10 Reasons to Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

10 Reasons to Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

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

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

#1 CULTIVATE WELLBEING WITH FREE WELLNESS CLASSES

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

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

#2 FIND YOUR ZEN WITH MINDFULNESS MONDAYS

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

RECOMMENDED READ: THE NON-ALCOHOLIC GUIDE TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

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

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

Top Left Artist: Charles Long

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

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

#5 BASK IN GOOD VIBES AT THE ART CAFÉ

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

#6 NOURISH YOUR SOUL WITH A WALKING MEDITATION

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

RECOMMENDED READ: CAYMAN ISLANDS EAST END GIRLS TRIP ITINERARY

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

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

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

#8 SERVE THE CAYMAN COMMUNITY BY VOLUNTEERING AT THE GALLERY

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

#9 SHOP FOR UNIQUE TREASURES AT THE GIFT SHOP

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

#10 EXPERIENCE ART FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME

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

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

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!

Latest from the Blog

TUKKA

5 Reasons Why West Bay Should Be On Your Radar

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 […]

grand cayman expat life

The Pros & Cons of Expat Island Life

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 […]

british words and expressions

21 British Words I Learned in the Cayman Islands

In preparation for moving to Grand Cayman, I gave much more thought to the Caribbean lifestyle than I did the island’s British influence. Of course, I fully anticipated the change to driving on the left […]



CAYMAN ISLANDS LIFESTYLE GUIDE

Island Living Done Right


THINGS TO DO IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

Island Travel and Lifestyle Tips


MY STORY: MOVING TO CAYMAN

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


Get new content delivered to your inbox!

The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

Grand Cayman, however small it may be, offers countless activities and adventures for visitors and locals alike. The best part? Most of these activities require very little planning and in many cases, minimal spending. These factors make this island a perfect setting to tick off a whole slew of bucket list items! Keep reading below to uncover the Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List and get started on your tropical adventures today.

Download the PDF version below of this bucket list below:

1. Kiss a stingray for 7 years of good luck: Stingray City is where you can go to feed, pet, and even kiss these gorgeous sea creatures. Hop on a boat party or book a group tour with Red Sail.

2. Enjoy a fish fry at Eastern Star: 30 minutes from central Georgetown, this beachside bar and restaurant offers a wide selection of locally caught fish, lobster, shrimp, and conch.

3. Visit the Parrot Sanctuary in East End: If kissing the stingray didn’t work, don’t you worry! Kissing a parrot is said to bring 10 years of good luck. The Parrot Sanctuary will bring you face to face with some of the island’s native plants and animal species. The stars of the show are of course, the Cayman Parrots! After your visit you can head across the road for a seaside lunch at Tukka.

4. Explore the Crystal Caves in Northside: Venture through three spectacular caves and the surrounding tropical forest on a 90-minute guided walking tour.

5. Dive or snorkel the Kittiwake shipwreck: Before moving to Cayman, I thought exploring sunken ships was only possible in the movies. This island makes these adventures so accessible with its plethora of shipwrecks and world-class diving culture.

6. Take a leisurely stroll through the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Park: Live like royalty for a few hours while wandering through these elegant gardens with their exotic floral display. This experience will leave you feeling peaceful and inspired!

7. Salsa dance a Tuesday night away at the Wharf: Can you name a more perfect backdrop for a night of Latin dancing? Arrive early to brush up on your steps as a dance instructor gives complimentary lessons. Entrance is free and water is provided!

8. Embark on a sunrise stingray cruise: Perfect for the early-birds, this tour gets you to the sand bar before the crowds. After Stingray City, you’ll head to the North Sound barrier reef for some snorkeling. A truly perfect start to the day!

9. Go horseback riding on the beach: Have the adventure of a lifetime by swimming bareback on your horse. Cayman’s crystalline waters create a dream-like setting for a truly unforgettable horse riding experience.

10. Take a Humane Society pup for a beach walk: This organization works so hard to care for homeless pups! Their shelter is often full and they greatly appreciate volunteer dog-walkers. No need to sign up or register, just stop in and they’ll give you the sweetest dog to take for a couple hours, the whole day, or even just 20 minutes.

11. Book a fitness class or sound healing on the Palm Heights rooftop: The view from atop this boutique hotel on Seven Mile Beach is absolutely breathtaking. Need relaxation? Clear your mind and soul with one of Janine Martins’ sound healing sessions. Want to sweat it out? Check out Jude Love’s Full Body Conditioning or Naturally Heated Pilates.

12. Star gaze at Barkers Beach on a clear night: This one is for the real adventurers wanting to go off the beaten trail. Away from the hustle and bustle of Seven Mile Beach, Barkers is a peaceful, remote setting for an evening of star gazing. Pack flash lights, bug spray, and refreshments of choice!

