I have read that you can rent scooters in Grand Cayman for about $30 a day and run around the island yourself. My fiance and I wish to visit stingray city too. Is trying to get to stingray city and then renting a scooter to tour about the island to much to do in one day? Is renting a scooter a good way of getting around for the day? Or is the traffic culture in Grand Cayman to fierce for a novice scooter driver to even attempt?
I generally discourage people from renting scooters on the islands. Traffic is typically robust and takes some getting used to. Grand Cayman is no exception. Add to that the fact that Grand Cayman uses British road rules, meaning you are driving on the left. It is awfully easy to forget this - typically when you turn into an intersection and by force of habit swing into the right hand lane of the road you are turning on to.
Definitely not a safe environment for novice riders.
Dave, I echo your sentiments. Renting Scooters on the various islands is just not a safe venture. Unless someone is an experienced rider and very familiar with the equippment enough to ascertain its mechanical reliability, I would discourage anyone from renting one.
Up until last year, I had owned and ridden motorcycles since 1975 - almost 30 years of riding experience on interstates, back roads, big cities. With all that, I would never consider renting a scooter on a cruise stop and have never done so. It is just not a wise thing to do.
Okay then scooter not something we will worry about. My next question is I'm thinking of booking a trip to sting ray city through an independent contractor. I've also read that everybody has to tendor to the island and that this can keep people on the boats until 12:00 pm before they actually can reach the island. If we are booking independently of the cruise ship how can we arrange to meet our tour guide and get back to the boat in time? Any suggestions out there of tried and true independent contractors to sting ray city?
A lot depends on how many ships are in port on the day that you are there. The tender wharf is quite small and can only handle so many tenders. All of the operators are good in Grand Cayman, so whichever one you select will be good. I know Nancy Norris has one that she recommends, but I am not sure which one it is. They will wait for you to arrive and pretty much know the situation on each day.
A couple of weeks ago, my son and his girlfriend simply booked one when they got off the ship and had a great time. Be sure to book a Sting Ray City/Snorkel combo so that you will make two stops. One for Sting Ray City and the other on a reef to snorkel. You should have plenty of time to get back to the ship as the tours only last 2-3 hours depending on the operator and conditions.
When your tender gets ashore, there is this circular open building where all the tours meet. This place will also have several tour operators walking around soliciting business. As Tom notes, any of these are perfectly reputable and you can get your tour set up in moments. When it comes to Grand Cayman I personally think this is easier than pre-booking an independent tour since you won't have to fret about getting ashore on time. The combo tour is really the thing to do too!
If we just book on arrival are there any price guidelines? Would we have to pay in cash? I'm a bit of a meticulous planner and "winging it" makes me a little nervous...I know, I know...it's a vacation, but I can't relax unless I know my bases are covered. I really appreciate everyones advice.