North Side, Grand Cayman: Perfect Afternoon Itinerary

North Side, Grand Cayman: Perfect Afternoon Itinerary

Tired of the Seven Mile scene? Ready to add some flavor to your standard weekend plans? This itinerary for North Side, Grand Cayman is simple, easy, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon! I have kept this list to 3 essential stops so that you may complete the tour in 3 hours or less with maximum enjoyment and minimal exhaustion! Read on to uncover the perfect North Side itinerary and begin planning your next Cayman adventure!

Setting Out

I am a firm believer that a good road trip is never complete without a preliminary coffee stop! If you are meeting up with others, a great place to start the journey is at Jessie’s Juice in Camana Bay. Grab some caffeinated encouragement for the road and go over your afternoon game plan with the group.

Stop #1 Over the Edge Café

312 North Side Road KY1-1601, Old Man Bay

If departing from the Seven Mile area, the drive to Over the Edge will take roughly 40 minutes. (Might as well be a 3 hour road trip for Cayman standards.) Roll the windows down, turn on 98.9, and enjoy endless Caribbean vibes while cruising through Savannah and Bodden Town.

Over the Edge is a no-nonsense, oceanfront bar and restaurant located in Old Man Bay. Serving delicious Caymanian cuisine in a casual setting, this is the place to go if you want a seaside meal at a very reasonable price. I myself ordered the Mahi Mahi (pictured below) with plantain, rice and beans, and sautéed vegetables. They also brought complimentary Cayman fried bread to our table upon arrival. We sat as close to the water as possible and enjoyed a soft breeze and sweeping views of the glittering turquoise waters. Over the Edge is sure to leave you feeling relaxed and satisfied, ready for a Barefoot Beach adventure!

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Stop #2 Barefoot Beach

Queens Highway

After lunch, it’s time to make your way to the beach for some exploring! A 6 minute drive east from Over the Edge, Barefoot Beach is a secluded area offering stunning vistas and a bohemian feel. It is best known for its picturesque seaside steps and jagged cliffs. (Cliffs in Grand Cayman?? Yes, it’s true!) Wear good shoes and do some exploring along the rocky paths. Although the ocean entry is a bit rocky, I managed to swim around and wade through the light waves. It was very refreshing! All of this sounding a bit too adventurous for your liking? Simply pack a cooler of drinks and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings!

Above Photo Credit: The Cayman Expats

RECOMMENDED READ: The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

Stop #3 Willie’s Fresh Fruit & Juice Stand

Corner of Bodden Town Rd & Frank Sound Rd

After an hour or two at the beach, you definitely won’t say no to a fresh mango or guava juice. I certainly didn’t! While driving back to the Seven Mile area, be sure to stop at the Willie’s fruit stand located at the corner of Bodden Town & Frank Sound Rd. You wouldn’t believe the joy we experienced when we came across it. Our group stocked up on juices for the road as well as freshly baked bread and a native Cayman fruit we had never seen before. We were told it was an apple but I beg to differ! At any rate, it was fun to try something new. With fresh island goodies for reinforcement, it’s now time to make the trip back west. So roll down your windows, turn up the soca, and cruise with your sun-kissed skin and mango-stained lips all the way back to home base.

RECOMMENDED READ: 7 Best Healthy Restaurants in Grand Cayman

This island is beautiful, but living in the Seven Mile area with prices as high as its condos can start to feel a bit like an artificial paradise. I love going out to the North Side of Grand Cayman because it has a nitty-gritty island feel that reminds me I am, IN FACT, living in the Caribbean! Crazy, I know. Anyone who has driven out this way understands the shift in mindset that occurs once you’ve passed through Savannah. I recommend these three stops to anyone who may be looking to add flavor to their weekend plans. It will give you a beautiful and authentic taste of Cayman. Happy adventuring!

Recommended Read: 10 Tips for Your First Trip to Rum Point


Cayman Islands Travel & Lifestyle

MEET KATE

 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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7 Best Running Routes in Grand Cayman

7 Best Running Routes in Grand Cayman

Gorgeous weather, picturesque seascapes, and palm tree lined paths. These words describe the running scene in Grand Cayman. This island offers a wide array of flat, scenic running loops which are great (free) alternatives to hitting the gym or joining a fitness class. Lace up your trainers, hydrate like crazy, and you are on your way to the best workout nature can provide!

Running is a great way to explore new places (or places you’ve lived forever). You’re able to develop an expanded appreciation for your surroundings as your brain makes connections that just aren’t possible when driving around in a car. And let’s not even mention the physical and mental benefits of going out for a jog! If you can’t tell, I am a big fan of running 🙂

Do I have you convinced? Are you ready to go out for a run or try out a new route? Then read on as I highlight the 7 Best Running Routes in Grand Cayman! You will note that they are all roughly 3 mile (5K) routes as this is my preferred distance; however, you could easily add on mileage at the beginning or end of the routes. They are also all in the Seven Mile or South Sound area as these are my stomping grounds. Happy Running!!

THE BEST RUNNING ROUTES IN GRAND CAYMAN

1. Governor’s to Heritage Club

Type of Course: Out & Back, Pavement + Gravel

Where to go: Start at Governor’s Beach and head west on West Bay Road. When you arrive at Public Beach, take the pedestrian path toward the Kimpton. Continue past the Kimpton onto the gravel. After a bit of “off-roading” you will eventually meet back up with West Bay Road, but don’t go much further! The turn-around point is at Heritage Club (yellow high rise condo building). Once you hit this, you’ll know it’s time to turn around and back track the whole course.

Course Highlights: This route will allow you to enjoy ocean views as you jog along the Public Beach path. Here you will see other fellow runners as well as dog-walkers, beach-goers, and volleyball players. I love the active, friendly vibe of this area. Definitely one of the best running routes in Grand Cayman!

RELATED POST: Running the Cayman Islands Marathon

2. North Sound Golf Course

Type of Course: Loop, Pavement + Grass

Where To Go: Start at the North Sound Golf Course entrance (closest to Waterways apartments). Follow the road until you arrive at an entrance gate. Run through the gate and take a right onto Crighton Drive. Keep going until you get to the Holiday Inn. Cut right onto the golf course and follow the golf cart path to the water. This is roughly your halfway point. Continue running along the shore through the grass and you will see the clubhouse come into sight. Run to the clubhouse and continue on straight until you arrive back to the entrance.

Course Highlights: This is my all time favorite running loop in Cayman for a couple different reasons. First, it’s always gorgeous. I love to go at sunrise or sunset — the colors of the sky matched with the pristine green fairways is nothing short of stunning. Secondly, it is a very peaceful setting and I don’t run into many people. (This is often ideal on a small island like Cayman.) And don’t worry — I’ve never been hit by a rogue golf ball! Living on the edge.

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3. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Course

Type of Course: Out & Back, Pavement + Gravel

Where To Go: Start at Governor’s Beach and run to the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton. Go up the steep hill leading up to the lobby and follow the road past Andiamo. Take a left onto the cart path. You’ll go through a tunnel (watch out for carts) and emerge onto the course. Run toward the tennis courts and once past them, continue straight. You will eventually come to a gravel road with sweeping views of the fairway. It’s now a straight shot all the way to the end of the course. Once you run out of path, you can turn around and run all the way back to Governor’s Beach.

Course Highlights: My favorite part of this run is charging up the hill to the Ritz lobby. (Woah, a hill in Cayman — no way!) I also look forward to jogging through the tunnel leading to the golf course; it ignites my adventurous spirit. Overall, this is quick, easy course that can easily be made longer or shorter depending on what you need for the day!

Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Grand Cayman

4. Governor’s Beach to the Marriott

Type of Course: Out & Back, BEACH RUN!

Where To Go: Start at Governor’s Beach and run east along the shore until you arrive at the Marriott. Here you will turn around and run all the way back. Currently the area of Coral Beach is washed out and requires a bit of knee-deep wading. It poses a nice little challenge — just be prepared to get a little wet. (I mean, you are running on the beach after all).