13. Snorkel with turtles at Spotts Beach: Another activity that rewards all the early risers out there! The best time to see turtles at Spotts Beach is from 7 am and onward. Swim around the seagrass area and you are sure to spot a few! Check out my Spotts Beach video here!

14. Swim in the natural topaz pool at Pedro St. James: Timing is everything with the swimming hole at Pedro St. James. Sometimes it is pristine and gorgeous, other times it simply an empty rock hole. If you are someone who understands tides, you may have a bit more luck with this! Wear durable shoes as you’ll have to traverse the Ironshore.

15. Go for a hike on the Mastic Trail: Immerse yourself in the island’s native plant species with this 7.4 km out and back trail near Bodden Town.

16. Kayak or snorkel the Bioluminescent Bay: Book with Cayman Kayaks for an unforgettable 2-hour bioluminescent kayak experience. Feeling brave? Other tours on island allow you to jump in and snorkel. Just beware of the jellyfish! Read about my failed DIY bioluminescent experience here!

17. Camp on the beach during the Easter Holiday: What a wonderful way to disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty of Cayman’s coastline! Hundreds of people turn out for this long-standing island tradition. If you’re unable to camp, take a walk on the beach to experience some of the fun first hand!

18. Spend an afternoon boat partying: You will not escape this island without attending at least one boat party. Move to the rhythms of Soca music as you cruise about the dreamy turquoise waters of the Caribbean! Read my boat party tips here!

19. Steal the dancefloor at a Tillie’s theme brunch: A truly iconic experience, Tillie’s will wow you with their creative design, delicious food, and outrageously cool DJs. Read about my own Tillie’s brunch experience here!

20. Sip a Mudslide at Kaibo in Rum Point: This cocktail is as Cayman as it gets. Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s, and ice, finished with cinnamon, a cherry, and a shot of Kahlua down the straw!

21. Try a paddleboard yoga class with Vitamin Sea: There are few things more peaceful than a sunset savasana on the water. Surround yourself with the expansive beauty of Seven Mile Beach alongside a group of saltwater yogis. All levels are welcome!

22. Load up on fresh fruit from Tony the Mango Man: During the summer months in Grand Cayman, the sight of this man outside of Governor’s Beach will be enough to make your whole day. Bring cash to stock up on local produce and have a chat with the man behind the mangoes!

23. Participate in the Flowers Sea Swim: Hosted annually on Seven Mile Beach, this one-mile swim race attracts athletes from around the world. Grand Cayman is certainly an inspiring destination for such an exciting event!

24. Compete in (or spectate) the Cayman Islands Marathon: Runners from Cayman and around the world can compete in either the half or full marathon. Those who are not so inclined to long distance races can partake in the event by passing out water or simply cheering on the runners. Read about my own Cayman marathon experience here!

25. Spot a Nurse Shark at Eden Rock or Sunset House: Nurse sharks can be seen almost anywhere off Cayman’s shores. Eden Rock and Sunset House are highlighted because of their easy shore access. (And also because I have personally spotted nurse sharks at both of these sites). Go for an easy shore dive or a lengthy snorkel and you may just spot one yourself! Read about my very first shark sighting here!

26. Shop for amazing gifts at Pure Art in South Sound: A visit to this unique store guarantees a heartwarming shopping experience. With unique handmade gifts and island-inspired local artwork, you are sure to walk out with treasures for yourself and others. Not to mention, the store owners are incredibly kind and helpful!

27. Watch the sunset with a Paradise Pizza on the beach: This island is a paradise. Why waste time indoors? Paradise Pizza is located behind Tillie’s. Pick up a Neapolitan-style pizza and take a seat on Seven Mile Beach for unique sunset dinner experience.

28. Rise early for a sunrise Seven Mile beach walk: At this hour, you have the beach almost completely to yourself! Enjoy the cotton candy colored skies as you pad across the expansive stretch of beach. Afterwards, treat yourself to a pastry from Icoa or Marriott’s Anchor & Den — you earned it!

29. Try a local island dish at Vivines in East End: An authentic, West-Indian eatery, Vivines offers local favorites such as stew chicken, macaroni pie, oxtail, conch, and callaloo.

30. Coffee Crawl though Georgetown and Seven Mile: The “Coffee Crawl” is a caffeinated itinerary invented by yours truly! It is a guide to exploring the many coffee shops of Grand Cayman — a wonderful way to get to know the island and its businesses! Check out my guide here!

There you have it! The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List is sure to inspire your future travels (if you’re a visitor) or weekend plans (if you’re a local). Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Grand Cayman is always brimming with events, attractions, and activities (on land, at sea, and underwater). No matter what plans you end up making, this little island is going to wow you again and again — I can guarantee it!


