Even though my husband Lucas and I have been with each other for almost eight years, we had never previously celebrated Valentine’s Day together. The first six years of our relationship we were separated by distance and last year, when we were finally in the same city, he had to work the entire day. Thus, we decided that for our first Valentine’s Day together we had to celebrate it in an unforgettable way. Thankfully, we were in the Cayman Islands, which offered a plethora of extraordinary adventures both on land and under water.
There is no denying that the main attraction in the Cayman Islands is the picturesque Seven Mile Beach, as it is the most developed area of Grand Cayman and is home to the island’s most popular accommodations, restaurants, and bars. A short boat ride away from the beach, however, brings you to the famous Stingray City, an area known for its abundance of stingrays. This fun shore excursion allows you to participate in either scuba diving or snorkeling in relatively shallow water. There you are afforded the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent marine animals while you feed, pet, and play with them. To us, it was the perfect way to spend the most romantic day of the year.
We booked our Stingray City tour through Get Your Guide, a website that offers unique and interesting activities all over the world. The tour operator was Divetech, which is a dive resort and shop located in the beautiful West Bay area of Grand Cayman.
Once our entire group had arrived, we embarked on a small boat that would have us in Stingray City in less than thirty minutes. Along the way we were provided with magnificent views of the Caribbean Sea.
Stingray City will be the highlight of your Grand Cayman vacation if you should choose to experience it — it was most definitely ours! Enticed with a small amount of squid by our guide, within minutes of descending to the bottom, dozens upon dozens of curious and hungry stingrays came to us looking for food.
While I was diving, my husband stayed up at the surface snorkeling, since he has yet to get his diver’s license. Our guide was nice enough to bring some of the willing stingrays up for him to touch.
Out of nowhere a gigantic moray eel came charging at us. I was the first to spot him and to alarm my guide. Turns out his name is Pyscho and he is friends with all of the guides, since they feed him along with the stingrays. Every time they bring a group out to dive, he joins in on the fun.
The dive only lasts about forty-five minutes and is considered “the world’s most shallow dive.” The guide also brought Pyscho up to Lucas and they became fast friends.
Later in the evening, we chose to eat at Ristorante Pappagallo, which is less than a five minute walk away from our villa at the Cotton Tree. This restaurant is for those with discerning palates and big appetites. They serve delectable homemade Italian specialties with a liberal selection of wine to wash it all down. Its name is due to the owner’s adoration of pappagallos, or exotic birds. He built large, comfortable cages throughout the restaurant, so that guests could observe his beloved pets while they dined.
For our appetizer, we shared fried calamari and zucchini.
For my entrée, I had small portions of eggplant parmesan and butternut squash ravioli.
For Lucas’ entrée, he had a shrimp and pasta dish with a secret sauce.
For our dessert, we both later agreed that it was without a doubt one of the best we have ever tasted in our entire lives: fried dulce de leche cheesecake with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. In case you were wondering, we argued over who got the last bite! Looking back, we should have booked a hotel closer to these incredible restaurants. And for our next trip we are definitely going to go online and plan accordingly. If you are planning a trip to the Cayman islands, you owe it to yourself to look for a nice hotel online that is close to some good restaurants. You will most likely want to be close to some of island’s many fine eateries to save time and potential cab fare. Besides, booking a hotel is a snap if you have not done it before. It just takes a few clicks to have a major part of your travel planning taken care of.