Grand Cayman 2023
The Planning stages....
After returning from our Spring Break cruise in April, whoa that was different after being away for a few years, I immediately started planning for our "Summer Vacation". I wanted to book another cruise but honestly it seems like the only places ships seem to go in the summer months are the same ole itineraries...Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. Welp, we just went there and have been there SO many times now. I just didn't want to repeat this again so soon (as much as we love all those ports). Any other itineraries would include places we've been to as well. I took a vote, which included only me, that I didn't want to repeat any place we've already been and it was unanimously voted, imagine that, that we would decide not to cruise this summer and find a land vacation to a place that we haven't went to before for a stay.
Of course the first thing I do is bring up the interactive route map for Southwest to see where they fly. (Of course we have used other airlines, but this is our go-to airline because of our earned points)
Well let's see what we have here...
Turks and Caicos
Los Cabos, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Various places in Hawaii
I see several options we have not vacationed at and then I see several options that I wouldn't mind vacationing at for awhile.
It honestly didn't take me long to narrow it down to Grand Cayman after a few searches of places to go while there, things to do while there, houses to rent and then I read that it is one of the safest places to vacation. Seriously! Search it. Hopefully Google will not steer me wrong. Where's my crystal ball?
I immediately started checking for places to stay in Grand Cayman that would fit our needs...and of course our needs usually consists of a private home and preferably with a pool for afternoon swims after we've already spent an entire day in the water at the ocean. You can never get enough water/swimming in right? I saved all of the places that peaked my interest. Then it was time to research what part of the island to stay at and narrow places down to that area.
Next up, time to check dates for airline tickets (cheapest of course) and compare it to rentals in Cayman that I had saved. This crap gets stressful is all I can say.
I did eventually pick a date, booked our flights, then booked our place. I honestly don't think I've ever made a decision this fast about a vacation...like ever. I was pretty proud of myself honestly. I waited for my family to pat me on the back and say "good job" but that never came. However, they were excited. Maybe it was because I had made up "our minds" so quickly that I wasn't constantly bugging them with the "Shall we pick this place?" "What do you think about this place?" "Do you think this would be fun?" Yep, I had narrowed it down quickly and efficiently. Bravo!
That's when I decided it was time to do another "Guess where I'm going this time" contest. I had a lot of great guesses and some places that I might consider in the future. Thanks for that!
Our dates of travel...August 5th to August 14th. Nine luxurious days in paradise!
Well that went a little too smoothly. Flights booked, place booked...now what are we going to do while there? I started making my list and checking it twice...and adding and adding to it until I have so many things I want to do and places to go that I'm wondering if I booked enough days there now.
I started to contact various excursions to see about booking and filling our schedule with as much crap as we could...because that's how I like it. I always need a vacation from my vacation when I return because it is usually non-stop go go go! However, this time, I ended up waiting until the very last moment to book almost everything, which is so not me to begin with. Trying to juggle the days and times available for each activity can become quite daunting to say the least.
Ok, with that out of the way...how are we getting to all of these places while there? We really enjoyed our stay at Isla Mujeres last summer...riding around on the go carts for transportation, but this is a much bigger island and that was not an option for us. I did my research and decided to go with a place called Marshall's. It came highly recommended on the Grand Cayman facebook pages and they seemed to be one of the cheaper options as well. So, we booked. And we didn't "just" book a "car" we booked a RIGHT HAND DRIVE CAR!! Say whaaaaat??? Yes, Grand Cayman not only drives on the left hand side of the road (which we've done a few times on vacation so far) but they also give the option of getting a right hand drive car as well. Ya know me...I'm up for an adventure at any time and boy was this going to be an adventure! Yee Haw!
Alrighty then...time to start packing the week before vacation so that I don't forget anything...which never really helps and I always manage to forget something anyhow. I also still have a tendency to over pack despite every vacation I repeat those magical words "Next time we're going lighter on the packing". I am well aware that the house we will be staying in comes equipped with a washer and dryer and I still manage to pack too many clothes. I mean we usually live in our bathing suits all day, get home and shower, put on clothes for about an hour then remove them for bed. I'm pretty sure we could wear the same outfit for the entire vacation and it still wouldn't be ready for the wash. Not really but just saying...
It's the day before vacation and Kendra is over going over last minute details about watching the dogs, taking care of the house and all the little things I feel I need to explain to her each time we go and tragedy struck. Sakari has had a pet cockatiel she purchased about 9 months ago as a baby. She had one when she was younger, but at that point she was too young to really care for it or get the concept of what it means to take care of an animal. This time around she used her own money for the bird, supplies, has upgraded to bigger cages along the way, food and has done a great job. This bird, Engus, adores her. He knows her voice from downstairs when she walks in and starts chirping for her. He stays out of his cage with her during the hours that she's home. So, so attached to her. She can't come down her stairs in her room without him flying to her. She'll walk around the house and he's gotta be right there on her head or shoulder. He doesn't like for her to be out of his sight. He will fall asleep on her and is so loving.
She had him out today to show Kendra and Billy. As she walked down the hallway, Engus flew to her but for some odd reason decided to fly downstairs. It might have been that Kendra had went downstairs and went out the front door. We panic because the living room fan is on and went running down the stairs. This might have scared him and he kept flying into the kitchen...where we have 3 huskies. It didn't end well and Sakari had to pry her beloved pet from her beloved dogs mouth. He was instantly killed and the sorrow and pain I feel for her is unreal. This just had to happen the night before vacation. Just our luck. Needless to say, vacation is not getting off to a good start.
We had planned on going to bed extremely early tonight because our flight was very early in the morning and planned on being up at 3am to leave. Instead we spent the day/evening burrying Engus in the flower garden and giving him a headstone. We didn't make it to bed very early and it was a restless night thinking about what had just happened hours before.