An Insider’s Guide to Grand Cayman Island

In this article our guest writer, Catherine Stanley shares her love of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, with glorious beaches, delicious local cuisine and flower-filled walks where you can spot the island’s wildlife.

If you have never experienced the Caribbean’s Cayman Islands, you should definitely add them to your bucket list. Having traveled to the Cayman Islands several times over the past few years, I have become very familiar with the three islands. Without a doubt, my personal favorite is Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands. Whether you are on a family vacation of just spending time with a group of friends, Grand Cayman truly has so much to offer especially when it comes to the variety of activities you can experience.

Miles of Sandy Beaches on Grand Cayman Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Miles of Sandy Beaches on Grand Cayman

Adventure on the beach

When you sit on the soft sand of the renowned Seven Mile Beach in the early hours of the day, it is easy to get lost in the mesmerizing teal-blue water, endless rows of beach chairs and lazy water sports. However, I am not one to just hang around when I am on vacation. Grand Cayman never disappoints as I turn to the adrenaline rush of kitesurfing.

Kite Surfing on Grand Cayman Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Kite Surfing on Grand Cayman

My favorite kitesurfing spot is Barkers Beach, found within the Grand Cayman Nature Reserve, towards the north-western point of the island. With its winding, pot hole-filled dirt road and occasional lizard sighting, it is fair to say that Barkers is off the beaten track.  I love the drive because you can see the bright colored kites, full with air, high above the trees far before you even reach the ocean. Once you arrive at the beach, you will find that it is quite removed from the rest of the island, swarming with locals who spend their free time out on the crystal blue water right off the reef protected beach.

Ivy's Cayman Treats Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Ivy’s Cayman Treats

An abundance of local culture and cuisine

After working up an appetite from kitesurfing, I like to make a pit stop on my way back at Jessie’s Juice Bar (great smoothies!) and the Farmer’s Market in Camana Bay. The Farmer’s Market has a wide array of items ranging from fresh produce and baked goods to homemade soaps. I always have to swing by the Ivy’s Cayman Treats stand where I do not leave without several bottles of Ms. Ivy’s homemade pepper sauces and jerk seasoning rub mix—all of which are to die for!

The Camana Way Photo: squirrelmachine.org

The Camana Way

As someone who is innately curious, I love strolling through the beautiful courtyards sprinkled throughout Camana Bay. I would have to say that Canella Court is my favorite one as I am a sucker for the shady trees and soft trickling sound of the fountains.

Colourful flowers on the Camana Way Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Colourful flowers on the Camana Way

If I plan on staying in the Camana Bay area for the rest of the day, I like to walk along Camana Way, a beautiful pathway connecting Camana Bay’s Town Center to the Seven Mile Beach. The path is full of life and covered with all types of native plants and flowers, giving you a true appreciation for the Island’s nature. Do not be surprised to come across the island’s colorful lizards and birds of all size. Make sure to bring a camera, you are bound to find numerous amazing photo opportunities along the path!

The Camana Way Photo: squirrelmachine.org

The Camana Way

When dinner rolls around, neighborhood restaurant and local favorite, Season to the Bone, is my go-to. Located in Windsor Park (about a 10 minute drive from Camana Bay), Season to the Bone has, what I believe to be the best jerk meat I have ever tasted. Grab a picnic table outside the restaurant and prepare to taste the most amazing and authentic jerk chicken you have ever had. For a generous portion of jerk pork or chicken plus a drink, you will spend about $15 and definitely get your money’s worth! Expect to experience a wonderful blend of culture and warm hospitality at this local food spot.

Ice Cream on the beach on Grand Cayman Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Ice Cream on the beach on Grand Cayman

A perfect sunset

After dinner, I like to head out to the Seven Mile Beach to watch the Caribbean sunset, one of my favorite parts of the day. The warm red, orange and pink tones painted across the sky make for an absolutely breathtaking picture. Without a doubt, Grand Cayman delivers both a refreshing tropical climate and amazing ocean views as the sun disappears behind the rolling ocean waves. It is quite a sight to see and I can assure you that you will not want to miss it!

Caribbean Sunset on Grand Cayman Photo: squirrelmachine.org

Caribbean Sunset on Grand Cayman

Many thanks for this guest post to frequent traveler and blogger Catherine Stanley, who runs The Squirrel Machine blog out of her home (and on the go, as long as there’s a WiFi connection!). A New York City native, Catherine has vacationed in the Cayman Islands since she was young and has developed a deep appreciation for the warm weather paradise. In addition to traveling, Catherine is passionate about writing and enjoys providing her readers with posts on a variety of topics. Head over to The Squirrel Machine for more posts on travel, entertainment, health, business and more!

