in business since July 1999 which started in a hole in the wall on Lincoln Road in none other than the vibrant city of Miami, FL. This restaurant delivers an innovative spin on Caribbean cuisine.

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A local favorite Duke’s located on the non-beach side of Seven Mile Beach offers the island’s best Smokey BBQ. Some favorites to try are the Cayman’s Jerk Chicken which is rich and has lots of flavor and the Steampot made with all the seafood your heart desires. The Caribbean steampot is all about marrying lobster and lemongrass, “mmmm delish! Everything is made in-house this includes the cocktail and tartar sauce. Anything local and homemade is right up our alley!

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  • If you head towards the East district of the island, you will find many more local eateries that specialize in Caymanian Cuisine.

If your looking for Fine dining head over to Blue By Eric Ripert at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. It’s known to be the best on all the island and it definitely lives up to the hype. This is the place to go for the most decadent, innovative and indulgent seafood experiences of your life. Be sure to try and order: Local tuna paired with foie gras, halibut “pot au feu” made with rich black truffle, striped bass toped with rum hibiscus. You won’t be disappointed!!

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What to see + Do : 

Seven Mile Beach (See information above)

Stingray City Grand Cayman : a series of shallow sandbars found just North Sound of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. A tourist attraction, where southern stingrays are found in abundance and visitors can pet and interact with the animals.

Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens: A  non-profit botanic outdoor garden and wildlife facility located on the North Side District of Grand Cayman Island in the British West Indies.

Cayman Islands National Museum: The  museum is located in the Cayman Islands. It’s located in the former Old Courts Building on Harbor Drive in George Town, Grand Cayman.

I hope my travel diary and guide was helpful to you. If your thinking of traveling to the Cayman Islands I would love to hear your thoughts and how your stay was. Comment or write to me. Share your experience  using the hashtags: #SFBTravelandExploreDiary #TravelandExploreWithSFB

As always, thanks for reading, following along and support me on my journey. Stay tuned for more of my travel adventures.


YA MON! DISCOVER OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA

Posted on: May 12, 2016

I know these next few post are late, but hey better late than never, right…!?!?

Last February into early March,  I traveled to the Western Caribbean via Norwegian Cruises lines aboard the Norwegian Getaway. It was a 7 day cruise beginning and ending in Miami. Our first port that we sailed to was the island of Jamaica, specifically Ocho Rios.

Ocho Rios, in spanish means Eight Rivers a port town located on the north coast of Jamaica. Now a resorts port that was once a fisherman’s village that has a harbor for cruise ships to dock and where the resorts are surrounded by the beach waters. The closest town or Parish from the harbor is Saint Ann which is home of the infamous Dunn’s River.

Tourism Highlights: 

Dunn’s River

The number one tourism attraction on the island is Dunn’s river. Dunn’s River is a terraced, 180m mountain waterfall equipped with lagoon pools.  Simply breathtaking surrounded by so many trees and nature. Seeing all the lagoons and waterfalls in the Jamaican rainforest is absolutely breathtaking. If you haven’t checked out the falls it’s one stop you won’t want to miss!

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Another popular attraction for tourist is ziplining through the rainforest. This was one of our favorite things we did when we visited Ocho Rios. My husband, who has a slight fear of heights, needed a little nudge from me,  so we could experience this excursion. After the first line, we set aside our fears and enjoyed the experience fully. Our group and tour guides were absolutely the best, everyone was so friendly and helpful it made the overall experience so fun and enjoyable. Our excursion was with Chukka adventures and they gave us the best adventure and experience. All of our guides were so friendly, which made the entire experience even better.
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Do you guys remember the movie Cool Runnings? This was one of my favorite movies/comedies growing up. And our tourist guy said that some parts of the film were filmed in various areas of the island of Ocho Rios. But this experience I hear was super fun, I mean you’re one with nature and bobsledding in 90 degree climates. I mean who wouldn’t want to experience this attraction. You’ll enjoy stunning views of nature and the island during this bobsled ride. This is one excursion my husband and I didn’t get to try but we look forward to trying it on our next visit to Jamaica in the near future.

