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Blog Home > Author > Austin Bollinger
Austin Bollinger
Austin Bollinger first traveled to the Cayman Islands and stayed with Christopher Columbus Condos with his wife in November of 2015. More of a "snowy mountain top kind of guy" he never really enjoyed hitting the beach, until he stayed at CCC on Seven Mile Beach.

He quickly fell in love with the crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and snorkeling. He even tried and loved scuba diving, something he swore he'd never do. Austin now loves the beach and sometimes contributes to the CCC blog. 

He visited the island with his family again in 2018 and took his mother-in-law scuba diving so she could experience the wonder of the Caribbean for herself. It's safe to say that, other than writing for his own blog, Scuba is one of Austin's new favorite past times. 

The calming sound of steady waves. The refreshing feeling of the ocean breeze. The warm sun reflecting off of the clear blue water. Sitting on the white, sandy beaches of Seven Mile Beach is one of my favorite things to do when I'm on the island—it's so relaxing!

But because I spend most of my time working around the clock, it can be somewhat difficult to switch off. Even when I'm in vacation mode, it's hard for me to stop on a dime because I'm used to going 90 miles per hour.

So, as relaxing as the beach is, I need something to help occupy my mind while I'm taking in the sights and sounds of the Caribbean. Last time I visited Christopher Columbus Condos, I brought along several book options and learned a few things about beach reading that I wanted to share for your next trip to the island.

1. Bring Sunglasses

This may seem obvious, but when you settle into your favorite spot on the beach, spread out your belongings, and open up your book, you'll soon realize that you need some shades.

Even if you're under a cool, shady cabana, the sun will find a way into your eyes—the ocean is known for reflecting that glistening sunshine. After I broke my only pair of sunglasses, my beach reading experience was all but over.

If you're in need of a new pair of sunglasses, I found a good selection at Cost U Less, which is only a few minutes down Esterley Tibbets Highway from the condos. I bought two pairs to be safe and raced back to the beach.

2. Apply Sunscreen, Then Read

If you're under a cabana, the sun may not be an issue, but if you plan on reading on the beach for more than 20 minutes, be sure to apply sunscreen BEFORE you settle in.

There's nothing worse than getting sunscreen all over your book—except maybe a severe sunburn.

3. Bring More Than One Book

When I'm at home, I tend to read for 20-30 minutes a few times per week, so it takes me a long time to finish a book. This is not the case when you’re beach reading!

I flew through my first book and didn't have a backup.

My wife, on the other hand, brought three books along and read over 1,000 pages. Unlike me, she knew what she was doing. But if you do find yourself in need of a good book, the next two tips have you covered.

4. Visit a Local Bookstore

If you came to the island without a book or cruised right through the only book you had on hand, you could always visit a local bookstore. My favorite was the Book Loft at the local Humane Society.

Not only will you find a great selection of used books for your beach reading adventure, but you’ll also be supporting precious animals in need on the island. Buy some great books AND support cute animals? Yes, please!

5. Try Audiobooks Instead

Remember how I raced through my book and didn't have anything left to read? Well, one of my vacation buddies told me to try an Audiobook instead.

My first reaction was, "But I won't be able to hear the ocean."

His response was awesome, "Yeah, but you'll be able to see it instead."

While you're reading your book, you can only see your pages, and you can see those at home, right? You came to an island for the breathtaking views and audiobooks allow you to take it all in while you listen to an excellent book.

Best of all, if you have a problem concentrating on your book when other people are around you, an audiobook will cover up those sounds as well.

Even better than that, if you've never used Audible, you can get a free trial here and download two free audiobooks. If you have a local library, download Overdrive and check out ebooks and audiobooks for free before you leave for vacation.

6. Bring Earbuds or Earplugs

If you're an early riser and get out to the beach early, you're going to find peace and quiet. You'll be able to relax while you listen to the gentle waves and chirping birds.

But as the day moves on, more people will make their way out onto the sand.

Some people can tune out the chit chat of other beach goers, but I'm not one of those people. Luckily I had earbuds, Spotify, and WiFi access courtesy of Christopher Columbus Condos.

7. Waterproof Everything

Whether it's a hardback book, e-reader, or a smartphone, it's always a good idea to waterproof everything that you can.

You never know when you might drop your book or spill your favorite cocktail, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can make DIY book covers or buy waterproof cases for your phone or e-reader on Amazon.

Soak It In and Enjoy!

So, there you have it—a few lessons I learned the hard way. If you're planning to do some serious beach reading on your next trip, following these tips is going to make an amazing experience even better.

Did I miss any tips you've picked up in your travels? Drop them in the comments below. I'd love to hear them.

Enjoy!

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Grand Cayman is one of the most relaxing, enjoyable places you can visit, but taking a vacation here doesn’t mean your daily workout routine has to be put on hold.

In fact, part of my travel planning includes scoping out all of the local gym options, so that I can continue to get in energy boosting workouts.

Prior to my first trip to Christopher Columbus Condos in Grand Cayman, I did a quick search for local gyms and weight rooms. I found several options which included an Anytime Fitness, Life Extension Sports and Fitness, and a World Gym.

As a powerlifting hobbyist training for my local gym's 1,250lb. club, I chose to go with the World Gym, a sister gym of the famous Gold’s Gym – a gym known for major strength building. My friend Chris, who was traveling with me, didn’t want to miss a workout either, so he joined me at World Gym.

I knew I made the right choice when I heard the hard rock pounding from the speakers as soon as I walked in. As I bought my day pass, I noticed the music switched to an upbeat techno track, and I decided to stow the earbuds for the day.

This place was rocking, and I couldn’t help but get pumped up.

As I walked into the primary, first-floor weight room, it was apparent: this was a place for serious bodybuilders and CrossFitters alike.

The personal trainers looked as though they lived and breathed fitness every day and everyone in the gym was hard at work. It’s hard to explain, but this gym had a contagious and exciting vibe to it that just makes you want to work out!

I made my way over to the squat rack to start on my routine. The equipment was in great shape, but I could tell that it had seen some hard, heavy days. I wanted to make sure I lived up to the “Gold Standard” so I racked on some heavy weight and went to work while Chris explored the various rooms and levels of the gym.

Later, Chris and I met at the bench press to crank out some reps together. As I laid on the bench, I noticed that the gym seemed to go on for ages in every direction.

There was an outdoor CrossFit arena and an upstairs level as well. Chris and I checked out the CrossFit area, “CrossFit Muscle Beach”, and decided it looked far too serious for us, but if CrossFit is your game, this is the place to be.

Next, we visited the upstairs where we found cardio equipment of all kinds and even more weight machines. While walking on the treadmills, I thought it was really neat that I had a bird’s eye view of the lower level.

If you enjoy people watching or learning new workout techniques, you can see dedicated people doing some pretty challenging workouts from up there. They also had plenty of big screens, so you can watch the news or a TV show while you exercise, too.

After Chris and I finished our cool down on the treadmills, we made our way back to the lobby where we met Herman, the owner of the Barbell Cafe.

The Barbell Cafe is located inside World Gym and offers the most nutritious (and absolutely delicious) juice creations on Grand Cayman. All of the recipes have been personally crafted by Herman himself and are the result of years of research and study.

You can read all about Herman and his wonderful concoctions here.

We decided right then that we had to come back each day of our trip, if not for a lift, definitely for a protein-packed smoothie.

So, whether you've just started a workout routine or have been working out faithfully for years just know that there are plenty of great options on the island to stay healthy while you're visiting. It's also really cool to have the opportunity to do something more "everyday" and local to get a feel for what life is really like on the island. 

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