One of the big perks of living and working in Grand Cayman is its proximity to major North American hubs and other Caribbean islands thanks to regular direct flights from Owen Roberts International Airport; you can even fly to London with a quick tarmac stop in Nassau, Bahamas. Whether you’re searching for a weekend getaway or a longer adventure, below are a few places worth discovering.
Miami, United States
Just a short 90-minute flight away, Miami is a multicultural, Latin-infused city known for its music, art, fashion, and architecture — and for many living in Cayman, it’s the place to go when you really need to shop due to the array of great malls and big box stores there.
Popular annual events like Art Basel and Miami Book Fair appeal to those with discerning tastes; and sports- and music-lovers can enjoy taking in a Miami Heat game or watching their favourite musical performer live on stage at the American Airlines Arena.
Grab a seat at a South Beach restaurant patio on Collins Avenue to people- watch. Admire the Art Deco hotels and exotic cars that cruise by. Stroll around the Design District with its sleek modern architecture, upscale interior design stores, fashion boutiques, cafes, art galleries and celebrity-chef restaurants. The Brickell neighbourhood is also a convenient place to shop or mingle with locals during happy hour. As nighttime falls, head over to East hotel’s rooftop bar, Sugar, for a spectacular panoramic view of the city.
Tampa, United States
If you have a young family, then head north of the city for a short drive and you’ll discover Dinosaur World theme park; and just beyond, Legoland. Drive a little further and you’ll hit Orlando, where you’ll find the mecca of theme parks — Universal Orlando Resort and Disneyworld. You may want to tack on a few more days to experience them properly but you’ll be creating lasting memories for your kids.
When you’re ready to relax after a long day of family friendly activities, head over to the hip Armature Works in the historic Tampa Heights neighbourhood. Grab a bite to eat and browse its Public Market alongside locals.
New York, New York, United States
The city that never sleeps is one of those places you have to visit once in your life. There’s no other feeling than stepping into Time Square for the first time, watching a Broadway show, strolling through Central Park (spectacular in the fall), going to the top of Empire State Building, or ice skating at Rockefeller Center (especially during the holiday season).
Each of the Manhattan neighbourhoods has their own unique flare. SoHo is known for its trendy upscale boutiques and chain store outlets while Tribeca has its popular annual film festival — you may even spot a celebrity resident or two; the Upper East Side’s reputation for refined culture and shopping is well-known, as is its location on “Museum Mile,” which includes The Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, and the Frick Collection, to name a few.
For vintage frocks, check out the shops in the East Village, while Chelsea art galleries are where you’ll find works by up-and-coming artists. Take a stroll through the Financial District and Lower Manhattan and check out the big bull and Lady Liberty. Get lost in the Chinatown shops or take in some jazz at Blue Note in Greenwich Village, but if comedy is your thing visit one of many great comedy clubs instead. Don’t forget Little Italy for authentic New York calzones.
In fact, from local watering holes to five-star Michelin restaurants, it’s easy to drink and eat your way through New York any time and day of the year; and with so many live-music venues and a dazzling array of world-class acts performers, it’s no wonder the city is named twice.
- Too many Broadway shows, so little time? The Lion King and The Book of Mormon have been rated the best musicals to hit Broadway!
- Skip the line: Book your tickets online and skip the line during the Empire State Building tour.
Toronto is a cosmopolitan city that has great shopping, restaurants, and activities and still has that family friendly vibe. With direct flights via Air Canada and West Jet airlines, you can be there in less than four hours. Ride the elevator up the CN Tower; power shop at The Eaton Centre; visit the many exhibits at Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario; take a ferry over to Centre Island; bike along the scenic waterfront trail; stroll through the historic Distillery District with its artisan shops and eclectic restaurants and cafes; or grab a drink and a bite to eat on a patio in upscale Yorkville on a warm summer day.
Take a scenic drive just two hours north of the city and you’ll discover Ontario’s finest resort, Blue Mountain, situated in a quaint little town called Collingwood; or head west for an hour to the world-famous Niagara Falls and historic Niagara-on- the-Lake, known for its great wineries and the summer Shaw Festival.
There are so many iconic places to visit in London, and the hop on and hop off bus tours are an ideal way to take it all in, especially for first-time visitors.
From riding the modern Coca-Cola London Eye to soaking in the grandeur of Buckingham Palace to taking a picture in front of Big Ben, the hardest part is cramming it all in! Royal fans will also enjoy tours of Kensington Palace and Westminister Abbey. For a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the city (and if you can handle heights), check out The View from the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe.
If you’re a history buff don’t miss the Tower of London to catch a glimpse of everything from the Crown Jewels to a medieval king’s bed chamber, or the Churchill War Room to explore the underground bunker from which Winston Churchill and his wartime cabinet directed the Second World War. The Tate Modern and National Gallery are also iconic landmarks (Prepare to dodge the pigeons in Trafalger Square.)
Maybe you just want to get a feel for London’s urban, Bohemian side. Hop on the tube and head over to Camden Market or Borough Market. Or kick it up a notch and visit Covent Garden in the West End, where luxury fashion and beauty stores meet award-winning restaurants and theaters.
- On a budget? All museums are free entry in London City!
- Avoiding the tourist crowds? Catch the panoramic city views by having a cocktail at The Shard as opposed to the London Eye.
- On a rush? Take the tube, get to your place quicker and avoid the hefty taxi bill.
Visiting Havana is like stepping back into time, with its Spanish colonial architecture, vintage cars and windy cobblestone streets — it’s less than an hour away by flight. Take a convertible car tour through the districts (or a cute cocotaxi); book a salsa lesson with a pro and head to a salsa club after to dance alongside the experts; drink a mojito at Ernest Hemingway’s old haunt, Floridita (or visit the Hemmingway Museum); and smoke an authentic Cuban cigar practically anywhere you go.
There is a wonderful frenetic energy that comes alive when you visit Havana and immerse yourself in the Cuban culture and in the city’s character-filled beauty, from the kitschy art stalls to the political graffiti to the sounds of jazz and Latin music all around. You’ll want to bring your “good” camera for this trip.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
With its lush green mountainous terrain, beautiful beaches and relaxed “irie” vibe, Montego Bay provides a nice change of scenery from Cayman; and because you can get there in less than an hour by flight, via a short tarmac stop in Kingston, it makes for an ideal weekend getaway. A big bonus is the smattering of all- inclusive resorts — including top-rated golf resorts.
When you’re ready to get off the resort and explore Montego Bay, book a tour of the former plantation house, Rose Hall Great House; take a sailing excursion to Negril along the scenic coast and visit the Pirates Cave or stop in to Rick’s Café to watch the world-famous cliff divers; and an hour and half drive away is Dunn’s River Falls if you’re hankering for a full day trip.