Get new content delivered to your inbox!

RECENT POSTS

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

10 Reasons to Visit the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands

Nestled away in a peaceful and verdant corner of Georgetown is the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. This inclusive gathering space is most commonly known for its Cayman-based art exhibitions, but their offerings do not stop there!  I first visited NGCI for a free yoga class led by Janine Martins and was amazed to […]

barefoot beach grand cayman

North Side, Grand Cayman: Perfect Afternoon Itinerary

Tired of the Seven Mile scene? Ready to add some flavor to your standard weekend plans? This itinerary for North Side, Grand Cayman is simple, easy, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon! I have kept this list to 3 essential stops so that you may complete the tour in 3 hours or less […]

7 best runnning routes grand cayman

7 Best Running Routes in Grand Cayman

Gorgeous weather, picturesque seascapes, and palm tree lined paths. These words describe the running scene in Grand Cayman. This island offers a wide array of flat, scenic running loops which are great (free) alternatives to hitting the gym or joining a fitness class. Lace up your trainers, hydrate like crazy, and you are on your […]

The Non-Alcoholic Guide to the Cayman Islands | 20 Alcohol-Free Things To Do in Cayman

The Non-Alcoholic Guide to the Cayman Islands | 20 Alcohol-Free Things To Do in Cayman

Grand Cayman offers a buzzing social scene filled with brunches, boat parties, happy hours, and everything in between. While an active social agenda is great for making friends and forming connections on the island, it is no secret that many of these activities center around alcohol. That is why I have devised a list of non-alcoholic activities that can be incorporated into your island plans to encourage healthy connections and sustainable living. Get ready — sober island life never sounded so good!

1. Dive

The single most tropical activity you could possibly partake in, scuba diving is an ultra-healthy and adventurous way to experience the island. Red Sail offers a Sunday morning special departing from the old Calico’s — CI $50 for two tanks, all the equipment, and even a group guide if desired. Diving is a great way to make friends and form new connections. Read about how to become scuba certified in one of my previous posts.

2. Snorkel

Logistically much simpler than diving is the equally healthy and adventurous activity of snorkeling. All you need is a mask, fins, a snorkel, and a buddy! I recommend Eden Rock for its beautiful coral formations and Spotts for turtles. In the summer, Cemetery Beach is another great spot to swim with wild turtles!

3. Latin Dance Classes

Fuego Latin Dance offers a variety of classes focusing on Salsa and Bachata. These classes are CI $20 per hour and cater to beginners as well as improvers. Although completely alcohol free, I must admit that Bryan and I had some wine beforehand to help us ease into our dance moves. This is a great way to meet new people because you switch partners each time a new step is added to the routine.

4. Coconut Club Vegan Brunch

We never thought we would see the words “vegan” and “brunch” side by side, but Coconut Club puts on an artful and inspiring 5 course presentation in which cocktails are replaced by freshly fermented kombucha. The event is CI $45 and is a lovely way to connect with new faces as meals are presented in a family-style setting and there is plenty of time to chat in between courses. Keep an eye on their events calendar or the Coconut Club Instagram to see when their next vegan brunch will take place!

5. Walk a Dog

The Cayman Islands Humane Society encourages locals to pick up a dog at the shelter for a quick walk or a day-long excursion as a way to provide them exercise and grant them a bit of freedom from their caged surroundings. The dogs love it, you love it, and your liver loves it! Win-win-win!

6. Beach Walks

Too obvious? I think not! Don’t be that islander who takes their paradise surroundings for granted. Beach walks are straight forward but offer wonderful versatility in your island plans. For example, instead of driving directly to Island Naturals, park at Governor’s Beach and walk to get your smoothie! It is so much more rewarding having to work for it a little bit 😉

7. Coffee Crawl

Like a pub crawl but you trade alcohol for caffeinated bliss! Explore Grand Cayman by visiting its many cafes and coffee shops. Read my Coffee Crawl post to get started planning your own!

8. Road Trip

Living in the Seven Mile Beach area, the lifestyle can start to feel quite busy (and expensive)! Shake up your weekend itinerary by planning a little road trip out to East End or North Side. There are many little stops to make along the way including restaurants, beaches, scenic photo ops, and much more! 

9. Vitamin Sea SUP Yoga

One of the first things I researched before moving to Cayman was paddleboard yoga by Vitamin Sea. Stalking their Instagram account was one of the only things that got me through the snowy Minnesota winter. While Vitamin Sea offers standard paddle board rental, I would highly recommend trying out the yoga class which is taught on the water at sunset…I mean, what more can you ask for? 