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WHERE TO EAT

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Whenever I travel anywhere I’d  like to try out local + authentic eats. I enjoy immersing myself  in the culture and getting to know the locals +natives of the countries I visit. The people in Jamaica were nice, welcoming and friendly.  Everyone I encountered were very approachable and willing to tell us where to eat and stay. Very resourceful and helpful. When visiting, eat like the locals and enjoy the countries favorites like: Curry chicken, jerk chicken, curry goat, plantains and much more.

Great local eateries are Scotchies and Mama Marleys.

Scotchies was also featured on the RHOA when they visited Ocho Rios. The cast enjoyed their famous jerk chicken after they  climbed the falls of Dunn’s River. Another local favorite is: Mama Marleys . Very close to the harbor/port. It’s conveniently located in a shopping mall where you can purchase a few souvenirs for yourself, family and friends. I recommend the Jerk Chicken and the curry goat, two island favorites. Prepared to perfection and tastes delicious!



WHERE TO STAY


The top 3 resorts to stay at  when you visit Ocho Rios:

Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Hotel Sandals Royal Plantation
Sandals Grande Rivera Beach & Villa Golf Resort

These are the top hotels that tourist stay at when they visit the island. They’re all-inclusive beachfront hotels with so much to offer. All three hotels are luxury hotels all within minutes of the neighboring parishes (towns), close to local bars, shops and tourist attractions. Check them out today!!

Jamaica is truly a friendly and welcoming island. I will definitely be back to visit. I look forward to explore and discover more of this beautiful and happy island.

Again, thanks for stopping by, reading and following along. Enjoy the photos and I hope one day you’ll consider visiting this beautiful island and check out one or all of the attractions and places I’ve mentioned today.

For more of my TRAVEL + EXPLORE adventures stay tuned!


CRUISE LIKE A NORWEGIAN!!

Posted on: May 10, 2016

Hello loves!

Hope everyone’s doing well, for this Travel + Explore post I’m telling you all about Norwegian Cruise Line and my experiences with them.

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Ever since I was a kid, traveling as been a big part of my life and even into my adult years. As a kid, my parents would take my siblings and I on vacations around the world. One of the first times my family and I went to the Caribbean was when we traveled by boat. We used Carnival back in the day when they first come out and it was the newest boat out on the market. And after that we tried out Royal Caribbean and now in my adult years I’ve traveled with Norwegian.

Although Carnival and Royal Caribbean are great cruises especially when they first started their vacation packages back in the day.

But my philosophy is when you’re on vacation shouldn’t you choose the vacation you want. Do what you want and when you want?? Not to knock or disrespect the other cruise liners out there, but while I’m on vacation I don’t want to stick to a strict schedule. I rather choose and figure things out as I go as far as cruising goes.

Why do I LOVE cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines?

I love the fact that Norwegian Cruise lines prides on the fact that there kind of cruising is FreeStyle. 

Freestyle Cruising : Dress up. Dress down. Sit down with friends or make new ones. Thanks to the flexibility of no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating, you have the freedom to enjoy your vacation the way you want to. Norwegian Cruise Line offers the widest, most flexible selection of accommodation at sea from spectacular, luxurious Suites to Balcony Staterooms and family-friendly, interconnecting Staterooms. Enjoy the freedom to dine somewhere new at any point of the day with a variety of restaurants to choose from. Dine when you choose and dress as you please. Family cruises with Norwegian Cruise Line are all about fun and freedom for everyone. Relax knowing that the kids are safe and sound, the teens are hanging out with friends and you’re doing your own thing. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a different kind of cruising keeping your vacation your vacation free to do what you choose. Every one of their beautiful, contemporary cruise ships were built on the sole purpose for Freestyle Cruising with a world of choices on board. Find out more on: https://www.ncl.com/why-cruise-norwegian.

There are many options out there for cruising. But this is why I choose Norwegian and why I recommend them. I’m not disregarding the other cruise liners, but I’ve had great experiences with Norwegian and will continue to cruise with them in the coming years.

If you haven’t check out Norwegian Cruise Line yet I highly recommend it. Have Fun and enjoy your vacation! Cruise like a Norwegian!

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Have you Cruised before? Which Cruise line did you use?
Thanks again for stopping by, reading, liking, commenting and following along.
For more on my travel + explore adventures stay tuned!!
XO,
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