When moving to a new place, especially a tiny island in the Caribbean, it can take a while to get the lay of the land. In my first year of living in Cayman, I have picked up many lifestyle tips and strategies that allow me to live with ease and enjoy island life to the fullest! In this blog I share my 20 essential island hacks that can help optimize your day-to-day living in Grand Cayman.
1. Keep a swimsuit, flip-flops and towel in your trunk at all times – Island life 24/7/365 people! The ocean quite literally has us surrounded. You may be sweating bullets at a Tillies brunch and suddenly the water is calling your name. Do yourself a favor and prepare yourself a “go-bag” of beach essentials to always have in the car — ideal for impromptu ocean dips.
2. Always have cash on hand for fruit stands and group outings – While many businesses in Cayman happily accept credit cards, there are a few situations where you definitely want some cash in your wallet. Many restaurants on island are not keen to separate checks, creating a mathematical nightmare for large groups. However, if you have the right cash in your pocket you can pay your share of the tab smoothly without waiting on cards to be run. Additionally, the farmers market and produce stands are cash-only. The last thing you want is to see a juicy mango and not be able to buy it!
3. Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are the best and cheapest anti-aging “skin treatment” you can invest in. Save your money and invest in some top of the line SPF, ladies! (And conscientious men).
4. DIY Beach Happy Hour – Most likely you are not taking enough advantage of this island perk. All you need is a travel tumbler and a trip to your local Tortuga Rum for your drink of choice — BOOM, you’re ready for a DIY Beach Happy Hour. A walking happy hour with friends, a seated happy hour in solitude, anything goes! But the best part is you are paying a couple dollars for your cocktail instead of $CI 12 + 15% gratuity. I’m just saying.
5. Detangler and brush — My long-haired sisters know the havoc the ocean can wreak on your hair, creating a nest of knots that a pelican may mistake for his home. For this, I always go to the beach with a leave-in spray that moisturizes my hair and prevents knots. Once I am done with water for the day I spray a bit more and brush it out before the knots past the point of no return.
6. Grocery bags as beach bags — I love me a Kirk bag but Foster’s will work just as good.
7. Follow all of your favorite restaurants on Insta for deals and happy hours — If you do not have an Instagram, I would suggest getting one; simply to follow your favorite businesses on island. This is truly the best way to get exclusive updates and deals from the places you love to eat and drink. For some businesses, Instagram pretty much serves as their main website.
8. Bug Spray — No one is safe at sunset. While I will say the mosquito situation has improved slightly since moving here, I would still recommend keeping bug spray in your “go-bag” so you do not become a delicious feast for the skeeters!
9. Carry reusable produce bags with you to stop at fruit stands — They now sell these at Kirk right next to the regular plastic produce bags. They are only 99 cents per bag and are perfect to carry in your car. In the summer when you stop to visit Tony the Mango Man you can save some plastic and put the mangoes directly in your reusable pouch!
10. Real Women of Cayman — I’ve said it once and I’ll say it forever… anything you want to know about Cayman or life in general can be found on this Facebook page.
11. Let the ocean become your personal spa — The ocean is recognized for its aesthetic quality but a bit under-appreciated for its health and beauty benefits. Salt water helps combat acne-causing bacteria, skin infections, and speed up the healing process. Also, sand is a natural exfoliant, which rubs away dead skin cells and helps clear pores and acne. Cancel your next facial and make your way down to Seven Mile Beach! Your skin (and wallet) will thank you!
12. Keep an umbrella or poncho in the trunk at all times — I know I am asking you to keep many things in your vehicle but as we can see, they all serve a purpose! It doesn’t rain all that often in Cayman, but when it rains, it torrentially pours with no warning at all! Don’t let yourself get caught in these unforeseen weather messes without the proper rain gear! But hey, some of us like getting caught in the rain (and piña coladas).
13. Shop at the thrift stores — Just do it already. In my first year of living here I have not made a single overseas order. Almost all of my clothing has some from the Humane Society thrift store and my savings account thanks me for it. Read my thrift store tips to get started!
14. Book loft — Speaking of thrift stores, there is one on island that is dedicated to just books. While we all want to support our local books stores, we also know that $CI 30 per book at Books & Books is not the most sustainable way to fuel your reading passion. The Book Loft is located above the Humane Society. Their donated books go for $2-$4 each. And after you pick up (or drop off) your books you can go cuddle a cat or walk a pup — the perfect feel-good weekend activity!
15. Coconut water — Sunshine and saltwater, as lovely as they are for our well-being, can dehydrate our bodies quickly. An effective and easy way to combat dehydration is by drinking coconut water which is packed with natural electrolytes — packaged does the trick but natural is obviously preferred! Coconut Joe’s has a $5 natural coconut water served straight from the coco itself!
16. Free workouts are everywhere — Gym memberships and exercise classes can be quite pricey. For many people they are worth the cost, but remember that Cayman offers many free workout options as well! Take a long, luxurious walk on the beach. Go for a swim along Seven Mile. Join a group that puts on free organized runs and workouts (Tuesday Night Bootcamp, Saturday Morning Run Club, and many more!)
17. Non-drowsy dramamine / ginger for seasickness – Whether you have been invited to a boat party or are preparing for a day of scuba diving, it can be a good idea to take some preventive measures if you are prone to seasickness. Non-drowsy dramamine does the trick but you can also count on ginger which comes in many forms (ginger-ale, oils, chews, tablets, etc.) I myself like to peel fresh ginger and add it to my smoothie before a boat adventure.
18. Meditate outdoors – No need to search “ocean sounds” on YouTube or download an app, you have the real thing right outside your door! Take a seat on the beach and let the waves guide your breathing. Few things are more relaxing than a seaside meditation
19. Buy a scooter – This tip is much more of a commitment than my previous suggestions but as a scooter-owner, I have to tell you it has made island life so convenient for me. Never again will you worry about parking or traffic jams, you simply flit in and out of wherever you need to go. It also gives you a unique and beautiful island perspective as you notice things you maybe wouldn’t inside a car.
20. Read Island Diaries! 🙂 Nice job, you are already using this tip to your advantage. Thank you for reading! Watch out for future posts to hear about island lifestyle tips, itineraries, activity ideas, and much more! If not already subscribed, enter your email below!
SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG
LATEST FROM THE BLOG
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Welcome to a very special edition of Island Diaries by Kate! While most of my writing thus far has revolved around island living, I am in fact, a lake girl at heart. Growing up I spent my summers in “Up North” Wisconsin at a cabin on the lake with my family. A few years […]
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 If you’re an expat or visitor to Grand Cayman, it’s possible you have only seen the island through Seven-Mile-tinted glasses. This means living out 90% of your Cayman experience inside a 5 to 10 mile radius. What if I told you there was so much more to this island than its small parcel of […]
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 If you had told me a couple years ago I would be writing a blog post about expat island life, I’d think you were crazy. That maybe you’d been hit on the head with a coconut. “Me? Living in the Caribbean? Get out of here!” But then again…I do love the beach…. And year-round […]