11 Most Instagrammable Places in Grand Cayman

11 Most Instagrammable Places in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman, with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, is a paradise for serious photographers and Instagrammers alike. This island’s backdrop offers a blend of luxury design, tropical locales, and natural Caribbean beauty. Taking pictures is fun and a great way to explore both new and familiar places. Find your photo inspiration today with this list of the most Instragrammable places in Grand Cayman!

#1 Palm Heights

A boutique hotel on Seven Mile Beach, Palm Heights has no shortage of stunning vistas and picturesque corners. Explore the tranquility of the Turtle Pool, take in the sunset from the wellness rooftop, or snap some spontaneous shots at one of their iconic Sunday brunches.

#2 “The Swing”

A robust tree with branches that extend out over the shore, this natural spot is home to a swing perfect for a playful photo-op. Located just east of Sunset Cove near Margaritaville, its an unassuming location for an effortless picture in paradise.

#3 The Kimpton Seafire Resort

A luxe hotel with trendsetting design, the Kimpton is Caribbean indulgence at is finest. You do not even have to book a room to enjoy the amenities of this opulent hotel space. Rent a cabana or a pool chair, stop by for a coffee, or simply take a walk along the periphery. You are sure to come across many beautiful photo spots.

#4 Stingray City

A dreamy sandbar in the middle of Cayman’s beautiful, crystalline waters is home to a large population of wild stingrays. This spot is easy to visit by booking a tour or attending a boat party. The tour guides or boat captains will assist you in holding one of these gentle giants. Feeling brave? Give one a kiss for seven years of good luck!

#5 Starfish Point

A less intense alternative to holding stingrays is holding a starfish. Starfish Point can be visited while on a tour or a boat party. You can also drive to Starfish Point and enjoy the area of Rum Point while you are there. Savor the sunset surrounded by starfish and then make your way to Kaibo for dinner and some drinks.

***If you choose to hold the starfish, do keep them submerged underwater!

#6 Barefoot Beach

On the north side of the island exists a small beach marked only by a makeshift road sign. It is very easy to miss! Barefoot Beach is known for its seaside staircase and unexpected cliff (the island is so flat). I wouldn’t recommend it for swimming but it makes for a great photo op and could also be a lovely place for a picnic or reading sesh.

#7 Grand Cayman Marriott Resort

Another hotel in Grand Cayman with a trendy backdrop and relaxed vibe is the Marriott. Curl up in a secluded corner of their palm-filled courtyard or enjoy a daquiri beside their Endless Summer swimming pool. Situated on Seven Mile Beach, this hotel is a great destination for coffee, drinks, and dining. And of course, for the ‘Gram!

#8 “The Pink House”

Located in Savannah on Pedro Castle road, this hidden gem is a prime spot for a candid capture. Keep a close eye out on your way to Pedro St. James where you can enjoy a meal or explore the natural topaz swimming hole. Not feeling quite as adventurous? Swing by after a coffee run to Café del Sol. Your Insta feed will thank you!

9. A Very Photogenic Palm Tree

Feeling adventurous? A shot with this mind-bending palm requires patience and coordination. Located in front of Grape Tree Villas (by World Gym), this tropical wonder is hidden in plain sight. Find a narrow dock extending over the Ironshore and you’ll know you’re close. Stop by for a quick capture before Happy Hour at the Wharf!

#10 Camana Bay

A gorgeous waterfront community, Camana Bay is known for its shopping, dining, and modern design. What many people don’t know is that it’s an absolutely stunning spot to experience the sunrise. Drink in the sorbet skies and then make your way over to Starbucks or Jessie’s for your caffeine fix. (You deserve it after getting up that early!)

11. Seven Mile Beach

Although a bit obvious, Seven Mile is truly the crème de la crème when it comes to idyllic Insta backdrops. Shades of blue and swirling crepuscular skies; the captivating colors of this vast seascape are constantly changing from sunrise to sunset. Throw on your go-to bikini, pack your favorite floatie and get ready for a seaside photoshoot.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE GRAM

Zarella, AKA @zare_lovecayman, is a breath of fresh air both on her Insta feed and in real life. This Peruvian-born beauty is a world-traveler who showcases the allure of every place she visits through photography. Having lived in Cayman for 4 years, she has curated a stunning collection of island captures for which she is both the model and creative eye. While picture-taking began as a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home, her Instagram account has grown to inspire thousands of locals and travelers alike. She loves Cayman for its richness in culture and diversity in language, referring to this tiny island as a “mini-world.” Her favorite day-off activity is going to the beach with her watermelon floatie. When it is safe to travel she is most excited to visit Cancun and Yucatan in Mexico. Follow Zarella on Instagram from your daily dose of paradise and tropical inspiration!


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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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Cayman Islands East End Girls Trip Itinerary

Cayman Islands East End Girls Trip Itinerary

Are you looking for a unique day trip to shake up your girlfriend plans in Cayman? Look no further! Below you will find a unique East End itinerary featuring food, art, and drinks! While our outing did not include any beach stops due to overcast skies, I will offer some suggestions for additional or alternative activities to customize your very own girls day out! 

Stop #1 Jessie’s Juice

Jessie’s is a great rendezvous point to kick off your girls day out. Here you and your girlfriends can meet up and equip yourselves with caffeine for the exciting journey ahead! After all, what’s a road trip without a coffee companion?


Stop #2  Charles Long Art Studio

114 West Ln, Savannah

This East End itinerary features two very distinct art studios; the first of which is located in Savannah along a pebbled residential road beside the artist’s private home. Arriving at the Charles Long studio felt like total submersion into the local Cayman culture as Charles himself came out to greet us and shake our hands one by one. The studio is open and airy with natural light streaming through the domed ceiling. A visit to the gallery must be reserved in advance via Instagram or by calling directly. The pure island vibes and familiar spirit of this gallery make it an excellent detour off the beaten tourist trail. 

