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We visited the Cayman Islands when Milana was 1. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to the Cayman Islands from the LA area so we flew from LAX to MIA to GCM, using American Airlines. Still even with the short layover, the travel time wasn’t so bad.
We stayed at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort, which is great for kids. We rented a car for our entire stay, so that we weren’t stuck to the hotel and can explore some other areas of the island. I highly recommend renting a car and exploring the island, especially Starfish point which had starfish on the beach.
Our hotel was phenomenal. The pool and beach were very kid friendly, and lots of families from all over the world were staying here. Milana was 22 months old at the time of our trip. There were floating rings/decks in the water where you can relax or use as a makeshift pool for your kids.
Another plus for our hotel was the child friendliness of the entire place. There was some kind of child friendly activity by the beach area every day. They did crafts, bubbles and handed out popsicles every day of our stay to all the kids. And the beach bar was a hit with Milana too, who discovered her love of (virgin) pina coladas!
Perhaps the most awesome thing about the crystal clear water was the thousands of fish that were just a few feet from shore. It was so awesome to see so many fish right next to you. You can tell they’re used to being near people, since they don’t swim away when you are walking/splashing in the water. They are huge and right by the shore!
Probably the most popular tourist attraction in the Cayman Islands is the trip to Stingray City. We took a short boat ride to a very shallow area in the middle of the ocean, where hundreds of sting rays were swimming right next to all the people. Milana really loved this part of the trip and even kissed one of the stingrays, for 7 years of good luck.
About an hour from the hotel is a beach called Rum Point, also very popular. We decided to drive here and explore but wouldn’t go back. The beach in front of our hotel was much better than this and didn’t require the long drive. However, just before you reach Rum Point there is Starfish Point, a very secluded beach with starfish in shallow, clear water. This was definitely a huge highlight of the trip and made the drive worthwhile.
If you drive around the island, you will see a ton of huge iguanas!
The most disappointing thing about the Cayman Islands was the lack of good food. Unlike Turks & Caicos, which had phenomenal restaurants, Grand Cayman lacked in that department. We did find one amazing restaurant on the island, a bit away from the tourist area, in the West Bay. Tim Buc Tuu was an amazing, local find and we went back multiple times because everything was so good! Their style of cooking is Tazine, which originated in Morocco. Their lobster curry was amazing! The three cheese gnocchi was really good to, with an island twist to it. I’m sad to say, this restaurant has since closed.
We ended our trip with an anniversary dinner on the beach (celebrating 5 years of marriage!). The service, food and of course atmosphere was phenomenal. Milana sat through the 2+ hour dinner happily trying everything that was brought out. Her favorite was the garlic mussles, which to this day is one of her favorite foods!
If you are looking for a vacation destination that’s excellent for families with young kids, and has a nice combination of relaxing and adventurous activities, then the Cayman Islands are perfect for you!