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In the spirit of Easter, we are excited to introduce our guest blogger for this month, Claire Moore, who recently attended Mass at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in West Bay. Claire shares her wonderful experience worshiping while on vacation in Cayman below! 

During my time spent in the Cayman Islands, the experiences that stand out the most were the ones that showed me the true lifestyle of the Caymanians. . . and what better way to experience the local community than to attend a Sunday service at a neighborhood parish? From the exterior, Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church seemed to resemble any modernly designed church one would find in middle America; however, once I walked in, I was met with an explosion of color from all around. The beautiful and bright Caribbean sun worked its magic through the stained glass windows, streaming in through both sides of the room. The people standing up front in the choir had bright smiles on their faces, ready to sing their hearts out. Even the congregation all seemed to be dressed in vibrant, island colors—a mix of locals and tourists alike waiting for Mass to begin. Growing up Catholic, I knew what to expect from a typical Sunday church service—the familiar songs, the readings from the Bible, the homily from the priest, and of course, communion. However, this service was already off to a unique and intriguing start.

I remember Father Edwin, the priest residing over the Mass that morning, seemed to have a quiet yet joyful peace about him as he read from the gospel of Mark: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . and you must love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” I smiled to myself when I heard those words, since everything about my experience in the Cayman Islands so far had reflected that sentiment. I thought of my first encounter with the lovely Patricia at Christopher Columbus Condos, welcoming us all to the island with her warm hugs and infectious smile. I thought of Scottie, our scuba instructor, who kept us smiling with his knowledge and wonder at the sea creatures below. Before I could drift off too far into my memories, we were all standing up together to say the Our Father and exchange the sign of peace. Once again, the room filled with this palpable spirit of joy as everyone turned around and shook hands with each other, beaming smiles on their faces. I thought to myself how easy it was to already feel like a neighbor in Cayman when everyone is treating you like their own!

The joy continued as the choir soared into a beautiful rendition of the “Lamb of God,” nearly bringing a tear to my eye. In that moment, the passion and love that the choir showed for their faith took my breath away. It helped me to focus and to pray with more authenticity, even if I had been through the motions of this service many times before. I was truly inspired to thank God for such a blessing, experiencing His love on such a beautiful island surrounded by such loving and spirit-filled people.

As communion was wrapping up, I packed up my things, expecting to leave shortly thereafter. However, Father Edwin smiled and asked all the visitors to the parish to stand. As a few people from my pew and I stood up, the choir again burst out into joyous song, singing their “Welcome Song” to us. At this point, I was laughing out loud! The people of Christ the Redeemer parish truly took loving God and loving your neighbor to the next level that morning. I walked into that church feeling like a tourist, just out for another new experience on the island, and I left feeling like a local, a neighbor, a friend. I could not recommend this experience more; not just for deepening your faith, but also for tasting the true Cayman kindness that truly exists everywhere you go on the island.

Father Edwin with Claire and her boyfriend, Devon
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I was so excited when I first heard about the "Explorer Passport" created by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.  I've been visiting Cayman for about 5 years, and was surprised to discover that I'd been to less than half of the places included in the passport. There are some points of interest that I hadn't even heard of which goes to show there is always something new to discover on this island.

The passport is an awesome activity booklet that the National Trust created to promote the cultural, historical and natural wonders of the island. It has 39 points of interest inside and comes with a poster-map and stickers to place on each location as you visit them.

The booklet describes the significance of each attraction and has extra tips for things to do, try or look for at each place. You'll find yourself eager to go to each spot so you can proudly put another sticker on your map. Kids will love the stickers and fun activities, and adults—you will love developing a deep sense of connection to the island as you learn more about what makes it so special; and who are we kidding, you will love the stickers, too!

The fun doesn't stop with the stickers and the map either. There are extra tips in the booklet which are presented as 3 things to check off at every place. The tips give even more reason to visit each attraction and made me want to revisit most of the places I had already been so I could experience something I missed the first time. For instance, one of the points of interest is Boggy Sand Road; the book explains that the street is lined with historic homes and the extra tips ask if you've seen:

  • Gingerbread fretwork (each district was known for its unique style)
  • Zinc roofs and expansive verandas
  • Traditional sand yards trimmed with conch shells

Although I've been to this sweet street before, I didn't know to look for these things that are culturally significant to the island. It made me want to go back and check off each item and read more about the traditional architecture in Cayman. 

