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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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Christopher Columbus Condos is excited to announce that we’re working to become the first development on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lighting throughout the property.

A combined effort between CCC and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE), owner Keith Holloway is overseeing installation of the new lighting. “The native turtle population is a true treasure of the Cayman Islands. We have had nesting turtles on our property and have safeguarded the nests and hatchlings through the years.” We’re thrilled to add new lighting to our list of ways to help out the turtles.

What is turtle-friendly lighting?

Turtle nesting season occurs yearly between May and September, and hatchlings appear between July and November. Momma turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs, and then after 50–60 days, the hatchlings emerge and begin their journey back to the ocean.

When baby turtles hatch, they use the light of the moon to help navigate them to the ocean. Bright, blue-spectrum lighting on buildings can mimic the lighting of the moon, disorienting the hatchlings into dangerous places like further up the beach, nearby properties, or even roads. LED lights sit more on the orange end of the light spectrum, which doesn’t bother or confuse turtle hatchlings.

Due to the endangered status of green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, the DOE is working on an official policy that would require new developments on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lights. These regulations would be based on similar ones enacted along the Florida coastline, which have been incredibly successful and world renowned in helping preserve turtle populations.

Attractive and environmentally friendly

In addition to helping out our turtle friends, LED lighting is also more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The warm lighting creates a cozy, modern atmosphere outside the condos and around the pool. Enjoy watching the stars without distracting bright lights, and don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see to make your way back inside after taking in every second of gorgeous Cayman sunsets on the beach.

As Holloway says, Christopher Columbus is “invested in keeping the property current and modern for the enjoyment of our guests.” New lighting is another improvement that’s been made in recent years, in addition to in-unit wi-fi, enlarged laundry facilities, a roomy oceanside gazebo, and more.

Heads up for turtle nests

If you notice any turtle tracks on our segment on the beach, let a CCC staff member know or call the DOE directly as soon as possible. The DOE will properly secure and tag the nest so the hatchlings can have the best possible chances at survival. Remember, disturbing a turtle nest is against Cayman Islands’ law. If you see anyone harming a turtle or a nest, you should notify CCC staff or the Cayman police.



Since the DOE began monitoring nests on Seven Mile Beach in 1998, nest numbers have increased from just 30 a year to over 300. We hope that our new turtle-friendly lighting can help foster a comfortable and safe environment for many more nests to come!

*Photos courtesy of condo owner Marsha O'Daniel. They were taken in 2014 when the DOE came to CCC's section of the beach to assist some of the turtle hatchlings and allowed lucky viewers a chance to see the baby turtles up close.

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5 Perfect Island Cocktails

You get off the airplane at Owen Roberts International, take a short drive to Christopher Columbus Condos and dash to the white sandy beach. Your toes hit the sand and you take a deep relaxing breath as you take in the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. As you park yourself under one of our thatched huts you realize the only thing missing is the perfect island cocktail.

Here are 5 tropical drink recipes that you can easily whip up in your condo kitchen to get a drink in that hand!

1. Callie's Sparkling Pineapple Punch

Named after the gal that first made this for me, this drink is light, fruity and fun. You'll need: 1 fresh pineapple, 1/2 gallon of orange juice, 2 bananas, 1/8 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sparkling water and your choice amount of vodka.

  1. Slice the pineapple and bananas. (Put a couple pieces of pineapple aside for garnish.)
  2. Blend the pineapple and banana into a liquid pulp
  3. Add sugar, orange juice, sparkling water and your choice amount of vodka.
  4. Blend, add ingredients to taste and then pour into a pitcher.

Enjoy with a group or store in the fridge for quick drinks later. Will serve 6-8 drinks.

2. Piña Colada with Fresh Coconut 

Pick up a couple of fresh coconuts from a local produce stand or market and get ready for the best Piña Colada! This recipe also calls for rum, so make sure to grab some of our locally brewed rum to make this ultra Caymanian. You'll need: A fresh coconut, 6 oz of pineapple juice, 2 cups of ice, couple of cherries and your choice amount of rum.

  1. Put your pineapple juice, ice and rum into a blender. Blend until nice and smooth.
  2. Poke a couple of holes in the eyes of your fresh coconut and pour out the coconut water into a bowl. Next, crack it all the way open and scrape some of the coconut meat into the bowl as well. Mix and then pour choice amount into the blender.
  3. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour cocktail into glasses, and add a cherry to the top to finish it off.

Depending on how much coconut water you add to the mixture this should make enough for 2-4 drinks.