Instagram: @ckglong

Phone: +1 345-917-5741



Suggested Stop: Pedro St. James

Pedro Castle Road, Savannah

Charles Long’s studio is very close to Pedro St. James, a natural historic site situated alongside the sea. While I have yet to tour the 18th century Great House, I have enjoyed a drink and appetizers at the distillery that overlooks the water. There is also a stunning swimming hole that sometimes fills completely with water. Wear sturdy walking shoes and venture down the Ironshore to take a dip in the natural topaz pool.

Stop #3:  White Dog Art

Bodden Town Road

As you continue further east toward Bodden Town, you will near the second stop on our girls trip itinerary. White Dog Art is a simple modern house that greets visitors with a stunningly vibrant mural painted by the artist herself. Similar to our experience at Charles Long studio, the artist, Ren Seffer, came out to greet us with a warm and welcome smile. She invited us into her bright studio space where we felt right at home amongst her cheerful canvas paintings. It was so fun to see the contrast between the artwork of Charles and that of Ren. While both artists showcase a sea of bright, happy colors, their styles are utterly distinct and cannot be compared. (A visit to White Dog Art studio can be arranged through their website)

Instagram: @whitedogartcayman

Our group posing in front of the studio’s mural with Ren on the far right

Although I did not walk away with any pieces, I enjoyed getting to know more about the culture and history of Cayman through the art itself as many of the paintings featured emblematic places and people of the island. A few of the girls in our group gathered information from both artists to have a piece commissioned. This is also something to look into if you are searching for the perfect art for your home or as a gift.



Suggested Stop: Fruit Stand

Just up the road at the corner of Bodden Town Rd and Frank Sound Rd there is a fruit stand where you can pick up some local produce (cash only). This is a nice stop to restock your refreshments as you continue on your East End ramble!

Stop #4: Tukka

898, Austin Conolly Dr, Gun Bay

At this point in your girls trip, you have most likely worked up quite an appetite. No worries, delicious island fare is right around the corner! East End offers several excellent options for waterfront dining. For this itinerary in particular we selected Tukka, an Aussie-owned restaurant with a Caribbean twist. Their menu is quite large and diverse featuring local favorites as well as many international & Australian dishes. Being that our trip took place on a Sunday, they were offering a brunch deal for $CI 34. I myself ordered a la carte, selecting a lionfish taco and coconut prawns. While I am typically a cocktail girl, I was feeling rather rustic and decided to order a local bottle — Caybrew light. The highlight of lunch was sitting on their patio overlooking the water with a lovely ocean breeze!



Suggested Stop: Barefoot Beach

Queen Highway, East End

Unfortunately, the day we went on our East End trip it was a bit cloudy and cool (for Cayman standards) so we decided to skip the beach. However, I would recommend a stop at Barefoot Beach either before or after lunch. Even if you do not plan to swim, it is a beautiful spot to relax, take photos, and enjoy some drinks and snacks from the cooler. 

Barefoot Beach

Stop #5: Czech Inn

Bodden Town Rd

Circling back from East End en route to George Town, the Czech Inn is the perfect place to finish an East End outing on a high note. Arriving at the Czech Inn is a visual overload as this bohemian, outdoor bar and grill is decked out head to toe with unexpected decorations like surfboards for tables. While it is definitely not known for its scenery, the vibe of this place is one of a kind and 100% worth a visit. Although our group did not order food, the place has excellent menu reviews making it a perfect casual, roadside lunch spot. 



My thoughts on the day:

This itinerary provides a well-rounded cultural taste of East End that includes food, art, and nature. It is a perfect day trip for you and your girlfriends but could be enjoyed by anyone for any occasion! I am by no means an art enthusiast but I really appreciated the unique perspective these galleries provided me. I was able to see the island through the eyes of local artists — a truly special experience! I will definitely be back to Tukka soon for some more lionfish tacos and coconut prawns! Happy trails on your next journey out east!

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Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

Running The Cayman Islands Marathon

What kind of crazy person gets up at 2:30 am to run a marathon on a Sunday? The answer, of course, is ME! Well, me and a thousand other Cayman residents. And although I believe the use of ‘crazy’ here is somewhat justifiable, I have to say to you, don’t knock till you try it…there may just be a method to this madness!

PRE RACE

My Sunday did in fact start at 2:30 am. That is what time I rolled out of bed and began my race day preparations. I would be running the Intertrust Cayman Islands Half Marathon, an event I had trained for throughout all of November. I was ready — nothing could stop me! Not even the ungodly start time. 

The day before the race I stocked up with all my supplies — organic running gels and electrolyte drink mixes from Be Well Pharmacy and most importantly, coconut water (from the not-so-fancy gas station). My breakfast consisted of Ezekiel sprouted flax bread (AKA magic bread) and a fried egg. While this was being prepared I started in on my liquids — black coffee and a lemonade electrolyte drink. I know what you’re thinking…that combination would probably land you straight in the porta-potty. I know what works for me but that does not mean it will work for everyone! We must tread very lightly with our pre-race meals…

Tip: The morning before a race you want to stick to foods you KNOW you digest well…likely a familiar food in your diet. If you’re going to consume as much as I did, you need to get up early enough for your body to digest it! (2-3 hours prior to the race)

By 3:30 am I was loading up my scooter getting ready to hit the road. Under the seat I stored by race day bib along with my running belt and bag. I laced up my Asics, fastened my helmet, and eased my scooter onto the empty highway. I felt like Will Smith in I Am Legend as I cruised down a eerily silent West Bay Road en route to Georgetown waterfront…not a vehicle or pedestrian in sight.

Upon arrival at the waterfront, I was still getting ghost town vibes, but as I turned the corner toward the start line I began to hear and feel the unmistakable race day buzz as fellow runners and volunteers milled about to DJ beats. The clock counted down to 4:30 am, the official start time for all marathoners and some halfers. Despite the absence of spectators (due to COVID restrictions), everyone was in very high spirits, ready to race against the sunrise along the Ironshore. I checked the zipper of my running belt, adjusted my Bluetooth headphones, and queued up my unbeatable motivational Spotify playlist. Time to do the damn thing!

