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.


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.


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).


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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A Guide To Becoming PADI Certified In The Cayman Islands

A Guide To Becoming PADI Certified In The Cayman Islands

Going scuba diving has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, but having lived most of my life in the Midwest, I had no idea when I would be able to make this dream a reality. I certainly didn’t imagine moving to the Cayman Islands would be the factor that ultimately pushed me to do it. But now, here I am living in the Caribbean and what an amazing place to learn how to dive! While I am quite familiar with water sports and have done my fair share of snorkeling, I really had no concept of what a PADI certification would entail. Heck, I didn’t even know what PADI meant. (cough, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, cough, cough). That being said, this blog will serve as a written account of my experience (the good, the bad, and of course, the ugly), as well as a little guidebook full of tips and tricks to navigating this experience while living or visiting Grand Cayman.

Smiling because I have finished all the pool skills and am on to my first dive!
(Sunset House)


How much does it cost?

There are two parts to getting PADI certified – you first complete an online course followed by an in-person training. The price of the online course is $190 USD and the 3-day in-person training (including pool skills, four dives, and ALL the equipment) is $215 (180 CI).

Where did you get certified?

While Grand Cayman has many excellent dive school options, we signed up with Red Sail Sports, which is quite a popular choice on the island. Our instructor, Alex, was top notch and the whole experience was a very positive one from start to finish. I would definitely recommend Red Sail to anyone living in Cayman or visiting the island. 

Is it really worth it?

Of course, diving is not for everyone. Many admire the ocean from afar, but I’m not sure everyone is meant to go 60 feet beneath its surface. I can only speak from my own experience and this was my take: to me diving feels like entering into a world where I am no longer human. (Wow, melodramatic much?) I am doing something that instinctually, feels impossible — breathing underwater. Everything is quiet, time slows down, and I feel more peaceful and in-the-moment than I even knew to be possible on land. What’s more, I get to see and experience all the beauty of the Caribbean sea — its shipwrecks, its coral reefs, and its diverse marine life.

After practicing setting up our equipment (Sunset House)

Sounds great, how do I get started?

Step 1: First things first is signing up for the PADI online course (Open Water Diver)

This is completed and paid for independent from the dive school of your choosing. We decided which school we wanted before signing up but you could always do the online portion first and find your school later. The course consists of 5 sections, each with a short quiz. At the end, you take a 50 question exam which you need to score at least a 75% on. It takes anywhere from 10 to 16 hours to complete the whole course so I would not recommend leaving it until the night before… (ahem, BRYAN). 

Step 2: Choose a dive school

As mentioned above, we went with Red Sail Sports but there are many schools on island that offer PADI certification. Cayman Diving School, Turtle Divers, Divetech, DNS, Ocean Frontiers, Eden Rock, and Deep Blue are just a few examples to get you started. They may vary in price slightly but you will find their overall training structure to be quite similar. 

Step 3: Get training!

As I mentioned, the in-person course is 3 days in length. With Red Sail we completed most of our training at Sunset House, a restaurant and dive resort in South Sound. On the first day, we completed about 5 hours of pool training (uff-dah). On day 2 we completed 2 shore dives and on day 3 we put all our skills together with 2 boat dives.

My dive buddy Bryan after our final dive

What to expect:

Difficulty level

Being a swimmer and water enthusiast, I have to admit I went into the training a bit over-confident. I was not totally prepared for the challenges that a PADI certification would entail. Yes, the instructors are fun and want you to enjoy the experience, but they are also preparing you for any little thing that could go wrong while diving. That being said, there are certain skills that for some people (apparently all the men in our group) are seamless and easy…but for others, (me) cause a good deal of anxiety or discomfort. Namely, when we had to completely remove our mask and put it back on underwater. Despite these challenges, walking through these emergency situations step by step definitely helped me to feel more confident and equipped in the water. Overall I would say the training is very do-able and straightforward.

WOW, tiring (but rewarding)

I would recommend not scheduling many other activities for the 3 days that you are in the training. Why? Because it TOTALLY wipes you out. All you will want to do when you finish is eat everything in sight and pass out. And actually, you feel okay doing that because on average, a scuba diver burns 400-700 calories per dive. 2 dives per day and you have yourself a pretty solid workout! 


They provide everything! If you have a nice mask or fins that you use for snorkeling, you can bring them along with you. But if not, they provide mask, fins, wetsuit, and of course all the dive equipment (BCD, weights, regulators, etc).

Time Commitment

  • Day 1: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Day 2: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
  • Day 3: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Getting ready to board for dives 3 & 4

Tips and my personal advice!

Bring snacks, water, and sunscreen!

During all 3 days of training there will be small breaks, not long enough to eat lunch but long enough for a protein bar, piece of fruit, Gatorade, or maybe some cookies! But try not to bring anything that will melt as you are outside in the sun all day.

Hydrate! Before, during, and especially after

While diving you can become dehydrated quickly due to environmental factors (sun, salt, wind) as well as by breathing dry, compressed air from the tank. All of this considered, you should be hitting the water hard at any and all opportunities. 

Go with a good friend or your partner

All 3 days you will have an assigned “buddy” who you do all your pre-dive checks with and many of the emergency skills. Of course, it’s okay and could even be nice to buddy up with a stranger but for me it was very comforting to have Bryan as my buddy (we get along pretty well, I guess), and it helped me get through some of the tougher skills.

If you get seasick, take non-drowsy Dramamine (even for the shore dives)

 Even though we didn’t go on a boat on day 2, I felt nauseous just from being on the wavy surface for a few minutes. Another trick of the trade that our instructor shared with me is ginger. They sell ginger root tablets at the grocery store but I happened to have fresh ginger at home so I made myself a mango, banana, ginger smoothie about an hour before the boat (along with a non-drowsy Dramamine) and felt amazing the whole day.


  • Seeing turtles, stingray, barracudas, a mermaid statue, and two nurse sharks!
  • Overcoming a fear: I was truly scared and anxious when it came to removing my mask underwater. I had to really focus and dig deep to be able to do it at 50 feet. But not only did I do it, I did it with composure and confidence which felt pretty amazing! 
  • Our instructor Alex was actually the best! We couldn’t imagine a better teacher for our PADI certification
  • If I wasn’t tan enough before, I definitely am now! Also, my hair is looking a lot more blonde so basically I got free highlights. I mean, this course really does pay for itself
  • Burned calories without trying: As I said before, divers can burn 400-700 calories per dive and even though the equipment weighs a lot on land, in the water you are weightless. Essentially, we burned calories while being incredibly lazy underwater. What more can you ask for?
  • A new appreciation for the island: If you think the island is beautiful on land, just wait until you see what it has to offer just off its shores!
Our instructor Alex, myself, Bryan, and Freuhle

Your dive certification awaits!

If you are someone who has been on the fence about getting PADI certified, I hope this article serves as the inspiration you need to take the dive! It is a certification that never expires and can be used anywhere in the world. Getting certified means becoming part of a dive community whether it be in Cayman or around the globe. It grants you access to explore a world that would otherwise remain completely unknown. Pictures and videos are nice, but wouldn’t you rather see it for yourself?