For more Caribbean stories:

Wood-carvings at Anse Chastenet in St Lucia
Swimming, surfing, snorkeling – best beaches of the Dominican republic
Silky sand and clear water – beautiful beaches of Jamaica

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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Silky sand and clear water – beautiful beaches of Jamaica

Jamaica is rich in vibrant culture and you will find good music and good food, which are key to the laid back Jamaican lifestyle, pulsing throughout the country. Jamaica is also famed for its glorious beaches, where both tourists and locals flood to in order to indulge in some Jamaican sun. Here are three of the best beaches in Jamaica, ranging from the hustle and bustle of tourist favorites, to more secluded affairs which will allow you to discover the true, undisturbed beauty of this Caribbean island.

Seven Mile Beach Negril Jamaica Photo: Peter Q on Flickr

Silky white sand on Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach, Negril

Seven Mile Beach, as the name suggests, is a stunning seven miles of beautiful beach, located on Jamaica’s western shoreline. Seven Mile Beach has established itself as a firm favorite for tourists, and is the epitome of what Caribbean beaches have come to be known for. The beach has silky, white sand and crystal clear waters, all set in beautiful scenery, which helps to create dramatic panoramic views, especially at sunrise and sunset. Seven Mile Beach is consistently voted as one of the best beaches in the world, however there is a downside to this, as this accolade inevitably brings more tourism to the area, meaning the beach can become busy at times. However, Seven Mile Beach can definitely handle the footfall, with lots of delicious places to eat and drink. A slew of water based activities are also offered, such as snorkeling, to make sure visitors take advantage of the beautiful clear water.

Historically, Seven Mile Beach was a chill out spot for loose-spirited visitors in the 1960s, and this laid back attitude remains. So, if you are looking for a beautiful beach, that has lots to offer and has a very high reputation, then you should definitely head to Negril.

Reggae beach on Jamaica Photo: Monkeyscrews on Flickr

Reggae beach is a quiet private beach by day but comes to life with music at night

Reggae Beach, Ocho Rios

Reggae Beach is located 10 minutes away from Ocho Rios and offers a more refined affair than the main tourist targeted beaches of Jamaica. Reggae Beach, for the most part, is not flocked to by tourists, partly due to the 900 Jamaican Dollars (9 USD) entrance fee. However, this beach is a private paradise and should not be overlooked. It has immaculate changing facilities and plenty of great sun loungers. This beach may appeal to those who are looking for a quieter experience, but do not let this reputation of a ‘quiet beach’ fool you. Reggae Beach comes to life at night when the beach bursts into life, with great grilled food being served. In addition to this, the soft reggae music which plays throughout the day kicks up a gear, with live bands and DJs providing the soundtrack for the evening. If you want to soak up the sounds and tastes of Jamaica, then Reggae Beach should be on your list of places to visit.

Treasure beach, St Elizabeth in Jamaica Photo: Nicholas Laughlin on Flickr

Treasure beach, St Elizabeth in Jamaica

Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth

While the previous two beaches mentioned see healthy amounts of tourists, Treasure Beach offers an escape for holiday makers who want to venture off the beaten track. Treasure Beach is totally secluded from the major tourist resorts and is a peaceful paradise, which makes it a popular destination for honeymooners to visit. There is not much going on at Treasure Beach other than beautiful simplicity. There are a few hotels, but that’s all, so people are looking for lots of energetic activities will be disappointed, but those who are looking to take in Jamaica’s scenery in peace and quiet will love it here.

These are many more beautiful beaches on Jamaica, but these are a good starting place for anyone planning a visit. Everyone looks for different things in a beach, and while some like it busy and active, others like it quiet and lazy. On Jamaica you will find beautiful beaches for everyone to enjoy.

This article is brought to you by the Grand Bahia Principe hotels who promise the best trips and holidays to the best places in the world.

Read about more beautiful Caribbean destinations:

Carnivals, jazz and nightlife – the sounds of St Lucia
Our top 5 sights on Awesome Aruba
Swimming, surfing and snorkeling – best beaches of the Dominican Republic

Photo Credits: Seven Mile Beach by Peter Q, Reggae Beach by Monkeyscrews, Treasure Beach by Nicholas Laughlin

This article  is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Plan your winter sun holiday – time to head for Bali, the Canaries or the Caribbean

As the earthy reds and oranges of crisp autumn days give way to long dark grey wintery weather you may be longing for some sunshine. A winter sun holiday could be the answer and while a lot of summer destinations are shutting up shop for the winter, there are still plenty of places around the world that are just starting to warm up.

From the luxurious beaches of Bali to the exotic Caribbean or the Canaries closer to home, this article from HomeAway.co.uk brings you some ideas for your winter sun break. With apartments in the city or luxury villas by the beach, staying in a holiday rental gives you all the comforts of home and you can find lots of ideas for where to go and what to do on your next winter sun holiday on their winter sun holiday ideas pages.

