NIGHT LIFE: Where to Go Out in Grand Cayman (A Working List)

NIGHT LIFE: Where to Go Out in Grand Cayman (A Working List)

The land of eternal celebration, Grand Cayman has no shortage of drinking holes. The question remains, which of these are worth patronizing? It depends. Do you want to sip Negronis alongside artsy blue checks? *Attempt* to whine on a locally dominated dance floor? Or do you want to be shoulder to shoulder with a sea of expats belting out ‘Sweet Caroline’ into the wee hours of the morning?

You can have all of that, and more. All in the span of a few hours, really. For the most part, the nights to go out in Cayman are Friday and Saturday, with the exception of the Wharf on Tuesday nights. Keep reading to find out where to go out in Cayman!

***This is a working list that will be updated in accordance with my own experience. I will continue drinking and dancing my way through Cayman…purely for research purposes. Obviously. 😉 Have any recommendations? Send them my way!

Sand Bar

The vibe at Sand Bar is very event-driven. They are known to have DJs on Friday nights, though the music is overwhelmingly house and electronic. Even I (who would rather bang my head to total silence than listen to EDM) have had a great time at Sand Bar on Friday nights. The prime oceanfront location and young, chill atmosphere are its saving grace. The DJ and dance floor are set up on the lower level, directly on the water. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook to hear about their upcoming events.

go out in cayman
Photo: Sand Bar

Cuba Libre

On Saturday nights, Cuba Libre hosts a salsa party with free entry from 9-12 pm. Fuego Latino hosts the event and provides a short lesson at the beginning for anyone interested in learning the steps and even a few turns. Then, DJ Fuego begins and plays a wide variety of salsa, bachata, merengue, and, if we’re lucky, reguetón. The vibe on Saturdays is consistently good and is best enjoyed with a mojito in hand. Obviously. The dance floor showcases all levels of salseros, from beginners to advanced, to those who can only dance with alcohol in their systems. Then, of course, there are those lurking in the wings who don’t dance at all. Don’t be one of them.

The Wharf

We don’t have to wait for the weekend to go out in Cayman. Tuesday nights are where it’s at at the Wharf, an oceanside bar and restaurant where you can dance beneath the stars. Every Tuesday they host ‘Salsa at the Wharf,’ from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am. Similar to Cuba Libre, there is short lesson at the beginning where you can learn some basic steps and turns, then the dance floor starts to fill up as the night goes on. Additionally, on the last Friday of every month, The Wharf hosts ‘Boogie Nights,’ a disco-themed dance party from 9 pm to 1:30 am.

Recommended Read: 11 TRENDY NEW PLACES IN GRAND CAYMAN, NOVEMBER 2021

Paradise Pizza’s Mambo Italiano

Saturday night’s only, Paradise Pizza hosts a very niche event that has garnered a great deal of attention from locals and visitors alike. Rub elbows with the high falutin Palm Heights crowd and prepare for a possible celeb sighting. Dinner service starts at 7:00 pm and features a 4-course meal for 29 CI. Sounds like a great deal until you order a few Negronis and a round of shots and BOOM, $100 gone. But it IS outrageously fun. After most the food has been served they start karaoke which always kicks off with a Frank Sinatra solo by the larger-than-life head chef, Jake. The party goes until about 11 pm or until yours ears start to bleed.

**Definitely need to make a reservation — at least a week in advance

Back Room

Dark and intimate, this cigar bar will leave you reeking of ash tray. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. If there’s no space at the bar, you can drift toward the namesake ‘Back Room,’ lined with plush couches ideal for chilling with a group of friends. It can draw a good crowd on Fridays and Saturdays. And although it’s typically a low key vibe, I seem to recall dancing there on one particularly wild night. Aside from the cigars, they are also known for making a mean espresso martini that will keep you going late, or at least late for Cayman standards.

Carib Café

Located in Georgetown, not far from the waterfront, Carib Café is a conundrum of a place. The music is LOUD and prime for dancing; however, very few are actually dancing. We’ve never let that minor detail prevent us from taking to the dance floor, and you shouldn’t either. Just know, everyone will be staring at you…The. Entire. Time. The bar is inside but the real vibe is on the outdoor patio, decorated with bright, painted murals and hanging shade sails. The best nights to go are Thursday for Latin music or Friday for their regular DJ who plays a rather sporadic mix of soca, reggae, Afro beats, and when we’re really lucky, reguetón. Definitely one to work up to if you like to go out in Cayman.