Tip: If music motivates you while running, make a playlist that lasts as long as the run itself. Give yourself a little leeway, but not much. I made mine exactly 2 hours in length. I told myself I HAD to finish in under 2 because god forbid I run without music. Song choice is everything! I choose only music that has meaning or pumps me up (ideally both).

THE RACE

At exactly 4:30 am our large running pack pulled away from the waterfront and started down South Church street with direction to Sound Sound. Lighting was sporadic, leaving stretches of darkness illuminated only by the starry sky. Luckily, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed the slightly cool morning air…(I’m still a Midwesterner, so cool to me means 40 degrees).

While there were no spectators allowed at the start and finish, the volunteers at the refreshment stations and the die-hards standing on the side of the road at the crack of dawn really made up for it. After a few miles of people yelling “Go Kate!” I realized that I was not as popular as I thought and that my name was printed large and bold on my race bib.

We ran all the way through South Sound, past Hurley’s, and finished the loop at the end of Old Prospect Road, actually running right past my school before hitting the halfway point. I did not think I would be a fan of back-tracking the whole course, but actually it was fun to be able to see who was leading the pack and who was following closely behind. 

If you have never taken part in an organized running event, it is something you absolutely have to attend. Either as a runner or a supporter. There is something so completely unifying about the experience. Endurance running is an activity that we have been taught to dread but  it is actually one of the most natural instincts we have as humans. It brings us back to our hunter-gatherer days when we had to chase prey over long distances without a break. While a marathon is not nearly as purposeful as what our ancestors had to do, I believe it still brings us closer to our roots and helps to eliminate social divide. As corny as it sounds, it feels so good when a random stranger cheers you on and says YOU CAN DO IT! No joke, I got goosebumps probably ten times throughout the race…the runners high is a real thing.  If you don’t believe me, go experience it for yourself! At the very least, you will get some free food and beer at the end. 

POST RACE

With amazing supporters, a straight fire playlist, and quite favorable running conditions, I was able to maintain my goal pace of 8:30 miles throughout the whole race, putting me in a position to break my personal best! Winding through the streets of Georgetown, under a cotton candy sunrise, I neared the finish feeling exhausted but elated. I crossed the finish and was immediately adorned with a finisher medal. Just like that, it was over!

I made a beeline for the free food, selecting without any hesitation a bag of Famous Amos cookies. Nothing ever looked as heavenly. I ate my cookies with the satisfaction that I had definitely earned them. I mingled about with some other runners and tried not to fall over. Because of COVID restrictions, we couldn’t stay at the finish for long. After snapping some pictures and finishing my snacks, I made my way back to my scooter and cruised away toward Seven Mile. I looked at my watch…it was only 7 am. 

In true Cayman fashion I went straight to the ocean after my run. The water is actually “chilly” at the moment as temperatures have dropped a bit and we are experiencing what the locals call a “Christmas Breeze.” I’ll take what I can get. Anyway, this cool water felt pretty much amazing on my muscles and joints. 

After a morning of running and swimming, I basically felt like Iron Woman. This feeling didn’t last for long as I collapsed into bed and slept for 2 hours…getting up only because we had brunch reservations at the Kimpton. 

If ever there is a day you are entitled to an overabundance of fancy food, it is following a full or half marathon. It is essentially the 21st century equivalent of catching and eating your prey after a 13 mile chase. (I am only kidding, of course.) The other girls at brunch had also run the half marathon and we took our brunching very seriously that afternoon. 

All in all, it was one of the best days I have spent here in Grand Cayman. If I haven’t convinced you to run in the next Cayman marathon…or any marathon at all…hopefully I have at least convinced you to come cheer on the runners! Or at the VERY least not call us crazy 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about running in Cayman or running in general I would be so happy to answer! 

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How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

While Thanksgiving 2020 was a strange one for many around the world, it was a particularly interesting one for me as I celebrated it away from my family for the first time ever in the least thanksgiving-esque setting you can think of…the Cayman Islands. 

To be honest, Thanksgiving was not even really on my radar. Living on this island is like Groundhog’s Day in the weather department. I realize that to most people 86 and sunny every day of the week sounds pretty darn good. No need to cuss at the weatherman with a forecast like that. And of course, it IS wonderful. However, for someone who is used to extreme seasonal changes, this Groundhog’s Day vibe has me very mixed up.

The other reason Thanksgiving wasn’t totally on my radar is because it is not really celebrated here. Cayman is a British territory and we know of course that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Whereas in Wisconsin I would have enjoyed Wednesday thru Friday of vacation, here I had to work the whole week! (Poor me).

Alas, despite my lack of seasonal awareness, I must accept that the holiday season has arrived. However strange this year may be, 2020 has taught me to stop wishing for a different reality and simply make the most of what I have. While I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was able to take part in the next best alternative: Friendsgiving…Cayman style!

While I have participated in a few small Friendsgivings while living in the Midwest, Cayman Friendsgiving 2020 definitely will go down as the most special and memorable one to date. What really gave it WOW factor was the amazing lady who made it possible…my good friend and fellow American, Christine! I cannot tell you how many people I have met in Cayman that I initially suspect to be American but then later find out are Canadian. (Classic mix-up). The fact that Christine “sounds American” and IS actually American (New Jerseyite to be more specific) is such a comfort to me. Not to mention she is one of the most warm, kind people you will ever meet!

Christine hosted Friendsgiving at her place on Black Friday. When I walked into her apartment the first words out of my mouth were OH. MY. GOD. I thought for a moment that I had driven myself to the Ritz Carlton by mistake. She had rented banquet tables complete with linens, table settings, lights, and candles. She lined the living room with fresh flowers and added a finishing touch with name tags at every spot. While helping her with the final details, I spotted her open excel spreadsheet complete with guest names and their respective dishes. (Yes, she is an accountant…and also basically the Martha Stewart of Cayman).

