State the obvious, Grand Cayman is a Caribbean paradise and a wonderful place to both live and vacation. However, its beauty and prestige do not make it immune to some unavoidable quirks and peculiarities. I feel the longer one lives in Cayman, the less noticeable these oddities become. However, as a Midwest girl laying fresh eyes on this undeniably unique island, I have observed some truly one-of-a-kind occurrences that are too good not to share! The 25 items below are things that have surprised me, amused me, or just plain stopped me in my tracks since I have moved to Cayman.
1. Island residents pay hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars to stay at hotels that are 10 minutes from their own home. AKA Staycationing, somewhat of a COVID-inspired phenomenon.
2. Ordering anything from overseas pretty much guarantees several weeks or months of waiting. That is, if it even arrives.
3. ALL supermarkets (and many stores) are closed on Sundays meaning weekly errands have to be completed on Saturday. Oh, the horror.
4. The island’s dump (Mount Trashmore) is located in plain sight and is literally the highest point on the island. Once a year it starts on fire and CIS has to cancel school because of the fumes.
5. People feed and pet wild stingrays like they are puppies. It is even considered good luck to kiss them.
6. There is such an overpopulation of green iguanas that people actually go “iguana hunting” for a cash reward. Before you get too excited, I think the reward is only $5 per iguana.
7. There seems to be no system for returning shopping carts at the grocery stores. If there is one, no one is following it. As a result all the carts end up strewn throughout the parking lots, at bus stops, and on the side of the road. Yes, I am upset about it.
8. Driving 45 minutes to the other side of the island is considered a “get-away.”
9. In the 2+ years I’ve lived here, I’ve never had a personal mailbox. No junk mail. No bills. Everything is either dealt with electronically or mailed to my employer.
10. There is no televised new station in Cayman, but rest assured, there are still a wide variety of news outlets. The most popular, in order from most reliable to pure gossip are as follows: Cayman Compass, Women of Cayman Facebook Group, and Cayman Marl Road. You should follow all three for a well-rounded perspective 😉
11. On any given moment it could be torrentially raining in one area and blue skies one minute down the road.
12. Nowhere else in this world is there a Tony the Mango Man. And nowhere else on Earth do the mangos taste quite as good!
13. At first I thought it was a tall tale but apparently people actually cook turtle meat and put it in a soup called Turtle Stew.
14. Gaelic football, despite its inane rules, is the most popular sport for expats on Island.
15. The famous, award-winning 7-Mile Beach is not actually 7 miles at all, it is about 5 and a half. But you can walk the entire length of it which is pretty awesome.
16. The right of passage for new island arrivals is to attend either a boat party or a brunch (probably both, many times over). Oh, and be recruited to play Gaelic football.
17. Chickens. Chickens everywhere. On the golf course, in the streets, at outdoor restaurants, at the beach, and anywhere else you can think of. They will be there…asserting their dominance.
18. People are very quick to tell you exactly where they live. The island is so small, it’s nearly unavoidable.
19. Paying $2,000 per month for rent is considered a “good deal.”
20. It’s been over two years and I’m still not sure where to buy underwear on this island.
21. A bag of romaine lettuce costs $9. *GASP!!*
(7.69 CI = $9 US)
22. The “Christmas Breeze”: Around December and January, the temperatures in Cayman drop ever so slightly and everyone rejoices!
23. There are over 40 dive operations and 365 dive sites. There is literally a dive site for every day of the year
24. NO TAXES 😉 (but the money you save in not paying taxes goes straight to your romaine lettuce budget)
25. There are as many Hondas as there are people. That’s an exaggeration, but sometimes it feels that way.
As you can see, Cayman is quite a unique little island! It goes to show even tropical paradises are susceptible to certain eccentricities. But just like anywhere else in the world, the longer you live somewhere, the more these things become ingrained in your worldview. Cayman is an island that inconveniences its residents in some ways but spoils us in so many others! If you can get past the chickens and the $9 romaine, I think you’ll find it’s a pretty fabulous place to live.
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