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Grand Cayman, sell it to me!

Discussion in 'Greater Antilles' started by Crazybaldarcher, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. mi000ke

    mi000ke Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Massachusetts & Grand Cayman Island
    729
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    The couple of dive shops I've rented tanks from on GC for shore dives checked to see that we were buddied up and would not rent without a buddy present. Although once you are in the water, no one would know either way. If you found someone to buddy up with just for tank rental, you could probably go your separate ways.
     
  2. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    6,587
    2,944
    113
    So we are going on 7 pages of posts. Have you been convinced?
     
    Snoweman and howswedeofme like this.
  3. Crazybaldarcher

    Crazybaldarcher Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Missouri
    25
    16
    3
    Holy Frijoles! I need to get on here more often.
    I thought this thread was dead at the end Oct.

    Yeah, everyone has me convinced.

    As far as plans stand we plan on being there in May (when the kids are still in school :nyah:).
     
    Trailboss123 and KathyV like this.
  4. das86turbo

    das86turbo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Evergreen, CO
    6
    1
    3
     
  5. das86turbo

    das86turbo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Evergreen, CO
    6
    1
    3
    I just got off the phone with Southwest. I was frustrated that their maps show service to GC. Not from Denver though. I’d have to fly to FL and grab a second flight. I’ve been diving Cozumel for yrs. love the bang for the buck, locals are great, safe, etc. I wand to try some place new. GC attracts me simply because I can get there with my SW miles. Or so I thought. Reading the threads, GC sounds very expensive. Other places I should consider? Bonaire is a pita to get to. Belize sounds expensive to, requiring a day to get to a dive site and back. Trying to maximize my time off and play. Not trying to start a craze of “tweets”but appreciate hands-on personal experience. What about Montego Bay, Punta Cana, Nassau? TIA
     
  6. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,511
    2,491
    113
    What kinds of things do you like to do on vacation besides diving? Is this mostly a dive trip or are you looking for other vacation experiences? Are you traveling alone, or with another diver, or with a non-diver? Are you open to liveaboard diving or do you prefer land-based diving? How much diving do you want to do? What time of year do you plan to travel and what is your approximate budget without airfare?

    Cayman Airways flies direct from Denver to Grand Cayman. To fly Southwest I think you will have to stop in Houston or Fort Lauderdale and connect to GCM. Have you considered flying direct to Fort Lauderdale and diving southern Florida and the Keys?

    Cayman is expensive but there are ranges and options depending on what you are looking for - and it is a safe place and the locals are friendly.

    I haven't visited the Dominican Republic or dived in Punta Cana. I have visited Jamaica and dived in Negril and I was not impressed with the diving. I thought that the locals are very pushy, they will wake you up on the beach to sell you something you couldn't possibly want to buy.

    I have also dived in Nassau and the diving isn't as good as Cozumel or Cayman IMO - but you will see more sharks. I think that Nassau is every bit as expensive as Cayman but you may be able to fly there direct from Denver.

    You can fly direct to Provo in the Turks and Caicos and there is very good diving available but it is a long boat ride to and from the best reefs, and Provo is also quite expensive. The diving starts a little deep and the corals are not a nice as they are further south in the Caribbean IMO, but there will be lots of animals including sharks and rays. Similar to the Bahamas and Florida the water will be rather cold in the winter and spring in the T&Cs.

    Tell us more about what you are looking for and we may be able to make some suggestions. If direct flights from Denver on Southwest is a requirement, then you will be limited in your choices.
     
    drrich2 likes this.
  7. mcohen1021

    mcohen1021 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Princeton, Texas
    757
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    That’s pretty much any city outside of HOU or MIA.

    It is expensive, but still cheaper than Providenciales (which has better scuba IMO). You can do Grand Cayman affordably by staying off of 7 mile beach, or at say Comfort Inn or Sunshine Suites.

    Have you looked into Roatan? AKR offers a BOGO. I flew to RTB on miles and we paid 2500 out the door for the week which included everything with the superior key hut.

    As far as close by places, I agree – Bonaire seems like a PITA. Not saying it’s not worth it, but to go on vacation to schlep dive gear all over the island and DIY shore dive, just doesn’t do it for me.

    Belize can be affordable as long as you don’t stay at Ramones or some specialized yoga candle burning meditation I need to fix myself resort.

    Montego – NO NO and NO... The entire north shore of Jamaica is worthless for scuba – save your money and dive at your local lake, almost as good. For Jamaica, the ONLY place I have enjoyed diving was Negril.

    Punta Cana – just one “No”. I took my family in 2011, it was a great 1st trip for them and we got a manatee family on our last dive. But reef wise, nothing spectacular. Beautiful beach, mediocre scuba.

    Nassau – I have not been there in 30+ years, and I was not a diver yet.

    ======================

    On another note: Have you looked into liveaboards? If you are able to find a sale, and when you divide out the cost vs what you’re getting, it comes out to equal or a better value. AND IT IS EFFORTLESS. I hate AI, and the food on both Aggressor boats I have been on was amazing.