I had signed on to prepare apple crisp (to honor my family’s tradition) and an autumn salad to add some green to the line up. My autumn salad called for sweet potato, a product I KNOW they have in Cayman. However, on the particular day I went to the supermarket they informed me they did not have the AMERICAN sweet potato but they DID have the JAMAICAN sweet potato. This was a learning moment for me as I never thought of the sweet potato as being classified by country. My ALDI days did not prepare me for this. Anyway, dazed and confused I purchased the Jamaican sweet potato as recommended by the produce man. Upon cooking it, I realized it does NOT provide a pretty orange color pop, but rather has an ugly yellowish, gray-speckled color. NOT something I wanted to put in my autumn salad. So, with a sigh of defeat I decided not to add it to the salad. But upon trying it a bit later, I can report that it DOES taste a bit similar to the “American” sweet potato and is rather yummy.

ANYWAY, back to Friendsgiving. Thanks to Christine’s spreadsheet, we all prepared something a bit different and had a wonderfully delicious variety for our Thanksgiving dinner. We were greeted at the door with welcome shots which we renamed “Gobblers” as their original name was a bit too explicit for a Thanksgiving celebration. They are made from Kahlua, Irish cream liqueur, and whipped cream. This really set the tone for the evening as we mingled about among our group of 14 friends. I even got a bit crafty myself in the mini bar department (AKA the washer and dryer covered with a festive sheet), preparing my brother’s Negroni recipe for a few people to try…shoutout Chase!!

After we had finished eating we migrated to our gender role areas: the men outside on the patio smoking cigars, the women sitting on Christine’s king bed in slumber party mode. In typical Thanksgiving fashion, we were too tired to move but were very happy to be chatting away in each other’s presence. And yes, that is a cup of coffee in my hands in the picture below as that is exactly what I would be drinking after Thanksgiving dinner at home 🙂

In total, there were 14 guests representing 8 countries: USA, Spain, South Africa, Slovenia, France, China, Canada, and England. I am so grateful to have shared Friendsgiving with this amazing group of people. We were first and foremost incredibly lucky to have the freedom of getting together freely and safely due to the near non-existence of COVID on the island. I also feel very fortunate to have made such good friends in my short time living on the island. Sharing with them the sentiment of togetherness and family that Thanksgiving brings during a time when I can’t see my own family was something I will never forget.

Thank you so much to Christine and to all the other lovely people who have made Cayman feel more like a home to me. 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next edition of Island Diaries by Kate!

Happy Holidays!

Teaching by the Sea: My Caribbean Workspace

Teaching by the Sea: My Caribbean Workspace

4 min read

Many people when they think of Grand Cayman, or the Caribbean as a whole, imagine grand, luxurious vacations, surrounded by palm trees and turquoise waters. But something that may not come to mind is working. Or what’s more… teaching. Alas, contrary to my photos on Instagram, my time in Cayman has not solely been spent galivanting atop white sand beaches…I do actually have to work! Crazy, I know.

While my friends and family back home know me as a high school Spanish teacher, this year I am actually not teaching high school…nor am I teaching Spanish. I am teaching Physical Education at a Montessori school “by the sea.” It is a year-long substitute position and has so far been an amazing experience! While I continue to seek out a Spanish role for next year, I am lucky to be where I am and after you see my workspace below, you will be asking if YOU can teach PE at my school!

My Drive to School

The school where I work is about a 15 to 20 minute commute from our apartment, a “long” commute by island standards but a short commute compared to the 35 minutes I used to traverse across the WI/MN border to Somerset! Any given morning you will see me cruising on Esterly Tibbetts Highway and past the lonely airport in our baby blue Fiat 500 or atop our snazzy scooter sporting my pink helmet. With the morning light streaming through the palms and the warm Caribbean breeze, the ride to school is quite an enjoyable one! 

Outdoor Space + Weather

In the US, PE is a subject that is taught almost exclusively in the gymnasium. At my school in Cayman there is no indoor gym space for PE class; rather, we count on the weather being beautiful for the kids to play their sports outside on the grass or the court. Let me just say that the distrust I have garnered towards the weather while growing up in Wisconsin remains strong here in Cayman. While yes, we are currently in the tropical storm season, I swear it must rain 9 days out of 10…sometimes for an hour, sometimes just 5 minutes. But we are not talking about cute little sprinkles…we are talking full on torrential rain that results in screaming, running children with wet, muddy shoes. Everyone assures me that this weather is “not typical,” but I remain wary and always come prepared for the elements. My mom taught me well! 

The PE Shed

Though cute and seemingly innocent, let me just say that PE equipment is not the only thing residing inside this shed. While opening up the door in the mornings to take out what I need for the day, I have come across lizards, frogs, scorpions, and even snakes. Alas, I still go in and take out all of the equipment like the hero that I am!

My Office

Being that the great outdoors serves as my “classroom,” I do not have a room that belongs just to me this year. La Maisonette (named as such because it was previously the French classroom), serves as my office area and work space. It was actually made from shipping containers! I share it with another teacher and have a desk with lovely green views out my window. Most days I watch the chickens and iguanas graze in the yard and on particularly clear days, I can even spot a sliver of the ocean to the left of the blue classroom building. 

An Unbeatable Lunch Spot

In my experience working at schools, there are one of two places where us teachers choose to eat our lunches: hiding out in the peace and quiet of our own classroom with the door locked and lights off, or in the staff lounge with our fellow teacher friends. I never considered a third option…a picnic table on the beach accompanied by the ocean breeze and the occasional hermit crab. The third option I am describing is my current lunch lounge at my school by the sea. Somehow I seem to be the only teacher taking advantage of this space and quite honestly, I am loving it!

Walking Break

The school is situated on one of the most picturesque roads in all of the island. It is calm, quiet, surrounded by trees and beautiful homes, and runs right alongside the water. I often take walking breaks up and down this road for 10 to 15 minutes just for a quick respite from the work mindset.