Recommended Read: 11 MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES IN GRAND CAYMAN

Mango Tree

A much more spacious, less judgmental version of Carib Café. Mango Tree is a bar and restaurant during the day, but on Fridays it transforms into a night life venue for locals and unhinged expats alike. Its location is somewhat unexpected — right next to the airport, but the atmosphere is great. Huge bar, many tables and TVs, and even a stripper pole — *wink.* While you still will not find a sea of party-goers taking to the dance floor, there is at least more participation than in Carib Café. And overall, less dirty looks. The times I have been the music has always been very danceable and the service super quick!

The Bird

This is where you will inevitably end your night, reluctantly singing along to some stupid party anthem while being steam-rolled by a sea of drunk bodies. The Bird is essentially for those not ready to go home yet, desperately clinging to the last hour before bar-close. If you go around 1 am, you will invariably find all the expat rugby and Gaelic players in wavering stages of inebriation, but what you won’t find is someone to take your drink order. Last time I just walked in with my own Truly and tried to stay out of the way. The party overflows onto the sidewalk and parking lot, where you can enjoy a chorus of revving Honda Accord engines and other late night debauchery.

go out in cayman
Photo: The Bird

That’s it for now! Stay tuned as I continue to explore the world of Cayman night life. I know there is a lot of ground left to cover.

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Road Trip in Style: Renting a Moke in Grand Cayman

Road Trip in Style: Renting a Moke in Grand Cayman

Those who live in Cayman, or visit frequently, know the island has finite activity options. Everything seems to revolve around the ocean or alcohol. (Or both simultaneously). Which makes sense because I mean, duh, this is is the Caribbean. Cruising around the island in a Moke though, is an adventure that allows you to appreciate the often overlooked beauty of the less populated, less developed parts of Grand Cayman. Keep reading to find out how to rent a Moke and hear my tips on WHERE to drive this impossibly cool island car!!

How to Rent

It is my understanding that there are multiple car rental companies offering Mokes, but the one that I went with was Hertz. You can find the contact information for Moke rental on their website. Ali was incredibly laid back and helpful, which made reserving the vehicle super easy. I reserved about a month in advance to be safe as there are only so many Mokes on island!

The price is around USD $200/day (or CI $170), which is obviously much more than a standard car, but entirely worth it! The Moke seats 4 people, so if the price is a bit steep for you, try splitting it with your passengers. Contact Hertz directly to confirm pricing as well as insurance rates/options.

Get to Know the Car

Rest assured, it drives automatic. That was my first question. No one would have been safe had I tried to drive manual 🙂

It has a pretty decent sound system with a radio and what appeared to be an aux cord jack.

There is a canvas cover which can be easily removed and stored in a small cabinet. You can also put it back on with no problem.

There is basically no room to put anything, so pack light!

It’s NOT the most comfortable vehicle I’ve driven, but I suppose that comes with the territory.

Still unclear if it is pronounced ‘mok’ or ‘mokey.’ Remains a mystery.

I did not get to choose my color, but then again, I didn’t ask. I have seen black, green, yellow, and orange on island!

Where to Go: The East End Tour

Stop 1: Pedro St. James

An overlooked, hidden gem with deep-blue vistas and historical charm, this stop has a lot to offer. Our group kicked off the tour with a few cocktails which we enjoyed on the grassy area overlooking the sea.

If feeling adventurous, Pedro St. James is also known for its Natural Topaz Swimming Pool. It fills when the sea is rough and the waves reach over the rocks. Be warned though, the trek to this pristine oasis is not for the feint of heart (nor for the flip-flop clad wanderer). You must cross a wide expanse of iron-shore, so come prepared with good shoes! Also come prepared to be disappointed if the pool is empty… 🙁

