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!


Miami+ Little Havana+ SOBEFWFF2016

Posted on: May 9, 2016

Back in late February into early March, I cruised to the Western Caribbean from Miami. But before the cruise and the Western Caribbean, I began the vacation in Sunny Miami.
Welcome to Miami, benvenido a  Miami! Miami, one of my favorite cities, full of life, color, character, and not to mention so much fun. I’ve always loved the vibe and energy that Miami gives whenever I visit.One rule of thumb in life: Remember to take some time and get some good R&R.  Miami was a great city to begin our vacation. A nice break from the hustle and bustle of New York City. It’s always good for the soul and overall health and wellness to take a break to recharge. Taking a break and go on vacations — getting some good R&R will help you do better in all facets of your work and life.
I just wrapped on all the Fashion Week hoopla and it was the perfect time to take a much needed vacation to relax and unwind in warmer climates. I stayed at the 1 hotel South Beach located at: 2343 Collins Avenue, Miami, FL 33129.  This was my second time staying at the 1Hotel.
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This has to be one of my favorite hotels on South beach with so much to offer. This boutique beachfront hotel offers great views of the beach, close to many restaurants, bars, lounges, and more. I try and live a healthy balanced life. And what I love most about this mission-based luxury hotel is that nature is the main inspiration behind everything this hotel stands for and is about.  Just when you arrive, you feel like your transported to paradise and feel can feel the positive, tranquil and comforting vibes the hotel gives off. If you want to relax, feel at peace, with not a care in the world this is the place to stay and visit. The staff is simply amazing, pleasant, inviting, and very hospitable. When you visit and stay here you’ll feel right at home. When you stay at 1 Hotel south beach, their accommodations are so inviting. They offer modern, contemporary rooms and suites that are bright, spacious along with stunning beachfront views, absolute paradise a great vacation escape.  Seeing that we were leaving on Sunday for our cruise, the hotel was conveniently close to the Port of Miami (just about 6.5 miles away, a quick uber or taxi ride),  the famous Lincoln Road and the Architectural District.
Even though on vacation I still like to stay on track, by eating well balanced meals as well as exercising as much as I can. 1hotel South beach nature inspired hotel also shares the journey of health, wellness and their mission is to making everything just a little bit better. So when you stay at any of their properties, enjoy great food and fresh cold press juices from their lobby restaurant and shop Nativ Made. Take a yoga class by the beach, or spin to the beats at SOBE’s Soul Cycle location.  So whatever you fancy, the possibilities are endless.  So if you’re ever in the Miami area or a Florida native be sure to visit 1 Hotel South Beach. They also have locations in NYC: Central Park and Brooklyn. Trust me when I say this is one hotel you’ll want to check out and stay at.
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The interior of the hotel is absolutely gorgeous. Bright, serene and stunning. Every itch of this vacation oasis was beautiful and so instagrammable. If you know me, you know I don’t give up any opportunity for a great photo, so I went a lil photo crazy and if you could imagine I was just snapping away. I couldn’t help but take so many photos of the inside and outside views. You’ll see what I mean from the photos. Absolutely breathtaking!
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During my stay, I wanted to visit places I hadn’t seen before. I ventured to Little Havana to enjoy some good, authentic Cuban food. It was time to explore and enter the realms of “The Real Miami.” When you think of Miami, the first thing that comes to mind is: South Beach, Lincoln Road and Collin Avenue. The 3 main areas that are heavily publicized.  But what most people don’t know is that Miami’s culture is heavily influenced and dates back to the Cuban origins and latin flavors. Little Havana is literally minutes away from the South Beach strips, and LH (Little Havana) is also a strip made up of  local eateries, clubs and theaters of latin vibes. I like to explore and discover local gems, eateries, and experience something I’ve never tired. Even though my visit was short, I was able to experience some of the nightlife, enjoyed great food and immerse myself with the locals+natives. I loved dancing to the latin beats at a local bar+lounge featuring a local band. What a fun way to enjoy part a Saturday evening. I ate arroz con pollo, mojitos and empanadas at: El Cristos Restaurant located at:1543 SW 8th st. There you’ll find authentic Cuban food all day everyday. Also, stop by and enjoy a drink or dance to the latin beats of local bands at: Hoy Como Ayer located at: 2212 SW 8th St.
For the rest of the evening I ventured back towards the hotel and enjoyed the rest of the night at the SOBEFWF2016. If you know me or follow me on Instagram (@SocialFashionistaBeauty), you know by now that I’m a big foodie.  I enjoy trying new things and I enjoy good, quality food,  paired with the right wine or spirits. Good food+wine+ spirits and meeting new friends makes for a great time and experience. Working in the PR industry, seeing celebrities is nothing new for me. But it’s always nice to see familiar faces especially of my favorite TV personalities and chefs like: Al Roker and Giada. This was my first time at SOBEFWF and even though our experience was short we still had a great time. We were both in foodie heaven. For first timers to the festival made sure to take it all in and enjoy every minute of it. We then headed back to our hotel enjoyed a nightcap and headed to bed.
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The next morning, I packed up m things and headed to the Port of Miami. Even though I only stayed one night at 1Hotel SOBE, I still had a great time. I look forward to the next visit. Hopefully I get to stay longer, enjoy more of the amenities, and discover more of what the 1hotel SOBE has to offer..
I know this post took awhile for me to put up….. But I wanted to be give you all an insight to our vacation from start to finish. Stay tuned for my next post that will explore in detail all the places we visit during our cruise to the Western Caribbean. Stay tuned!! Thanks again for stopping by, reading along, and traveling +exploring with me!
What’s your favorite hotel in Miami? Where do you usually stay?
Follow along and Travel + Explore with me.
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Thank you in advance and enjoy all my photos!
XO,
SOCIALFASHONISTABEAUTY
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