My Go-To Work Snacks

Being outside all day every day calls for nutritional reinforcement. While the most obvious necessity while working in the heat is plain old water, I have also become a huge fan of coconut water. Not only does it provide amazing tropical vibes, it also restores hydration and replenishes electrolytes. Some of my other pick-me-ups that are widely available and cheap on the island are plantain chips and cassava chips. I think they are healthier than potato chips…at least that is what I tell myself.

Teaching in Paradise

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about my Caribbean workspace and what it is like to teach by the sea! (Thank you Ms. T for the idea!) While I definitely miss my SHS family and the work I was doing there, I am so lucky to be at a school as lovely as this one and to be teaching in-person in this bubble with hardly any COVID restrictions. There is so much about my teaching adventure that I did not share in this blog. If you have questions about teaching or working in Cayman, please reach out! 

As always, thanks for reading! Subscribe below for the next edition of Island Diaries by Kate.

The Cayman Coffee Crawl

The Cayman Coffee Crawl

Many of us have embarked on our fair share of pub crawls — but what about a Coffee Crawl?

It’s time to mix up our routine with a new non-alcoholic event that can be enjoyed while basking in our lonesome or surrounded by our friends.

How does it work you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. You start by picking three (or more) coffee destinations. Luckily, if living in Cayman, this step has already been completed for you compliments of Island Diaries by Kate! You must then consider a time frame. Do you want to visit all three coffee venues this month, this weekend, or get super hyped on caffeine and visit all three in one day? 

Follow me on Instagram for my free Cayman Coffee Crawl itinerary or a customizable coffee crawl template (see left) that works anywhere in the world. This is a fun way to remember your favorite drinks and food from each place you visit and share your picks with friends and family!

Read about my first ever Cayman Coffee Crawl below and get ready to embark on your very own coffee adventure!

https://www.instagram.com/island_diaries_by_kate/

Stop Number #1: Bluestone Lane

Location: 51 Fort Street, George Town

Located only a few blocks from the waterfront in the heart of George Town, you will find Bluestone Lane on an adorable street corner across from George Town public library.

Seating: There are many seating options available both indoors and outdoors. Even during peak Sunday breakfast hours we were able to find a table within a few minutes of ordering our drinks. 

Beverage: As recommended by a friend, I ordered a Flat White with almond milk. It arrived in the most picturesque manner with the steamed milk design etched on the frothy surface. Bryan, a man who favors consistency in his coffee drinks, ordered an Americano served strong and hot in blue porcelain. Both drinks were rich in flavor and kick started our day in a perfectly caffeinated fashion. 

Bites: Unsure of where my appetite was when I arrived, I ordered their Vegan Keto PB Cheesecake. (I mean, who knew such a thing existed). It was delicious and large in portion, pairing wonderfully with the Flat White. Bryan went for a more traditional start to morning, ordering an Egg and Bacon Croissant Spiral. (Sunny side up egg, bacon, spinach, tomato chutney & roasted garlic aiolil). Overall, YUM. 

Thoughts? I would definitely recommend trying out Bluestone Lane for a quick breakfast or coffee while in George Town. As someone who spends much of her time around the Seven Mile area, it is nice to change up the vibe and head “downtown” to grab a coffee. Nice people, upbeat ambience, and a tasty menu. Definitely check this off your next Coffee Crawl!

Stop #2: Tillie’s, Palm Heights

Although Tillie’s would not be considered by most as a place to stop for coffee, we argue that it is one of the best and should definitely be considered on the crawl! Keep reading to find out why!

Location: 747 W Bay Road

Located on the coveted white sands of Seven Mile Beach, Tillie’s provides breathtaking ocean views in a captivatingly elegant dining space. Many Cayman residents and visitors have experienced such ambience at their iconic Sunday brunch but have you ever considered stopping by for something as simple as a coffee or juice?

Seating: We arrived around 11 am on a weekday It was incredibly quiet as the staff were just starting to prepare for the day ahead. We selected a table in the sandy area under the awning, as close as possible to the pristine waters as possible. We sipped our drinks with toes in the sand and only the ocean waves as background noise. Name a better place to enjoy a late morning coffee.

Beverage: I ordered a delightfully refreshing green juice and Bryan ordered, you guessed it, an Americano. 

Bites: I chose to enjoy my green juice in and of itself while Bryan ordered a small plate of empanadas. Of course, this was not the most conventional of coffee hours, but hey, anything goes while living on a Caribbean island! 

Thoughts: Unexpected but optimal venue for a coffee date. We will definitely be back for more green juices and americanos. Many people frequent Tillies for their elaborate brunches and cultural nights, but I think there’s something to be said for the simplicity of ordering a coffee and juice on the beach. You could even throw on a swim suit for a post coffee dip!

Stop #3: Jessie’s Juice

Location: Market St, Camana Bay 

Cafes don’t get much cuter than Jessie’s Juice in Camana Bay, a vibrant waterfront community in the heart of Seven Mile Beach. Jessie’s is the perfect place for a post workout juice, a mid shopping spree coffee, or a quick and healthy meal while out on the town.

Seating: Jessie’s, being the cute little place that it is, has very limited indoor seating. The main draw of this juice bar & café is the vibrant outdoor seating options perfect for meeting up with friends or people-watching in solitude. You can even bring along a furry companion!

Beverage: If you are one of those people who are overwhelmed by “too many” amazing options, you may have a tough time at Jessie’s. One look at the menu and your eyes will go wide with wonder. We came for coffee but as usual were tempted by the wide variety of smoothies, juices, lemonades, and kombucha. After trying a couple samples, we ditched our coffee plans and settled on two tall glasses of peach kombucha. Even people who are a little bit on the booch fence will love Jessie’s version. It is fresh, fizzy, and has virtually none of the vinegar flavor that some brews seem to contain. I totally recommend this drink especially because they let you taste it beforehand!

Bites: We settled on Bryan’s favorite pastry — the banana nut muffin. This muffin has been known to help the accountants of Camana Bay survive through the busy season! It is a light and delicious option if you are not super hungry! 

