Family vacation 2017 consisted of the beautiful Grand Cayman Island with Grandparents and cousins! Two of the couples have previously vacationed this beautiful oasis, but this was our first visit. We quickly learned the lure of the island and why so many keep going back!
We rented a beach house in a small community called Ocean Paradise on the north side of the island near Rum Point Beach. This community consisted of 5 houses and 1 community pool. We had a few neighbors off and on but really felt like we had the place to ourselves!
Paxton decided quickly that this was his kind of place. He pulled Grandma aside one day and told her he wanted to keep it. I heard him on several other occasions saying he wanted to stay here forever! What can I say, the kid has good taste! This place has everything a kid could want, who am I kidding, this place has everything any of us could want!
This 3 bedroom, 3 bath beach house gave our family of 10 plenty of space! Each family had their own bedroom and bath. The kids bunked together in the loft. The kitchen and living room was spacious with views of the ocean from all angles!
This was a kids haven, you walk out any door and they had immediate access to the yard which was one large sand box! The kids had so much fun playing, building sand castles, finding coconuts, shells and various creatures!
You walk a few more feet out the door and the swimming pool is right there! The kids swam every chance they could get. We had to coax them inside once in a while to take a break from the hot Cayman sun! The water was so refreshing!
Two hammocks hung on the front porch facing the ocean. As you can imagine, these were used consistently!
The front porch was a popular hang out spot. Chilling in the hammock, reading, eating, enjoying some adult beverages and just watching and listening to the waves crashing to shore. We were even able to see dolphins swimming from here!
Just down a small hill and you are instantly on a natural, non-manicured beach which was perfect for exploring!
We discovered so many sea creatures without having to go in the water far. Star fish, sea urchins, conch were right at our fingertips! The kids had fun finding shells and different coral that wash ashore.
The kids found so many “treasures”, they each had their own pile around the house. We weren’t able to bring everything home, but we did keep a couple conch shells, some seashells and various coral and rock for our fish tank we will soon be getting!
Our trip was very chill and relaxing, or as Paxton would say “chillaxin” with a few visits on the Island.
Cayman Turtle Farm
The kids loved the turtle farm! The slides, pool area and some other exhibits were closed down the day we went but the kids got to play with the turtles, they were happy campers!
They were able to go into a small pool and catch the turtles!
We made a brief stop at Spotts Beach. We were told this was a great beach to see turtles in their natural habitat.
The current was very strong that day and although we didn’t see any turtles or swim in the ocean, we had a nice walk on the beach!
Rum Point Beach
We never did make it to the other side of the island to visit the famous Seven Mile Beach, but we definitely fell in love with Rum Point Beach!
This pristine tropical paradise is laid back and kid friendly!
Hours were spent playing in the sand!
We loved living on “Cayman time”, playing with no worries or cares or the normal hustle and bustle of running from one place to another that we are used to.
There are tons of water sports here and the beach is roped off at 4 feet, perfect for the kids to play in, snorkel and discover lots of sea life!
On top of enjoying this beautiful beach, we also took a catamaran to Sting Ray City to swim with the sting ray!
Mahlia went in the water with me briefly, just long enough for us to pet a sting ray which feels quite blubbery and give one a kiss. Did I want to kiss a sting ray? No. Was it gross? Yes. Would I do it again for the supposable seven years of good luck? Yes!
Some of our crew also went snorkeling on this trip at the barrier reef and saw tons of cool fish!
The rain and clouds came through while on the boat, but it didn’t last long and look at that amazing color of the water! Beautiful!
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love food and love to eat! Brent and I have always love trying new restaurants and foods! When I was younger I thought being a food critic would br the greatest job in the world! Having the beach house was perfect for this trip as we had our own kitchen and we went to the grocery store as soon as we landed to stock up for the week. But we also made time to go out to a couple of restaurants.
The Cracked Conch
After the turtle farm we went to The Cracked Conch for lunch. This restaurant, like any other place on the water, has amazing views! This is a laid back place where scuba divers walk through the deck of the restaurant and jump in the water next to where you are sitting. Brent was tempted to jump right in with them since he’s certified. As for me, it is beautiful, but I am ok staying on land.
We started with the cracked conch, conch ceviche and calamari (which Paxton found he loved and ate most of it). These were all delicious! We tried the Conch sandwich and Lion Fish sandwich which neither of us have tried before. The Conch was tougher than expected but good, my favorite was the Lion fish! Yum!
We were able to do a date night alone one evening! It was great to get away and enjoy a great view, great food, and laughter with my man!
Here was my amazing view that evening!
We started off with the octopus as an appetizer. We were not a big fan of this as it was char-grilled and the only flavor that came out of this was a burnt flavor. A little disappointed, but the main courses definitely made up for it!
We always make sure we never order the same thing, this way we can each taste and try something different.
Brent had the grouper with sesame and king crab crust. It was very tasty! I had the shrimp in a red curry, lemongrass, coconut milk with eggplant and lots of other veggies. Each entrée was served with jasmine rice. Fabulous! We both agreed the shrimp was our favorite!
We enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Barking Hedge Sauvignon Blanc which we loved, it was crisp and refreshing! I am already on the hunt to find us a bottle here at home!
Grand Old House
Toward the end of our trip we got a sitter and drove into George Town for reservations at the Grand Old House. The food and views are spectacular!
Brent and I started with the Pork Belly as an appetizer, since we don’t recall ever trying it. We really enjoyed it! My Mother-in-Law said the restaurant Black Sheep in Cedar Rapids has better Pork Belly, so I am excited to try that sometime soon!
For the main entrée I order the Lobster. It was poached with leeks and potato risotto, mushroom, scallion, vegetable purée, lobster lemongrass jus. O.M.G. is all i have to say and the side vegetables were probably my favorite part of the meal!
For dessert Brent I shared the Sticky Banana Pudding and a Caribbean Dark Rum coffee which was absolutely heavenly!
Sure, good food and atmosphere make for a great meal, but what really makes or breaks a dinner out is the company at hand. In our case, combining all three made for an absolute amazing dinner out! At one point I sat back and watched as everyone passed their food around and tried everything around the table and I thought…yep, these are my kind of people! I feel blessed to be part of their family for the past 10 years!
As always, our vacation went way too fast! Brent and I don’t lean towards going to the same vacation spot twice as there is so much we want to see in the world. But I definitely feel we could make an exception here, there is still so much of the island I would love to see! Hopefully someday soon we’ll make our way back!
Traveling home was tough especially when 1) Your not ready to leave and 2) You have to get up at 3:30 a.m. The kids never did go back to sleep. There may have been a little whining and sassing here and there but overall the kids did really well specially considering we traveled until 9 p.m. that evening. Mahlia of course sang the entire flight from Miami to Chicago. It’s better having a noisy happy child than a crabby one!
At the end of that long traveling day, I think we could all agree that we would turn around and do it all over again!