Course Highlights: This is the crème de la crème when it comes to running in Grand Cayman. The island vibes runneth over. No matter the time of day you’ll see people out walking, paddle boarding, and swimming. White sand + turquoise waters = the most picturesque 5k of your life! No question that this is one of the best running routes in Grand Cayman. Of course, you have to be someone who enjoys beach running…someone with relatively strong feet and ankles…

5. Camana Bay Mangroves + CIS

Type of Course: Loop, Pavement + Gravel

Where To Go: Start in the heart of Camana Bay and head toward the “bridge to nowhere” that overlooks the marina. On the other side you’ll find a private tennis court and a trail that loops around the mangroves. There are a few places to turn around on this trail, but I take it out as far as I can and follow the trail back to the bridge. Once you’re across the bridge, turn left toward Cayman International School and loop around their athletic facilities. Once this loop is complete, run back to your starting spot and voilà — 5k complete!

Course Highlights: I love the mangrove loop because it’s very secluded. Nature has you surrounded — no high rise condos in sight! During this part of the route you will also be running on gravel. I don’t know about you but I love me some crunchy gravel sound effects while out on a jog!

6. Britannia

Type of Course: Loop, Pavement + Grass

Where To Go: Britannia is an abandoned golf course by Camana Bay than has shifted into quite an active green space. It is great for dog-walkers and joggers alike. Although the grass is still partially maintained, it gives off kind of a post-apocalyptic “I Am Legend” vibe. I dig it. For your run, start to the right of the Clubhouse and follow the cart path. You will see the ocean start to come into view. Run all the way to the water’s edge and drink in the view while catching your breath. Follow the path to continue the loop around the course. I will stop explaining here because the path has many twists and turns but that is the fun of this route! Once you have finished the whole course, you can run the length of the residential street of the Britannia Villas to make it a full 5k.

Course Highlights: I love this course! The aforementioned post-apocalyptic vibe makes it a super unique running area complete with ocean views and overgrown tropical lushness. The winding paths will keep you entertained as you zig-zag your way around the man-made ponds and rolling hills.

7. Smith’s Cove + South Sound

Type of Course: Out & Back, All pavement

Where To Go: Start at Smith’s Cove and head east on South Church St. Run all the way to the Tides (the most luxury, modern condo building you’ve ever seen) and then keep pushing a bit more. The actual turn around point should be “Tatenda,” a Luxury Cayman Villa. Gosh, lots of luxury on this island it seems… Tatenda is right at the intersection of South Sound Rd and “The Avenue.”

Course Highlights: If you’ve ever meandered through South Sound, you’ll understand why it makes such a gorgeous running route. Tall palms. lush greenery, waterfront mansions — OH MY! Unfortunately, South Sound is not the safest place to run in my opinion because of the lack of sidewalks, narrow roads, and reckless drivers. That being SAID, please do be careful. Maybe don’t run with your earbuds in…stay alert! You must just hear some Cayman parrots squawking in the distance.


I hope you have enjoyed reading about the 7 Best Running Routes in Grand Cayman. Alternating between these 7 different 5K routes helps to keep running exciting for me. Living on such a small island, you wouldn’t imagine there would be so much variety, but all it takes is a little creativity to design a new, exciting route. From this list, I would say my top 3 are definitely #1, #2, and #4. I encourage you to try a new course that you haven’t explored before. You are sure to see new things and maybe even new faces! Just be careful of the rogue golf balls, manic drivers, and sharp corals (if on the beach). You’ll be great! Happy Running!

RELATED RESOURCE: Cayman Active


Cayman Islands Travel & Lifestyle

MEET KATE

 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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7 Best Healthy Restaurants in Grand Cayman

7 Best Healthy Restaurants in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean. It boasts a diverse restaurant scene specializing in steak, seafood, and many local favorites. As much as this island’s visitors and residents love to indulge in decadent dishes, it’s no secret that these meals can be quite heavy and calorie-dense. In the land of year-round beach bodies, it’s nice to have a list of go-to healthy dining alternatives.

The restaurants listed below are my tried and true favorites for the health-conscious islander. Of course their menus do not represent 100% clean eating — they feature sweets and greasy fan favorites as well! However, the majority of their selections are nourishing and healthful. I come away from these meals feeling refreshed and energetic. Even more exciting is that these 7 picks are wonderful options for vegans and vegetarians. Myself being vegetarian, I am so grateful to have found them. Without further ado here are the 7 Best Healthy Restaurants to Try in Grand Cayman!

1. Vivo

Location: North West Point Road (West Bay)

Hours: 11 am – 9 pm on Weekdays, 9 am – 9 pm on Sat/Sun & Holidays, (Closed Monday and Tuesday)

Why I Love It: Vivo is a breath of fresh air in the Cayman culinary scene. It is a small outdoor café with an incredible ocean view. You can hear the waves crashing against the shore as you as eat your meal. With only a few tables, Vivo offers an intimate setting. The staff is also super friendly and welcoming! The menu features many healthy options including fresh seafood as well as vegan/veg versions of some Cayman favorites.

Kate’s Menu Favorite: The Vivo Loaf – Lentil and mushroom loaf, stuffed with cauliflower, topped with garlic coconut cream sauce, served with mixed salad and Brussel sprouts (bottom left)

RELATED POST: The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

2. Island Naturals

Location: Ground Floor, 12 Earth Cl (Seven Mile)

Hours: 7 am – 7 pm on Weekdays, 8 am – 6 pm Saturday, 8 am – 5 pm Sunday

Why I Love It: Island Naturals simply emanates good vibes. The second I walk in the door I am greeted by smiling faces; people who truly seem to enjoy their job. If you go you are sure to see Jen who will instantly brighten your day with her positive energy. While I tend to stick to a few menu favorites, everything I have tried at Island Naturals has been delicious! This restaurant has amazing variety and the freshest ingredients. It is also centrally located and is only a minute drive from my apartment. (I’m certainly not upset about this).

Kate’s Menu Favorite: Small Zen Buddha Bowl w/ Vegan Chorizo – Quinoa, Red Cabbage, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Avocado, Tomato, Kale, Beet; Hummus, Sesame Seeds w/ Greek Dressing (bottom left)

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3. Jessie’s Juice

Location: Market St (Camana Bay)

Hours: 7:30 am – 4 pm Weekdays, 9 am – 4 pm Saturdays, 9 am – 3 pm Sundays

Why I Love It: Jessie’s provides a cute city vibe that most places in Grand Cayman simply cannot recreate. Striped yellow umbrellas and wooden booths give off a fun and welcoming energy. Their menu offers great variety and is very inclusive, taking into consideration a wide array of dietary needs. They will having you come back time and again to try their coffee, smoothies, pastries, bowls, kombucha, and much more!

Kate’s Menu Favorite(s): Matcha Mint Smoothie Bowl (bottom left), Life-Changing Bread, Harlem Express Smoothie

4. Bread & Chocolate Vegan Bistro

Location: 3 Dr Roys Dr (Georgetown)

Hours: Breakfast & Lunch: 8 am – 3 pm on Weekdays, 8 am – 2 pm on Sat/Sun

Dinner: 5:30 pm – 8 pm on Weekdays

Why I Love It: When I first visited Cayman in October 2019, I was totally vegan. Bread & Chocolate was one of this first restaurants I tried on island. An all vegan restaurant in Grand Cayman? I couldn’t believe my luck! Located in central Georgetown, Bread & Chocolate is a quirky little hole-in-the-wall bistro serving all day vegan breakfast as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches. Nestle into a cozy table or at the bistro bar and dig into a their namesake French toast stuffed with hazelnut butter and bananas. Portions are generous and the food is delicious!

