The Cayman Foodie: Insider Guides with Chelsea Tennant

CHELSEA, HI! TELL US ALL ABOUT YOU AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP HERE IN PARADISE?

I am a born and raised Caymanian with both of my parents coming from the district of North Side.  Growing up here was great as Cayman was a quieter place in the 90's.  We were a generation of kids who played outside by riding our bicycles, swimming in the canals by our house and doing a lot of outside after-school activities. I grew up in Newlands, but my parents made sure that we stayed connected to North Side every Sunday by visiting family and spending the afternoon at Rum Point.

NORTH SIDE IS GORG! WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGES ON ISLAND THAT YOU SEE THESE DAYS ?

The island has continued to develop at an exponential rate especially in the western districts.  I have always appreciated that Cayman has two sides to it; the buzzing city-like atmosphere along Seven Mile Beach and the simple & quiet lifestyle of the Eastern districts.  I am all for development that is modern, sustainable and environmentally conscious, but I am happy for the divide we have as it allows visitors and residents the option of being "in the thick of it" or choosing "to get away from it all”.

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YOU ARE KNOWN TO BE OBSESSED WITH FOOD. TELL US YOUR FOOD HISTORY AND WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I've been watching the Food Network since I was a kid, but it was in my 20's that I really got into the celebrity chef culture. I have a huge respect for those who work in that industry because I feel it is one of the most difficult jobs out there; standing for 12 hours a day in front of a hot stove with sharp objects seems like a recipe for disaster (pun intended).  From the beginning, my focus has always been to promote the best that Cayman's food & beverage industry has to offer. I have gotten to do this through my website and Instagram account, but additional opportunities have given me more insight into this industry (and personal growth) including hosting a radio show, restaurant consulting and social media takeovers.  Be on the lookout for my next project where I'll host epicurean events that highlight Cayman's best chefs and bartenders!

SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A LOT ON THE GO! SINCE YOU'RE AN EXPERT ON FOOD, GIVE US 3 PLACES YOU WOULD GO FOR A ROMANTIC DINNER?

"Blue by Eric Ripert" at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman because it is the most luxurious and creative fine dining experiences you will ever have here or abroad.

"Veranda" at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort has a romantic décor, seaside dining and a menu that elevates Caribbean cuisine.

"Kaibo Upstairs" is known for their rare rum collection, tasty menu and their peaceful location in North Side. *Note that Kaibo Upstairs is very accessible for anyone located on Seven Mile Beach as Cayman Ferries offers round trip transportation from Camana Bay.

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YOU’RE MAKING US HUNGRY! WHAT ABOUT DRINKS? IF YOU HAD SOME VISITORS, NAME YOUR TOP THREE SPOTS, AND GO!

"Catch" because they have one of the most unique cocktail menus and a shaded, breezy deck overlooking Morgan's Harbour.

"Rackam's" because this seaside bar has incredible sunset views and a popular nightly tarpon feeding.

"Premier Crew" because their Tap Room is an intimate space with excellent happy hour prices and is the only place that allows you to drink and shop in the same location.

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GO TO DISH ON ISLAND? IS IT A HIDDEN GEM? IS IT POPULAR?

You can find me at "Chicken Chicken!" almost weekly as I love their wood-roasted and jerk chicken; that herbaceous rosemary sauce and array of delicious sides. You definitely get more bang for your buck at this restaurant so it is very popular with visitors and locals.

WHAT'S UP AND COMING? ANYTHING PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

Most of the major culinary events happen between October to May, so make sure that you attend: "Taste of Cayman", home to the island's largest food festival; "Cayman Cookout", 4 days of gluttony featuring celebrity chefs and beverage experts; businesses participating in October's "Restaurant Month" for budgeted prix fixe menus; and "Batabano" (Cayman Carnival) or "Pirate's Week" to enjoy some post-parade local dishes including Cayman Style Beef, Conch Stew and more.

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WE'VE BEEN WATCHING YOUR INSTA STORIES, TELL US ABOUT CAYMAN'S FOOD SCENE AND WHAT EVENTS PEOPLE SHOULDN'T MISS OUT ON?

Cayman's food scene is quite diverse because we are home to more than 142 different nationalities.  This makes us quite unique from other Caribbean islands because we have such a high expatriate community and therefore we can offer an array of authentic cuisine. Anchor & Den hosts foodie events constantly and I particularly love their authentic Spanish tapas night, "El Mercat", every Thursday and their all-inclusive brunch at night event "A&D Sessions" every quarter.  Cayman Cabana's "Farm-To-Table Dinner" is a favourite among locals and visitors because it's a (filling!) multi-course meal using local ingredients. 

YOU'RE ALWAYS STYLING IN YOUR POSTS! CAN YOU TELL US YOUR SECRET?

I'm not a huge shopper in general, but when I do shop on island it's mainly to add to my sunglasses collection from the stylish and charitable "Peripheral Life & Style".




Insider Guides: Capturing the island's beauty with Aldington Scott

TELL US YOUR STORY GIVE US SOME HISTORY ABOUT YOU AND WHERE YOU CAME FROM!

I was born in Jamaica, but moved to Cayman back in 1991. Literally the words “Beautiful Cayman Islands” back then was the game changer for me.

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

I just love how everyone knows one another. Well, that and the fact that I can wake up and step right onto the beach!

WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING YOU. YOUR DRONE SHOTS AND PHOTOGRAPHY ARE INCREDIBLE! WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Well, I see people all over the world that just don’t know about the Cayman Islands. So when I started photographing I just wanted tourists to see what I see and come visit this beautiful place.

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TELL US 3 OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO GRAB THAT PERFECT SHOT?

I have a lot of favourites but Spotts Beach is one where I can swim with turtles and sharks. Pedro St. James has a massive hole by the edge of the bluff. Sometimes it’s dry, and sometimes it’s filled with water and creates this gorgeous pool. Stingray City never gets old as I can photograph the most beautiful stingrays.

WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION TO PHOTOGRAPHY?

My inspiration is Cayman. Not to be fancy, but just to capture something that people don’t get to see often or usually found on the internet.

BETWEEN WORK AND PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU MUST GIVE YOURSELF A LITTLE YOU TIME... TELL US WHERE YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR DAYS OFF?

I would say just being home with my family. Or to be with my friends on the beach.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD WITH US, GIVE US YOUR TOP 3 SPOTS TO GRAB SOME DELICIOUS LOCAL FOOD.

This one is tough… Mango Tree, Cracked Conch, and Fish Shack. It’s all about the seafood!

An Insider's Guide: Cortez Vernon

CORTEZ! TELL US YOUR STORY! WHERE YOU FROM, HOW LONG YOU'VE BEEN HERE AND WHY YOU MOVED HERE!

I'm originally from a small district just outside of Montego Bay Jamaica. It just happened that a company here saw my website at the time and thought it was creative enough for them to give me a call and offer me a job, this was back in 2005. I took the offer and have been here since.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

I love the amalgamation of the many different cultures/people. I love meeting new people and being here just makes it so much easier with CaymanKind.

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YOU ARE FAMOUS FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY! TELL US HOW YOU CAME TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER, AND WHAT YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT IT? 

I'm a graphic designer and used to do lots of corporate brochures and print work so my employer at the time bought me a camera to get some headshots and I just got addicted after that. 

THAT’S AMAZING! ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER! YOU MUST KNOW SOME PRETTY GREAT PLACES TO SHOOT PHOTOS, TELL US WHERE YOU LOVE TO SHOOT!

