Stingray City or Tourist City... that is the question... Whether tis' more exciting to watch the mass of North-Americans scream at the top of their lungs, or see the stingrays swarm around them for food...
Yes, that was my Cayman Island Stingray City Shakespeare rendition. And very true at that. I have never seen more screaming tourists in my life, truly horrifying (for me to watch, not for them). Well Stingray city is basically a fight between 2000 tourists as to who can get close enough to a stingray and not scream... they all loose hehe. Yeh, major tourist trap!
Unique Suggestions: Laugh, hehe
Fun Alternatives: Go Diving
YES, it is a tourist trap, but go there anyway, it's still worth seeing! Hell is built up around the odd jagged black rock formations, which I at first assumed were volcanic. Turns out they are actually ironshore, a type of limestone, and algae is responsible for the black coloration.
Oh, and your kids will get a bang out of mailing their postcards from the Hell Post Office, be prepared.
Unique Suggestions: PS Is this where "OldHippy" really lives???
Well, before I left for Grand Cayman I of course stocked up on calling cards - this was going to be my first trip "out of the country" so I wanted to be able to call my family when I got there -- well it turns out that phone card bought anywhere OUTSIDE of Grand Cayman don't work -- pretty sneaky, and I am sure they make a TON of money off it (at $5.00 a minute to call the US!)
Unique Suggestions: Let people at home know that you won't be able to call them -- call them before you hit Grand Cayman and call them RIGHT when you land in the US -- Your cell phones won't work either unless you are part of their network.
Fun Alternatives: The only alternative is to buy the Grand Cayman calling cards -- DO NOT call directly from your hotel -- you will spend time on the phone and not actually realize how much it is going to cost! DO buy the prepaid cards :)
Hell is on the west end of Grand Cayman north of Seven Mile Beach. Everyone goes there at least once but don't expect to spend a lot of time looking around.
When you get there you'll find a Post Office/Gift Shop and a field of ominous looking Ironrock around the back.
That's it. You didn't miss anything.
Unique Suggestions: Buy a Postcard and send it out with the Hell Postmark.
Also, Spend some time talking with the Devil. Aside from being funny, you'll be surprised at what he knows about your home town.
Fun Alternatives: Check out the Cayman Turtle Farm nearby where they help endangered sea turtles and raise the unendangered ones for food.
No matter how you get there....tour bus, local bus (much cheaper), rent-a-wreck, or (ok, for you jocks) jog, Hell is just a tourist trap. But a friendly one.
Unique Suggestions: So where else in the world can you send a post card back home (or to VT) from Hell? Gotta' do if pilgrim....
Actually they do have some fun t-shirts for sale at relatively reasonable prices.
Fun Alternatives: Walk around the side of the post office and check out the volcanic "action" that is frozen in time. The formations are quite impressive and at the same time ominous when you think about how it got there...
With a dreary sky (yes it does happen some days), you can just picture the lava bubbling up out of the earth, belching skyward only to be "frozen" in time as it rapidly cools.
From a photographic standpoint, it must have been wonderful to watch the formation. But I'm just as happy to view it after the fact in a more solid state.
Try to stay away from Georgetown when the cruise ships arrive. I have counted as many as 10 on some days.
All ships calling at George Town, Grand Cayman have to anchor offshore and ferry their passengers ashore by shuttle boats to either of two dock terminals. Passengers disembark in Georgetown, right in the center of the Grand Cayman shopping district.
Cruise ships were not as prevalent as it is today and mass tourism was unknown.
Revisiting Cayman after 26 years it was a shock to see about 10 cruise ships parked outside of Georgetown disgorging it passengers into this little town. If each ship had about 3000 passengers then you could not image what this invasion of the mostly bikini clad tourist looked like as they swarmed through town devouring everything in sight.
Unique Suggestions: To each his own but when I see cruise ships with at least 3000 passengers then what comes to my mind-
The amount of waste produced during a cruise is staggering. In a one week trip, a typical cruise ship generates approximately 50 tons of garbage, one million gallons of gray water, 210,000 gallons of sewage, and 25,000 gallons of oil contaminated water.15 An individual passenger alone generates 100 gallons of wastewater each week. Admittedly, even these quantities of waste are insignificant given the vast size of our oceans. Cruise ship pollution raises concerns, however, because of the cumulative effect of waste disposal from the world's 223 cruise vessels.16 This concern is particularly well-founded where multiple cruise ships repeatedly pass through the same waters.
Fun Alternatives: Stay at home or just stay on the 7 mile beach. There is enough space for everyone and you can always find a quiet corner.
I went on a tour hear, that we drove around in a jeep, we went snorkling, went to the rum factory, and saw the island, even where Captian Morgan came in. It was an awesome place, and a great tour! Definately would do again!
Cruising is definately a touristy thing to do, but it's a nice way to relax.
Unique Suggestions: If you find yourself on a cruise, just enjoy the experience and the food. You can always go back to "really see" those places later. In the meantime, you can pretty much get whatever you want, whenever you want it.
You can find real Cuban Cigars here, which is sortof a novelty for us Americans. We get the ever coveted Cuban Cigars here in NYC, seems like almost everyone I know has a "connection" but its not often enough though.
We spent some time walking along in the town and every few minutes a local would race up to us asking if we wanted to buy Cubans? We were quick to learn that these Cuban Cigars were stale or not real Cubans at all, we were fore warned by the bartender at our Hotel.
Unique Suggestions: We ended up finding a reputable place and picked up a few Cubans there! Read my shopping tip to find out where..
Avoid using Cayman Auto Rental near the terminals. Very poor service- gave us wrong directions (in writting on map) and charged more then quoted at time of rental.
Unique Suggestions: Don't go! Walk IF YOU HAVE TO!
Fun Alternatives: Use another rental company anything has to be better.
There actually is a burg called Hell.
Post Office and everything.
Scenery looks like a moonscape, or lava scape...
Unique Suggestions: Bring camera and take pics of lava scape, and maybe the post office...
Fun Alternatives: Seashell House
Tortuga Rum factory