The map even includes some culturally important places that few locals know about. While I was taking pictures of Miss Lassie's House, another place in the passport, a jogger approached on what seemed like her daily route. She saw me taking photos of the house and then saw the house. She stopped, pulled out her phone and took a couple of snapshots of the place saying she had never noticed it before. It's amazing what you miss when you're not looking for something.

There's so much joy in the "hunt," and taking your passport along on an island road-trip makes for easy exploring. A lot of the attractions are free and you can drive up to several of them anytime (even on Sundays when many island shops and attractions are closed).

So grab the passport and hit the road for some adventure. I suggest taking the day as it comes. Just pick a place on the map and go! Since some of the attractions are "off the beaten path" you'll discover a lot of things along the way, too. For instance, my husband and I found Dart Park by The National Trust—one of the stops on the map. At Dart Park you'll find super cool trees, an iron-shore full of fossils and little hermit crabs. It wasn't on the map, but we wouldn't have discovered it if we hadn't pulled in to see the Trust. We also happened upon a stretch of highway that followed the southern coastline just past Miss Lassie's House. Somehow in the five years I'd been frequenting Cayman we always bypassed that stretch of coastal highway and it was really pretty. I was so glad we found it.

Some of my favorite spots on the map have been Spotts Beach (for the sea turtles!), Crystal Caves and Heritage Beach. Honestly, I've enjoyed visiting them all, but I don't want to spoil any more of the fun for you.

Pick up your very own "Explorer Passport" at the National Trust and start discovering Cayman like never before. The packet only costs $10 KYD, and you'll have a blast checking off each location. Enjoy, and let us know when you've checked off all 39!

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One of the best questions you get to ask while visiting Cayman is “where are we going to eat next?” Boggy Sand Cafe is a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, located in the Jacques Scott Market Place, just 1 km from Christopher Columbus and next to the West Bay Foster’s Food Fair. In addition to knock-your-socks off food, the best part of my Boggy Sand experience was getting to meet Farah.

Upon first arriving at Boggy Sand Cafe, we were greeted with a huge smile by Farah, who would be our server. She seated us among an array of cheerful purple and green flower arrangements and joked we could take photos for the restaurant’s TripAdvisor page. Her warmth and humor were magnetic, and before long we were chatting.

Farah is from Jamaica originally, and she came to Cayman in the 1990s to work. When it comes to the island, she “loves everything about it,” from the peaceful atmosphere to all the friendly people, locals and tourists alike. "It's a very nice place to work." Farah has been at Boggy Sand as a food and beverage server since the restaurant opened, around one year ago. She said she’s big fan of the restaurant’s Caribbean menu and it’s bright and modern decor. In her down time, you can find Farah at the gym, where she likes to keep fit and active by doing little bit of everything—weightlifting, cardio, you name it.

While we waited for our food, I noticed that Farah checked on the other guests often, happily making conversation and asking questions with her dynamite smile. Since she seemed to enjoy the aspects of her job so much, I asked her what drew her to serving. “I have a passion for food and service. I love it, so I’m doing it!” she said with a laugh. Making people feel at home and comfortable is one of her great joys, and she loves to be around lots of people. Plus getting to meet so many new and different people at the restaurant is a big perk.

When it comes to the menu at Boggy Sand, you will be spoiled for choice. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as daily specials featuring extra Caribbean flair. Farah said her personal favorite dish is the jerk chicken, which she says is little spicy, but not overwhelming. Jerk chicken made its way to Cayman from Jamaica, so it also serves as a reminder of her home. 

If you’re looking to really shake up your next meal, Farah recommends the turtle stew, an authentic Cayman dish, adding “you have to be adventurous!” when you’re choosing your vacation eats. My personal recommendation is to start off with some spinach dip, which is served with fantastically seasoned sweet potato chips, and then check out their pizza menu. I had the margherita and I still dream of it now that I’m home—there's no skimping on basil at Boggy Sand!

Farah made us feel so welcome and taken care of during our visit that we didn't want to leave! Though Caymankindess radiates from all around the island, Farah's warmth and cheer was above and beyond. Next time you visit CCC, take the short trip down the road to Boggy Sands for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or maybe even all three! Be sure to say hello to Farah and ask for her menu recommendations for the day.