    If I could go back in time, I would have done Belize, Providenciales on a liveaboard. I would strongly consider doing Cayman and Roatan on liveaboard as well. Here’s why:

    1. Belize: diving out of ambergris feels repetitive, like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. Liveaboard gets you to the remote sites on the outer atolls and blue hole, which if you want to do it will cost you $300 pp.

    2. Providenciales: 15-20 min ride to marina, 45-50 min taxi out to the reef, 50 min dive, 45 min SI, 50 min dive, 45-50 min taxi back to marina, 15-20 min ride back to your resort – 5 hrs and you feel beat down after 3 days.

    3. Grand Cayman: Unless you’re doing the east end, theres simply too many people doing the same 15-20 sites. Aggressor does GC, LC and Brac in 7 days.

    4. Roatan: You do a few dives at Roatan, then you go all the way around cayos cochinos and utila…

    Shopping specials the way I do, I have seen Roatan Aggressor on sale for $2k, Cayman Aggressor for $2500, Belize and Provo for $2500. If you want to maximize scuba time, go liveaboard. If you want a beach vacation with some scuba sprinkled in, do land based.

    MC

    PS: If you want spectacular wild life – try Socorro.
     
  8. das86turbo

    das86turbo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Evergreen, CO
    6
    1
    3
     
  9. das86turbo

    das86turbo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Evergreen, CO
    6
    1
    3
    Hello
    Southwest is a requirement as I have lots of miles with them. Have lots of United and a few on American too. I’m traveling with a buddy. He only has SW. so that is a prerequisite. Joint 60th birthday celebration. Just diving. I’ve done 100+ dives in Cozumel and looking for something / someplace new to explore. Would like to do some shore dives. Also planning to get Nitrox certd ahead of time too. Our spouses are staying home. So we’re cool with 2-3 stars. Cocktails a must after diving. :-]

    I need to plan a second trip between Xmas and NY, bringing my family. That will require extra curricular activities. But that’s for another post.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  10. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,511
    2,491
    113
    So you are planning this birthday celebration very soon, between now and Christmas or do you mean Christmas 2020?

    First let me say Happy Birthday!

    You can fly to Grand Cayman from Denver on Southwest but you will have to make 1 stop. That is also true of many other Caribbean destinations.

    Take a look at the Fall packages at the all-inclusive Clearly Cayman Resorts, see the links below. The prices include transfers, taxes, hotel service charges, diving, accommodations, and meals and you will NOT have to rent a car.

    The Cobalt Coast resort is on Grand Cayman and shore diving on the house reef is included, although it may get winded out during the late fall through early spring months.

    The 2 other CC resorts are on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and require a short flight on a Cayman Airways commuter plane.

    Some of the packages include 3 well drinks per day, or you can add the drinks onto the package you select if it is not included. You can also bring a bottle of duty-free liquor to Cayman and mix some of your own drinks. Liquor is expensive in Cayman.

    Some of the packages are for 2 dives per day but you can add on the afternoon dives and there are usually some night dives, too.

    In my opinion the best diving is Little Cayman, then Cayman Brac and/or the East End of Grand Cayman, and then Grand Cayman North wall and the West side, but there is very good diving available on all 3 islands and opinions may vary.

    We have visited LCBR and CBBR multiple times and we love the resorts and the Reef Divers op and the food is great. I have never stayed at the CCGCR, it was acquired by Clearly Cayman a few years ago and they have been doing a lot of renovations; you can find recent trip reports for Cobalt Coast if you search the Scuba Board forum.
    Cayman Colors of Fall

    Clearly Cayman

    There is very good diving on the East End of Grand Cayman, and you are likely to see more sharks in that area, check out Compass Point - but it may be more expensive and you will have to rent a car:
    Compass Point Dive Resort in the Cayman Islands

    @dberry did a GC trip report that included Compass Point and Ocean Frontiers and some GC shore dives on the west side:
    GC trip report: west side, east side, shore dive, and eats

    Dive Tech also has a shop at the less expensive GC Holiday Inn and you will also get shore diving on their house reef at Lighthouse Point, but you will probably need to rent a car:
    Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman

    Here is a trip report by @stadevene for 3 of the places I've listed above: LCBR, CBBR, Holiday Inn:
    Trip report April-May LCBR, CBBR, Holiday Inn GC

    This is a trip report about the Lighthouse Point accommodations, diving, and the Dive Tech op:
    Grand Cayman Trip Report: Lighthouse Point/Divetech

    You can stay at Sunset House on GC and you will also get shore diving on the house reef. Breakfast is included and town is pretty close so you may not need to rent a car. Airport transfers are included. Probably not the very best diving on the island but good diving and it tends to be very calm in many seasons, @Trailboss123 can tell you more about Sunset House:
    https://www.sunsethouse.com/

    @BDSC has done a lot of trips to all 3 Cayman Islands and may have some suggestions for you, good luck!
     

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