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Home > Destinations > Cayman Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Cayman Islands - Trip Reports

Westin Casuarina and island of Grand Cayman

We just got back from a week in Grand Cayman and stayed at the Westin Casuarina. We loved the island, but are still reeling from the restaurant prices. Taking the advice of previous posters on this NG, we tried Edoardo's on our first night, and just about fainted when the bill came to $180 US for 2 adults and 3 kids for agreeable, but far from extraordinary Italian food--not including tip. None of us had desert, and two of the children shared an entree. My husband and I each had one glass of wine, and the kids had soft drinks. The other restaurants we ate at were also extremely expensive, with Christmas buffet at Ferdinands' (one of the Westin's restaurants) costing $250; and dinner at Bed (which has really excellent continental cuisine) running about $200 US. We were able to get much cheaper food at Eats, a diner across the street from the Westin, but even there prices were about 60% higher than comparable food in the US. We also had a terrible meal at Ragazzi, which I'd advise anyone going to GC to avoid.

The Westin has a lovely white sand beach, large roped-off swimming area, and tasty, but expensive cocktails (I was charged $12 US for a frozen margarita, and $9 for a strawberry dacquari). Our rooms were very pleasant and comfortable. Our only complaints were 1) the two swimming pools were both very small and only 4 feet deep, so not good for real swimming 2) music tapes of the same 10 or so songs are played all day long and 3) there was no evening entertainment of any kind, making the resort a bit dull for our children. We found good snorkeling 50 yards down the beach at Governor's Reef.

We rented a car from Avis for about $50 US, which was a great thing. We drove to Hell (a tourist spot where blackened jagged rock formations rise from the ground and you can send people postcards from Hell), and to Cemetary Reef, an excellent snorkeling spot where we saw an abundance of exotic fish, sting rays, squid, and even an octopus. There is also a coral covered wreck of what appears to be a ship's winch, with coral encrusted rope and a large ship wheel. It's a beautiful spot. We also went to the grocery store and got some inexpensive food to eat in our hotel room. Driving on the left isn't as hard as you might think, my husband says, though it took him a little while to get used to having the road signs on the "wrong" side of the road.

Since our hotel charged about $175 US for hairbraiding, we got our 12 year old daughter's hair braided at a local beauty parlor called Annie's for about $60 US. Despite the amazingly high prices we found on this island, I still think it's a lovely vacation spot. The standard of living is very high (all those tourist dollars no doubt!) compared to other Carribean countries, the crime rate is very low, and we felt extremely safe. People were friendly and polite, and nobody came up to us on the street and tried to sell us stuff, as has happened frequently at other islands we visited. In retrospect, I would have preferred a resort that had more entertainment for children, but am delighted with the good snorkeling we found.

Thanks to Lisa for this trip report ...
December 1999

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