10. Rent a Bike or Scooter

There are public bike and scooter stations located around the island. Hop on a scooter just across the street from the Westin and ride it to Camana Bay. Your reward for making it all the way there without falling could be an ice cream from Haagen-Dazs or a gelato from Gelato & Co. 

11. Join a Run Club

Grand Cayman has a surprising number of run club opportunities catering to a wide range abilities. These clubs are free to join and are a great way to meet fellow runners who share your health goals. Two of my favorites are the Palm Height’s Monday Night Run Club and the Saturday Morning Camana Bay Run Club which departs from Jessie’s Juice at 7 am.

12. Thrift Shopping

Shopping second hand is not only an amazing way to save money and practice sustainability, it is also a surprisingly entertaining way to pass the time on a Saturday. You truly never know what treasures you will unearth at the thrift store! I recommend the Humane Society Thrift Store but you can also try out the Red Cross and Another Chance (at the Strand). Read my recent post to learn the best tips for finding amazing thrift deals.

13. Go “Hiking”

Anyone who lives in Cayman knows that hiking, by standard definition, is not really a thing. The Mastic Trail is the one minor exception. Located near Bodden Town, the trail is a 7.4 km round-trip journey where you will come face to face with some of Cayman’s most quintessential trees and wildlife including Cayman parrots! Wear good shoes, pack a NON-alcoholic beverage, and you are set for an afternoon of exercise and nature appreciation!

14. Rent a Jet Ski

Island vibes abound when zipping across the crystalline turquoise waters of Seven Mile Beach on a jet ski. If you are not yet “balling” and do not own a jet ski, you can rent one from Red Sail, departing from the beach at the Kimpton. The cost is roughly CI $50 per half hour. A bit expensive, but it’s a nice way to treat yourself and also makes for a great gift!

15. Kayak The Bioluminescent Bay

Paddle beneath the stars from Rum Point to Cayman’s only bioluminescent bay. Cayman Kayak’s offers a 2-hour guided tour for USD $59 that gives you a front-row seat to this magical underwater phenomenon. 

16. 3 Girls & A Kiln

Get in touch with your artistic side and stop in at 3 Girls and a Kiln in Camana Bay. They are an art collective specializing in island chic ceramic and handmade, upcycled goods. They offer a whole calendar of monthly crafting events as well as make & take wood painting classes — perfect for a girls day out, a date night, or a little self-discovery bliss! 

17. Read on the Beach

Another seemingly obvious island activity; however, many are not taking full advantage of this seaside R&R! Spend a luxurious afternoon selecting the perfect read at the Book Loft and then head to a quiet stretch of Seven Mile or a secluded corner of Smith’s Cove to indulge in some cheap, alcohol-free entertainment. 

18. Sister Island Adventure

It can be hard to escape drinking culture when it has you surrounded on all sides. Maybe a weekend get-away is exactly what you need to break out of your current social pattern and satisfy a bit of wanderlust. Whether it’s rock-climbing in Cayman Brac or biking around Little Cayman, it’s never a bad idea to shake up your routine! Check out my Cayman Brac itinerary for a little help planning your island-hopping adventure!

19. Art Appreciation

Experience the island through the eyes of local artists by scheduling a visit to their studios. Read my East End Girls Trip Itinerary to read about the two studios I visited: Charles Long and White Dog Art. Cayman also showcases artwork around the island in the forms of murals, paintings, and sculptures. Visit the National Gallery for a more concentrated collection of artwork.

20. Sound Healing

Saving the best for last, a Sound Healing session with Janine Martins is an absolute must if you’re seeking fresh experiences and pure inspiration. Janine will bring your body back into a state of harmony with her beautiful voice and Tibetan singing bowls. Not to mention, her public offering is held on the Palm Heights rooftop, a truly dreamy location. Keep an eye on the Palm Heights events calendar or Janine’s Instagram for upcoming sound healing dates!

There you are! 20 alcohol-free activities to begin incorporating into your island social calendar. Don’t forget that as much as we love them, there is much more to this island than just boat parties and brunches! If you haven’t tried any of the above activities, I challenge you to try at least one this weekend. I promise they will open your eyes and allow you to experience Cayman through a new, beautiful, (sober) perspective! Enjoy 🙂

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG

Latest from the Blog

Jessie's Juice, Grand Cayman

7 Best Healthy Restaurants in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean. It boasts a diverse restaurant scene specializing in steak, seafood, and many local favorites. As much as this […]

Vitamin Sea Grand Cayman Paddleboard Yoga

The Ultimate Grand Cayman Bucket List

Grand Cayman, however small it may be, offers countless activities and adventures for visitors and locals alike. The best part? Most of these activities require very little […]