There are countless amazing places on island to shoot, I love nature so I tend to explore to find them. My faves are the botanical park because of the wide variety of different plants/trees, Camana Bay for a bit more modern look and of course any one of the many beaches.

AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR DAY OFF? TELL US WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?

This is a tough one because I love trying new places like driving to East End and finding a random isolated beach and just decompress. I love Camana Bay to get some food and check out the latest movie, or, randomly choosing something touristy to do like parasailing or going on a Helicopter ride.

ANYONE WHO LIVES IN CAYMAN KNOWS WE HAVE THE BEST FOOD IN THE CARIBBEAN. TELL US WHERE YOUR 3 FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS ARE?

Cayman Cabana, Over The Edge, Mizu or Yoshi's for some sushi!

WHAT ABOUT THE TOURISTS? WHERE WOULD YOU SEND THEM FOR SOME ACTIVITIES WHEN THEY VISIT?

My top three would be Helicopter tour, Crystal Caves and the Bioluminescence tour.

YOU MUST KNOW THE BEST PLACE FOR LOCAL, TRADITIONAL FOOD? WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE THESE TOURISTS FOR THE ULTIMATE LOCAL FOOD EXPERIENCE? 

Cayman Cabana, Wellys Cool Spot, and Over The Edge

Island Diaries: The sweet life with Katie Bondy

KATIE! I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING YOU FOR QUITE SOME TIME, TELL THE READERS WHY CAYMAN? WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM AND HOW DID THIS PLACE BECOME HOME?

Where I'm originally from?! It's a bit of a trek, but I was born in Fort Lauderdale and lived there until I was 5. My family moved to Windsor, Ontario and I grew up most of my life, school, first jobs, etc. there. When I was 25 I quit my 9-5 job with the Government, broke up with my boyfriend (at the time) and decided I wanted to bartend in the Caribbean. I definitely watch the movie Cocktail on repeat! Funny enough, I went to highschool with two girls that moved to Grand Cayman! It took me two whole weeks to down size my Windsor life, pack and move to Cayman. After a few years on this glorious rock, my then boyfriend decided we should take a break and try "real" life back in Canada. It took four years, and our honeymoon trip back to Cayman and we decided to move back. We've been back now for three years. 

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YOU’RE LIFE IS LIKE A LOVE SONG, BABY! WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING (BACK) IN CAYMAN? 

The sense of community! I love walking down the road and people you know honk as they drive by. I love walking on the beach with my dog and running into others. I love walking into my favourite bar for a glass of wine and run into old friends, or even make new friends! There is no way to be lonely on this island!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO ON ISLAND? WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I am an Assistant Food & Beverage Manager for the largest restaurant group on island. I also love my job, which makes my island life even better. Watching visitors and locals enjoy their nights out and lunches in Camana Bay is a great job!

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. TELL US WHAT YOUR DAY OFF ROUTINE LOOKS LIKE!

I do enjoy my playtime! My days off always include my husband Eric and my big dopey, beach loving Labrador! We usually start our mornings off with a beach run and swim. We love having a nice quiet lunch on the water. Morgan's, Waterfront Urban Diner or Karoo are all dog friendly! To end our day, we love having a sunset drink at Calicos, catching up with friends and cheersing to another beautiful sunset in the Caribbean!

YOU MENTIONED YOU LEFT ISLAND AT ONE POINT AND DECIDED TO MOVE BACK, WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?

We moved to my husband's native prairies to take a break from island life in 2012. I am officially and unequivocally NOT a winter girl. We missed the sun, sand and water the most. We missed being barefoot and seeing friendly faces wherever we went. I missed jerk chicken, rum runners, and swimming in the ocean. Once we came back for a visit, we knew Cayman was where we were meant to be.

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IS THERE A SECRET ABOUT CAYMAN YOU CAN SPILL TO US? RESTAURANT, PLACES TO RELAX, ANY GOODIES TO SPILL FOR THE READERS? 

Well, then it's not a secret! But yes, we love sitting in the adirondack chairs on the water at Morgan's, with a nice bottle of wine. The breeze there, looking over the bay, it's all very screensaver-esk. In the mornings it's nice to go get a coffee at the Marriott and sit in the swings around the courtyard. It's awesome to feel like you're on vacation, even if you live 10 minutes down the road. Every three months or so, we take an island drive and stop at dive bars along the way. The South Coast Bar has my favourite conch fritters and jerk burger! The beer is cold, the bartender is friendly and a few dollars on the jukebox gets you a solid mix of Country, 80's music and Reggae.

SINCE YOU'RE A DOG LOVER, YOU HAVE TO SHARE THE BEST PLACES TO TAKE YOUR DOG! READY AND GO!

Just Northwest of The Kimpton is a nice quiet area of beach for Dude to roam and play in the water. Dude enjoys a good spa day and plays with other pups. He's enrolled in doggy daycare with Love Your Dog and occasionally heads to Cay 9 Resort and Spa. Lastly Rackam’s. Dog friendly and he LOVES watching the tarpon swim around. We are constantly making sure he doesn't dive off the dock into the water to tackle a 30 pound tarpon.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST/EASIEST THING ABOUT MOVING TO CAYMAN?

The hardest is getting used to "island time". It's very endearing in lots of ways, and us Westerners could learn a lesson or two about this time keeping. However, when it comes to waiting for the AC repair man, or in line at the bank, you do miss the luxuries of quick service back home. The easiest is there is always friends to help you out and make sure your transition is just as good as theirs was. After you drop your bags, you have a drink in your hand, unlimited hugs from friends and meeting new people. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO'S MOVED OR LOOKING TO MOVE HERE?

Do your research. I used to recruit for a living and no matter how many times I explained the cost of living here, people were usually pretty broke for the first couple of months. Save, and ensure that you do your research about setting up costs. You have to be able to adapt and adjust to the lifestyle too. If you're the type of person who has a hard time adjusting their routine and appreciating a slower lifestyle, than this may not be for you for the term.

Insider Guides: Local tips from paradise with Alex Cowan

ALEX, WHAT’S HAPPENIN’? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHAT WAS IS LIKE GROWING UP HERE IN PARADISE?

Cayman is definitely an ideal place to grow up. The sense of community while growing up here is my favourite part. “Everyone knows everyone” is a saying you will hear a lot from Caymanians and this is true! Cayman is such a small, tight-knit community and you are not far from the support of family and friends. The safety and beauty of Cayman along with its people make it a perfect place to live and grow.

YOU’RE RIGHT! SO TELL US WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

The people of course! There are very few places in the world where you will witness a huge diversity of people from many different backgrounds living together in harmony. We truly are the most welcoming people on earth. We like to call that “Caymankind.” The ability for our people to welcome everyone to our beautiful islands is unique and truly a testament to our lifestyle and attitude.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU SEE ON THIS ISLAND SINCE BEING A KID?

The continuous development. Cayman (especially Grand Cayman) has developed tremendously over the years. The amount of new buildings going up all over the islands with older buildings being removed, has definitely changed how Cayman looks and feels. I remember as a child thinking five stories was high and I now find myself walking past high rises. The amount of development that has happened in Cayman over the years is astonishing and has contributed to our tourism product greatly.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO HERE? AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB/LIFE?

I consider myself an Entrepreneur. I own a few businesses on Island including a 24/7 fitness center and a rideshare web application, which I am hoping to launch very soon. I am also currently doing some part-time work in Real Estate which I am really enjoying. The ability to work on my own schedule is priceless. To do so in one of the most beautiful places on Earth is an amazing bonus.