Thoughts: All around, Jessie’s is one of my favorite places to go for a coffee or smoothie. If you haven’t been yet and would like to try it out, you should definitely go when you have time to sit for a while outside. Bring a book, meet a friend, or people-watch to your heart’s content. (Wear sun glasses so people don’t think you’re creepy.)

Cayman Coffee Crawl in Review:

This island offers many exciting events… but if you aren’t interested in drinking alcohol or spending a lot of money, I think the Cayman Coffee Crawl is an excellent activity to try out! Please stay tuned for future coffee crawls as I know I am only scratching the surface and there are so many places to be explored! (In Cayman and world wide!)

Connect

If you decide to try my coffee crawl or design your own version wherever you are in the world, please share with me! Also, if you have any recommendations for cafes to try in Cayman or around the world, send them my way 🙂

As always, thanks for reading! Subscribe below to receive new content to your inbox every Wednesday!

A CONVERSATION WITH JANINE MARTINS

A CONVERSATION WITH JANINE MARTINS

Janine Martins is a yoga and meditation teacher based in Grand Cayman. She creates personalized, private yoga experiences for her clients in their homes and in outdoor spaces.


Introduction

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Janine Martins has undoubtedly picked up on her profound yet subtle wisdom that manifests itself through stories, insight, and acute observations. Following a conversation with Janine you may find yourself feeling more centered and focused as her positive vibes permeate everyone around her. 

After Janine’s ayurvedic morning routine I was able to ask her questions about her business, her personal yoga practice, as well as her life growing up in Cayman. Just as in everyday conversations, her responses were deeply thoughtful, eloquent, and uplifting. Keep reading to get your fill of inspiration and good vibes!

How and when did your yoga journey begin? 

In the winter of 2008 I was living in my university town. I signed up for a 7 week yoga course at a shop that sold yoga and activewear.  I was walking home after yoga one evening and realized all of a sudden that I was smiling ear to ear… blissful. I saw the snow on the ground and the people around me. I felt so deeply present in the moment. I didn’t realize at the time what the class was doing to me… but a while later, January 1st 2009 to be specific, I began my 1-week intro-pass to Bliss Yoga in Cayman.  I went every day for 7 days. I fell in love. One day before class I was bending down at the water cooler to fill up my bottle and suddenly thought, “I could totally be a yoga teacher.” The thought went out of my head just as quickly as it came. After that week I continued to practice yoga 6 days a week for about 8 months. I was obsessed, I couldn’t stop going. It made me feel so balanced. I found a routine, I went to work, I came home, I had my tea out on the balcony. I was meditating but I didn’t realize I was meditating. I was doing a lot of things naturally that I didn’t realize until years later. 

“I’m coming back here. I know I am coming back here. This is my calling.”

Flash-forward to 2016 — I left Toronto again and was back in Cayman. I knew I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I had experienced burnout and other traumatic experiences that had hospitalized me. My soul was crying out.  I asked myself what it was I really wanted to do. “I want to teach yoga.” Within 3 months I had found a place to do my teacher training, but my passport did not arrive on time so I had to find a new place. That’s how I ended up going to Bali and Singapore. Two weeks before I was supposed to go I got into a car accident and again, thought I wasn’t going to be able to go. But it all came together. I completed my yoga and my reiki training at the same time with Tirisula Yoga. We were in Singapore for 4 weeks and Bali for 10 days. In Bali while driving from the airport to the property, I experienced déjà vu multiple times. “I have been to this corner; I’ve seen that person’s face – I feel like I have been here before.” The Balinese people kept asking me where I was from; they thought I was Balinese. I thought, “I’m coming back here. I know I am coming back here. This is my calling.”

What kinds of yoga do you teach?

I try to be open to many different styles of yoga and utilize different practices. I don’t pigeonhole myself to one. The several I do draw on are hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, yin, and restorative. I only teach what I feel drawn to but I customize those experiences to my clients. Everyone is unique so what my client needs is not necessarily what I need.

“I customize that practice for my clients based on their physical and energetic needs and what else they are doing in their life. I have to take into account the whole person.”

What kinds of practices do you find your clients typically need?

Many of my clients are already practicing very yang-centered practices such as CrossFit or working out at the gym. They don’t need to do Ashtanga or the very disciplined practices…they already have that. I find that what a lot of my clients need to do is to slow down. They need to feel, need to breathe. It is not so much about moving fast and doing 50 poses, but about being in one pose and feeling it and breathing in it. It’s not only about the physical practice but on honoring what the other practices are. Meditation is a big part of what I offer my clients and I think very quickly a lot of clients discover that is what they need a lot more of than movement. 

I try to stick to the practices that are a bit more traditional and a bit more energetic-focused as opposed to “here’s a system… go do it.”  I customize that practice for my clients based on their physical and energetic needs and what else they are doing in their life. I have to take into account the whole person. This is what Ayurveda says: you are a whole person, you’re not just this sixty minutes. What else are you doing? What else is going on in your life? 

What practices do YOU need?

For me personally, I need a combination. I need a vinyasa flow or a power flow to get my energy moving. But I also need yin… I need restorative, slow practices. I am very breath-focused. So if you practice next to me in a class I will sound like the Darth Vader next to you. You will know I am there. 

Having been raised in Cayman, what about this island have you come to love most? What makes you most proud about being Caymanian?

One would be the physical place — the landscape. I love how beautiful it is…the birds, the iron shore, the sand, how different Northside is from West Bay. And then the history…The sand front yards and the conch shells that line the driveways. I love this culture of small family living and people being so connected to the ocean and so connected to each other. I love having these traditions of making up songs and taking care of each other.

“Even if they didn’t always have the words, they always really wanted to take care of everyone. That sense of community, that’s what I love so much about Cayman.”

My grandmother and great grandmother…they were poor black women, they didn’t have any education. They raised my mother on their own. But they still told her, “Anne, go to the big school.” That was their way of saying go to university. Go before you get married. Make sure you can take care of yourself. They were two unmarried women who would die spinsters with no property other than their shop and their home. And even in the shop my grandmother was giving away things all the time. She had lists full of things that she gave away that people owed her money for. And that is what she was known for — being a very kind woman. There was so much love for each other  Even if they didn’t always have the words, they always really wanted to take care of everyone. That sense of community, that’s what I love so much about Cayman. We might not always say it the right way. It may not always come out in the right tone. But there is really a sense of “we have each other’s back.” 

