That night at Osetra Bay, a superslick restaurant on the sea, we bond with a chatty British couple over the adventurous food: Is that lemongrass foam? How are the Madagascar prawns? You must eat the chocolate tree immediately! They tell us this is their go-to place when “on island” (a term people use here, aptly, almost to signify a change of being). My mom insists the Brits try Blue for their next dinner, which is simply the best dining experience either one of us have ever had.
“Never heard of it!”
My mom and I grin, proud to be veteran advisers.
To thank us, they tell us the “secret” they’ve been keeping from all other travellers: an out-of-this-world Mexican restaurant in the heart of George Town. The signage and outside decor is heinous – on purpose, apparently: The locals never talk about it, in an effort to keep it for themselves.
I cannot leave the island without tasting the tequila shrimp, the man pleads. The problem: Our flight leaves in the morning.
And therein lies the rub: We cannot possibly see, taste and do it all. (Sorry Katherine, Edoardo’s was all out of key lime pie.) But at least I have many important reasons to return.
IF YOU GO
Where to stay:
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman sits like a massive sand castle along Seven Mile Beach. “You feel special from the moment you walk in,” writes one reader. It’s true: I dare you to open a door yourself, just once (I tried, unsuccessfully). Waiters at Blue, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, send a handwritten thank-you note to our room, and at the breakfast buffet I have the best eggs Benedict I’ve ever eaten. Opt for an ocean-side room: Drifting off on a plush, pillowy bed as the ocean lulls you to sleep is heaven. Rooms start at $379 (U.S.). Grand Cayman; ritzcarlton.com
At the Caribbean Club – rated the top resort in the Carribean on TripAdvisor – three-bedroom, three-bath condos make for a good, high-end choice for families and groups. A beachfront pool, oceanfront cabanas and a nanny service top it off. Rooms start at $800 (U.S.) Grand Cayman; caribclub.com
Little Cayman Beach Resort, or its high-end sister the Club, is a luxe choice on the smaller island. The hot tub overlooking the ocean is worth the splurge. Bonus: the scuba-diving school, if you’re so inclined, is right on shore. Rooms from $200 (U.S.). Rooms at the Club start at $350 (U.S.). littlecayman.com
Where to eat:
For decadent, taste-bud awakening meals, There is no shortage of awesome food in Grand Cayman. At Camana Bay, lunch on the patio at Abacus (abacus.ky) and don’t leave without trying the signature cocktail and watermelon salad. For show-stopping dinners, I have a grocery list of must-try spots: Luca’s tuna steaks (luca.ky), the lobster in balsamic and truffle sauce at Blue by Eric Ripert and the chocolate tree at Osetra Bay (osetrabay.com). As a chocolate addict, this was my Everest: I’ll never forgive you if you go and don’t order this. For casual dining, dozens of Globe readers recommended the fish tacos at the Sunshine Grill just across the street from Seven Mile Beach inside Sunshine Suites Resort (sunshinesuites.com). They lived up to their “world famous” reputation.
What to do:
Hang out with dozens of rays at Stingray City, an area of shallow sand bars in the North Sound off Grand Cayman. Dozens of tours and charter boats take you here, but I had a great time with Red Sail Sports. Trips from $75 (U.S.) a person. redsailcayman.com
Don’t dive? See the Cayman reef with Atlantis Submarines. Rates start at $84 (U.S) for adults, $54 for children. 30 South Church St., Grand Cayman, caymanislandssubmarines.com
Chill with the iguanas and swing life away in a hammock on Little Cayman. Return flights from $150 (U.S.) on Cayman Airways. caymanairways.com
Amberly McAteer is a community and social media editor at The Globe. She travelled as a guest of the Cayman Department of Tourism. The tourism board did not review or approve this article.Report Typo/Error