WE ASSUME YOU HAVE VISITORS, YES? TELL US WHERE YOU WOULD TAKE THE VISITORS FOR SOME DRINKS AND GOOD FOOD?

I would definitely take my visitors to the north side of the island. Rum Point is the perfect spot to have a few frozen mudslides while relaxing in a beach hammock. The drive up also allows for great sightseeing. Back in George Town I would take my visitors to Cayman Cabana, which is a fabulous restaurant on the waterfront serving nice cold cocktails and fresh fish caught by the fishermen who bring their daily catch in right beside the restaurant! They also have a huge selection of unique local dishes. The final place I would take my visitors would be to the northwest point of the island to a bar and restaurant named Cracked Conch Macabuca. You may not be surprised by this but their Cracked Conch (fried conch) is the best on Island. Pair it with a nice cold local beer and a great local bar atmosphere, it’s tough to beat!

AND WHAT ABOUT THE SUNSETS? WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?

I have seen some spectacular sunsets on Seven Mile Beach. However, Northwest Point just edges Seven Mile Beach in having the best sunsets on Island. Have a happy hour drink at the bar at Macabuca and watch nature put on a show!

EVERYONE LOVES A NICE DAY OFF, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOURS?

My ideal days off are spent on the boat on the North Sound. You can’t beat a day on the water! Get some morning fishing in and then spend the afternoon at Rum Point and Starfish Point. Once anchored open the cooler, grab your drink of choice and relax under the sun. Island life at its finest!

PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE LOCAL FOOD - WHERE DO YOU GO FOR YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL DISH?

Vivine’s Kitchen in East End is the hot spot for traditional Cayman food. It’s tough to choose a favourite local dish but Vivine’s has it all from Stew Conch to Cayman Style Beef to Cassava Cake for dessert. You name it she has it. Interestingly, her restaurant is her home! Vivine and her cooks prepare island delicacies from her own kitchen. The servers then bring the food out back where her guests are seated around tablesset out in her own backyard. This is a must do for a very traditional Caymankind experience.

WOW! HER PLACE SOUNDS AMAZING! ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR TOURISTS? AS A LOCAL YOU MUST GIVE THEM SOME GOOD LOCAL TIPS! READY AND GO!

Tip #1: Buy and Support Local! Local farmers have so much to offer from fresh fruit and vegetables to fresh beef, pork, honey, hot pepper sauce and everything in between. Get directions for the Farmers Market at the Cricket Grounds and head straight there. Similarly, try our local beers and liquor! We have a lot of great local products to offer.

Tip #2: Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are your best friends. Load up on these two supplies for a more comfortable experience.

Tip #3: Don’t leave out our sister islands! Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are only a short plane trip away and offer so many different activities including caving, rock climbing and fishing. Exploring the caves in Cayman Brac and spending an afternoon on Owen Island in Little Cayman would be the perfect way to end your trip to Cayman.

Hatty Moon: Insider's Guide to Spas, shopping and more

HARRIET! THANKS FOR YOUR TIME! PLEASE, GIVE US YOUR STORY!

Hi! I’m Harriet Moon-Jenkinson, Co-Founder of Not Your Standard (https://www.notyourstandardagency.com), a local boutique full-service marketing and public relations agency. I grew up in Cayman, but went to the UK for boarding school, university and work in London, and have been back on-island full time for 8 years. 

For me, being a kid in Cayman is synonymous with that smell and sense of intense heat when you get off the plane after a long-haul flight. I have so many fond memories of endless summer days as a teenager here. Coming back from a long-term at school and meeting up with childhood friends that you may have not seen or spoken to in months, but it was like you'd never left each other. Carefree days at the beach, mid-week boat trips up to Rum Point or jet skiing across the North Sound – I'll never forget that sense of freedom and pure joy of long summer days (and very late nights!) in Cayman. 

THIS ISLAND HAS CHANGED SO MUCH IN THE LAST WHILE, hasn’t it? WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE SEEN SINCE BEING A KID? 

Development, even over the last 8 years. While I love the connectivity and conveniences of Cayman’s infrastructure, I would’ve loved to experience the island my parents and in-laws moved to in the late 70s/early 80s.

IF WE COULD ALL GO BACK, AMIRIGHT? SO WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN PARADISE?

You can’t beat the lifestyle here, having lived in London (and worked and lived at either ends of the city) the commute from West to East would take up to an hour each way. Here, you're never in the car much longer than 15 minutes door-to-door. The consistently great weather means there’s no excuse not to get outside for an early morning workout or an after work sundowner. The sun is always shining, it’s hard not to be happy in Cayman!

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SO YOU RUN A MARKETING AND PR COMPANY, THAT’S COOL! TELL US WHAT INSPIRED YOU to lead in THIS CAREER PATH?

For the last two years, my business partner, Michelle Wight and I have been working with a tight-knit group of local and regional clients who like to do things a bit differently, using our marketing experience and passion to really help them to drive sales, experiences and brand affinity through creating truly great brands, that have real visions and real stories, as well as innovative campaigns that utilise some of the newer marketing tactics – like experiential and influencer marketing – to captivate audiences. 

I always hoped to work in a creative industry. I trained as a journalist at London College of Fashion and had planned to work for a magazine, but fell over to the 'dark side' of public relations working for a couple of boutique fashion PR agencies before moving in-house to a high-end fashion boutique in the trendy parts of East London. When I moved back home to Cayman, I worked in the PR team of Dart Real Estate, and then in financial services Marketing & Communications, where I met Michelle, and we built out the global marketing function for a well-known financial services provider

WORK NEVER ENDS DOES IT? TELL US WHERE YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR DAYS OFF TO RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF!

Hmm, days off? The fun never stops as a small business owner! When I’m not behind my computer, on a client shoot or prepping for an event, I love simply getting lost in a book in the sun – we’ve just moved back to South Sound, where I grew up, and we now have a pool and overlook the sound, which makes doing this really easy! I’m a real bookworm from childhood and, more recently, I’d really let reading slide in favour of the inevitable millennial bad habits, like too much screen time. My new year’s ‘resolution’ this year was to read a book a month – and so far, so good. 

YOUR INSTAGRAM PROVES YOUR LOVE for style! GIVE US YOUR ISLAND SECRETS, WHERE DO YOU SHOP? NAME 3 PLACES AND GO! 

For surprisingly good second hand, Carey’s Karma Closet (https://www.facebook.com/CareysKarmaCloset/) – I’m always amazed by the high fashion finds I dig up in there that are often in pristine condition. The Mercantile (https://www.facebook.com/themercantileky/) at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort for boutique swimwear brands like Made by Dawn and Solid & Striped, and handmade jewellery from UK designer Cabinet Jewellery (https://cabinetjewellery.com). And the local thrift stores for absolute gems for dress up parties (there’s always a dress up party in Cayman!) and Hesha for the accessories. 

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WHAT ABOUT A LITTLE PAMPERING? TELL THE READERS YOUR TOP PLACES TO TREAT YOURSELF? 

No.11 Spa (https://no11spa.com) for the experience and the best facials on island – the Bespoke Four Corners Facial is out of this world and their Yin & Yang Facial is centred around facial reflexology, and will help cure ailments before they’ve even come to a head. For a day of true indulgence, the La Prairie Spa (http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/caribbean/grand-cayman/spa)  at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. 