When conditions are safe to travel, what are your top three destinations you would like to visit?

Spain, Portugal, and Cuba!

Cayman Fast Five:

  1. Favorite coffee spot: Jessie’s Juice, Americano
  2. Most peaceful place: Northside, Barefoot Beach
  3. Go-to lunch spot & what you order there: Tillies – Vegan Kale Salad, Tostones, or Snapper Ceviche
  4. Day-off activities: Paddle boarding with Vitamin Sea, breakfast at Island Naturals (Acai Bowl), or a massage @ No. 11 Spa
  5. “Guilty pleasure”: “I don’t feel guilty about anything I eat or do — everything I do is something that is a gift to my body. If I want to indulge I give myself permission to indulge. I am making the conscious decision to do it.”


READ NEXT:

AN INSIDE LOOK: JANINE MARTINS

AYURVEDIC MORNING ROUTINE

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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!

An Inside Look Into Janine Martins’ Morning Routine

An Inside Look Into Janine Martins’ Morning Routine

With her cultivated beauty and infinitely good vibes, island renowned yoga teacher and sound healer Janine Martins is as elegant at 6:00 am as she is at Tillie’s disco brunch. When I arrived at her Snug Harbour home, the sun had not yet risen. She greeted me with a bright face, sporting a palm tree pajama set with a fresh mug of Cat’s Claw tea in hand. With no time to waste and a beautiful Thursday ahead, we started right in on her morning ritual.

Janine follows an Ayurvedic morning routine. Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda for short, is one of the world’s oldest holistic whole-body healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic physicians believe that daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Consistent practice is known to reduce inflammation in the body, cleanse it of toxins, reduce symptoms of illness and disease, and overall improve the quality of daily life.

Janine’s morning ritual commences with a simple but important step that needs no explanation — making the bed. This is her way of letting her mind and body know that sleep is over and it’s time to start the day!

The Routine

Step one: Janine splashes cold water on her face seven times, ensuring that the eyes and mouth are cleaned in the process. Once complete, she dries her face with a clean towel.

Step two: Hydration! Janine usually opts for a glass of water (sometimes with lemon) or an herbal tea. Some of Janine’s go-to herbal teas include Cat’s Claw, Ginger, Sage, Mint, Ashwagandha, and Tulsi. For our morning together she elects Cat’s Claw — a powerful antioxidant that supports immunity and is known to cure headaches.

Step three: Janine uses a tool to scrape her tongue as a means of removing tongue bacteria. She gently scrapes from back to front for 7-14 strokes. This practice also helps to stimulate the internal organs through energetic connections with the rest of the body and improves digestion by increasing sense of taste.

Step four: A couple times a week she also practices oil pulling, an ancient practice that involves swishing oil in her mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene. It can be done with coconut, olive, or sesame oil. Once measured out, Janine swishes the oil around her mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, spits, and rinses.

Step five: Following the oil pull, a couple times a week Janine also uses a neti pot which is a form of nasal saline irrigation therapy. It resembles a teapot but has a longer spout. The pot is filled with a saline solution and then poured into the nostril. The solution flows through the nasal passage, flushes out excess mucus and accumulated debris, and exits through the other nostril. This process is then repeated on the other side. The neti pot has a number of known benefits including improved breathing, relief of allergy symptoms, easing of sinus headaches, and heightened sense of taste and smell.

Step six: Janine brushes her teeth using a homemade charcoal toothpaste. Activated charcoal is a fine grain powder made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances. It can help remove surface stains and improve bad breath. The paste is also free from dangerous detergents and artificial colors. In sticking with products that are both good for the environment and the body, Janine also uses a biodegradable toothbrush from  Woo Bamboo. It is made from one single piece of organically-grown bamboo with no fillers, laminates, or additives. The best part? You can pick it up here on island at Kirk Market!

Meditation + Breathing

Just as it is important to cleanse the body, it is equally important to cleanse the mind and spirit. Janine continues her Ayurvedic routine with Pranayama breathing often followed by meditation. 

Pranayama Breathing

Janine perches cross-legged atop a pillow on her recently-made bed and places her phone down in front of her. She opens her pranayama breathing app which defaults to a timer of seven minutes. The app guides Janine in her breathing — 4 second inhales followed by 8 second exhales. Janine concentrates her breathing in the diaphragm, feeling its expansion and retraction. If inspired, she will reset the timer for another seven minutes and repeat the practice. There are many amazing benefits of pranayama breathing including longevity, improved circulation, healthy heart, and improved mental health. 

Meditation

Without moving from her seat, Janine reaches for her phone to switch to her meditation app – Insight. Janine practices zazen — a form of seated meditation at the very heart of Zen practice. Aligned with this tradition, Janine does not use voice-guided meditations from the app but rather a timer which allows her to focus on her breath and feel her body. She is able to customize her meditation with bells as a signal to change mudras. Mudras use the hands to create a flow of energy in the body. There is a connection from areas of the hands to corresponding regions of the body. Depending on the day ahead, Janine will either meditate directly after pranayama breathing or later in the evening. No matter the time of day, she will always create space for at least 15 minutes but depending on how she is feeling may go all the way up to an hour.  

Morning Exercise

Janine listens to her body and makes adjustments that best serve her. That being said, her morning routine sometimes looks different depending on her energy, her schedule for the day, and even the weather. A couple times a week, rather than sitting for a morning meditation, she will hop on her bike and go for a ride. On these rides she will traverse anywhere from 15 to 25 miles, an exercise she believes to have a meditative quality

Breakfast

As part of the Ayurvedic routine, Janine prioritizes morning hydration with water or herbal tea; however, breakfast at that hour is not essential nor is it necessarily helpful to her body. Typically Janine will have her first bite of food later in the morning following a form of physical exercise — whether that be yoga, cycling, or a beach run. Some of her go-to breakfast items include a slice of toast with almond butter and fruit, oatmeal, or a smoothie. As she and I chat, she slowly and methodically peels a pomegranate — a task which she says allows her to practice patience and mindfulness. She tells me that pomegranates are excellent for balancing Pitta — one of the 3 doshas outlined in ayurvedic medicine. 