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While many of you already know and love her, we’re so happy to tell you more about our very own “moviestar,” Patricia!

Patricia has been with Christopher Columbus since 2007 and has lived in Cayman for over 20 years. Originally from Jamaica, Patricia visited her sister here years ago and fell in love with with the island. She says her favorite part about Cayman is two-pronged—the people and the beaches, and even better is getting to meet new people on the beach! Her love of the beach also extends to her recommendations for guests—she says the number one thing every visitor should do is just kick back, relax, and take in the beautiful Seven Mile Beach. Once you’ve gotten in some vitamin sea, then you should check out the Turtle Farm.

As our regulars can attest, Patricia is a fantastic ambassador for the condos. She loves to take care of guests, always making sure everyone feels like they’re coming home when they arrive at CCC. “Making things nice for our guests,” she says, “that’s me, that’s who I am.” She recounted one memorable experience, when she helped a guest who was getting married on the beach. Patricia saw that nothing had been decorated yet, so she decided to help out to make sure everything was done well and in time for the ceremony. When the guest saw the decorations in the gazebo, she exclaimed, “Oh, our decorator did a great job!” Patricia, who didn’t know a different decorator was coming, told the bride-to-be that she’d actually put up all the decorations. Surprised but thrilled, the guest said she would have to tell other brides to just have Patricia handle the decorating because she did such a fantastic job!

For fun, Patrica loves to swim in the ocean with her German Shepherd, Bogie, and dance the night away. While reggae and salsa music are some of her favorites, she isn’t picky when it comes to dance music—she'll dance to anything and with anyone who wants to join in. She says she loves to dress up and enjoy all that Cayman nightlife has to offer. In order to fuel up for all that dancing, she enjoys stopping by her favorite restaurant, Catch, for some crab legs or other seafood. From the food to the atmosphere to the ocean views, Patricia says Catch is “amazing.” (You can read more about the owner of Catch here.)

In case you were wondering, Patricia’s “moviestar” nickname comes from her featured role in our Christopher Columbus Condos video (which you can watch here!), plus her fabulous and vivacious personality. If you ask nicely, she will no doubt give you an autograph!

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Usually when someone tells you to “go to Hell,” they don’t mean it kindly, but I promise I have the best of intentions with this recommendation. Hell, Grand Cayman, is a fun, quirky destination (technically a town!) that will leave you spoiled for choice when it comes to silly photo opportunities, unique souvenirs, and puns.

Driving down the highway to Hell takes about six minutes from the condos. When we arrived, it was far from a cold day. We stopped in at a gift shop and were soon greeted by Mr. McDoom (real name!). He gave us very stylish plastic devil horns and pitchforks to wield while he took us around. Originally from Jamaica, Mr. McDoom moved to Cayman as a child, and he and his family have owned the property for over 40 years. They love talking to the hundreds of visitors that come each day, typically large groups on cruise ship excursions. We were lucky enough to arrive at a slow time, so we got a solo tour and greatly enjoyed Mr. McDoom’s hospitality and sense of humor. Helluva guy!

American Gothic, Reimagined—2017 

Hell itself is actually a dark, jagged rock formation. Mr. McDoom explained that the formation was likely a reef at one time many, many years ago, but erosion and time wore away bits and pieces, giving it the strange volcanic rock-like appearance it has today. If you’re wondering how the attention-grabbing name was decided on in the first place, we owe it all to a British Commissioner who toured Grand Cayman in the early days of settlement. When he saw the bizarre formation, he exclaimed, “My God, this must be what Hell looks like!“ Since the experience seemed to shake him quite a bit, my best guess is that shortly thereafter he took off like a bat outta. . . well, you know. 

While visitors can’t walk on the rocks because of safety concerns, iguanas take full advantage of basking in the sun on the formation.

Hell-bent on finding some one-of-a-kind souvenirs, we made our way inside the McDoom's gift shop. Remember, there might be Hell to pay if you forget a souvenir for your friends after visiting Cayman. Luckily there are tons of options to choose from—shot glasses to t-shirts to fridge magnets to hats. My favorite part was picking out postcards to send back home to my family. Hell even has its own post office, so lucky recipients will receive their greetings with an amusing, Instagram-worthy postmark. Mrs. McDoom met us at the register, and she was wonderfully friendly. We chatted about our trip so far, and she recommended a few of her personal favorite hidden gem restaurants around West Bay. 

