Welcome to my post about the Grand Cayman Islands. In the previous posts that I wrote Cody complained that I wrote too much, and that it was too long to read through it. Well... I'll try to keep this one shorter, but I can't promise you anything!
The Grand Cayman's was the first port that we went to. Cody and I really didn't have much planned for the island so we didn't wake up super early to go onto the island. Our ship had to be tendered to the port. This means that the Grand Cayman harbor is too shallow for cruise ships to pull up next to and dock at so they have to bring little ships in to ferry people to and from the island. Carnival pays for these tender boats... not us! Yippee! Here is a picture of the ship from our tender. This tender was a short distance from our ship... it only took about 5 minutes to get to shore, and since we arrived a little later we didn't have to wait in line to get into a tender boat. We literally walked right onto it, and off it went a minute later when it got full.
Isn't this an awesome picture?? This picture was in the "Cody is complaining about pictures stage" he really didn't want to stop and take it, but I liked it!! Once we got into the Grand Cayman's people were everywhere advertising different excursion that you could go on. One group advertised a $15 tour of the island. We liked that idea and we ended up going on it.
But first we explored the area a little bit. From the tender we saw a Margaritaville and a Hard Rock and we wanted to get pictures at them. I've noticed that it seems pretty common that wherever there is a Hard Rock a Margaritaville is pretty close by, or at least its that way in the US and the Caribbean. I can't say the same for Europe.
Here is Cody by the Margaritaville Parrot. I think Margaritaville was the only store that we went into that had their items priced in Grand Cayman currency every other store we went to was priced in US dollars. We didn't have to worry about exchanging our money for the local currency at any point in our trip. US dollars were always accepted. And I never received change in any other currency either. It seemed like there were TONS of chains here. They had all of the usual fast food restaurants that you would expect to see in a US city.... except that they did not have a McDonald's.
Here we both are! We walked around to quite a bit of shops in this area. There were quite a few souvenir shops, but there were a ton of higher end stores there as well. I guess this is because they expect people coming off of the cruise ships to have money to buy expensive things! But then again I guess tourism is their primary industry there so it would make sense to have shops like that.
And here I am at the Hard Rock Cafe! Yippee!! Another one off my list.
Here is the view of it from the other side.
This picture took so much effort to get that I can't help but post it. The sidewalks in this area were very narrow and you can see the wall behind us. I wanted a good picture of our ship with us in the background, and this was our first opportunity to get it. Well the guy taking our picture actually had to step out onto the road to take the picture. I was a little bit concerned for him, because the Grand Cayman's is a British colony so people drive on the opposite side of the road there!!
I'm not sure if you can see the sign or not in this picture but gas is 5.72 a gallon in Grand Cayman money which is like $7 or $8 US dollars!! Yikes! I hope our gas doesn't go that high anytime soon! Needless to say we saw a lot of people riding bicycles around!
Here is the governor's residence. The Grand Cayman Island's is its own country so we passed the Parliament building, court house, and library. The island itself is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide. So the tour we went on virtually went around the entire island in a couple hours time.
This picture highlights the damage that was done to the area by hurricane Ivan in 2004. You can tell that some of the trees were wiped out and that they haven't grown back yet. I'm glad we weren't there during hurricane season!! Yikes!
Here is a not so great shot of some of the typical houses in the area. They are very small houses on the island, but they are extremely expensive for what you get. A small house on the island starts at $175,000!! For a little tiny house! Yikes! Good luck trying to get a house here house hunters international haha!
Here is a picture of the oldest houses on the island. When the past hurricanes came most of the island was damaged and destroyed but this old houses didn't even have a scratch on them. I guess things aren't built like they used to be... or maybe these two houses were built on the "right spot".
While driving around it is common to see metal wrapped around trees throughout the island. Why you might ask?? Is it to help stabilize them from hurricanes or help them grow straight (which was my initial thought when I saw them)???
NOPE! It's to keep this little guys from being able to climb up them. Iguanas are very common in the area and we saw quite a few of them. They are like our squirrels there.
Here is a closer up shot. Cody took this picture by the way. He was excited about seeing the iguana.
Here is a picture of the 7 mile beach. We didn't get to stop there our tour only drove by it, and I took a quick picture...
We might not have stopped at the beach but we sure did stop at Hell!
Here are the rock formations! Sure looks like Hell right?? I guess there was a man from Britain hunting one day and he tried to shot a bird and he missed it and he said ahhh hell. Then he looked around and was like wow this place really does look like Hell. And so the area was named. It consists of three tiny gift shops and a post office. You can buy two postcards for a $1 and then mail them out for $.25 a piece. They didn't have any postcards of the rocks when we were there though!! I was totally excited about sending my parents postcards from hell haha.
Here is another stupid long shot. I don't care if my shoes are in the picture people!!! You can't even see the rocks in this one!!
Good thing I check my pictures after someone takes them for me and I knew I had to get a better picture of us. Our guide told us that the entire Grand Cayman Islands used to be underwater and the formations of the rock that you see now is a dried up coral reef.
When you look at it from this angle you can see how it could have once been a coral reef. It's pretty original though. I've never seen anything really like it before.
However, when you walk out into the front of the area... this is what you see. If that's hell... I feel like I'm alright with that haha.
Here is the store where we stopped to try Rum Cakes! Rum cakes are pretty good. In the ones that we tried you could barely taste any rum. It was basically just a really moist sweet tasting cake. I ended up buying a pack of 6 mini rum cakes that I brought home. I gave some to Cody and I'm planning on giving the rest to my mom and dad.
Here we are on the porch outside of the shop.
Isn't the view so pretty?? Everywhere we went was like the perfect place to take a picture!
Here we are on the beach. If the beach wasn't in the background it kind of looks similar to Hell doesn't it???
Like I said before... if this is Hell... I guess I'll take it haha.
There was a group of two women on this tour that were taking all of these pictures for us. We were each others unofficial photographers. It was funny every place that I wanted a picture at they were like ohhh this is a great place for a picture! Haha so they ended up taking a picture with this sign too.
Our tour went around the island and it stopped at different places for a while. We stopped in Hell for about 10 minutes. Then we were at the Rum Cake place for about 20 minutes, and then we stopped in this area for a half an hour. This was the place where you could get an excursion to swim and play with the dolphins. We were able to go in free and watch the people playing with dolphins and the dolphins doing tricks, or we were able to go across the street to a turtle farm and play with the turtles. It cost $10 a person to go see the turtles and we only had a half an hour so we didn't think it was worth going to it. We ended up just walking around and going to the different shops. I ended up buying a turtle necklace here for my mom.
We went over by the water and Cody goes "Oh my god! Look at the size of those spiders!!" So I look over and I go... "Those are crabs dear" and I couldn't help but laugh.
Here is a zoomed in picture of them. They really blended in a lot into the actual rock area, but this rock was a different color than the others so you can see them. Everywhere else you really had to look hard to see them. If they didn't move you probably wouldn't have known they were there.
The waves kept hitting this rock and the water would wash over the crabs. We kept watching to see if the crabs would get washed away, but apparently they have a pretty good grip. They were always still there after the wave had surpassed.
Like I said before houses are expensive here. These houses start at 2.9 million dollars!! And there were tons and tons of houses like this, and I'm sure that a lot of them were even more expensive than that!
In this picture you can kind of see the four cruise ships in the port. The Grand Cayman's definitely depends on tourism. We had a pretty good time in the Grand Cayman's and I'm glad that we went on our little tour. I would have liked to have swam with the string rays there which is what the Grand Cayman's is known for, but overall I'm happy with what we did. It was fun to get to see all of the different areas of the island. This was a fun place for us.