Kate’s Menu Favorite: Breakfast Plate – Breakfast scramble (tofu with red onion & turmeric), hickory smoked tempeh, tomato, and house-made garlic aioli on a fresh baked sesame seed bun. Served with home fries and fresh fruit (bottom left)

5. Bluestone Lane

Location: 51 Fort St (Georgetown)

Hours: 7:30 am – 4 pm on Weekdays, 8 am – 4pm on Saturdays, 9 am – 3 pm on Sundays

Why I Love It: I love Bluestone Lane for the same reasons I love Jessie’s Juice. It has an attractive city vibe that I didn’t imagine possible on this island. With locations also in New York, Los Angeles, and DC, it’s no wonder I feel I’ve been transported somewhere a bit more cosmopolitan. Bluestone Lane boasts a beautifully designed café space in Georgetown center. Their Australian-inspired menu features healthy favorites such as a the Avocado Smash, Good Grains Granola, and Buddha Bowl.

Kate’s Menu Favorite(s): Breakfast Bowl – Tossed baby kale, heirloom tomatoes, feta, avocado, farro & a poached egg, Flat White Coffee (bottom right)

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6. Palm Heights Vegan Brunch

Location: 747 W Bay Rd (Seven Mile Beach)

When? Keep your eyes on the Palm Heights Events Calendar. If you happen to be around when they are putting one on, drop everything and go! (Yes, they really are that cool.)

Why I Love It: Palm Heights’ close attention to design details is certainly not lost on their vegan brunch. With an expertly curated menu and intimate family-style seating arrangements, this is truly an event like no other. The brunch has historically taken place at their Turtle Pool which gives off boutique, luxury dining vibes. Prepare yourself for culinary innovation. You will be exposed to flavor combinations you never even thought possible. This is quite a social event with plenty of opportunity for chatting with table mates, event organizers, and even the chefs!

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7. Fresh Kitchen & Coffee

Location: Galleria Plaza, West Bay Rd (Seven Mile Beach)

Hours: 7:30 am – 5 pm on Weekdays, 11:30 am – 3 pm on Saturdays, Closed on Sundays

Why I Love It: Fresh’s simple and clean interior is the ideal space for a lunch date or work session. Similar to Island Naturals and Jessie’s Juice, this restaurants offers bowls, smoothies, coffee, pastries…and much more! (They also serve Green2Go juices in their drink cooler) Fresh’s delicious, house made ingredients have left me feeling satisfied and energized every time I have visited. Definitely worth a stop next time you get hungry while running errands!

Kate’s Menu Favorite: Acai Breakfast Bowl – House made granola / almonds / shaved coconut blueberries / a drizzle of honey (pictured below)

Healthy Restaurants Still On My List

As a writer, I want to bring you the most honest & accurate information possible. I understand there are many other restaurants in Grand Cayman that offer healthy options on their menu. I want to try them all! I just haven’t had the time (or money) to do that. (If you’d like to invite me out to lunch somewhere, please feel free to hit me up! 😉 )

That being said, here are some other restaurants I have heard about but have yet to try:

Brussel Sprouts

The Brasserie

Green2Go

Saucha

-Seven Mile Greens (Coming soon)

(And many more!)

That’s a wrap! I hope this list has inspired you to try a new healthy restaurant or maybe a new menu item from one of your favorites. And hey — if all you end up ordering at these places is a dessert or pastry, that’s fine too 🙂 (I won’t tell anyone).

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MEET KATE

 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

Grand Cayman, however small it may be, offers countless activities and adventures for visitors and locals alike. The best part? Most of these activities require very little planning and in many cases, minimal spending. These factors make this island a perfect setting to tick off a whole slew of bucket list items! Keep reading below to uncover the Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List and get started on your tropical adventures today.

Download the PDF version below of this bucket list below:

1. Kiss a stingray for 7 years of good luck: Stingray City is where you can go to feed, pet, and even kiss these gorgeous sea creatures. Hop on a boat party or book a group tour with Red Sail.

2. Enjoy a fish fry at Eastern Star: 30 minutes from central Georgetown, this beachside bar and restaurant offers a wide selection of locally caught fish, lobster, shrimp, and conch.

3. Visit the Parrot Sanctuary in East End: If kissing the stingray didn’t work, don’t you worry! Kissing a parrot is said to bring 10 years of good luck. The Parrot Sanctuary will bring you face to face with some of the island’s native plants and animal species. The stars of the show are of course, the Cayman Parrots! After your visit you can head across the road for a seaside lunch at Tukka.

4. Explore the Crystal Caves in Northside: Venture through three spectacular caves and the surrounding tropical forest on a 90-minute guided walking tour.

5. Dive or snorkel the Kittiwake shipwreck: Before moving to Cayman, I thought exploring sunken ships was only possible in the movies. This island makes these adventures so accessible with its plethora of shipwrecks and world-class diving culture.

6. Take a leisurely stroll through the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Park: Live like royalty for a few hours while wandering through these elegant gardens with their exotic floral display. This experience will leave you feeling peaceful and inspired!

7. Salsa dance a Tuesday night away at the Wharf: Can you name a more perfect backdrop for a night of Latin dancing? Arrive early to brush up on your steps as a dance instructor gives complimentary lessons. Entrance is free and water is provided!

8. Embark on a sunrise stingray cruise: Perfect for the early-birds, this tour gets you to the sand bar before the crowds. After Stingray City, you’ll head to the North Sound barrier reef for some snorkeling. A truly perfect start to the day!

9. Go horseback riding on the beach: Have the adventure of a lifetime by swimming bareback on your horse. Cayman’s crystalline waters create a dream-like setting for a truly unforgettable horse riding experience.

10. Take a Humane Society pup for a beach walk: This organization works so hard to care for homeless pups! Their shelter is often full and they greatly appreciate volunteer dog-walkers. No need to sign up or register, just stop in and they’ll give you the sweetest dog to take for a couple hours, the whole day, or even just 20 minutes.

11. Book a fitness class or sound healing on the Palm Heights rooftop: The view from atop this boutique hotel on Seven Mile Beach is absolutely breathtaking. Need relaxation? Clear your mind and soul with one of Janine Martins’ sound healing sessions. Want to sweat it out? Check out Jude Love’s Full Body Conditioning or Naturally Heated Pilates.

12. Star gaze at Barkers Beach on a clear night: This one is for the real adventurers wanting to go off the beaten trail. Away from the hustle and bustle of Seven Mile Beach, Barkers is a peaceful, remote setting for an evening of star gazing. Pack flash lights, bug spray, and refreshments of choice!

13. Snorkel with turtles at Spotts Beach: Another activity that rewards all the early risers out there! The best time to see turtles at Spotts Beach is from 7 am and onward. Swim around the seagrass area and you are sure to spot a few! Check out my Spotts Beach video here!

14. Swim in the natural topaz pool at Pedro St. James: Timing is everything with the swimming hole at Pedro St. James. Sometimes it is pristine and gorgeous, other times it simply an empty rock hole. If you are someone who understands tides, you may have a bit more luck with this! Wear durable shoes as you’ll have to traverse the Ironshore.

15. Go for a hike on the Mastic Trail: Immerse yourself in the island’s native plant species with this 7.4 km out and back trail near Bodden Town.

16. Kayak or snorkel the Bioluminescent Bay: Book with Cayman Kayaks for an unforgettable 2-hour bioluminescent kayak experience. Feeling brave? Other tours on island allow you to jump in and snorkel. Just beware of the jellyfish! Read about my failed DIY bioluminescent experience here!

17. Camp on the beach during the Easter Holiday: What a wonderful way to disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty of Cayman’s coastline! Hundreds of people turn out for this long-standing island tradition. If you’re unable to camp, take a walk on the beach to experience some of the fun first hand!

18. Spend an afternoon boat partying: You will not escape this island without attending at least one boat party. Move to the rhythms of Soca music as you cruise about the dreamy turquoise waters of the Caribbean! Read my boat party tips here!