Photo Credit: Brandyn Murray

Stop 2: Czech Inn

A quirky and unexpected roadside shack with a LOT of character. Definitely worth a visit to gander at their eclectic collection of keepsakes and to enjoy a delicious meal. The prices are reasonable and the owner is very friendly! They are apparently known for their Schnitzel and ribs (don’t ask me, I’m pescatarian). You can also just come here for a drink, so long as you have a DD!! 😉

czech inn cayman
Photo Credit: Czech Inn

Stop 3: Blow Holes

Another roadside pit stop that will really blow your mind! Just kidding, the blow holes themselves aren’t particularly awe-inducing but the view is incredible and it makes for a nice (perfectly timed) photo op! Beware, there is not great signage. As you’re driving, the view will start to open up, free from trees and buildings. You will see a rocky roadside barrier wall lovingly called “Lover’s Wall,” and soon after that will be the Blow Holes!

blowholes

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Stop 4: Tukka

Just a stone’s throw from the expansive Caribbean Sea, with a view overlooking the Wreck of the Ten Sails, Tukka is the perfect East End lunch spot. The menu presents a fresh and delightful collaboration of Caribbean meets Aussie cuisine. I highly recommend the lion fish tacos and seafood platter, but then again, basically everything there is good!

tukka east end

Stop 5: Kaibo

Though a bit obvious, and possibly overrun by tourists, Kaibo is a must-see. This was our last stop on the tour before we headed back to Georgetown. It will charm you with its tiki bar meets European beach chic aesthetic. Sink your toes into the sand on their beach picnic tables and watch the boats coast into the dock. I recommend their wood-fire pizzas and of course, their MUDSLIDES! (The nonofficial drink of the Cayman Islands).

Kaibo
Photo Credit: Cayman Good Taste

BONUS:

Heritage Kitchen Sea Wall

I’m throwing you for a bit of a loop as Heritage Kitchen is on the complete opposite side of the island. However, if you need to return your Moke and are headed that direction anyway, I recommend driving out to West Bay and parking in front of Heritage Kitchen along the sea wall. It is the perfect spot to watch the sunset FROM the Moke, if you so please.

heritage kitchen sea wall

Happy Moking!!

Top 3 Cayman Yoga Studios + My Class Recommendations

Top 3 Cayman Yoga Studios + My Class Recommendations

Here in Cayman, it’s all about balance. That means brunching on Sunday but still hitting the mat on Monday. Whether you’re a dedicated yogi or a downward dog dabbler, yoga is undoubtedly a great way to shake the manic Monday feeling and bring equilibrium into your week. While I myself fall into the latter category of dabbler, I’ve Chaturanga-ed my way through each of the featured studios and have formed opinions on all 3. (Hint: they each have their pros and cons). Read on to discover the Top 3 Cayman Yoga Studios and the classes I would recommend for each of them.

For chill beats and aromatherapy: Cayman Yoga Club

What’s to love? Clean white walls, modern design, and welcoming energy. Many of the teachers at CYC provide personalized, hands-on adjustments for their students in order to prevent injury and improve alignment. Their vinyasa classes flow beautifully to carefully-curated playlists, allowing you to slip deep into the movements. My favorite part of the classes, hands-down, is shavasana. Not just because I get to lie on the ground in corpse pose, but also because the teachers come around with cool, lavender-soaked towels, lightly pressing them over your eyelids. It doesn’t stop there; they also give heavenly mini massages to your temples and the back of your neck. You’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

What’s NOT to love: The schedule is a bit sparse and there is not much variety in the class offerings. (Only vinyasa and slow flow).

The class to try: Vinyasa with Imani

Intro special: $59 for first 30 days, unlimited

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For flowy, haute fitness vibes: Bliss Yoga

What’s to love? The apotheosis of Cayman yoga, Bliss offers a wide variety of buzz-worthy classes like Hot 26+2, Core, and Power. I always leave the studio feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and well, tired AF (in the best way possible). The classes are challenging yet beginner-accessible, a dynamic which has attracted a community of loyal island yogis. Although pricey (like the rest of Cayman), their retail shop features coveted brands like Lululemon and Manduka.

What’s NOT to love: Because of their popularity, Bliss classes tend to fill up, making the studio space feel tight and cramped. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like having other people’s feet in my face.