A SPA DAY MUST INCLUDE COCKTAILS AND LUNCH! WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE YOUR GIRLFRIENDS FOR LUNCH AND FAB COCKTAILS?

Bacaro (https://www.bacaro.ky) for lazy late afternoon tapas and great cocktails. Tillie’s (https://www.tillies.ky) is the new place in town, with a good vibe and an interesting menu. Rackam’s (http://www.rackams.com) for dive bar prices and strong drinks plus their food is surprisingly good, too. 

LOCALS (and tourists) LOVE LOCAL DISHES. WHERE DO YOU SEND YOUR VISITORS FOR THAT LOCAL DISH THEY CAN'T LEAVE [CAYMAN] WITHOUT HAVING? 

The Grape Tree Café in Bodden Town for Fish Fry, on the way up to Rum Point for a Bioluminescent Kayak Tour with Cayman Kayaks (http://www.caymankayaks.com/our-tours/bioluminescent-kayak-tour).

An Insider's Guide with Julie Corsetti: For the Love of Outdoor Photography

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JC! YOU'VE BEEN IN CAYMAN FOREVER! TELL THE READERS ABOUT YOU! WHERE YOU'RE FROM, HOW DID YOU LAND IN PARADISE?

I’m From New York. I came to the island first with my family on a cruise ship in 1987. I returned as a tourist in 1993 and got a job offer as an underwater Photographer/Videographer at Bob Sotos.

THAT’S AWESOME! SO WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

The clear water. The beautiful light at sunrise. Stingray City. Palm trees and no winters!

YOU’RE A WELL KNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER ON ISLAND, TELL US A BIT ABOUT IT!

I’m outside and underwater daily. I do love capturing the Over/Unders with my housing. I strive to think different and to create images  I have not seen before. I absolutely love what I do. Also, I’m a Mom to a 15 year old daughter and a dog Mom to 2 pups. I Enjoy traveling and shooting landscapes as I explore! My gallery is online and available for print at https://www.juliecorsettiphotography.com/gallery/wall-art/

I'VE BEEN WATCHING YOUR TALENT FOR YEARS! TELL US WHERE YOU PULL YOUR INSPIRATION TO GET SOME OF THE BEST IMAGES ON ISLAND?

Stingray City or any remote beach is all the inspo! Don’t want to give away my secret spots as there aren’t many left.

COME ON! YOU MUST SHARE AT LEAST ONE SECRET! WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST SPOTS TO GET THAT PERFECT SHOT?

South Sound is my favourite. A bit more off the beaten path too. I love the sunsets there. Golden with empty beaches and rugged ironshore. 

HARD WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES US DULL PEOPLE. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SPOT TO GRAB A HAPPY HOUR BEV FOR SUNSET DRINKS?

I am really enjoying the new Tillie’s. It’s the old Hemingway’s at Beach Suites but they have done an excellent job with their renovations!

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CAYMAN IS BOOMING WITH NEW SPOTS TO PLAY! WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU NOTICE SINCE YOU'VE FIRST MOVED HERE?

I love Camana Bay, and what it has to offer. Nice restaurants, good bars, shopping and the picturesque tiny island. Nice to throw on a pair of jeans and enjoy some wine tasting :) Not loving all the High Rises. When I arrived in 1993 to work, the highest building allowed was 3 stories. 

HELP THE TOURISTS, JULIE - GIVE US YOUR TOP 3 SPOTS FOR THE BEST DINNER

Definitely Deckers, Brasserie and The Marriott

WE CAN'T FORGET ABOUT DESSERT AND COFFEE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR A SWEET TREAT OR A CUPPA?

Love me a good cuppa. Although you can’t beat PG Tips at home with some digestive biscuits. Coffee…I am a sucker for a good Frappe at Cafe Del Sol.

ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO RELOCATE TO A TINY ISLAND?

You need to enjoy the sun, enjoy outside activities, for sure learn to dive and have a sense of humour.

An Insider's Guide to the Island's: Best Children Friendly Places with Keri Jansen

HI KERI! TELL US YOUR HISTORY! YOU LANDED IN PARADISE AND NEVER LEFT, RIGHT? GIVE US YOUR DEETS!

I landed in Paradise on a job offer to open a brand new Jewellery store called The Mansion, located in Camana Bay. Island Companies had attended my School’s Career Fair at The Gemological Institute of America, where they offered me a job to which I accepted. I do not work for the company anymore, but now have a Lemonade Stand in the Royal Watler Terminal, catering to the Cruise Ship industry. 

Over the past 11 years, I’ve acquired a condo, had an amazing baby boy, met great people, enjoyed countless beach walks, and have pretty much planted my feet in the sand to stay.

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AMAZING! DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE AND CAYMAN IS THE BESt! WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN CAYMAN?

Obviously the beach! I’ve travelled far and to many places, Cayman has the best beach I’ve been on. But it's not just the pretty sand and turquoise sea. The lifestyle is amazing. You can get from point A to B in 15 minutes or less. Our small community living is close-knit and very family orientated. Locals are very open to expatriates living on the Island which makes it easy to say “Hey, I think I’m gonna call this place home from now on.”

WHAT WERE SOME CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHEN YOU FIRST GOT HERE?

Paperwork is always drag, but hey. If you want to live in Paradise it comes with the territory. Most times the company that hires completes most paperwork for you. Settling into a new Country has its ups and downs, but I believe that to give it a fair chance you must get to know the ropes, follow the flow of the Island, and to take it slow is best.

I think the "soon come” attitude was the most challenging idea to get used to. This phrase could mean an hour, a week, a month or even a year. Getting past the “I need it now” would be the most challenging thing to get used to. Island Time is real people!

Decide on your local Cayman Bank before you arrive. Contact them and find out what requirements are needed in order to open an account on the Island. You may need a reference from your home bank, so making this effort before you arrive makes it easy when you arrive. 

Island Fever. This exists. The need to get off the rock will arise and when it does be prepared for your weekend in Miami. Get your fill of shopping, Starbucks and driving on highways out of your system and ready for a reset. Only then will you appreciate why you actually live in Cayman!

GREAT ADVICE, KERI! WE LIVE HERE BECAUSE WE HAVE WATERSPORTS, FOOD & BEAUTIFUL BEACHES. WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR DAYS WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING? 

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Get on the water or strut the beach! I always say that if you do anything while living here, make sure you incorporate the sea life into yours. It's part of the history on the Island. I’ve learned to conch dive & scuba dive, I enjoy Flowers Sea Swim, beach walk or just hang on a Sunday at Rum Point. 

YOU HAve A BEAUTIFUL BOY! WHERE ARE SOME GREAT SPOTS for CHILDREN?

I couldn't think of a better place to have a baby. Forget snowsuits, boots, jackets and layers of clothing. All you need is bare feet and some sunscreen. We hang out at Ms. Laura’s pool for swim lessons every Tuesday. Motions Gym has an open gym for little people throughout the week which we attend regularly. Camana Bay is always great, free roaming for little ones while you stroll with a glass of wine, who can complain about that?

NO ONE CAN! WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS?

Cayman is so amazing for children. Everyone is so friendly and willing to accommodate no questions asked. 

The Kimpton Seafire - Breakfast is a great one! Family friendly and very affordable.

Morgan’s Harbour - Excellent food and great for kids. They have no problem accommodating menu requests or modifications. 

Peppers - Very affordable, great seatings and family friendly.

Casa 43 - Best Mexican outside of Mexico. Great for kids - go early though! They don’t take reservations.