19. Steal the dancefloor at a Tillie’s theme brunch: A truly iconic experience, Tillie’s will wow you with their creative design, delicious food, and outrageously cool DJs. Read about my own Tillie’s brunch experience here!

20. Sip a Mudslide at Kaibo in Rum Point: This cocktail is as Cayman as it gets. Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s, and ice, finished with cinnamon, a cherry, and a shot of Kahlua down the straw!

21. Try a paddleboard yoga class with Vitamin Sea: There are few things more peaceful than a sunset savasana on the water. Surround yourself with the expansive beauty of Seven Mile Beach alongside a group of saltwater yogis. All levels are welcome!

22. Load up on fresh fruit from Tony the Mango Man: During the summer months in Grand Cayman, the sight of this man outside of Governor’s Beach will be enough to make your whole day. Bring cash to stock up on local produce and have a chat with the man behind the mangoes!

23. Participate in the Flowers Sea Swim: Hosted annually on Seven Mile Beach, this one-mile swim race attracts athletes from around the world. Grand Cayman is certainly an inspiring destination for such an exciting event!

24. Compete in (or spectate) the Cayman Islands Marathon: Runners from Cayman and around the world can compete in either the half or full marathon. Those who are not so inclined to long distance races can partake in the event by passing out water or simply cheering on the runners. Read about my own Cayman marathon experience here!

25. Spot a Nurse Shark at Eden Rock or Sunset House: Nurse sharks can be seen almost anywhere off Cayman’s shores. Eden Rock and Sunset House are highlighted because of their easy shore access. (And also because I have personally spotted nurse sharks at both of these sites). Go for an easy shore dive or a lengthy snorkel and you may just spot one yourself! Read about my very first shark sighting here!

26. Shop for amazing gifts at Pure Art in South Sound: A visit to this unique store guarantees a heartwarming shopping experience. With unique handmade gifts and island-inspired local artwork, you are sure to walk out with treasures for yourself and others. Not to mention, the store owners are incredibly kind and helpful!

27. Watch the sunset with a Paradise Pizza on the beach: This island is a paradise. Why waste time indoors? Paradise Pizza is located behind Tillie’s. Pick up a Neapolitan-style pizza and take a seat on Seven Mile Beach for unique sunset dinner experience.

28. Rise early for a sunrise Seven Mile beach walk: At this hour, you have the beach almost completely to yourself! Enjoy the cotton candy colored skies as you pad across the expansive stretch of beach. Afterwards, treat yourself to a pastry from Icoa or Marriott’s Anchor & Den — you earned it!

29. Try a local island dish at Vivines in East End: An authentic, West-Indian eatery, Vivines offers local favorites such as stew chicken, macaroni pie, oxtail, conch, and callaloo.

30. Coffee Crawl though Georgetown and Seven Mile: The “Coffee Crawl” is a caffeinated itinerary invented by yours truly! It is a guide to exploring the many coffee shops of Grand Cayman — a wonderful way to get to know the island and its businesses! Check out my guide here!

There you have it! The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List is sure to inspire your future travels (if you’re a visitor) or weekend plans (if you’re a local). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Grand Cayman is always brimming with events, attractions, and activities (on land, at sea, and underwater). No matter what plans you end up making, this little island is going to wow you again and again — I can guarantee it!


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A Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: Not Your Average Review

A Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: Not Your Average Review

What does luxury look like to you? When I was playing college soccer I considered the continental breakfast at the Mankato “Amerc-Inn” to be completely lavish. (They had French Vanilla coffee creamers). Travelling about Europe, finding a hostel whose storage lockers actually worked represented total indulgence. Throughout my life I have always basked in the joys of mini luxuries. That is why staying at the Ritz-Carlton, a hotel whose name alone incites feelings of extravagance, was truly an experience like no other. Keep reading to hear about my weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. I promise it’s not your average review!

The Room

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The view from an oceanfront room at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is truly what dreams are made of. Every time we returned to our room after being out for a while, we had to go out on the balcony to relive the experience all over again. Looking out over the shimmering pool and expansive turquoise waters was all I needed to feel I got my money’s worth. I went a little bit crazy on the Nespresso machine in the room, raising countless coffee cups over the balcony like a caffeinated Gatsby.

I achieved the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long while in the King bed. With its perfectly fluffy white duvet and heavenly pillows, it was like sleeping on an expensive cloud. Floating about the room in my hotel robe and applying my makeup in front of the bathroom’s double vanity really served to remind me of my life goals. All together, the room gets an A+ for its mesmerizing seascape and bliss-inducing ambience.

The Pool + Beach Activities

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman caters to a wide range of luxury interests. For many people, vacation means piña coladas delivered to your lounge chair. For others, vacation requires a bit of action in the form of exercise or activities. Whatever type of vacationer you may be, the Ritz has you covered. Bryan and I dabbled in both the lazy and active lifestyles by dividing our time between the lounge chairs and water sports. On Saturday we enjoyed a poolside drink and snack from Bar Jack. We then rented some complimentary paddleboards. They turned out to be a great workout for me and a little nap for Bryan. (He just treated his as a makeshift floatie — no judgement whatsoever).

I highly recommend the water sports, but be careful with Bar Jack. We paid US $60 for our two drinks and a tiny side of fries — GASP! (The price of luxury, I guess?) Sunday we switched it up with lounge chairs on the beach. We much preferred this as there were far less screaming children on the beach. (Not what a teacher needs on her vacation) NO RUNNING! We also committed a little “whoopsie” by bringing our own cheap wine to the hotel lounge chairs. We most likely would have have slipped under the radar had we not requested an ice bucket for said wine. Ah well, a little opportunism never hurt anybody.

Featured below: Blossom Village by Collective Swim

In-Room Dining

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After feeling gypped by our “light” refreshments at Bar Jack, we were a bit wary when it came to room service. That being said, I went on a short walk to pick us up some Island Naturals for lunch. (Zen Buddha Bowls with vegan chorizo YUM!). In the evening we discovered our amazingly thoughtful friends had ordered us a cheese plate. It was delivered to our room along with a cake to celebrate our anniversary, compliments of the hotel. We certainly felt very special and grateful to our friends and the hotel staff. We took all this deliciousness out to the balcony and enjoyed an anniversary “dinner” that couldn’t be beat.

Since our faith had been restored in the idea of room service, we dared to order breakfast to the room on Sunday morning. I ordered the Cayman Continental (a bit different from the continental breakfast in Mankato). It consisted of a large French press, juice, a bagel, a beautiful yogurt parfait, and a fruit “plate.” (More like a small fruit cup through my American eyes). It was all delicious! This costed about US $28…not great but not ghastly. As for Bryan, he ordered a more traditional breakfast (eggs, meat, hash browns, toast). At first he was wildly disappointed because they botched the order but quickly recovered as they brought us a brand new breakfast. In the end, we were quite happy campers. Eating anything with that kind of view — who could be upset?

Resort Dining

If you’ve read the review thus far, you can probably guess Bryan and I are not really what you would call epicureans… nor are we foodies. That being said, if you’re looking for a well-informed fine dining review, I suggest you look elsewhere. This particular weekend, we actually didn’t eat in any of the restaurants. (Unless you count our exorbitantly-priced sweet potato fries from Bar Jack). However, I have eaten at both Taikun, the gourmet sushi lounge, and Seven, the illustrious steakhouse, and obviously both were ridiculously delicious and expensive. For a much more thorough and helpful review, I suggest you consult The Island Epicurean who offers reviews on all four of the Ritz-Carlton restaurants.

Spa & Fitness Center

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of the major selling points for us was the fact that we were allowed free reign of the spa and fitness facilities. The complimentary section of the spa includes a steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi. Of course I meandered my way through each area pretending I was a well-seasoned spa-goer who doesn’t panic the minute they sit down in a 160 degree Fahrenheit room (nightmares from Final Destination — the indoor tanning scene). Despite my initial hesitation, I felt very relaxed and terribly sophisticated after my first spa session. My only complaint was that there was no tea being served in the changing room and I just feel that was a grave mistake.

