There are definitely some helpful things to know when visiting Grand Cayman that don’t necessarily fall into a “Review” post, so I thought I’d do an extra bonus post with some additional Cayman tips and tricks! To be honest, most of these tips can be applied to almost any Caribbean island trip, or really, on most trips anywhere 🙂 Hope you find them helpful, and happy travelling!
Cayman Tips and Tricks:
1.) The islanders are very friendly and are super helpful in recommending places to visit and giving directions, so don’t be afraid to ask! We may or may not have stopped several times to ask for directions 😀
2.) Driving is a little tricky in Grand Cayman for several reasons:
- First, there are hardly any street signs. For people who don’t have an international phone plan (us), it can get pretty tricky if you can’t use Google Maps internationally. Luckily, about halfway through our trip we discovered that you can download certain portions of Google Maps and use them to drive with even if you don’t have wifi. Once we learned that we were golden, so I HIGHLY recommend using this free option if you plan on driving.
- Secondly, there are LOTS of roundabouts. Probably not an issue for Europeans, but for us Americans who don’t use them much it is something to be aware of. Most likely, your car rental dealer will want to explain them to you since locals don’t like accidents either.
- Third, if you’re American, you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road in Grand Cayman. Not particularly hard, it just requires a bit more concentration. You MAY even get a car with the steering wheel on the opposite side as well, our rental dealer asked what we preferred, so you may have an option, but if you don’t have reservations you may not have an option
3.) Just a head’s up…the island itself if pretty expensive. We went to the grocery store and bought our own bread, cheese, and snacks so that we could make our own breakfast and lunches in an effort to avoid going out for every meal. We actually do this on almost every trip…European-styled breakfast/lunches are super cheap and filling, all you need is some decent cheese (we recommend Gouda or Havarti) and a french baguette!
4.) As you could have guessed based on the previous item, drinks can also be fairly expensive. At one location, one drink cost us $17! In order to avoid steep drink prices, we bought local rum ($20), coke ($2), and Pina Colada mix ($4) at the store, and made our own rum and cokes and Pina Coladas in our room. We were lucky enough to have a full kitchen at Caribbean Club that included a fridge with an icemaker and a blender, so we could easily make our own, but this may be a bit more difficult if your hotel doesn’t offer those appliances. Either way, there are definitely alternatives to spending a ton of money on food and drinks if you think creatively and plan ahead, but if you’re on a budget it is helpful to know what to expect! (Pro Tip – invest in some Yeti tumblers and pack them on every trip! These worked like a charm for us and kept our homemade drinks nice and frozen all day!)
5.) Pack your own snorkel gear – all you REALLY need is a mask, don’t pay outrageous prices for rentals when it’s small enough to pack! If you plan on using it on other trips it’s probably worth the (small) investment.
6.) This is obvious, but if you’re on a budget…do the FREE things! Starfish Point, Rum Point, Smith Cove, 7 Mile Beach…all free! Read more here, but honestly, you don’t NEED to drop a ton of money on tours, trips, and toys to have an amazing Cayman experience. Cayman may be a bit expensive, but you can definitely MAKE it more budget friendly if you want to.
7.) Pack your own sunscreen in your checked bag – we ALWAYS do this, sunscreen prices in tourist locations are astronomical, so we prefer to bring our own sunscreen that can be bought at home for a less inflated price. (Can anyone guess who wears which sunscreen options between the 2 of us?? :D)