3. Classic Strawberry Daiquiri

You can count on a strawberry daiquiri like a Cayman sunset. You'll need: 12 oz fresh strawberries, 2 limes, 4 tsp of powdered sugar, choice amount of rum, 4 cups of ice and whip cream.

  1. Add strawberries, powdered sugar, rum and ice to blender. Squeeze juice from limes into blender and blend all until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour drinks from blender into cocktail glass. Add whip cream to the top and garnish with a whole strawberry on the side of the glass.

You may want to bring out the cute little drink umbrella for this one! Should serve about 4 drinks.

4. Dark 'n Stormy with a Lime Twist

The Dark 'n Stormy has picked up in popularity lately. Dare I say it's taken everyone by storm? For each drink you'll need: 1 ginger beer, a shot of dark rum (or choice amount) and 1/2 lime.

  1. Mix 8 oz of ginger beer with choice amount of dark rum.
  2. Cut your 1/2 lime in half. Squeeze one of the wedges into drink and garnish with the other wedge.

Take your highball out on the balcony and enjoy a Cayman sunset.

5. Famous Cayman Mudslide

The Cayman Mudslide was invented and made famous by the Wreck Bar at Rum Point.   Actually, legend has it that the mudslide itself was invented there. The difference between an original "Cayman" mudslide and many commercial mudslides nowadays is that you don't add ice cream or whipped cream to the drink. In it's purest form the mudslide should only consist of vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, chocolate syrup and ice.

  1. For this drink you will want equal parts vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream to your blender. I would suggest 1 oz of each liquor per glass/serving (more or less to your taste and tolerance). :)
  2. Then add about 2 cups of ice to the blender for each glass/serving needed as well. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Find clear glasses and line each with your chocolate syrup. Pour your lovely mudslide into each glass.

For extra fun you can add a swirl of chocolate to the top of each of your drinks.

A Few Extra Tips

If you have kiddos or adults along that would rather not drink alcohol, you can make any of these drinks (aside from the Mudslide of course) non-alcoholic by simply leaving out the liquor. You can also adjust the amounts of the ingredients to suit your own taste, and throw in some new ingredients if you get spunky. It's fun to experiment.

At the end of the day, though, whether it be the real deal or a mocktail, we hope you have a cold drink in hand as you simply enjoy the beauty of Grand Cayman island from our beachfront.

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Most likely your favorite mementos from vacations are your photos and the memories that go with them. Photos are incredible memory joggers, and can put you right back in those blissful moments away from the every day grind. Photos you take in Grand Cayman can put you right back on the magnificent, wide-stretching, sandy beaches of the Caribbean. Follow the tips below to get your best beach photos yet - all with people you love in one of the most beautiful places in the world.


  1. Swing on the beach.

Take advantage of the oversized swing on our beach. It's perfect for family photos, and it's really fun to get photos while in motion, so don't be afraid to actually swing in it!


   

  2. Try a tilted angle.

Tilt your camera for a fresh view that will add an artsy touch to your photo.

     

  3. Create romantic silhouettes.

Place your subject(s) in front of a setting sun and voila your subject(s) will become a silhouette. If you're using a phone camera tap on the sun while in shooting mode to make sure the lens focuses on the light of the sun and not your subject.

     

  4. Capture footprints.

Trail one of your loved ones on the beach and take a photo of their footprints. If you are on a couples trip ask someone to take a photo of the two of you walking together. Little ones have precious footprints, too!

     

  5. Play on the shoreline.

Get a photo of small kids as the tide crashes into them. You'll get lots of giggles, squeals and funny expressions.

     

  6. Throw on a floppy hat.

Bring a couple of beach hats along. They can be used to create a wistful moment like this photo or sophisticated photos and fun ones, too. I especially love to see photos where the wind is catching someone's floppy hat.

     

  7. Bring fun sunglasses.

Pack a couple pairs of fun, funky, goofy and stylish sunglasses to take photos in. They add to the care-free vibe of the beach. If you have a little one don't forget to get sunglasses for them, too.

     
heart in sand
  8. Write something in the sand.

Draw something simple, or write something sweet like "I Love You" or get nostalgic and write your names and the year in the sand. The options are limitless!

     
underwater photo of girls with sand dollars
  9. Bring an underwater camera.

So much happens underwater in Cayman. You can go snorkeling directly from our beach! There's a lot to see and document, so don't forget to bring a waterproof camera.


More Photo Tips

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