One visiting journalist to all three Cayman Islands has certainly put her stamp of approval on the islands being family friendly.
In her article, entitled, ‘Bring the Kids to the Caymans’, posted on popular travel website www.familytravelnetwork.com, Julie Hatfield talks about hiking in Cayman Brac, scuba diving in Little Cayman, and visiting the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park and the Iguana Sanctuary in Grand Cayman, among numerous other activities.
Starting out in Cayman Brac, the writer mentions a New Jersey family who have chosen to bring their children to holiday on the island ‘because they know what pleasures ‘the Brac’ has in store for them.’
She documents how the family explored the caves of the Brac and the history involved in their role as shelter during the 1932 storm.
”Have you seen Rebecca’s Cave?’, asks Kelly Wylie, 10, who is still wide-eyed after her visit there when she explains that Rebecca was a little ‘Braca’ girl who died in the storm and whose tomb rests in the cave.’
At the Brac Reef Beach Resort the family viewed tarpon and eagle rays through the spotlights in the water at night, they star-gazed, watched the sun rise from the vantage point of the 140-foot bluff, where they also saw booby birds nest.
The children enjoyed the movie nights at the resort, the article says.
The writer also hones in on the safety of Cayman Brac. ”Safe’ is an understatement on an island where, when we picked up our rental car, the agent told us we could ‘just leave it with the keys in the ignition at the airport when you leave’.’
On to Little Cayman, and Ms Hatfield describes it as being ‘even sweeter than Cayman Brac, and just as charming for children and their parents’.
The writer asks, ‘Where else in the world will you see road signs that tell you that ‘Iguanas have the right of way?”.
Interaction with the iguanas, a trip to the museum, a visit to the Booby Pond Nature Reserve and observation of the casual way of Little Cayman life entertained the writer while there. ‘The Little Cayman police do not own guns, there are three children in the school this year, and life is so casual that every Wednesday at 5pm anyone on the island, from workers to tourists of every age including children, meets on the tarmac of the airport to play baseball, interrupted every so often by the arrival of the Cayman Airways 18-seater planes dropping off tourists and Caymanians.’
The writer makes note of the beautiful coral gardens at Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Wall, and that they stayed at the Little Cayman Beach Resort.
On to Grand Cayman, and the first subject the writer touches on is the enormous ethnic mix of people who live and work on the island ‘The discernible mix of cultures, with no discernible racial disharmony, is something worthwhile for US children to observe. The saying goes that 20 per cent of Caymanians are white, 20 per cent are black and 60 per cent ‘aren’t quite sure’. Nor do they seem to care,’ she wrote.
The Reef Resort was the accommodation chosen on Grand Cayman. ‘The East End, where Reef Resort sits in tranquil, unspoiled countryside offering every one of its guests a room steps away from the swimming pools and ocean, is miles away from t-shirt shops, Hard Rock Cafes and rum cake hawkers,’ she commented.
But its close proximity to popular tourist sites such as the Botanic Gardens and the Blue Iguana sanctuary is something she was also very grateful for.
The blow-holes, stingray city, Pirates’ Caves and submarine rides, beach horse-rides, Sea Trek and the Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park are all made mention of as activities to do with children.
Special features the writer noted about the Reef Resort include its two large swimming pools and the many little pools and hot tubs where toddlers can happily splash. She also noted the resort’s Hurricane Guarantee – a free replacement stay in the event a hurricane hits during your vacation.
Also noted is the island’s recovery from Hurricane Ivan, and how, previous to 2004, it had essentially been hurricane free for over 70 years.
The Family Travel Network is a free online site devoted exclusively to family travel. The award-winning site has helped millions of families research and plan vacations across the US and around the world, says the website. ‘We are not a travel agency and we do not sell travel on our site, allowing us to remain unbiased and offer completely objective opinions,’ it reads.