Our recent trip to Grand Cayman included a 5 night stay at the Cobalt Coast Resort on the peaceful Northwest shore. Because of online comments, we chose Cobalt Coast Resort over Sunset House*, another popular dive resort, advised that it was a “boutique-type” place, away from the busy cruise port of Georgetown. Cobalt Coast promises unlimited shore dives in addition to the two daily boat dives we had purchased. When we arrived, however, they were having “uncharacteristically cold weather (in the 70s)” with winds making shore diving impossible during our stay. We did manage to get in our 2 boat dives daily. It is testament to the great staff, accommodations and boat diving at Cobalt Coast that we quickly forget about missing any shore diving. More on this in a separate article on the Dive Tech company.
Typically, if you book a stay at the Cobalt Coast, a bus comes to pick you up at the airport. Although there was slight glitch in our pickup the staff handled the problem with style and rectfied the situation as soon as we called them. They apologized profusely, took full responsibility for this error, told us to grab any taxi and paid driver when we arrived. Everything went smoothly after that.
The staff at the Cobalt Coast Resort was warm and friendly. They extended a relaxed family-like warmth to us, making sure that all our needs were taken care of. We noticed that many of their guests were return customers and could see that they felt at home and at ease with the staff, whether it was Arie the manager, Claudette the waitress, managers Dora or Susan, or any of the others working there.
We secured one of the last ocean view rooms, so got a room right next to the dive shop. Our little front porch area opened onto the dive shop straight ahead, all the benches for drying dive gear, the dining patio and pool on the left. The ocean was straight ahead, just beyond the dive shop. Had we wanted ultimate privacy this would not have been the best choice in rooms. It was completely quiet at night, however, and suited our purposes just fine.
Our suite was spacious and clean and had a Scandinavian look and feel, with simple lines, wooden cabinets,even a wooden door on the refrigerator. Thought and care was put into everything, from the pictures on the wall, to the products in the bathroom cupboard. There was a generous living room, a kitchenette, a big bedroom with a king sized bed, large bathroom. The hallway that led to the bathroom and bedroom also led to an adjacent one bedroom/one bath suite that overlooked the garden/parking area. We got to tour some of the other rooms and cottages; all were well sized, clean and comfortable. Some sported full kitchenettes with microwaves and full baths. Others, like our ocean front room, had a shower and no microwave. The resort is consciously and consistentlyreducing their carbon foot print. The staff responded quickly and thoroughly to any questions or concerns we had.
Since the Cobalt Coast is away from town, they provide all meals if desired. They even have a meal plan which consists of breakfast, lunch and a three course dinner with dessert for $60/day. We were told that this is quite reasonable as dining in the Cayman Islands is said to be “quite expensive.” We heard tales from one of the dive masters, testifying to this. However, since John is a vegan eating mostly veggies, rice, tofu and beans, and our breakfast was part of our dive package, we opted not to purchase the meal plan.
For those who eat meat, fish and chicken, the menu has several options and daily dinner specials. Breakfast was usually eggs, fruit, breads, sausages/bacon and cereals. The lunch menu boasted salads, burgers, fish and chips and fish sandwiches, penne and chicken and a few other items. Dinners had meat, chicken and fish entrees, salads and appetizers. I am not a vegetarian but do eat vegetarian meals frequently. I do admit to NOT wanting to eat anything with meat or fish a couple of times but we discovered that the owner and chef were willing to make sure that our food needs were accommodated. (We talked to the owner, Arie, Dora the manager, and the chef at length during our stay about adding a few more vegetarian options, including tofu dishes – we look forward to hearing what becomes of our suggestions.)
Other Dining Options
Besides dining at the Cobalt Coast, we explored other options to satisfy our vegan/vegetarian cravings. A short bus ride away (there is an inexpensive bus service running throughout the island a short walk from Cobalt Coast) takes you to a restaurant called Tim Buc Tuu, which served a variety of seafood, meat, vegetarian and vegan options. On our first visit, several diners looked over at us and smiled, saying “This is the some of the best food on the island.” It was also very reasonably priced. The food was outstanding, accommodating all food preferences. I had a nicely seasoned grouper dish, while John chose from several tasty tofu dishes. The owner (Ahmed), was a friendly and enthusiastic young man with an eager desire to please all who enter. He came to our table and chatted with us, always with a big smile on his face, in between serving other customers. When we had finished our meal, we asked him if he knew of any Thai restaurants and he told us that the Thai House “right next to the Subway Sandwich shop in downtown Georgetown” had some of the best Pad Thai. We made a note.
The next night our new pals Amy and Jack invited us to dine at the Heritage house, a small ocean side shack style diner with tables outside under a wooden enclosure. We walked up to the window at the wooden building and perused the few options, based on what had been caught that day. I had jerk seasoned halibut that rivaled any 5 star restaurant in flavor and taste! I was delightedly surprised. Amy bought some conch soup which she liked. Here again, we were greeted by warmth and island hospitality. They even brought over some plantain at the end of our meal to add a sweet end to the dining experience. The food here was extremely reasonably priced and fresh as it gets.
On a third occasion, we tried the aforementioned Thai House. The food here was excellent. Succulent, crispy spring rolls, a savory chicken dish with rice and yes, some of the best Pad Thai we had ever tasted anywhere. Again, the food here was relatively inexpensive.
In summary, if you seek out the tourist-haunts, you can pay a fortune for dining. Our recommendation is to try the places we discovered and/or dine in at the resort.
Grand Cayman Island has a very friendly, helpful and conservative Christian culture. An independently run bus services transports you here and there across the island at low fees. For an extra dollar they will even drop you off right at the resort, even though the bus stop is a couple of blocks away. We took the bus frequently and sat amongst people chatting back and forth in lively Jamaican slang, Cayman Islanders heading home after work, all willing to answer our questions with kindness. On one occasion we were waiting for a bus and were not sure at what time the stopped for the day. A local woman assured us that the buses were still running. However, after seeing us wait for a short time she offered to drive us directly back to our hotel. We happily accepted, offering her the bus fare which she politely refused.
Crime is still very infrequent on Grand Cayman and like less than most other Caribbean Islands. However, locals, used to no crime, say it has started to increase. Even though lockers are provided at the Cobalt Blue resort, many divers, including us, left our gear drying on the open racks at the dive shop for a few hours or even overnight.
Overall, our stay at the Cobalt Coast was a great success. We will definitely head back there at some point, seeking the warmth and friendly camaraderie which surrounded us, the island friendliness which welcomed us and the warm, crystal clear seas in which we played. For great staff, spacious and well appointed rooms, and going the extra mile on service, we happily give the Cobalt Coast Resort 5 out of 5 stars.
Look for articles on diving dry in the tropics and diving Grand Cayman with Dive Tech, coming soon.
*When making the decision for accommodations, we also checked out reviews online – the Cobalt Coast had consistently good to great reviews; Sunset House had mixed reviews. In the reviews we read, people either loved Sunset House or had problems with the dive staff.