Next up is the gym which to our satisfaction we found virtually empty save for a couple valiant weekend warriors. The ultimate sign of luxury for me was a basket of new (or at least clean) headphones for gym-goers. I gratefully “borrowed” a pair to use on the TV attached to one of the the ultra-chic and stealthy ellipticals. Yes, ellipticals can absolutely be described as chic. (The elliptical at my apartment gym sounds like it’s about to fall apart at any moment and certainly does not have a TV attached). By the time all was said and done I felt like a proper Victoria’s Secret model leaving the spa/gym; my face glistening with the expensive kind of sweat only the Ritz-Carlton can produce.

Service:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As mentioned before, my lodging experiences throughout my life have entailed college soccer road trips, $15/night Euro hostels, and even a rodent-infested quarantine facility. BUT, I do come from the Midwest and let me tell you that people are NICE in the Midwest. (Not talking about you, Illinois) That being said, I have high expectations when it comes to customer service and I would say, although unsurprisingly, the service at the Ritz-Carlton met and exceeded my expectations. It’s pretty wonderful that this experience is available to island locals during COVID and the fact that the hotel staff upholds the same service standards even for local “small-spenders” speaks well of their company’s culture and values. From the rum punch welcome drinks to the kind anniversary gesture, we truly felt special throughout our short stay.

To bring this most unconventional review to a close, here are my final thoughts on the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and on luxury hotels in general. As someone who is perfectly content to spend a week sleeping in a camper or a hostel bunk bed, I was surprised at how much I relished the luxury experience at the Ritz-Carlton. I believe it is something that everyone deserves to enjoy at least once in their life. Now that I’ve opened this door and have had a taste of the good life, I already am feeling the need to repeat it in the near future. I would recommend a stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman to vacationers and locals alike. But whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasures in life just as much as the luxury ones!


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5 Unique Date Ideas in Grand Cayman

5 Unique Date Ideas in Grand Cayman

Living on a small island like Grand Cayman, it can be easy to fall into a pattern when it comes to date night. We visit the same restaurants, order our same tried and true favorites, and revisit the same conversation topics. This is all good and well, but every once in a while, it’s nice to shake-up the routine and try something fun and fresh. The 5 unique date ideas in Grand Cayman listed below will have you falling in love with this little island (and your special someone) all over again!

1. Sunset Cruise with Red Sail Sports

Nothing says “romantic evening” like watching the sunset aboard a luxury catamaran. Red Sail offers this experience Monday through Saturday from 6 to 8 pm. There are light snacks served by the crew and happy hour drink specials from the bar. The boat is very spacious and offers many cozy seating options for gazing off into the sunset (or into the eyes of your seafaring sweetheart). I would recommend this experience to anyone who is looking for a break from sit-down dinner dates (BORING!) Set sail in style and enjoy a romantic evening at sea with Red Sail. Want to hear more about what Red Sail has to offer? Read how I became PADI certified with them in 2020!

2. Dance Class with Fuego Latin Dance

Talk about shaking it up! Attending a dance class with Fuego Latin Dance is sure to be a date night to remember. What’s more, it may become a weekly tradition. Fuego Latin Dance is a social dance community that offers classes at Cayman Music School in Camana Bay. Their offering includes group lessons in bachata, salsa, and kizomba. Whether you and your partner are complete beginners or already have some Latin dance under your belts, you are sure to find a class that suits your background. A drop-in class costs $20 whereas a 4-week and 6-week membership cost $60 and $90 respectively. The instructors have a fun, light-hearted vibe that diffuses any dance-related anxiety immediately upon arrival. Grab a drink in Camana Bay before or after your lesson and you have yourself the perfect date night that won’t break the bank!

3. Taco Tuesday at Coccoloba

How could a date go wrong with tacos and tequila? (Ok, don’t answer that). Continuing in the same Latin vein, it’s about time to spice up your week with a Tuesday date night at Coccoloba. This open-air restaurant on Seven Mile Beach serves Mexican street food with modern island flair. From 5 pm to 9 pm you can order $5 tacos and $8 margaritas to your heart’s content. Another prime spot to watch the sun go down as live Latin music fills your ears and liquid paradise lifts your spirits. Dancing is optional although you may very well be the only couple on display for the whole restaurant. (Yes, Bryan and I are that kind of couple). What are you waiting for? Trade your boring wine and over-priced entrée for a night of tequila, tacos and music!

4. Paradise Pizza on the Beach

This island is a paradise. Why waste time indoors? You want your pizza and you want it on the beach, damnit! Another cost-effective date that is overflowing with island vibes is ordering a couple pizzas from Pam Height’s Paradise Pizza and plopping your bum in the sand to eat them. Let’s stay on theme and say you can even consume this cheesy bliss while watching the sun go down over the calm, Caribbean waters. Pick up a bottle of biodynamic wine from Paradise or buy whatever is on sale at Tortuga Rum and have yourself a sandy happy hour. Just don’t forget glasses and an opener. Your date is going to think you are a genius and will (probably) love you forever.

5. Movie Night at the Westin

The pinnacle of romance is watching a movie on the beach with yours toes in the sand. Every Thursday, the Westin blows up a massive outdoor screen and creates the cutest little beach theater. Here you can enjoy a rom-com with your special someone and have drinks and food served directly to your seat. The best part of all of this? You only pay for what you buy! There is currently no entrance fee, making this a very cheap date indeed. And if your date doesn’t want to see a rom-com, well that is a deal-breaker and it’s time for you to cut your losses. Call it like I see it. Arrive around 6:30 pm to settle into your seats and enjoy the full theater experience a la Seven Mile Beach! Reservations are required: Call 345-321-5513 to secure your spot.

Works just as well for a Girls Night Out!

There you have it! 5 unique date ideas that will impress your special someone whether you’ve been together for 1 week or 20 years. What all of these dates have in common is that they get you away from a traditional dining setting (where dates most commonly transpire), providing an undeniably fresh and exciting experience for both you and your partner. Don’t delay! Try one of these ideas this week or weekend. You will not be disappointed!


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What To Wear in the Cayman Islands

What To Wear in the Cayman Islands

When it comes to style, the Caribbean is an eclectic blend of luxury, casual beach vibes, and local island flavor. With all these seemingly contradictory tastes, it can be hard to know what to wear in the Cayman Islands. By no means am I well-versed in the world of fashion. However, I have identified eleven island girl essentials that have become staples in my Cayman wardrobe. I believe these could be welcome additions to your Caribbean closet as well. Whether you are preparing for a move, planning a visit, or are already living in this tropical paradise, I hope this essential list infuses your life and your attire with practical yet stylish island vibes.

# 1 Linen Pants

Effortlessly elegant, linen pants are a Caribbean wardrobe essential. I found the below featured pair at the Humane Society Thrift Shop (a recurring theme when it comes to my island attire). They are light, comfortable, and seem to pair with everything. Whether you’re chilling on the beach or adventuring around the island, these linen basics are a must have when you’re planning what to wear in the Cayman Islands!


# 2 Shades

Here in the Caribbean, we would be nothing without our sunglasses. Their practicality combined with serious style factor make them an invaluable accessory for island life. It is no secret that they can also be a great prop for a shameless brunch flex as well as the standard selfie. My featured shades were purchased in Camana Bay at De Sunglass Man.


# 3 Collective Swim Suits

When I was living in the Midwest, I literally purchased ONE swimsuit a year to wear throughout the few fleeting summer months. Here in Cayman, it is a very different story. There seem to exist infinite opportunities to parade around in swimwear. Even my frugal self has numerous rotations of one pieces, tops, and bottoms. My go-to bikini is Collective Swim’s black Kittiwake (named after the Grand Cayman shipwreck). Designed in and inspired by the Cayman Islands, I would recommend Collective Swim to any local or visitor looking for something uniquely Cayman and readily available on island.


