Choosing Where to Stay
7 Mile Beach, the most popular part of the island, is a beautiful sunset facing beach with near perfect sun and swimming conditions – clear waters, lapping waves and white, white sand.
The two times we walked the beach it seemed fairly narrow, but I’m not sure if we just happened to be there at high tide both times. There are numerous properties along the beach, most of them condos which often can be privately rented.
It’s a high traffic area. In mid-January it was busy but not crazy. I’m not sure I’d want to be here Christmas week or during spring break.
Grand Caymanian Resort – a Holiday Inn Property
We chose to stay at the Grand Caymanian Resort, just across this narrow strip of island on the east facing shore. While this location is a short drive to 7 Mile Beach, driving on Grand Cayman is a headache with near constant heavy traffic on side streets that can be quite slow around the airport and Georgetown.
The resort is in the process of updating their rooms and grounds. At present the property is showing its age and is a bit worn and not as clean as it should be. Service is friendly and reasonably efficient. That said it, was considerably cheaper for a king suite with a full kitchen than a comparable property on 7 Mile Beach.
The suite was good-sized and comfortable with views of the golf course and a corner of the sea beyond.
Driving to Divetech every morning took about 15 minutes without too much traffic.
If I had it to do over again I would take a harder look at properties along 7 Mile Beach. It is by far the most scenic strip on the island.
The Blue Iguana Grill located in the Grand Caymanian Resort
This is a well-run and convenient eatery with good food if you are staying in the resort, but not worth the drive if you are not. The screened in terrace faces the hotel grounds and pool area.
We started with the calamari, super tender and crispy and served fresh hot. The catch of the day was a beautifully cooked fresh mahi-mahi served with a choice of sides. Don chose the grilled vegetables and coleslaw. The seared tuna served with an Asian salad was well done with nicely cooked fresh fish. The dining room was quiet on a Tuesday evening.
Great burger served with mixed fries – French fried potatoes, sweet potatoes, jalapenos, okra and onion rings. All fresh hot and crispy. The All American Burger served with the trimmings is a thick beef patty cooked to order. A serious burger as demonstrated by the knife sticking out of it.
We ordered the American breakfast which was simple but well prepared with a choice of breakfast meat, including a generous porting of sausage, and perfectly cooked eggs.
Lunch at Catch Restaurant and Lounge
Set on Morgan Harbor on the east side of the northern arm of the island, the open terrace is a lovely spot for lunch or dinner.
We started with the catch sampler – smoked wahoo carpaccio, tuna sashimi, wahoo ceviche, and a fish paté. All very fresh and beautifully presented.
For mains I had the Nicoise salad. Considering we are very far from the Cote d’Azure this was a pretty good attempt at a French classic. Green beans looked great but were a little tough. Kalamata rather than Nicoise olives. There was a touch too much vinegar in the vinaigrette, but the tuna was served rare as ordered.
Dons fish tacos included beautiful grilled fish with gobs of avocado served with super crispy fries. What could be better?
Lunch at VIVO next to Divetech
This casual eatery has good food. The divers next door keep them supplied with Lion Fish ‘which was offered five ways on their menu.
We ordered the lion fish sandwich served on a choice of Piadina, a type of Italian flatbread according to the menu, and served with fried potatoes. While the fish and potatoes were nicely cooked I thought the choice of flavors in the sandwich somewhat overwrought with too much coconut foam for my taste. And the Piadina bread is too big and heavy for a sandwich.
Dinner at Luca at the Caribbean Club on 7 Mile Beach
This upscale Italian restaurant has a large outdoor seating area looking out to the pool area and sunset views of the sea beyond. However, palm trees block much of the sea view. On a busy Saturday evening reservations are a must for the covered outdoor area. We made reservations late and lucked out on an inside table on the edge of the outdoor area.
We started with the crispy octopus and potato served on a red pepper sauce. While tender and flavorful, it was not the most tender I’ve tried. A nice size for two to split as small appetizer.
For mains we tried the seafood pasta – a well done preparation with a medley of shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops.
The best dish of the evening, however, was the wahoo special, blackened and served with baby patty-pan squash, beans, a lobster arrancini (didn’t taste much like lobster) and a seaweed cracker. The fish again was fresh and beautifully done.
Dishes in general are on the small to medium side.
Service was friendly and attentive but a bit fast for out tastes at a finer establishment as we finished in just over an hour.
Dinner at Coccoloba Bar and Grill at the Seafire Resort and Spa on 7 Mile Beach
Set just off of the beach with great sunset view this casual eatery has a small menu specializing in Mexican street food. On a Friday evening they had live music which for our tastes was not too loud and played a pleasing selection of contemporary pop.
We started with their fresh ceviche followed by the smoked chicken tacos and the snapper, the catch of the day, served with quinoa and succotash. Everything was well prepared and the service friendly. Drinks are a tad more expensive but the sunset setting makes up for it. They do not take reservations.
January 15-19, 2019
For links to all the posts on diving destinations see the Diving page.