Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands, which lie just south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. It is a mostly flat "scrubby" island with sandy ground and not much in terms of lush vegetation. There are beautiful flowers and tall palms that keep it looking tropical, however.
We were most looking forward to the gorgeous beaches: powdery white sand and clear, turquoise water. Grand Cayman was originally called Las Tortugas by Christopher Columbus, which is the Spanish name for turtles. Turtles and stingrays are some of the amazing creatures living in the waters surrounding the island, which we knew would be incredible if we'd see them in their natural territory.
Our day started off with a 2 pm flight to Washington DC. From there we had a 3 hour flight to Houston with an overnight layover. We used points to cover our hotel stay at the Houston Airport Marriott so we could rest comfortably before jetting off to Grand Cayman the next morning!
We were up early as it also happened to be Easter morning. The kids used a phone as a flashlight bright and early to hunt for their baskets. Thankfully the Easter Bunny delivered their "Easter baskets" sometime in the middle of the night! They each had a few small things and of course jellybeans and Peeps. After a very early breakfast, we caught the shuttle to the airport at around 7 am. It was a quick ride to the airport and we were soon off to the Caribbean!
Once we arrived and cleared customs we walked a short distance across the street to National Car rental. Mike had to get a temporary Cayman driver's license which cost $20 at the rental agency. It took a bit for our car to finally come around. The kids and I had been waiting outside with our luggage and were getting a little hot in the strong sun! We did find it a little surprising that there were roosters and chickens just wandering about!
We soon settled into our Subaru Legacy, complete with driver's side on the right side of the car. Grand Cayman is a British Overseas Territory so you follow the rules of the road in Great Britain. Mike quickly orientated himself with driving on the left and we proceeded to the resort! Thankfully, the traffic is pretty light and the roundabouts, although they take some getting used to, help make driving there relatively smooth.
When we arrived at the Marriott we were greeted with delicious sparkling, fruity drinks. It was a great welcome to the Marriott Beach Resort! The lobby was spacious and gorgeous, with a bar and ample seating in the center. There were couches and tables for groups to hang out at, a gift shop, and a restaurant. The decor was light and airy with soaring ceilings - all perfect for a beach resort!
We were initially told that our room was not ready yet so we headed to the bathrooms to change into shorts. Mike was given a resort cell phone so they could call him on it once our room was done. It just so happened once we were changed we got a call on the cell phone that our room was ready!
We got settled in, I unpacked while Mike took the kids to explore a bit, as we usually do when we arrive somewhere. We then couldn't wait to check out the beach! After a walk along the water we stopped at an outdoor table where you could have mojitos made poolside. We decided to indulge and were so glad we did - they were delicious. The bartender told the kids they could help make their own drinks, which they happily did.
We had a great first day and were looking forward to the days to come!