Wrapping Up: Janine reflects on the idea of “routine”

“The overarching theme you’ll find not only in Ayurveda but also in my work is that not of us are the same, not even day to day, week to week, never mind from person to person. So I don’t treat any of my clients the same. I don’t treat any week the same. I don’t treat my body the same. Same with meditation… sometimes I might do 15 minutes. Some days an hour. Some days I use a different preset. We have to approach our life with this mindfulness of ‘What do I need right now?’ So today, yeah, maybe I want this pomegranate. Maybe another day my body doesn’t need that. It needs something completely different…  Be willing to adapt and be flexible. Have these tools and ask yourself — What tool do I want to use right now in this moment?”

READ NEXT:

Did you enjoy learning about Janine’s ayurvedic routine? Would you like to hear more about her business, how she became a yoga teacher, her life growing up in Cayman, and her favorite spots on the island?

A CONVERSATION WITH JANINE MARTINS

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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!

Tillies: The Brunch To End All Brunches

Tillies: The Brunch To End All Brunches

Brunch has become something of a universal Sunday celebration. We’ve all been to one. We’ve all drank the mimosas. We’ve all had to rescue our dill pickles from the bottom of watered-down bloodies. But until you’ve attended a brunch at Tillies in Grand Cayman, consider yourself deprived of the complete brunch experience.

Let me preface this by saying that brunch at Tillies is not for the faint of heart. When you make a reservation for this event, you are making a commitment to a minimum of 4 hours not just eating and drinking, but also dancing and socializing. Consider it the brunch olympics. Each month Tillies announces the Sunday brunch theme. October, for example, is an homage to the 90’s. Given that I spent all of the 90’s either in diapers or in my cousin’s hand-me-downs, my understanding of 90’s fashion is lacking a bit to be desired. Lucky for me, this past weekend kicked off with “90s in the Hamptons,” which apparently means dress in all white. For me, it meant an easy theme to follow, sparing me a trip to the thrift store.

Arriving at Tillies brunch is like stepping on to Grand Cayman’s very own red carpet. Everyone is dressed to the nines, including the wait staff and hosts. There is even an award given to the “best-dressed.” We haven’t won it yet — we seem to have a lot of competition. Seeing the many unique interpretations of the theme is entertainment in and of self. Of course, there is still a fair share of people who arrive in casual dress. One legendary brunch-goer in particular can be seen at Tillies every single Sunday sporting a different sarcastic graphic tee. Even funnier than his shirts is the fact that he is known to make frequent costume changes in between stints on the dance floor. I think we should all aspire to be more like him!

The themed ensembles definitely contribute to the extravagant brunch vibe; however, the real glamour of the event lies in the location and design of the restaurant. For one, Tillies is situated quite literally on the beach. Whether you choose to sit inside or outside, the ocean is just a stone’s throw from your table. If you are really planning ahead, you could even come equipped with your swimsuit for a little mid-brunch dip. Besides the unbeatable location, Tillies has a design team that elevates the experience to a whole new level. An Aperol spritz fountain made entirely of fresh, local fruit…a golf cart elegantly piled with pineapples and flowers… a pyramid of a hundred champagne glasses… You name it, Tillies can make it happen. That is one of my favorite things about them — they always keep it fresh and aren’t afraid to take risks. 

Of course, while many are enchanted by the aura of Tillies, artful fruit arrangements alone cannot guarantee a gold star review. That is where food and drink come in. Another area of this brunch that seems to be in constant flux is the menu. Last weekend the menu was “90’s Pan-Asian Craze.” I am sure this has meaning to someone out there but to me it just meant “Yay, Sushi!” The brunch menu is set for each table with vegan options available. The appetizers, seafood tower, main course, and dessert are brought to you in four waves until you find yourself completely surrounded by food and prosecco wondering for a brief moment if you have died and gone to heaven.

Of course, while many are enchanted by the aura of Tillies, artful fruit arrangements alone cannot guarantee a gold star review. That is where food and drink come in. Another area of this brunch that seems to be in constant flux is the menu. Last weekend the menu was “90’s Pan-Asian Craze.” I am sure this has meaning to someone out there but to me it just meant “Yay, Sushi!” The brunch menu is set for each table with vegan options available. The appetizers, seafood tower, main course, and dessert are brought to you in four waves until you find yourself completely surrounded by food and prosecco wondering for a brief moment if you have died and gone to heaven.

At an event that honors socializing and dancing as much as they do food and alcohol, it can be a challenge to find the proper balance between calorie consumption and physical exertion. What happens when the sushi is delivered at the same time that your favorite song comes on? To eat or to dance? The key, like most things in life, is to go with the flow and see where the afternoon takes you. Choose your brunch adventure! This is one of the reasons why no two Sundays will ever be the same.

You may be thinking…that’s great Kate, but how much is it? Well friends, in the world of materialism, you get what you pay for. If you want unlimited low-quality food as cheap as you can get, then sit yourself down at Paul Bunyan’s cook shanty in the Wisconsin Dells and eat flapjacks to your heart’s content. But if you want to experience something original with amazing quality on an iconic Caribbean beach, then reserve a table at Tillies! Most people working and living in Cayman would not bat an eye at the price of brunch — $75 CI per person ($92) for unlimited food, drink, and entertainment. However, I know all of my teacher friends from Wisconsin are having heart palpitations just thinking about spending that amount on BRUNCH. 

Look, we all have our priorities, but in my opinion this is something you have to experience at least once if you are visiting or living on the island. Once you do, you will be hooked. It is truly the brunch to end all brunches! See you at Tillies! 

https://www.tillies.ky/