WHAT ABOUT THE SEA? BEST BEACHES FOR KIDS?

Naps at Rum Point are essential

Naps at Rum Point are essential

Rum Point - Wreck Bar - Im not sure if we love it or if Jax loves it more. This is the #1 on my list. You can get snacks, have a mudslide, pull a lounger in the water, nap in a hammock or wade in the shade. Need I say more?

Royal Palms - Excellent parking, service on the beach, white powder sand.

Public Beach - This is always a go to. They have a great park with slides and play structures and you can hit the beach for a swim right after. 

All of these places have bathroom facilities for changing and showering as well.

Spotts Beach would be on my list except the lack of bathroom facilities. Apparently they plan to install them this year, if so I will be there as it’s 5 minutes from our house. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WITH A FAMILY LOOKING TO RELOCATE HERE?

Relocating your family isn’t easy, but it can be if you prepare as much as possible ahead of time.

Research schools and know your options. Remember: public schools are not accessible for expatriates, so ensure you know where your child is going to attend school. 

Health Insurance - this is a big one. Make sure you know what you're getting and from which insurance agency. You can then contact them before you arrive to give yourself peace of mind knowing you’ve made contact. 

Housing - obviously you need a place to live. There are several rental agencies here to help, make sure to utilize them. 

Overall the one piece of advice I would give would be to send one family member to check out the island before diving in. Small island living definitely has its perks and benefits, but make sure you know what you're signing up for. 

An Insider's Guide: Pirate stories from Little Cayman with David Alberga

HI DAVID! I LOVE A GOOD “GROWIN’ UP STORY.” TELL US ALL ABOUT YOU!

I was born in Toronto, Canada and returned to Jamaica where we lived at the time, 2 weeks later. At around 9/10 months old, we moved to Grand Cayman and have been here ever since (other than for College/University). 

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FROM ONE ROCK TO ANOTHER, WOW! WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES GROWING UP IN PARADISE?

Growing up here, everyone enjoyed the beach; mainly Seven Mile. Saturdays and Sundays were spent all along that beach. Beach Club Resort was a popular hangout. Lots of cooking, swimming, boating, skiing etc. As we got older in our teens we took to the bicycles, motorbikes and the sea. There were many developments (which had private roads), so we had lots of private land and dirt roads to ride our motorbikes on. We spent most of our time after school on bicycles, playing hide n seek, building forts in the nearby overgrown lots, or snorkeling/spearfishing. Other hobbies were soccer, mainly, bird bush (shooting birds (Seasonal) and the gun range.

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Fishing is obviously a big one, either catching Jacks in the North Sound, or heading to 12 mile bank for a little luck at the tuna and marlin. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac were always looked forward too on long weekends. Those were compiled of going up on the bluff, fishing, diving, snorkeling, and exploring the caves. In Little Cayman, it was about the beach at Owen’s Island or Point of Sand and getting together with family and friends and of course looking for conch, lobster, seafood and fishing, diving etc. Many great memories! Little Cayman always carried the stories of the Pirates that came through this area and so as kids we would naturally go looking for treasure. We often spent some of the day looking but were mainly unsuccessful and lost interest when we saw the Man o’ Wars swooping at the Mahi Mahi just outside the reef or when the fry-jacks appeared in a frenzy at the surface in the lagoon! Night time in Little Cayman was about gathering around the BBQ and listening to ghost stories; I still get goosebumps thinking of them!  Walking the beach looking for lobsters crawling in the Turtle grass or Turtles coming up on the beaches to lay their eggs was also a great treat to find and see.     

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AMAZING STORIES! WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN CAYMAN FOR YOU?

The convenience and safety. A great place for kids to grow up. It’s a 10 min drive to most places. Also geographically, a 1 hr flight and your in the USA to enjoy a weekend away or venture further to other places. No tax is also great, however, we pay that in other ways I suppose.

WHERE ARE YOUR TOP 3 PLACES TO TAKE FRIENDS FOR DRINKS? 

Any local beach bar these days as they are becoming less and less. Calicos, Hemingways (Now Tillie’s), Royal Palms. Rum Point is always great, too!

WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR THE PERFECT DINNER DATE? 

Wharf or Grand Old House! If it’s just a fun date then Casa 43 or anywhere your allowed to get a little messy with your hands!    

TELL OUR READERS ABOUT THE HIDDEN GEMS THEY DON'T KNOW ABOUT?

East End has many local spots that are right on the beach and are GEMS in my opinion. Smith Cove, Barker’s Beach, Welly’s for some "local" food. Honestly, not much is hidden anymore but you can still find beaches that are isolated and tucked away if you wish. The Sealife and what it holds is truly our gem; I have never heard anyone here complain after a day on the water! 

WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU LIKE THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE WATERSPORTS? 

None really! Well, beach volleyball is fun but only for fun, and maybe bar hopping (yes that's an activity). Enjoying one of the many great restaurants is also a great treat. Cayman really does have an awesome array of restaurants and even though I am not a "foodie", as I believe they are referred to, I do enjoy visiting the restaurants for great food and the ambience.  

BEST PLACE TO GO FOR A SUNSET DRINK?

Sunset house, Calicos, Macabuca, Rum Point, Cayman Cabana, Crudo, Rackams… Way too many to list.

An Insider's Guide to Island Living: Julian Foster

JULZ FOSTER! PLEASE TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CAYMANIAN CHILDHOOD - WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GROW UP IN PARADISE?

I actually split my time growing up between Florida and Cayman. Summers and Christmases were spent here running around with my cousins and working at Foster's. We'd spend weekends out at Cayman Kai eating mangoes, snorkelling, playing on the sandbars, fishing, and just enjoying life in the sun! 

FOR THE LOVE OF WORK, TELL US WHAT DO YOU DO ON ISLAND? 

I'm the Marketing Senior Manager for Foster's. It’s an amazing position because not only do I get to be part of such a great organization, but my team and I are constantly crafting connections between brands and our customers. We have fun exploring the infinite ways to creatively tell stories that matter to people and encouraging them to step outside their food comfort zone to try something new. Plus, we get to see and hear from the people that make Cayman such a special place every day.

YOUR INSTAGRAM IS GORG. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO TAKE SUCH WONDERFUL PICTURES? 

Everything, really. I’ll raise my hand and be the first to admit I spend too much time on my phone, but I make it a point to stop and just look around. There is so much beauty around us that it’s easy to spot a cool angle or a colour that brightens your day. Capturing beauty isn’t some hard to master technique; if you’re feeling what you’ve captured, then it’s Insta worthy.

Images available as premium postcards at select locations across the island with more locations being added all the time. You can purchase them directly through Julian by reaching him on his Instagram handle @iamjfoster

YOU'RE CLEARLY A DOG LOVER, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CUTIE AND WHERE'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE FOR DOG WALKS? 

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My sweet boy! I fell in love with Remy at an event for Jeep and the Humane Society a couple of years ago, it was love at first sight. He loves long walks down the beach in South Sound or North Side, chasing leaves and tennis balls, and giving me the side eye when he hears me calling him but pretends to not. He’s also super into laying around the house [just like his dad]. 

AN ISLAND BOY MUST HAVE A FAVOURITE SPACE TO HANG OUT ON HIS DAYS OFF? TELL US YOUR TOP 3 PLACES YOU ENJOY AND WHY?

Would you judge me if I said my couch? Outside of that though... I’m always up for a snorkel with the turtles at Spott’s, a coffee at Bay Market (so delicious and affordable!) or a drink at Seafire. FAVE THING THOUGH - spending the weekend up at Cayman Kai. It's like a whole other world out there - so relaxing and peaceful. 

