SMB vs Rum Point
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Mar 13, 2013 5:32 PM Last Post By: senang
Nov 26, 2012 5:21 AM
SMB vs Rum PointPlanning a 1 week trip in Jan or Feb to Grand Cayman w/partner and elderly relative. None of us have previously visited. We will have a rental car. Trying to decide between a condo on the northern part of Seven Mile Beach and a few on/near Rum Point and or Old Man (are these near each other?). Rum Point is significantly cheaper (not cheap of course, but that's not the point of this trip) so we're trying to decide whether that area will work for us. Just looking for quiet...don't care abt shopping or nightlife. We do want a swimmable and walkable sandy beach...does Rum Point qualify? Partner will want to arrange dive trips; I can't imagine that being a problem from anywhere on the island right? Are there at least a few grocery stores/restaurants within a 10 minute drive from Rum Point? We like isolation but don't want to have to drive 1/2 hour to get anywhere. Other location suggestions for a newbie?
Many thanks in advance.
Nov 27, 2012 12:02 PM
1Seven Mile Beach is the main tourist area on the island. As such, it has the most lodging, dining, shopping (grocery and souvenir) and excursion/tour options at the ready. Being more developed, it has more of a "mainland" feel than other areas of Grand Cayman. Seven Mile Beach is by far physically the nicest stretch of beach on the island and best for swimming (what many picture the perfect Caribbean beach to look like). SMB is very manicured and well equipped for tourists - stay-over and cruise visitor alike - with wide stretches of sand, gentle rock free water entry (most areas in the central and northern sections) and first rate facilities and water sports rentals. Easy to walk the 5.5 miles of uninterrupted sand and swim in the usually calm water.
Rum Point and Old Man Bay are located in the North Side district of the island, about 45-60 minute drive from the airport. There are far fewer tourist amenities here, as the rental homes and condos appeal more to the self-catering crowd. Beaches tend to be on the more natural state/unkempt side and the seafloor is grassy off most rental properties. Snorkeling is much better here, but water conditions can vary based on time of year and weather systems.
Old Man Bay is the main village with a gas station and a few restaurants, while Rum Point is more of a vacation home neighborhood with some restaurants and tourist facilities (Rum Point Club Beach). The beach along the north shore is walk-able, but there are likely to be some rocky areas, washed up seagrass and even trash from Haiti and the DR. There are two small grocery stores within a 5-20 minute drive depending on your location, with the nearest full-size grocery being 25-35 minutes away.
I much prefer the North Side to the developed Seven Mile Beach area, but for newbies just wanting to enjoy a great beach/water vacation I'd recommend looking at some rental properties/condos on Northern Seven Mile Beach. More tranquil than the Central and Southern sections from a people standpoint, but still close to all the amenities. For the most part, the condos on the Northern section are a bit older and only 2-3 stories tall.
Arranging dive trips is easy in either location, but you only have 2 dive ops who service the North Side/East End and many more to choose from in SMB.
The link below does a good job showing the location of most of the condo rentals in each section of SMB.
Nov 27, 2012 2:00 PM
2Thank you Testudo for such a thoughtful, detailed and very helpful answer to my question. Will chew this over with the others, but I think that SMB might indeed be right for us newbies, especially since there are northern SMB condos (such as Silver Sands) that are within the budget. In any event, getting this additional info is super-useful since reading only condo owner/rental agency descriptions, one tends to hear only the positives and not the "1/2 hour drive to decent size grocery store" somewhat downsides.
Many thanks again...looking forward to having a good time no matter where we end up.
Nov 28, 2012 11:49 AM
3I think you'll be fine/enjoy the northern section as it places you on a great stretch of beach without the volume of people a few miles closer to town. A nice compromise between having all the "amenities" nearby and still providing a tranquil setting.
Just to clarify, most folks who stay on the "Quiet Side" (East End/North Side districts) tend to do the bulk of their grocery/liquor shopping on the way to their villa or condo, since you pass many of the larger grocery stores on the way from the airport. The local mini-groceries are usually more than adequate for any items that one may have forgotten to purchase or depleted during their stay.
Hope you have a good trip.
Jan 7, 2013 7:05 AM
4The furthest east large super market which is Fosters an IGA affiliate, which is the islands supermarket can be found in Savana on the left at the rear of the shopping center. You might stop there to shop for some stuff on your way out.
For myself I save a bunch of money buying complete meals in the states and packing them before I went.
As it was the three of us ate out three times in the week we were there, $68 for lunch at Hard Rock, $28 for two at the Paradise Restaurant in Bodden Town, $125 for dinner at a restaurant off the beach near the Esso station in West Bay. We probably spent close to $200 at Fosters for Groceries.
Have fun, Tom Bodine
Mar 13, 2013 5:32 PM
5A belated thank you for the good advice given in this thread. We had a lovely time in Grand Cayman and the northern SMB condo we rented worked perfectly for us. Despite the view in the far distance of the cruise ships, our little part of SMB was very quiet and relaxing. Also a short walk to Cemetery Beach for easy snorkeling which was never crowded but always had more people hanging around than where we were--a 10 minute walk down the beach.
Loved exploring/snorkeling the Northern (Cayman Kai public beach) and Eastern (Barefoot beach I think) parts of the country. Many thanks Testudo for your snorkel guide which we found very useful. We just needed a lot more time! Would probably choose to stay off SMB next time, but would have felt we were missing something if that were our first destination. BTW, also loved the dramatic seascapes along the Northwestern tip (Barkers Point and environs).
For a more budget dining option, check out Singh's Roti in Georgetown for a delicious Trini style meal. Great rotis, doubles, homemade pepper sauce, etc at decent prices and a nice mix of locals/tourists.
Found the people of the Caymans really friendly and I must say that the country really knows how to keep its tourists happy.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$129.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$456.00 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$107.00 per night