GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND
Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)
You could head to the main stretch of Seven Mile Beach, but hundreds of other people have probably already beat you there.
If you want sun, shade and snorkeling — a slice of serenity, if you will — take a public bus to Cemetery Beach in West Bay, at the far tip of Seven Mile Beach.
While Cemetery Beach is not exactly a secret (it's No. 9 on Trip Advisor's list of more than 170 things to do in Grand Cayman), it's remarkably quiet. There were probably two dozen people there the day I visited.
You won't have to worry about a long line at the snack bar, because there is no snack bar — or other amenities, for that matter. You also won't have to worry about big crowds or, as far as I could tell, vendors peddling seashells, coconuts or anything else.
Just catch a No. 1 (yellow) or No. 2 (green) bus near the George Town cruise terminal for a roughly 15-minute ride. The cost: $2.50 per person each way.
Once you're dropped off, simply make like a newly hatched turtle and head toward the sea. Follow the sand path between West Bay Cemetery on your left, and several private residences on your right.
When you get to the stand of trees at the end, stop to appreciate the powdery sand and impossibly colorful water.
Stake out a spot in the shade or in the sun with your towel or blanket — no chair and umbrella rentals here — and kick back and relax.
If you're more ambitious, gear up for some snorkeling. But bring your own equipment. There is nothing to rent.
The farther you swim from the shore, the more fish you'll see. Venture toward the dark spots, which indicate the presence of reef, for optimum fish finding. I am an avid snorkeler and was not disappointed in the variety and volume of creatures I encountered, especially for $5, the cost of round-trip transportation.
The water is so clear that it was easy to miscalculate the depth as I swam in, still outfitted with my mask and snorkel. I stopped at least a half-dozen times to put my feet down and walk the rest of the way, only to find the water still well over my head.
Once I finally reached the shore, I was fairly spent. (Next time I visit I'll be sure to bring my fins — and a few cold drinks.)
I plopped down on my towel and was sun-dried in no time. Having been at Cemetery Beach for a little more than two hours, I decided to pack it in and return to the port area for shopping.
The buses pick up at a covered stop across the street every 15 to 20 minutes, and my timing was impeccable. I waited only a few minutes — a perfect ending to a perfect escape.
Contact Dawn Cate at email@example.com.