The class to try: Hot 26+2 with Manuella

Intro special: FREE for 7 days (limit 1 class per day) or $99 for 30 days (limit 1 class per day)

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For Pitta energy and witchy retail: One Heart Yoga & Apothecary

What’s to love? One Heart is different from any yoga studio I’ve been to. Dark exposed ceilings and eye-popping pink lotuses create a chicly enigmatic space sure to inspire your practice. Most noteworthy is their 800 square foot, sound-proof studio fittingly named ‘Pitta,’ after the fiery Ayurvedic dosha. One Heart’s sweatiest and highest energy classes take place in this room, some heated by infrared panels so you’ll feel that sweet, sweet burn from the inside out. Need a pep talk before Mark makes you hold your third Wheel Pose of the class? Check out the west wall full of quotes from famous rappers like Tupac and Biggie. Yoga aside, their showers are amazing and their apothecary shop is full of alluring elixirs, teas, and ceremonial incense.

What’s NOT to love: Though purely anecdotal, I once attended a class at One Heart with a playlist that featured a song by Fetty Wap. I was instantly transported to my college party days which was not the vibe I was after. And no, it was not the hot trap class, it was unheated slow flow.

The class to try: Baptiste Power Yoga with Mark

Intro special: FREE for 7 days (limit 1 class per day) or $100 for 30 days (limit 1 class per day)

[BONUS] For the adventurous yogi: SUP Yoga, Vitamin Sea

What’s to love? Paddle board yoga on the iconic Seven Mile Beach will make you feel like a fierce island goddess, surrounded by stunning turquoise waters and inspiring women. Kiristen Cousins, Cayman’s SUP Queen is a breath of fresh air, creating a safe and welcoming environment which allows you to laugh at wobbles and falls while continuing to challenge yourself. This class encourages you to feed off group energy, gathering motivation from fellow yogis and Kiristen herself. You may even make a forever friend at the class…I did!

What’s NOT to love: If you are someone who gets sea sick you may need to take a non-drowsy dramamine or some form of ginger prior to class. While the Seven Mile venue is known to be very calm, you will still feel a gentle but constant rocking that could upset your equilibrium while balancing on the board.

The class to try: Paddleboard Yoga (if you have a membership with Bliss, you can book through them as well)

11 Trendy New Places in Grand Cayman, November 2021

11 Trendy New Places in Grand Cayman, November 2021

November 20th represents the light at the end of the tunnel for Cayman residents and visitors alike. A lot has happened during the nearly 2-year border-closure. While we feel for the struggles of existing businesses, we also celebrate the beginnings of some very promising new places. If you’re visiting the island for the first time since lockdown, there are many fresh spots to explore! Read on to discover 11 trendy new places in Grand Cayman.

1. Next Door

A hot new locale with speakeasy vibes, Next Door allows you to step away from the beach scene and into city life. (Even if just for one drink). Located ‘next door’ to its owner’s existing Camana Bay restaurant Agua, this ambient lounge serves up artfully-crafted cocktails in an undeniably classy setting. Stop in during their jazz nights, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 pm to 11 pm.

2. Ms. Piper’s

New on the island scene, Ms. Piper’s has made quite the splash thanks to their feminine vagabond aesthetic and cleverly curated menu. Soft pink tones and silver thatch details set the scene for an easy and breezy tropical oasis in the heart of Seven Mile Beach. Sip a Frappé Negroni poolside beneath a striped umbrella or nibble on croquetas and buñuelos in one of the ‘cottages’ many intimate nooks. You will fall in love with the iconic character that is Ms. Piper as she tells her life story through culinary creations and fearless female-inspired cocktails.

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3. Paradise Pizza

Having opened during the dog days of lockdown, Paradise Pizza has been a saving grace to ‘za fanatics island-wide amidst border-closure. Their highly acclaimed Neapolitan-style pizzas like the Mr. White and Cayman Veg have enchanted our taste-buds to the point of no return. Most famously, Paradise has become the Saturday night spot, hosting a family-style event lovingly named Mambo Italiano: a 4 course pasta and pizza meal with a healthy side of karaoke.

11 trendy new places

4. Tomfoodery

Fresh on the Camana Bay restaurant scene, Tom Foodery is a vibrant fast-casual eatery. It delights the eyes with tropical murals, ocean-inspired art, and the gorgeous Tomfoodtree. (Made by 3 Girls and a Kiln using recycled materials). Their menu exudes creative Caribbean flair with innovative takes on island favorites. Try the Fried Fish-wich with escovitch and scotch bonnet aioli or the Breadfruit Salad with arugula, tomato, and avocado.

