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Some Like It Hot

Sunny days and sexy nights await you in the British West Indies of the fabled Caribbean islands. It’s close to home, but far from what you’d expect to find. From sunning at glamorous resorts to diving for sunken treasure, to an evening of exotic food and dance, the Grand Cayman Islands offers a spectacular tropical getaway.

About 480 miles off the coast of Miami, this British Overseas Territory is an island splendor stepped in mystery. The pirate legends live on today with the sultry mood of these islands. Yes, there’s something a little decadent. Maybe it’s the turquoise-blue waters of the western Caribbean, or the sun-kissed beaches surrounding you on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman islands. Or perhaps it’s the promise of an island romance encounter.

Talk about a long-term relationship. The islands are currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of their discovery. The Cayman Islands, which makes up most of this area, are the home to offshore banking, the fifth largest in the world behind Switzerland, Tokyo, New York and London. You’ll recall the islands were immortalized in the film based on the John Grisham novel, The Firm, starring Tom Cruise, about clandestine affairs of the heart…and bank accounts. Let’s think about that… a covert affair laced with money? Bring it on.

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First, you’ll find that Grand Cayman is the home of George Town, the capital city, and possesses some of the finest cuisine and shopping in the Caribbean, along with seeing the National Gallery, National Museum and shopping for anything from jewels to islander-made fare. The islander creative movement currently under way is producing some amazing contemporary art for you collectors. Keep in mind when shopping that the Caymans are a major cruise line port destination, so there may be many tourists competing to buy that perfect gift for your perfect someone.

After you’ve spent some green, you’ll want to see some blue. Gorgeous blue water that is. There’s a hotspot called Rum Point, where you can sip a cocktail in a hammock on a beach, shaded by the area’s stately Casuarina trees. Or you can get up and dance on a table if you want. Then enjoy a beach snack or indulge in an al fresco meal, or simply take a dip in the crystal clear sea. Relax, you’re on vacation in paradise. And the afternoon is all yours to do what you want with your favorite target of amour.

Like the sun? The Caymans have plenty of it year-round. I was there in the middle of winter and a mild 85 degrees is standard. Just add water to complete the fun. There are so many activities like parasailing, jet skiing, boating, windsurfing and kayaking, all of which are a great way to tan and get a good work out, too. There's no limit to the number of things you can do, from the adventure of going underwater without getting wet (in a submarine ride) to the quest of parasailing along the beautiful Seven Miles Beach, or just basking in the sun with a cocktail at arm’s reach on the sand or near a luxury pool.

Diving is serious business for both tourists and resident Caymanians. Have wet suit, will travel. Some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world is found here. And so is the opportunity of diving with stingrays. In the everyday business world where swimming with sharks is the norm, you’ll love taking a dip to swim with the finned animals, the stingrays. If you brush too close to them while swimming, be prepared for what the natives call a stingray hickey. Harmless, yet a reminder of an extraordinary marine experience. And there’s always time for other kinds of hickeys later.

When you’ve worked up an appetite from all your endeavors, you’ll find that the islands have more than 100 restaurants, from elegant fine dining to more simple fare. Traditional Caymanian cuisine is enhanced by a vibrant Jamaican influence of jerk, curry and other spicy seasonings. If you like seafood, try the conch or lobster. Paired with dishes like plantain, breadfruit, yams, cassava, rice, peas and other West Indian side dishes, you’ll enjoy some amazing meals. It’s said that spicy meals make for spicy love, as is proven in the Caymans. If you can, request a special dinner for two on the sand surrounded by Tiki torches. Everything tastes better by moonlight.

Then consider slipping out of a wet swimsuit and into a dry martini if you want to keep the party going through the night. If it’s dancing you’re after, DJ's spin the latest hits at many of the hot spots each night. Popular clubs and bars include Illusions, Legends, XTC, Jungle, Club Inferno, Bed Lounge, West Bay Polo Club. The Link's at SafeHaven Club House, Benjamin's Roof, The Westin, the Marriott, the Hyatt Regency, and Decker's 269, all regularly feature live music for any taste.

To rest your head or take in a spa service or two, there are several luxury resorts to meet your needs for accommodations. And where you can be served by the beach or pool. Whether you prefer the lap of luxury or the simple life, the Cayman Islands has an unparalleled choice of world class accommodations. Throughout the three islands, you can expect to find the perfect lodging. On Grand Cayman, full service resorts include the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, Westin Casuarina Resort and the Marriott Cayman Beach Resort, while the new Ritz Carlton is a testament to island chic.

And if you’re lucky enough to travel to the Caymans in December, you’ll want to make the Cayman Jazz Fest your entertainment goal.You’ll see world-class acts in an intimate setting like I did. If you like jazz, this is a one of a kind way to see your favorite performers. Instead of the usual smoky jazz club, here you are seated within a few feet of the stage. It’s a jazz fan’s dream. Superstars like Al Jarreau, Najee, Yolanda Adams and George Duke, to name a few headliners, thrilled audiences several days and nights in a row. And since you’re seated on the beach enjoying the music, you’ll hear the waves splash as the backdrop for the breezy music. Ah, paradise.

So, take a sexy getaway. Add sun soaked beaches. Mix in fine dining with a little night music. And the promise of non-stop romantic frolic. It’s a delicious recipe that doesn’t get much better than that, so what are you waiting for? Come to the islands, maaaahn.