Two months ago I escaped the winter of New York and jetted to the Cayman Islands. Caribbean trips are always the best way to spend the winter months. February especially has the perfect week with President’s Day. This way taking a 10 day vacation can be done with only 4 PTO days. When you are an American this strategy is important.
My friend’s family invited me to join them on their vacation to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With a direct flight from Dulles that costs around $700 I was in. They decided to rent a house instead of get hotel rooms because there were 16 of us total, 4 of those being kids under 7. By house I mean, incredible villa.
Our itinerary was promising for the next 7 days: scuba diving, boating, jet skiing and swimming with turtles. A quick car ride from our villa was the Cayman Turtle Farm, where for $30 a person you could access the entire park to feed and snorkel with turtles.
The area where the turtles are is basically a large pond. There is a ton of algae on the floor so if you go with kids I would suggest water shoes. The water was much clearer closer to the turtles in the 12ft deep area. You get a PFD that you can inflate given how much buoyancy you want. This was nice for me because I left it deflated so I could dive down and swim closer to the turtles. It was great for the 7 year old with us who had it fully inflated. I would absolutely recommend bringing an underwater camera which I forgot.
After we swam with the turtles we went and fed the babies ones. This was the cutest! The turtles were really friendly and didn’t mind getting picked up. It was a little sad because some of the areas you could see the turtles were over fed. Otherwise everything was clean and there were plenty of hand washing stations around.
Next activity was snorkeling with Cayman Turtle Divers. Previously I have snorkeled in Australia and Thailand. I was definitely excited to kick it off in this gorgeous beach. Unfortunately I got too excited and did not balance my ears well. I ended up bruising them and only dove one time. The time I went was incredible! The coral and fish were more diverse and exciting than the last two times I had snorkeled. As it is the Cayman Islands it was twice the cost of my previous dives. Our diving instructor was amazing though. We even found him at the local bar later that day. Absolutely recommend it them.
Between the adventures I found time to hang at the water and soak in the sun. Nothing heals you mentally or physically in my opinion as hearing the waves and starring at the ocean. With the water visibility up to 80ft in some places and only 5-10ft deep off the shore you could swim right off the beach. It does not take any stretch of the imagination to see why this beach is rated top in the world.
Sting Ray City was the next attraction we headed to. We boarded a gorgeous private yacht and headed out to sea. We docked in the ocean amongst tons of boats all around a sand dune. 1 million people come to visit these sting rays each year. We were told to shuffle our feet instead of walking because you could step on a sting ray and that is the only time one would attack. RIP Steve Irwin.
I had never touched a sting ray before so this was a weird experience. The ocean pushes you all around while you are constantly telling yourself to shuffle your feet. There are 20 sting rays the size of large tires swimming every each way. I have to admit I was afraid. Our guides picked them up and let us hold and kiss them. Apparently its 7 years good luck. They basically feel and look like like a stiff portobello mushroom.
*Check me squealing in the background.
The rest of the day was full of snorkeling, fishing and lounging. Nothing is better than being out in the water with only the sea and the sky ahead of you.
The days following were filled with delicious sea food, jet ski rides, swims in the clear water and lounges on the sand with a drink in hand. No complaints here.
“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air” Ralph Waldo Emerson