# 4 Wide Brim Beach Hats

We love beach hats for the same reasons we love sunglasses — they are practical and timelessly chic. Something you probably did not know is that in a pinch, they make great shopping baskets! Warning: the cashiers may laugh at you but just tell them that you were inspired by Island Diaries. They’ll think it’s a movement…and that’s what it is 😉


# 5 Boyfriend / Button-Down Shirts

Prior to moving to Cayman, I would have never imagined that button downs and oversized boyfriend shirts would become such key players in my wardrobe. Coming from MinneSNOWta, I was dreaming of minimal-coverage island attire. I wanted the kind of tan I could never achieve in the Midwest. Months after moving, I find myself covering my arms every chance I get! Partly in an effort to block the sun but also because my body has acclimatized, no longer sweating profusely the minute I leave the AC. Boyfriend shirts and button ups are great for sun protection and provide a laid-back, beachy feel for any occasion. The Humane Society Thrift Store has quite the abundance of these styles. That is where I found the below featured tops!


# 6 Colorful, Statement Jewelry

The Caribbean invites a certain boldness in color and style than just wouldn’t make sense in other parts of the world. Since living in Cayman, I have unearthed the most unique, fun earrings (from the thrift store) that have become conversation pieces at every dinner or event I wear them to. Don’t go searching for this kind of jewelry though…it is best to let it find YOU.


# 7 The Iconic Kirk Grocery Bag

What costs $1 and serves as the perfect beach companion? Why, a reusable Kirk Market bag of course! While not the most luxurious of accessories, it gets the job done and adds local flavor to your island wardrobe.


# 8 Ultra-Versatile Denim Skirts

Leave it to the American to call the denim skirt an “island essential.” Say what you want, it truly goes with everything and is great to throw on over swimsuit bottoms. And yes indeed, both the below featured skirts are from the Humane Society Thrift Store.


# 9 The Romper

Back home I swear I considered buying a romper once every couple of months and they never made it past the dressing room. Living in the Caribbean, rompers have a certain je ne sais quoi that just works for the island lifestyle. Light and airy, this style offers a beachy, boho vibe that can be dressed up for a brunch or left casual for a beach day. Check out more of my thrift store finds below!


# 10 Head Scarf / Bandana

Beach-waves are a highly-coveted hairstyle that are quite achievable when living by the ocean. As lovely as this style is, it can lead to some pretty unruly hair. Not to worry, I have the perfect fix for this. Head scarves and bandanas are a simple and chic way to keep your hair out of your face and appear effortlessly beautiful wherever your island adventures may take you!


# 11 Comfy Slip-Ons


If my students didn’t ask me to tie their shoes on a daily basis, I may have forgotten how to do it by now. That is how infrequently I lace up because practically all of my shoes here are slip-ons. Flip-flops are an obvious essential if you are beaching on the regular; however, I would also recommend investing in comfortable sandals that can come on and off at a moments notice. This style is perfect for impromptu beach walks, beach restaurants, boat parties, and every occasion in between. Featured below are Viscata Menorcan sandals and an island-found pair from No. 1 Shoe Shop. Ideal shoes to wear in in the Cayman Islands!

Fun, beachy, and practical — those are the three words that describe my island wardrobe and I don’t see myself deviating far from this style anytime soon. The 11 island essentials I described today add comfort and lightness to the Caribbean lifestyle. Next time you are wondering what to wear in the Cayman Islands, take a page from Island Diaries and be sure to consult your local second hand stores! Happy shopping!

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The Non-Alcoholic Guide to the Cayman Islands | 20 Alcohol-Free Things To Do in Cayman

The Non-Alcoholic Guide to the Cayman Islands | 20 Alcohol-Free Things To Do in Cayman

Grand Cayman offers a buzzing social scene filled with brunches, boat parties, happy hours, and everything in between. While an active social agenda is great for making friends and forming connections on the island, it is no secret that many of these activities center around alcohol. That is why I have devised a list of non-alcoholic activities that can be incorporated into your island plans to encourage healthy connections and sustainable living. Get ready — sober island life never sounded so good!

1. Dive

The single most tropical activity you could possibly partake in, scuba diving is an ultra-healthy and adventurous way to experience the island. Red Sail offers a Sunday morning special departing from the old Calico’s — CI $50 for two tanks, all the equipment, and even a group guide if desired. Diving is a great way to make friends and form new connections. Read about how to become scuba certified in one of my previous posts.

2. Snorkel

Logistically much simpler than diving is the equally healthy and adventurous activity of snorkeling. All you need is a mask, fins, a snorkel, and a buddy! I recommend Eden Rock for its beautiful coral formations and Spotts for turtles. In the summer, Cemetery Beach is another great spot to swim with wild turtles!

3. Latin Dance Classes

Fuego Latin Dance offers a variety of classes focusing on Salsa and Bachata. These classes are CI $20 per hour and cater to beginners as well as improvers. Although completely alcohol free, I must admit that Bryan and I had some wine beforehand to help us ease into our dance moves. This is a great way to meet new people because you switch partners each time a new step is added to the routine.

4. Coconut Club Vegan Brunch

We never thought we would see the words “vegan” and “brunch” side by side, but Coconut Club puts on an artful and inspiring 5 course presentation in which cocktails are replaced by freshly fermented kombucha. The event is CI $45 and is a lovely way to connect with new faces as meals are presented in a family-style setting and there is plenty of time to chat in between courses. Keep an eye on their events calendar or the Coconut Club Instagram to see when their next vegan brunch will take place!

5. Walk a Dog

The Cayman Islands Humane Society encourages locals to pick up a dog at the shelter for a quick walk or a day-long excursion as a way to provide them exercise and grant them a bit of freedom from their caged surroundings. The dogs love it, you love it, and your liver loves it! Win-win-win!

6. Beach Walks

Too obvious? I think not! Don’t be that islander who takes their paradise surroundings for granted. Beach walks are straight forward but offer wonderful versatility in your island plans. For example, instead of driving directly to Island Naturals, park at Governor’s Beach and walk to get your smoothie! It is so much more rewarding having to work for it a little bit 😉

7. Coffee Crawl

Like a pub crawl but you trade alcohol for caffeinated bliss! Explore Grand Cayman by visiting its many cafes and coffee shops. Read my Coffee Crawl post to get started planning your own!

8. Road Trip

Living in the Seven Mile Beach area, the lifestyle can start to feel quite busy (and expensive)! Shake up your weekend itinerary by planning a little road trip out to East End or North Side. There are many little stops to make along the way including restaurants, beaches, scenic photo ops, and much more! 

9. Vitamin Sea SUP Yoga

One of the first things I researched before moving to Cayman was paddleboard yoga by Vitamin Sea. Stalking their Instagram account was one of the only things that got me through the snowy Minnesota winter. While Vitamin Sea offers standard paddle board rental, I would highly recommend trying out the yoga class which is taught on the water at sunset…I mean, what more can you ask for? 

10. Rent a Bike or Scooter

There are public bike and scooter stations located around the island. Hop on a scooter just across the street from the Westin and ride it to Camana Bay. Your reward for making it all the way there without falling could be an ice cream from Haagen-Dazs or a gelato from Gelato & Co. 

11. Join a Run Club

Grand Cayman has a surprising number of run club opportunities catering to a wide range abilities. These clubs are free to join and are a great way to meet fellow runners who share your health goals. Two of my favorites are the Palm Height’s Monday Night Run Club and the Saturday Morning Camana Bay Run Club which departs from Jessie’s Juice at 7 am.

12. Thrift Shopping

Shopping second hand is not only an amazing way to save money and practice sustainability, it is also a surprisingly entertaining way to pass the time on a Saturday. You truly never know what treasures you will unearth at the thrift store! I recommend the Humane Society Thrift Store but you can also try out the Red Cross and Another Chance (at the Strand). Read my recent post to learn the best tips for finding amazing thrift deals.