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5. Cuba Libre

Salsa dance the night away with a mojito in hand (or the namesake Cuba Libre). Our Caribbean neighbor doesn’t feel so far away with this exciting new venue located in West Shore Plaza. Stop in for a traditional Cuban meal featuring classics such as tostones rellenos and ropa vieja. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the gorgeous classic Cuban car that greets you upon entry. You will be instantly transported to La Habana Vieja!

6. The Diner

A new take on an island staple, The Diner is a hidden gem tucked away in West Bay. (Between Heritage Kitchen and Alfresco). This cozy family restaurant showcases local ingredients with hearty comfort food plates; good for the soul and easy on the wallet. You’ll come for the menu options but stay for the warm hospitality and welcoming environment.

7. Arepa 345

Decidedly the most unique and personalized new spot on the culinary scene, Arepa 345 is an homage to Venezuelan home-cooking. Chef John lovingly showcases the most popular arepas from Venezuela including Reina Pepiada, Pelúa, Dominó, and Perico. These delicious creations are prepared with flair and TLC out of a stylish black food truck on Lime Tree Avenue. (Across from Cost U Less).

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8. Seven Mile Greens

Seven Mile Burger’s earthy sister is Seven Mile Greens, perfect for those seeking healthy options in a pinch. Located in Governor’s Square, this fast-casual greens spot offers convenient and clean meals on-the-go. Build your own salad or order one of their deliciously-curated menu options. The generous portion sizes will leave you feeling satisfied and energized for island activities!

9. Driftwood Bar and Grill

Previously the Blue Iguana Grill, the Holiday Inn’s waterfront restaurant has undergone a major face lift and is ready to welcome visitors and locals alike as Driftwood Bar and Grill. Chill at the bar, catching a game on the big screen or lounge poolside with views of the calm and glittering North Sound. This casual island eatery will make you feel right at home with its friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere.

10. Tukka West Bay

This East End favorite has now opened up as second location in West Bay! Australian flavors with a Caribbean twist AND ocean views…what more could you ask for? Their daily catch is supplied by Cayman’s local fishermen and often features Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Snapper, and Lionfish. Enjoy these fresh “Aussi meets Cayman” dishes from their shaded terrace overlooking the Caribbean sea. 

11. Union Grill & Bar

The newest addition to Camana Bay dining and drinking is Union Grill and Bar. This elegant waterfront corner is a one-stop shop for mouth-watering dishes and artisan libations. Feast on the juiciest of steaks and freshest of seafood in the plush comfort of the dining room or settle at the bar with an Island Spice martini.

Whether you are a resident or visitor, I hope these 11 trendy new places have inspired your upcoming island plans. Cayman awaits!

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10 Reasons to Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

10 Reasons to Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

Nestled away in a peaceful and verdant corner of Georgetown is the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. This inclusive gathering space is most commonly known for its Cayman-based art exhibitions, but their offerings do not stop there! 

I first visited NGCI for a free yoga class led by Janine Martins and was amazed to learn of their wide variety of community events and emphasis on wellness education. Whether you’re a long time supporter of the National Gallery or someone who has only thought about visiting, this post will open your eyes to the diverse opportunities they offer. Read the list of 10 reasons to visit the National Gallery below and see which experiences interest you most! 

#1 CULTIVATE WELLBEING WITH FREE WELLNESS CLASSES

NGCI has launched a new Art & Wellness program offering yoga, meditation, and nutrition classes for adults. And the best part is, they’re totally free! These opportunities cater to all levels of experience in a welcoming, community-based environment. I myself have practiced yoga with Janine and meditation with Jeri Bovell. I really enjoyed meeting new people and gaining a deeper understanding in these areas. Looking for something more independent? NGCI also promotes self-guided art drop-ins for teenagers and garden walks for all ages. Plan your next wellness experience at NGCI here!

