Rafting in the Rio Paquare, Costa Rica was an exhilirating, heart thumping experience

Weekend getaway, close by, Miami Beach. Just pack a bathing suit and go.

View from our Dorado Beach Hotel terrace.

Aperitif on the beach at sunset, in Grand Cayman, is priceless

I ticked off another destination on my bucket list and, in retrospect, am finding it hard to determine which vacation I loved more: the South African Safari http://singita.com/ or a recent trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Quechua ladies of Peru

Grand Cayman Revisited

We have fallen in love with Grand Cayman—the sunny weather, the breeze on the beach, the white sand, the turquoise water, and the friendly people. It is a real Zen place, a place we go to unwind, but also to have fun. This year, as we have done for the past three years, we stayed at the LACOVIA  http://www.lacovia.com/ on Seven-Mile Beach, in a villa right in front of the ocean where you can see the sun setting in the horizon and hear the soft waves at night.

For the first time, we booked an afternoon boat excursion with a local group called Tours Cayman http://www.tourscayman.com/home.html to Stingray City where we swam with the stingrays, petted, fed, and kissed them local lore is that if you kiss a ray, it will bring you seven years of good luck).The Beauty III’s crew—Dayton, Jason, and captain Carlos—took us to several spots for snorkeling, which were awesome.  

 

The Beauty III

 

Stingray City

 

We also checked out the Atlantis Submarine, which takes you to a reef and dives 100-feet down. Unfortunately the day was not so bright, so even though we saw a lot of different sea life—including a barracuda, a tortoise, a huge conger eel, and lots of beautifully colored fish—the reef looked mostly light brown. But the experience of taking the submarine was very exciting, if a bit expensive compared to the Stingray outing.

We explored our area and found several restaurants within walking distance. Last time we ate at Eric Ripert's Blue in the Ritz Carlton (see review and photos in archives). The restaurant on the top of our list this year was Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/grand-cayman,  a sister restaurant to the well-known original one in South Beach Miami. 

 

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Grand Cayman

 

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Grand Cayman

 

It is a casual, family-friendly place with al fresco—and, most important, great food. The menu is divided into small, medium, large, and extra large plates with some sides and snacks to round it out. We went there twice for dinner, and of the many dishes we tried, the ones that stand out in my mind are the crispy hominy, beet falafel, home made french fries, the crispy pigs ear salad, tuna tartare, the huge grilled pork chop (so juicy), the local snapper ceviche, and the wood oven pizza—to name a few

With spring not yet sprung here, and not a single bud on the trees, needless to say we are already looking forward to going back next winter