BRUNCH SHOULD NEVER BE MISSED, NAME YOUR FAVES!

Ritz, Kimpton or Marriott! The Ritz’ food is top notch and the free flowing Moët seems to make all your troubles go away [at least until Monday]. The Kimpton has stellar views, my favorite dessert station, and delicious handcrafted cocktails. The Marriott’s vibe is unmatched and no matter who you go with you always have a great time. 

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WHAT ABOUT A GOOD COCKTAIL, OR COLD BEER? WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO HANG OUT FOR THE PERFECT SUNSET? 

There are so many options! Da Fish Shack, Coccoloba, Sunset House, Tillie’s. 

LASTLY AND OF COURSE, TOURISTS NEED GUIDANCE. AS A CAYMANIAN, WHERE WOULD THEY NEED TO GO, NO QUESTIONS ASKED? 

No questions asked? Stingray City, Botanic Park, Blowholes, Cemetery Beach and The Crystal Caves. Hit those spots and you'll get to see an amazing mix of the beauty this island has to offer.

The Best Brunches in Grand Cayman

Brunch. The word is a whimsical neologism combining the words 'breakfast' and 'lunch'. A pairing as immediately pleasing to the ear, as the pairing of 'eggs' and 'bacon' is to the palette. The idea originated in England in the late 1800s by English author, and presumably heavy-drinker, Guy Beringer, in an essay appropriately titled: 'Brunch: A Plea'.

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In the essay, Beringer explains that the intention of brunch is to share anecdotes of the previous night's shenanigans over a spicy Bloody Mary, a refreshing Mimosa or both. He goes on to explain that a lively brunch affair aims to nurse the Saturday-sin-induced headache and satisfy the sometimes insatiable hangover-hunger for food AND company. This, he argues, can be accomplished with a delicious meal and a generous helping of 'hair-of-the-dog'.

The brunch has since evolved. In Cayman, though still keeping to these old brunch traditions, a brunch now also serves as the go-to manner in which to celebrate special occasions - birthday brunches, mother's day brunches, engagement brunches, the very many 'farewell' or 'welcome back to island' brunches. Then there are also the (slightly) less raucous baby shower brunches and in recent years, the newly popularised divorce-party brunches. What's the dress-code you may ask? Well, it's a Sunday brunch, it should go without saying, that it is to be attended in ones Sunday (very) best!

In honour of the tradition and history of the brunch, we've selected, in no specific order, our tried and tested favourite places to brunch in Cayman:

1. Seven at The Ritz

Elegant and upmarket yet in keeping with the laid-back island-style one comes to expect of our Caribbean holiday. Wash down expertly crafted cuisine with a golden glass of French champagne while taking in the 180-degree views of Seven Mile Beach from the terrace or the glamorous dining room.

$$$$

Photo by Cayman compass

Photo by Cayman compass

2. Luca

Italian restaurant, LUCA, offers guest the choice of enjoying brunch in the luxury and comfort of the sleek and sophisticated dining room or on their patio overlooking the infinity pool and the jewel-toned waters of the Caribbean. The brunch menu includes authentic Italian dishes, prepared simply and with fresh ingredients. Enjoy your delicious Italian fare with bottomless Prosecco - the Italian way.

$$$

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3. Mizu

For those with a taste for the slightly more exotic, Mizu delights with a brunch menu that showcases delicious Asian flavours and table service - a welcome change from the more traditional buffet-style brunch setup that one comes to expect on the island.

The menu includes Sushi, dim sum, rice and noodle dishes like fried rice, Nasi Goreng, Singapore fried noodles and Kung Pao. Traditional Japanese rice wine or 'Sake', well-drinks and house wines are all included in the all-you-can-eat brunch price. Mizu offers a five-star experience on a cheap and cheerful budget. The interior is reminiscent of an upmarket new york nightclub with impressive light features set atmospherically low, high-shine sequinned pillows and a striking Japanese graffiti mural that acts as a talking piece and draws the eye in. All-in-all an all-around enjoyable experience and a sure-favourite on our list.

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4. Ave at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Come with the whole family or sneak away for a romantic dinner at Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa’s Ave restaurant to experience fresh local seafood and produce infused into coastal Mediterranean recipes. Our Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca has crafted an approachable menu featuring seasonal plates that appeal to your whole party...

$$$

5. Ferdinand’s at The Westin Grand Cayman

With free-flowing sparkling wine, a Margarita Bar and a wide variety of mouth-watering Caribbean and international food stations, Westin Grand Cayman's Ferdinand's has safely secured its spot on our list. Every Sunday, guests are invited to enjoy a lavish feast of breakfast items, pasta options, cured, slow-cooked or braised meats from the carving station, dim sum and sushi, a selection of hot dishes and near sinful desserts. Come indulge in classic Caribbean cuisine in the casual-cool interior or on their outdoor patio while taking in the breathtaking sea views, every Sunday from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm.

$$$

Photo by Cayman compass

Photo by Cayman compass

6. Anchor & Den

Taking the cake, both literally and figuratively, is the Anchor & Den Brunch at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. Their signature Boulangerie Brunch includes globally-inspired dishes and bottomless glasses of bubbles served in a Nautical-themed dining area which is at once playful and contemporary. Each Sunday, the area is transformed into a treasure trove of unique food stops - a chocolate display, raclette cheese station, pop-up cocktail bar, fresh juice bar, gelato and sushi stops and a charcuterie carving station, to name but a few. It is, in our opinion, impossible NOT to have a good time at this brunch.

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The Top Cultural & Heritage Sites in Cayman

The Cayman Islands, though rich in heritage and culture, do not boast many heritage sites, in fact, there are very few. Cayman was a country originally settled in 1658 by soldiers, pirates, refugees and shipwrecked sailors and until the mid-1970s had very few inhabitants. That being said, what the Cayman Islands lack in quantity, they most certainly make up for in quality.

Below we have compiled a shortlist of interesting Caymanian cultural attractions worth a visit during your stay on Grand Cayman.

Wreck of the Ten Sail

On 8 February 1794 at the East End of Grand Cayman, a major maritime accident is said to have been the cause of Grand Cayman Island's tax-free financial status. Allegedly, ten ships that had formed part of a convoy en route to the United States and Britain from Jamaica, were shipwrecked on Caymanian reefs. According to sources, Grand Cayman's local folk braved stormy waters in an attempt to rescue passengers and crew that had been aboard the shipwrecked vessel. Today, a stone monument and plaque commemorate these events and the bravery of the local Caymanian community. You can find the Wreck of Ten Sail on Austin Conolly Drive.


Miss Lassie's House

Another popular cultural site to visit is 'Mind’s Eye – the Visionary World of Miss Lassie' in South Sound, or as it's known to the locals: 'Miss Lassie's House', a house decorated with the renowned artist and homeowner's artistic depictions of her religious visions and dreamscapes. After the homestead was restored by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) to its former glory, Miss Lassie's homestead was placed on the 2012 World Monument Watch List of endangered world heritage sites alongside such greats as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the Valley of the Kings. Though some thought Gladwyn Bush, aka Miss Lassie, a madwoman, the 89-year-old eccentric who painted her visions on these walls, will go down in history as a cultural legend of Grand Cayman. Visit Miss Lassie's House on South Church Street, George Town.

Photo by Cayman compass ft Audrey Rogers.