National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Yoga with Janine Martins at the National Gallery

#2 FIND YOUR ZEN WITH MINDFULNESS MONDAYS

Start the week off feeling peaceful and centered. The Gallery opens at 9 am for “Mindfulness Mondays.” This is a quiet hour in which guests can take a seat in a fold-out chair and intentionally meditate on one or two works of art.  The Gallery  provides sketching materials at the reception desk along with mindfulness prompts. As someone who has only ever taken cursory glances at artwork, I believe this is a great way to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the artist’s creation while also bolstering your mindfulness habit. 

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#3 DEEP DIVE INTO CAYMAN’S CULTURE THROUGH THE NATIONAL COLLECTION

Living as an expat on this island, I sometimes feel far removed from Cayman culture. I believe NGCI is one amazing community resource that can help bridge this gap. Located on the top floor of the Gallery is the National Collection which showcases artwork in a variety of styles by Cayman-based artists. Contemplating the artwork and the accompanying stories can assist in fostering an appreciation for the island’s unique history and way of life. The current National Collection show is Saltwater in their Veins. It presents an exploration of Cayman’s maritime culture and contemporary relationship to the sea. Learn more about the Collection here.

Top Left Artist: Charles Long

#4 CREATE A FUN & UNIQUE EXPERIENCE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

If you’re looking for something fresh and educational for the whole family, look no further than the National Gallery. They offer a wide range of events including monthly free Family Fun Days and private art parties.  Click here if you want to learn more about these unique experiences.

#5 BASK IN GOOD VIBES AT THE ART CAFÉ

Don’t you wish you could get coffee at a reasonable price on this island? The solution is simple… The Art Café! It’s the kind of outdoor space that immediately fills you with a sense of peace and tranquility. With bistro-style seating and lush garden views, this is the perfect place to convene before or after a gallery tour. Bring your own lunch, or enjoy a coffee and snack for a small donation to the honesty jar. This is one of my favorite aspects of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands!

#6 NOURISH YOUR SOUL WITH A WALKING MEDITATION

If a seated meditation class is not your cup of tea, the National Gallery also offers the unique experience of walking meditation. The Siebens labyrinth (pictured bottom left) is a sacred geometric path that helps calm and focus the mind. It is located in the outdoor lawn area behind the Gallery.  To practice this meditative technique, you begin by following a single, non-branching route that leads to the center and out again. Use the labyrinth as a self-guided walking tour. It’s open to the public throughout the day.

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#7 FEEL THE ART COME ALIVE BY ATTENDING AN EXHIBITION PROGRAM EVENT

The National Gallery does an awesome job of organizing programs and events to help you engage with and understand the artwork. For example, you can discuss the art with the artists themselves at a series of artist talks, enjoy adult and kids’ workshops or take part in virtual Business of Art sessions. It’s a great way to connect with the community and expand your worldview. Learn more about these opportunities here

Top Left Artist: Nasaria Suckoo Chollette Top Right Artist: Al Ebanks

#8 SERVE THE CAYMAN COMMUNITY BY VOLUNTEERING AT THE GALLERY

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and connect with our island community. Sign up to support the Gallery’s vision through their volunteer program. You can do this by assisting with events, offering reception coverage and a whole host of other avenues! Click here to learn more.

#9 SHOP FOR UNIQUE TREASURES AT THE GIFT SHOP

In need of some original gift ideas?  NGCI offers a stylish corner of retail featuring art-inspired and locally made jewelry. But wait, there’s more! You can also find books, home decor items and childrens’ toys. Be sure to take a look around their beautifully curated shelves before or after your tour around the Gallery. 

#10 EXPERIENCE ART FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME

Can’t get to the Gallery in person? Check out their website for a world of online offerings. There are 360-degree virtual exhibition tours, video interviews with artists, teaching resources and virtual workshops. Get started by checking out the virtual tours or Gallery blog!

There you have it — 10 Reason to the Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands! Amazing, isn’t it? NGCI is definitely the place to go for inspiration and rejuvenation in Grand Cayman. It is an inclusive gathering space that allows you to connect with yourself and with the island community. Their diverse offering of wellness experiences and educational opportunities is quite impressive. Whether you’re viewing the artwork, attending a yoga class, or just sipping a coffee in solitude, I truly believe there is something for everyone at the Gallery. Click here to learn more!

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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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


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.

RELATED POST: THE NON-ALCOHOLIC GUIDE TO CAYMAN

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


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.

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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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