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Funway Holidays offers seven nights at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort


from £1,350 per person based on a family of four, flying with American Airlines on October 21. funway4agents. co.uk


Southern Cross Club offers five nights’ full-board from $1,681 per person based on two sharing in summer, including accommodation in an oceanfront bungalow, airport pickup, use of kayaks and paddleboards, sunset catamaran cruises and some drinks. A two-tank dive starts at $110


(clients need to be Padi-certified). southern


crossclub.com 48 travelweekly.co.uk 30 August 2018


w GRAND CAYMAN The main base for most tourists coming to Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach, which flanks the Caribbean Sea on the western side of the island and is dotted with big-name resorts – including a Marriott, Westin, Ritz-Carlton and Kimpton – framing turquoise waters. Capital George Town and manicured, candy-coloured development Camana Bay are both on this side of the island, but it’s the wealth of natural attractions that give this place its main appeal. Among the crowning glories is


Stingray City, a shallow sandbar in the North Sound where stingrays flock in abundance. Catamarans take visitors to wade and snorkel with these graceful, surprisingly tame, creatures


in waist-deep water, with the chance to hold and stroke them. Despite my fears I found myself happily embracing one within seconds of plopping in. Its belly felt smooth and slippery as its tail swished behind, its face glaring up at me with what I can only assume was affection (from $85 for adults and $43 for children for a half-day tour with Red Sail Sports, including an extra snorkel stop). It’s not just the stingrays for which


Grand Cayman is known, of course. The island is an underwater treasure trove, with historic shipwrecks and the dramatic North Wall drop-off among its diving highlights. For those wanting to glimpse it all without getting wet, there’s an alternative – a submarine tour. Taking


l cayman beachrides.com


Little Cayman is all about serenity: pure, open sea, peaceful, empty beaches and a population of just 160


you up to 100 feet deep, Atlantis Submarines shows passengers everything you’d see with a scuba tank but from the safety of a 48-passenger, family-friendly boat: colourful coral, razor-like barracudas and huge fish gliding around an abyss of deep, violet- blue, with a guide on board to talk you through it all ($114 adults, $59 children).


w LAND ACTIVITIES For those less keen on the water, there’s plenty more to see. Among the highlights is Crystal Caves, a cluster of 105 limestone formations hidden beneath tropical forest, dating back several million years and once used as a hideout for pirates. Today, guides take visitors to


ABOVE: Stingray City


LEFT: Atlantis Submarines


explore these crystal-covered marvels, where stalactites jut out like glittering upside-down castles, mirror lakes shine out from damp, murky corners, and fruit-bats hang overhead, swooping elegantly through the darkness ($40 adults, $30 under-12s).


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