13. Go “Hiking”

Anyone who lives in Cayman knows that hiking, by standard definition, is not really a thing. The Mastic Trail is the one minor exception. Located near Bodden Town, the trail is a 7.4 km round-trip journey where you will come face to face with some of Cayman’s most quintessential trees and wildlife including Cayman parrots! Wear good shoes, pack a NON-alcoholic beverage, and you are set for an afternoon of exercise and nature appreciation!

14. Rent a Jet Ski

Island vibes abound when zipping across the crystalline turquoise waters of Seven Mile Beach on a jet ski. If you are not yet “balling” and do not own a jet ski, you can rent one from Red Sail, departing from the beach at the Kimpton. The cost is roughly CI $50 per half hour. A bit expensive, but it’s a nice way to treat yourself and also makes for a great gift!

15. Kayak The Bioluminescent Bay

Paddle beneath the stars from Rum Point to Cayman’s only bioluminescent bay. Cayman Kayak’s offers a 2-hour guided tour for USD $59 that gives you a front-row seat to this magical underwater phenomenon. 

16. 3 Girls & A Kiln

Get in touch with your artistic side and stop in at 3 Girls and a Kiln in Camana Bay. They are an art collective specializing in island chic ceramic and handmade, upcycled goods. They offer a whole calendar of monthly crafting events as well as make & take wood painting classes — perfect for a girls day out, a date night, or a little self-discovery bliss! 

17. Read on the Beach

Another seemingly obvious island activity; however, many are not taking full advantage of this seaside R&R! Spend a luxurious afternoon selecting the perfect read at the Book Loft and then head to a quiet stretch of Seven Mile or a secluded corner of Smith’s Cove to indulge in some cheap, alcohol-free entertainment. 

18. Sister Island Adventure

It can be hard to escape drinking culture when it has you surrounded on all sides. Maybe a weekend get-away is exactly what you need to break out of your current social pattern and satisfy a bit of wanderlust. Whether it’s rock-climbing in Cayman Brac or biking around Little Cayman, it’s never a bad idea to shake up your routine! Check out my Cayman Brac itinerary for a little help planning your island-hopping adventure!

19. Art Appreciation

Experience the island through the eyes of local artists by scheduling a visit to their studios. Read my East End Girls Trip Itinerary to read about the two studios I visited: Charles Long and White Dog Art. Cayman also showcases artwork around the island in the forms of murals, paintings, and sculptures. Visit the National Gallery for a more concentrated collection of artwork.

20. Sound Healing

Saving the best for last, a Sound Healing session with Janine Martins is an absolute must if you’re seeking fresh experiences and pure inspiration. Janine will bring your body back into a state of harmony with her beautiful voice and Tibetan singing bowls. Not to mention, her public offering is held on the Palm Heights rooftop, a truly dreamy location. Keep an eye on the Palm Heights events calendar or Janine’s Instagram for upcoming sound healing dates!

There you are! 20 alcohol-free activities to begin incorporating into your island social calendar. Don’t forget that as much as we love them, there is much more to this island than just boat parties and brunches! If you haven’t tried any of the above activities, I challenge you to try at least one this weekend. I promise they will open your eyes and allow you to experience Cayman through a new, beautiful, (sober) perspective! Enjoy 🙂

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Preparing For Your First Ever Cayman Boat Party

Preparing For Your First Ever Cayman Boat Party

Attending a boat party in Grand Cayman is basically a right of passage for island newcomers. Within a couple weeks of moving to the island, you’ve probably been invited to a handful, each one sounding more exciting than the last. At first blush, a boat party may seem like an ultra-fun, and dreamily tropical adventure. Don’t get me wrong, they really do have the potential to be all of that and more! However, there are certain aspects of a boat party that one must prepare for in order to maximize fun and minimize calamity. Today I will share a basic outline of what to expect as well as my top pointers that will allow you to experience all of the good and none of the bad on your very first (or 100th) Cayman boat party. 


What to expect on a Cayman boat party

Cayman boat parties have become a pillar of the island’s social scene, most commonly taking place on Saturdays and Sundays. The boats vary in size depending on the organizer. For example, the annual Gaelic party is hosted on a double-decker boat suitable for hundreds of guests whereas a small, birthday party boat may hold space for around 20 guests or less. No matter the occasion, the boats’ tried and true itineraries don’t vary all too much — the destinations predominately include Stingray City, Starfish Point, and Kaibo. Boats typically come equipped with either a sound system or a DJ so your maritime merriment is well-accompanied with energizing soca beats. Boat departure is typically around 1 pm with arrival just after sunset. Many organizers will also suggest a spot for after-party drinks but, quite frankly, I’ve never had the stamina to make it to those!


Tips for a Cayman boat party

Choose the right people: The overall vibe of a party is even more crucial if it’s taking place on a boat…quite simply because there is no escaping! Once you’re on, you’re on for 5 hours or more. It is important to consider who will be in attendance and if you can survive an afternoon at sea with them. Come to think of it, this is actually a great concept for a reality dating show. 

Pace yourself: This is a piece of advice that even the most seasoned of Caribbean party-goers may fail to abide by. Salt-water and sun create certain conditions that warrant chugging down a cool beverage. When most of your liquid supply contains some level of alcohol, it can be very easy to overdo it on the booze. Not to mention, these parties are not well-known for food options. All drink and no nosh is a recipe for disaster. That being said, know your limits and drink less than you would on land. Of course, this is easier said than done. 

Pack smart – water, snacks, sunscreen: Following up from number 2, part of staying in control on the boat involves nourishing your body with snacks and water (no, Truly’s do not count). Not only can you feed yourself, you can share with others! A surefire way to make life-long friends — offer up some chips and salsa and BOOM — besties for the resties. Also, we know you want to get a lovely island tan but 5 hours without sunscreen and someone is sure to confuse you for a lobster. Do yourself a favor and apply once before boarding and once more after Stingray City.

Attire – keep it simple: A boat party calls for similar apparel to that of a beach party. Here, we don’t complicate things — It is most fitting to wear a swimsuit, a swim cover-up, sunglasses, and flip-flops. Remember, one of the possible stops is Kaibo, a beach restaurant at Rum Point. While the scene is quite casual, I would still recommend wearing your cover-up and shoes off the boat for drinks and appetizers.

Respect the ‘rays: As mentioned above, one of the quintessential boat party stops is at Stingray City — a group of sandbars located 25 miles off the shores of Grand Cayman. It is here where they feed wild Stingrays, hence the large population of these overly-affectionate sea beasts. Although apparently gentle creatures, they can give quite an intimidating first impression. Have no fear! They are not aggressive and seem to be very accustomed to humans. At the same time, do remember they are wild animals and should be treated with due respect.

Save the starfish: A much less intense alternative to Stingray City is Starfish Point, an isolated beach on the north side of the island. Here party-goers are once again free to roam through the shallow waters, combing the sandy bottom for star-shaped critters. While you are allowed a bit of light interaction, do NOT take them above the surface. They are unable to breathe out of the water and can die within minutes. Certain educated individuals WILL tell you off which is not the vibe you want to attract.

Avoid seasickness: While there are many people who do not experience seasickness, there are an unlucky few, myself included, who cannot even go on a paddleboard without feeling nauseous. If you are prone to these symptoms, make sure you take a non-drowsy Dramamine or consume ginger in some form an hour or so before the trip.

Carry cash: This day in age we seem to be very reliant on card payments; however, there is a definite advantage to carrying cash while at a boat party. For one, belongings can get jostled around on the boat and losing cash is not as bad as losing credit cards. Additionally, if you make a stop at Kaibo with a large group, having cash on hand is an easy way to pay your share of the tab as they do not split checks. Lastly, the boat staff will leave a tip container at the end of the trip and it is a nice show of appreciation to leave cash gratuity on your way out.