Photo by Cayman compass ft Audrey Rogers.

Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden

Davinoff's Concrete Sculpture Garden in Grand Cayman houses a multitude of towering Cayman-themed sculptures. The garden is filled with concrete statues and sculptures of intricately crafted, lifelike animals that are indigenous to the Caribbean. Sculptor David Quasius first started crafting these sculptures many years ago on a visit to the island during his youth. Ever since, during each visit, David has created and shared his creations with the general public. You can find the Concrete jungle of Caymanian creatures on South Church Street, George Town, Cayman Islands.


Pedro St. James Castle

Often termed “the birthplace of democracy” in the Cayman Islands, Pedro St. James Castle was built in 1780 and is set in over seven acres of manicured lawn. In 1835, it was here that they announced to the Caymanian community that slavery had ended in the British Empire. Visit the castle for an informative tour of the ground, a multimedia show or an authentic Caribbean rum tasting at the Outpost bar. Open daily 9am-5pm. Pedro Castle Road, Savannah

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Schooner Launch Sites

Caymanians are celebrated craftsman of Schooner vessels, sailing ships crafted from the finest quality tropical hardwoods to combine artistry, usability, and durability. These vessels were traditionally rigged with fore-and-aft sails on their two or more masts. Schooner launching ramps were cut into the iron-shore or coastal rock, and to this day these can be observed in and around central Georgetown. Whenever a Schooner vessel was ready to be launched to sea, the whole of Grand Cayman town would gather ashore to celebrate its maiden voyage.

For more information on Grand Cayman's rich cultural heritage, make sure to visit the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, 558 South Church Street, Georgetown.

The Best Parks in Cayman

It's no secret that parks are important contributing factors to the overall health of our communities and environments. Parks play a vital role in our everyday lives, improving mental health and providing us with all manner of social, environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Parks and protected public lands not only assist with our mental and physical wellbeing, but they benefit our environment - providing habitats for wildlife and protected species (in our case the Blue Iguana) and offering people a place to connect with nature and each other. Though Cayman is small and suffers similar sustainable development challenges as most islands, it prides itself on it’s parks and the efforts made to preserve their natural, exotic beauty.

Dart Park

The Dart Family Park was founded in 2005 and has been a favourite amongst families ever since.  The Dart Family Park is one of the largest public parks in Grand Cayman. The park has 180-degree ocean views, a 'lickle' beach area as well as an amphitheatre. The picturesque picnic spots are shaded by wild almond trees, towering palms and dotted throughout with indigenous, sweet-smelling tropical flowers.

Botanic Park

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a two-acre park boasting exotic tropical wildflowers, lush greenage and some of Cayman's most beautiful native birds. The Botanic Park is home to the Woodland trail, the Blue Iguana breeding programme and all the indigenous fauna and flora of the Cayman Islands. Take a stroll or relax under a shady palm while you take in the beautiful surrounds.

Photo from botanic-park.ky

Photo from botanic-park.ky

Barker’s National Park

This park runs over 261 terrestrial beachside acres and is accessible from a barely noticeable path near Pappagallo Restaurant at the farthest end of West Bay. The park offers stretches of secluded space for leisurely activities like splashing in the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean, lounging on its beaches shaded by large mangrove trees or exploring the grounds in search of its variety of indigenous wildlife.

Butterfly Garden

Full and plentiful blooms in springtime in Cayman herald in the arrival of butterfly breeding season at the Cayman Turtle Centre's Butterfly Garden. These fragile little creatures are integral part of the Cayman ecosystem and responsible for the vital process of pollination necessary to keep our biodiverse tropical island region healthy.

Photo by Cayman compass

Photo by Cayman compass

Mastic Trail and Reserve

Cayman's most iconic and well-known hiking trail can be found in an expansive nature reserve. The Mastic Reserve is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora unique to the Cayman Islands and or the Caribbean. Though the Cayman Islands are no longer abundant in the larger tree types like mahogany and logwood trees, the nature reserve and some smaller parks protect the remaining species and some smaller Caribbean varietals such as coconut, thatch palm, seagrape, almond and casuarina (Australian pine). An afternoon meandering through the rich tropical nature reserve is an afternoon well spent, by far one of Cayman's most enjoyable inland activities.

For more information on Cayman's protected parks and nature reserves contact the Cayman Islands Tourism Association or visit their website: www.visitcaymanislands.com



Insider guides : Photographer Chad Munro

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE HERE?

Toronto, Canada is where I was born and raised, the baseball diamond and golf course is where I spent most of my days. What brought me to this picturesque island was merely a change of scenery with a short-term forecast, coming up on 3 wonderful years later.  With having West-Indian roots, father is from Grenada, the tropical sunshine and Caribbean lifestyle run in the veins. 

WHAT GOT YOU INTO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?

What initially started as a hobby developed into a career that I’m extremely fortunate for. With an education and past work experience in Finance & Business, I always felt that something was missing. After taking photos with my iPhone I realized that I loved capturing more than an image. Within every frame there is a story to be told. It was amazing to me that every photo I took on my phone was sending a message. Fast forward a few months and leaving my financial profession, I decided to approach wedding photography, because what stronger message is there than love? I have been so fortunate to travel and do what I love and have come to make lasting friendships with the couples I meet.

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ADVICE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO VISIT CAYMAN?

Seven Mile Beach is a must see attraction, with miles of white sandy beaches and blue, clean waters. Unless you are staying on the beach, beach access can be hard due to lack of parking, however parking is available at public, governors, cemetery, and west bay beaches. 

People drive on the left and is not that hard; just follow the cars. There are lots of roundabouts; you have to yield to cars on the right and once inside you have the right of way.

Because the country is a religious nation, Sundays are taken very seriously. Every business except gas stations, resorts, some restaurants are closed all day Sunday. Bars stop serving alcohol by 12:00am Sunday. 

The island is a conservative place in which that beach attire is inappropriate outside the beaches, even though it is a casual place. Cover your attire when leaving.

With growing development on the island, traffic can be quite bad to and from Georgetown during rush hours when cruise ship traffic is at its peak so try and avoid if possible. 

FAVE RESTAURANT FOR BREAKFAST?

With so many great restaurants on the island, its difficult to narrow down to one favourite. Hence why Grand Cayman is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. A few locations are: Vivo, Anchor & Den, Bread & Chocolate. 

WHERE TO GO FOR LUNCH?

 Vivo, Tukka, Coccoloba, Andiamo, Czech Inn, Chicken Chicken. 

WHERE'S GOOD TO GO FOR DINNER?

 Luca, Casa 43, Aqua, Papagallo.

YOU CAPTURE PEOPLE'S MOST ROMANTIC & SPECIAL MOMENTS, WHERE'S THE MOST ROMANTIC PLACE ON ISLAND IN YOUR OPINION?

Romantic locations vary based on the individuals and their personalities. A stunning and calming sunset view along Seven Mile Beach never disappoints. Also just taking a drive with no destination in mind to witness all the beautiful that the island has to offer .. stargazing on the east / north side, where there is very little light pollution is probably my place to be. 

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 WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE FOR PEOPLE GETTING MARRIED IN CAYMAN?

Be aware of all the marriage requirements in terms of all the right documentation that is required. Dress accordingly to the weather and style of the wedding. The Cayman dress code is typically smart Casual unless formal is indicated. Plan accordingly regarding buying the wedding necessities. The island has a vast array of shops for gifts and favours, but nowhere near the same variety you’ll find in the US and Europe. 