Candidasa beach, Bali Photo:  GOC53 on Flickr

Candidasa beach, Bali

Bali and Lombok

Often grouped together these two islands are the jewel of Southeast Asia. They may be small islands but they are a big destination year round for those looking to catch some sun on idyllic tropical beaches. Stretched around the coast there are many palm fringed beaches with pristine white sand. For tranquility and a some peace and quiet check out Candidasa beach which is close to cultural sites such as Bali’s mother temple, the Pura Besakih. Bali’s temperature remains relatively constant through the year. Though December through to March brings the rainy season, don’t be too put off by this, as most of the rainfall will be through the night and pass quickly. Although Bali and Lombok are often grouped together they are worlds apart. Bali is bustling and lively, from the thrills of surfing, to gorgeous beaches, to the nightlife of Denpasar. Check out the capital for shopping in the markets (always a treat for the senses in Asia), museums and arts centers.

Lombok is the contrast to Bali and a great place to go if you’re looking for a more relaxing holiday. Whilst its larger cousin is seen as a destination for partying, Lombok is the quieter of the two islands, though not for long so it’s best to visit before it becomes the big destination it deserves to be. It’s a beautiful island with some unspoilt corners where you can see the island’s natural beauty. One place you have to visit is the extinct volcano, Mt. Rinjani, a bit of a trek but the views are amazing and climbing a volcano (even if it is extinct) is always fun.

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani Photo: Trekking Rinjani on Flickr

Climbing Journal Mount Rinjani, Lombok

Canary Islands

With year round sun and just short hop of four hours from the UK, the Canary Islands are enduringly popular as a summer hotspot. During the winter the temperature rarely dips below 20, so whilst it’s not too hot it’s still warm enough for some sunbathing. The Canaries are made up of seven islands with four being holiday spots, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. In the summer the islands are full to the brim with holiday makers so visiting in the winter is a great option to have a more intimate holiday where you can enjoy the beaches and attractions without the crowds.

Each of the Canary Islands has its own characteristic. Gran Canaria is the largest of the islands. Here you can find large resorts stretched out along its sandy beaches. Tenerife is a lively spot and is known for its buzzing nightlife. If you are looking for a lively holiday it is definitely the place to visit! Fuerteventura is the flip side of Tenerife. It’s quieter than it’s cousins and is known for its golden beaches, it’s probably the best place in the islands for some peace and quiet, perfect if you want to get away from it all. Lanzarote is the nature lovers island being formed from extinct volcanoes it has fertile soil and some great nature reserves. The resorts are less developed without the high rise more modern hotels and the whole island had a more intimate and traditional feel.

Arecife,  Lanzarote Photo:  Kevglobal of Flick

Arecife, Lanzarote

The Caribbean

The Caribbean combines the luxury accommodation of Bali and Lombok with the family friendly resorts and mix of upmarket and budget of the Canary Islands. Just as the cold and wet weather of winter is at its worst in the UK, the Caribbean is seeing its best summer sun. If you travel in the early winter the weather is hot but not too hot so you can still take advantage of all the activities like scuba diving in the clear turquoise waters. With the Caribbean being made up of 7000 islands you are guaranteed to find the perfect winter sun destination.

Amongst the island groups are some perennial favourites which are always popular with holidaymakers from around the world. The islands are home to gorgeous white sand beaches lined with gently swaying palm trees. The biggest question when planning a trip to the Caribbean is which of the island groups to visit?

Bridgetown Barbados Photo: garybembridge on Flickr

Bridgetown, Barbados

Barbados is one of the most widely known of the islands and has a well-deserved reputation for being a paradise with gorgeous beaches that are great for sunbathing. The clear waters here are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving below and water sports above. Though the beaches and sunsets are spectacular don’t forget to venture inland to towns like Bridgetown for shopping in the markets or take a trip to the wildlife reserves.

Amongst the other islands of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico, The Dominican Islands and Cuba are the Bahamas. Here aside from the beaches and beautiful natural landscapes you can also try your hand at racing an Americas cup yacht around the islands, hike through the Christoffel National park or explore ancient Mayan ruins.

Bahamas Photo: bryce_edwards of Flickr

Bahamas in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a huge destination spread across the islands and archipelagos off the American coast and HomeAway has a wide selection of  holiday homes in the Caribbean from budget apartments to luxury villas and everything in between.

My thanks for this article to HomeAway, the UK’s number one holiday rentals website with over 320,000 holiday homes worldwide.

Photo credits: Bali beach by  GOC53, Arecife Lanzarote by Kevglobal, Bridgetown Barbados by garybembridge, Mount Rinjani by Trekking Rinjani, and Bahamas Gazebo by bryce_edwards.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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