Do not overcommit: This is true for any activity in Grand Cayman but especially with drinking-centered events like boat parties. Cayman offers an incredibly lively social scene. You could easily fill up every single weekend with parties and brunches but remember, it’s okay to turn things down as well. I promise, there will always be more boats. It is best to wait for one with the right people for the right occasion in order to truly enjoy the celebration to its fullest!

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A Uniquely Cayman Summer

There ain’t no summer like a teacher summer. And there ain’t no teacher summer like one that is spent […]

A Very Last Minute Cayman Brac Itinerary

A Very Last Minute Cayman Brac Itinerary

Sometimes it’s the trips we don’t plan for that turn out to be the most memorable. There is nothing quite like the excitement of a spontaneous weekend get-away. Could it be that a spur-of-the-moment trip to Cayman Brac is exactly the adventure you’ve been craving? Read below to discover the perfect last-minute itinerary to inspire your impromptu mini vacay.

Hotel Alexander

Many people traveling to the Brac opt for a house rental, but this may require booking well in advance. When planning on the fly, Hotel Alexander is the ideal option for location and convenience during your stay on the island. A minute walk from the beach and an even shorter walk to the liquor store, Hotel Alexander provides a comfy home-base for your little island adventure. Best of all is the Pura Vida bartender, Emmanuela who is warm, funny, and makes some amazing Seven Fathoms cocktails!

Car Rental

CB Rent-A-Car is a literal minute walk from the tiny Brac airport. Stroll on over and rent a vehicle for only CI $30-45 per day. There is an extra CI $25/day charge for comprehensive insurance but even so, this has to be one of the most affordable rental car companies I have ever encountered. Our Kia Sportage was CI $44 /day and was the perfect size for our travel team of four along with our get-away luggage. Pro-tip: Bring your aux cord… Cayman Brac, for reasons that escape me, has an obsession with country music. It is all the play on the radio. I don’t know about you, but this is not the vibe I was looking for on my island holiday. Bring your playlist or be prepared for a weekend of country-western jams!

THE ITINERARY

Friday Evening – Kicking Off the Adventure

Get Lost: Our flight landed at 5:40 pm. After picking up our Kia, we got totally turned around and ended up at the most beautiful dead-end. There we watched the sunset and of course, took some killer photos. See the directions below if you want to *purposely* find this dead end 😉

When leaving the airport, take a left onto Westside Road and then a right onto Robert Foster Ln. Keep driving and you will drive right into the ocean (literally!)

Sunset at the “dead end”

Drinks @ Captain’s Table: Known for its beautiful and kind bartenders who make excellent Micheladas! A casual and intimate restaurant with a poolside bar that provides a fragmented ocean view. 

Check-In @ Hotel Alexander: After unloading your get-away gear in the room, head next door to Big Daddy’s (AKA Blackbeard’s) to stock up on liquid reinforcements for the evening and weekend ahead. 

Enjoy the Hotel: Sure, the flight from Grand Cayman is only 30 minutes, but no matter how short the journey, a bit of travel fatigue is inevitable. Luckily, the hotel features a poolside bar and full menu restaurant which means you don’t have to venture from your lodging for a nice meal and social vibe.

Beach Night Cap: The beach is just a minute walk from Hotel Alexander. Bring some glasses and a beverage of your choosing for a moonlight night cap accompanied by a few good friends and the pacifying sound of ocean waves. Night, night!

Saturday – DIY Island Tour

Morning Run: I feel I haven’t truly visited a new place until I have completed a 5k run in its foreign surroundings. This is why Saturday morning, bright and early, I was hitting the road to explore Cayman Brac on foot. I ran from Hotel Alexander to Sunset Place and back, about a 4 mile (or 6k) run, round-trip. With traffic-free roads and the sound of waves crashing, it was quite an idyllic route to jump start a day of adventure. 

Breakfast: Star Island Restaurant: A short drive from the hotel, Star Island may be the most affordable place I have dined in the Cayman Islands aside from maybe Burger King. A cozy, local haunt, Star Island feels like a mash-up between a VFW hall and church luncheon. The staff is very sweet and the food, quite tasty. Nothing beats the price — CI $8 for an omelette with ALL the sides included. I ordered a ginger juice and was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and delicious it tasted. 

Star Island in all its glory. If you look closely you can see a cow to the right!

Road Trip My best advice to you, if you have no rock-climbing or diving plans, would be to rent a car and drive around the island, looking for random adventures. That is precisely what we did and there was certainly no shortage of adventures to be had! Below I will list some of the spots to keep an eye out for if you are looking for some Brac travel inspiration!

  • Idea #1Caves: The rocky features of Brac’s landscape are home to many crevices and caves. Consult Google Maps or the tourist guide provided by CB Rent-A-Car and make quick pit-stops at the many natural roadside attractions. Warning: these caves are not for the faint of heart as they are very dark and heavily populated with spunky little bats. If you’re like me, you’ll observe from afar while snapping a cute photo.
  • Idea #2 – Natural Swimming Hole: Somewhere on Spot Bay Rd on the East End, if you have a good eye, you may catch a glimpse of the most beautiful natural pool with sparkling, crystalline water.  If you’re lucky enough to spot this dazzling oasis from the road, you must immediately pull-over and go for a swim or a hobble along the Ironshore.
  • Idea #3The Bluffs: The jagged, picturesque bluffs are quintessential to the Brac landscape and are a must-see on your spontaneous island tour. While on the East End, in the Creek area, turn onto Ann Tatum Bluff Rd and then left onto Major Donald. Keep driving until you come to the Lighthouse…which is quite an underwhelming structure; however, the panoramic vista overlooking an expansive blue seascape will truly take your breath away. But careful! Not too close to the edge…do not use our picture as a reference 🙂
  • Idea #4 – Beach Walk: On the south side of the island, drive as far east as you can and you’ll arrive at the Great Cave. Continue walking toward the water and you’ll find yourself on an expansive stretch of rocky beach with stunning, ground-level views of the bluff.  Pick your way along the rough shore, feeling the salty, ocean breeze on your skin, until you reach the blowhole nearest the bluff face. 
  • Idea #5 – Public Beach: After a day of adventure and spontaneity, make your way to Public Beach and sink your toes in the sand for a little R&R. 
  • Idea #6 – Sunset: Enjoy the dreamiest of sunsets from Sunset Place at the end of South Side Rd W while catching a glimpse of Little Cayman on the horizon.

SUNDAY – BYE, BYE, BRAC

Morning Run: This time, I ran the opposite way — from Hotel Alexander to Public Beach and back, totaling 5 kilometers.

Breakfast: Back to Star Island, because we simply couldn’t get enough!

Relax: Following an action-packed Saturday, we treated ourselves to a slow morning at Hotel Alexander. Brewing a pot of coffee in the room, lounging poolside with a book… A leisurely and luxurious start to our Sunday.

Bikes: Following our recharge session, we headed back to Captain’s Table where you can rent motorized bicycles for CI $25 the day. With only a few hours before departure, we took a cruise up and down South Side Rd W, off-roading every now and again onto sandy paths leading to the beach. 

Airport: Back to Grand Cayman we go! 


FINAL IMPRESSIONS

Cayman Brac is a lovely place to escape on a weekend adventure! Its landscape and outdoor activities are quite distinct from Grand Cayman and will make you feel as if you are truly “getting away.” Be sure to pack casual or athletic clothing and supportive footwear as this island features rugged terrain and boasts a sporty itinerary. My other top tips for this trip would be to rent a car, take the bikes for a spin, and arrive at the airport at least an hour before your flight (a lesson our friend learned the hard way). Overall, Cayman Brac is a place that is definitely worth visiting if you are feeling active and adventurous! 

Have more questions about the Brac? Comment below or follow me on Instagram!

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