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MUST-SEE ATTRACTION:

I’d recommend getting off the beaten path and explore .. botanical gardens, mastic trail and then experiencing Stingray City via a jet ski tour. Being on the water, zipping across the crystal clear waters is an exhilaration that’s difficult to match. 

 ANY EXCITING TRAVEL PLANS WITH YOUR CAMERA?

I’m quite fortunate to be in a position to travel the world with my camera and capture destination weddings, elopements and general travel imagery. Some of the upcoming locations for 2019 are: Moab-Utah, Germany, Ireland, Turkey, Ukraine, North Carolina, Toronto, Nova Scotia. 

Things to do with Kids in the Cayman Islands

Things to do with Kids in the Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman is renowned for being one of the most family-friendly holiday destinations in the Caribbean. The small paradise island is essentially a sunny playground fringed with tropical waters and palm trees, overflowing in fun activities for children of all ages.

Insider Guides : Model/influencer Amber Smith from city to sand

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE HERE?

Born and raised in the heart of Toronto, I took a chance on the island to avoid winter in 2015.  

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO VISIT CAYMAN?

Instagram is a great tool to do some research of the island's offerings, from local food tours to scuba diving - it helps to see photo and video content to plan your dream vacation.

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FAVE RESTAURANT FOR BREAKFAST?

Although it is technically “Brunch” - the Marriott is my favourite spot for breakfast on a Sunday. They have the cutest mason jars filled with the most delicious breakfast bites. The vibe is awesome and the mimosas are not to be missed!

WHERE DO WE GO FOR LUNCH?

Lunch is easy, South West Collective has a gorgeous air-conditioned view of George Town and they even have a fully stocked bar, which you wouldn't expect from their super delicious (yet health-conscious) menu. The food is carefully curated to look as good as it tastes and their staff are the most friendly! 

DINNER SPOTS?

There are so many incredible restaurants here in Cayman you can’t go wrong but I always enjoy Edoardo’s! On a Friday night you can finish up and cross over into Barolo where the party is just getting started on their patio. It’s always a see and be seen hotspot and a good time! They have one of my favourite wines there, Tamber Bey Deux Cheveaux Chardonnay from Napa Valley. 

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MUST-SEE ATTRACTION:

Must see attraction is a famous 7 mile sunset! The best spot to see this from is ON the water. The guys @cobaltcustomcharters cruise over to east end but can also charter along the beautiful 7 mile with pickups nearly anywhere along the famous strip of beach. 

WHERE DO YOU WORK OUT?

The Performance Lab is the spot. From Boxing to HIIT class and high quality personal training with the best on island, these guys know how to transform a body and lifestyle and make working out fun. My favourite class is their Friday Happy Half Hour with DJ and glow in the dark strobe lighting, a must try! 

YOU ALWAYS LOOK SO FLAWLESS, WHAT ARE THE BEST SPA TREATMENTS ON ISLAND?

No.11 Spa has saved my life here in Cayman. The sun and salt are incredible during a beach day but long-term my skin needs extra TLC. Nurse Kelly at No.11 specializes in incredible treatments that have rid me of any blemishes and left my skin glowing. Highly recommend.

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WHAT'S THE BEST PLACE TO SPEND A WEEKEND IN CAYMAN? 

I recently enjoyed a Staycation at The Ritz. The outstanding service and quality of every aspect of that property is astounding. The service as a whole, the food and the cocktails are all top notch. 

WHAT SHOULD BE ON OUR CAYMAN BUCKET LIST?

Rum Point On a Sunday! I’ve never seen anything like it. If you’ve got a group of friends - Cayman Private Charters has the most gorgeous 60 foot Sea Ray with a hidden jetski on board. 

HIDDEN LOCAL SPOTS?

If I told you this, they wouldn’t be hidden anymore! What I can tell you is PRIME FOOD TOURS is your guide to the best local hidden gems on island! 

BEST PLACE FOR A SUNDOWNER?

This one is tough - can I give my top 3? Calicos, Palms and Rackhams. Not in any particular order. 

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Insider guides : Underwater Photographer Irene Corti Insider guide to Cayman

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE HERE?

I am originally from Milan, Italy. But for the past ten years I’ve been living in few different countries like Jamaica, Australia and Thailand. I moved here for the pristine water of Cayman… a paradise for an underwater photographer like me.

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WHAT GOT YOU INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? ADVICE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO VISIT CAYMAN?

Coming from Italy, I grow up surrounded by amazing art and artists, there you get inspired from everything that is around you and from all the art exhibits we have. I think a big impact on me was made from the book “The Decisive Moment” by Cartier-Bresson, it opened my eyes on photography and on the way I look at the world. I always had the need to create and to express myself, before was with painting but when I started traveling around I discovered that photography was the perfect fit for me. A good thing about Cayman is that its a small country, really easy to get around or to fly to the sister islands from Grand Cayman. It’s also a safe island, perfect for “Solo Travelers” or for a “Girl Only” vacation type.

FAVE BEACH?

My favorite beach is Spotts Beach, it never feel’s busy and snorkeling is phenomenal … perfect spot for swimming with the green sea turtles.

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FAVE HIDDEN SPOT?

My hidden spot is underwater, I love the Gamma Wreck on the south part of Seven Mile Beach. Really shallow wreck, perfect for underwater photography or for a fun afternoon of snorkeling.

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WHAT'S THE BEST LOCAL HANGOUT?

I really like to hang out at Macabuca on the North West point of the island, it’s a fantastic cozy oceanfront tiki bar with amazing food and drinks.

FAVOURITE SUNSET SPOT? I love watching the sunset on Seven Mile beach near Boggy Sand road, it’s really quite never crowded and picture perfect.

YOU SHOOT A LOT OF WEDDINGS, WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE FOR PEOPLE GETTING MARRIED IN CAYMAN?

Cayman is perfect for destination weddings for the easy flights we have from the USA daily. Plus you can’t beat the turquoise water and white sand of the world famous Seven Mile Beach for a dream wedding setting. Just be prepared for the hot weather when you pick up your wedding attire, especially for the groom, standing on the beach with a full suit can get hard.

WHAT MAKES CAYMAN SO UNIQUE?

I fell in love with Cayman for the underwater world, with the 100+ feet of visibility underwater and this is one of the reasons Cayman is one of the best diving destinations in the world.

WHAT SHOULD BE ON OUR CAYMAN BUCKET LIST?

A must is taking a boat tour out to Stingray City sandbar, where you can interact with the southern stingray. A really amazing experience.

WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU, ANY EXCITING TRAVEL PLANS WITH YOUR CAMERA?

I just spent the past 11 months traveling in North America in a Van, from the Florida Key all the way to Arctic Ocean in Canada to Alaska and back to Florida touching all the 50 states… it was a journey of 36 thousand miles and thousands of photographs! Next, before settling down in Cayman again, I am planning a European road trip with another Van. It seems like at the moment I can’t stop seeking beauty all around the world but Cayman has a special place in my heart.

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A Guide to Pirates Week

A Guide to Pirates Week

Pirates Week is a personal favourite for many of the locals in Cayman. It’s become a lovely tradition for families, teenagers and adults alike. It’s been going on for over 40 years and is still wildly popular. 

The traditional activities begin with the ‘invasion’ of the pirates, capturing the Governor and taking him/her on-board their pirates ship. Everyone lines the streets in town to watch this light-hearted, pirate-filled showcase. Following this, the festivities are kicked off with a bang! Quite literally, as wonderful fireworks light up the night.