So if you have a little Hell to raise, make the short trip from the condos and visit with the McDooms at Hell, Grand Cayman. 

There's another gift shop across the road called The Devil's Hangout, where you may even find the devil himself. The owner Ivan is usually dressed in full devil costume and always ready for a photo opp.  All in all we think you'll have a hell of a time!

Red Hell Building with Devil in shorts

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If you want to see the "real island" then biking the West Bay Loop is for you! Tour guide, Richard McKee, leads bike tours through West Bay and shares lots of history and saucy facts about Cayman along the way. Aside from being a great Caribbean historian, Richard is a hoot and will keep you entertained along the way.

The tour meets and ends at the Cracked Conch/Macabuca. When my husband and I pulled up and approached the bike stand, Richard was there helping two other couples find the best bikes and helmets for their ride; and then did the same for us. I got the "Birthday bike" and was feeling pretty special as I made a few practice laps around the parking lot. (Someone had wrapped the handlebars with ribbon the day before for a Birthday girl.) Richard prepped us for the journey with some safety tips (like "Remember to stay to the left!!") and off we went.

We rode for a while and then stopped in at Boatswain Bay, a quiet little nook we never would have found on our own. Directly next to the bay is a cemetery, so Richard told us about burial customs new and old including shells used to mark graves (that are still there now). We took shelter from the sun under some shade trees nearby, and Richard started in with the history of the islands beginning with Christopher Columbus discovering the islands in 1503. He explained how the islands went from Spanish to British rule and how they went from the island that time forgot to one of the most successful islands in the Caribbean. He wrapped up our first stop by telling us he was going to tell us about the economic miracle of the Cayman Islands in little spurts along the way which left me excited for not only the biking ahead but our stops, too!

teeny house on beach

As we rode further through West Bay we got a good glimpse of the local life. We passed West Bayers who were walking, biking and relaxing on their porches. Everyone we passed was so friendly, wishing us a good morning and waving and smiling as we passed. We pulled up briefly next to an ackee tree along our way, and Richard told us all about the local love for the fruit and how Caymanians would often cook up a fresh batch of ackee and cod for dinner. We also made a quick stop at Hell, so Richard could explain how the attraction came to be and then carried on.

Our next big stop was at the library adjacent to the Sir. John A Cumber Primary School. School children were playing at recess when we stopped. Richard pointed out the British architecture of the library and then continued on telling us about the history and economic miracle of the Cayman Islands. As he gave us the coolest history lesson, a few of the school children had taken notice of our group and were waving and chuckling hellos at us in the background. Any time we'd actually look their way they'd immediately look away and act as if they hadn't been trying to get our attention. They were pretty cute, and it was fun to feel a part of everyday Cayman. We left the school grounds, and pedaled along further through West Bay. I was starting to feel proud of my morning workout!

library kids at recess and biking

The next stop was a fun surprise - and I'm not sure if Richard always makes it a stop - but he took us by his house to show us what life was like for residents of West Bay. He pointed out beloved birds flying around in his back yard, told us about hurricane preparations and explained why Caymanians feel that 9 ft above sea level is high ground and a valuable asset. He shared a few more facts and stories, and then we headed off towards Barker's National Park.

On our way to Barker's we made a pit-stop to look at interesting architecture and learn more about how the island has evolved. Once we arrived at Barker's we took a little break to walk around and then Richard shared more history and current affairs with us. We picked up our bikes and hit the road again, this time pedaling through mostly residential roads, winding our way to the West Bay Four Ways stop and then crossing over to Boggy Sand Road. The houses that line this little coastal road are a mix of old charming island cottages and new luxurious homes; and I think Richard had a story for just about every one of them! Once we left what might possibly be my favorite road on the island we headed back for home base - Macabucca. The final stretch of the ride was especially beautiful with the sea peeking through the trees to our left. I felt so peaceful and enjoyed having a little time for personal reflection.

Once we returned, Richard told us we had biked 11 miles which surprised all of us. He gave us some advice for what to do with the rest of our time on island and then several of us decided it was time for some grub at Macabuca. We earned it!

If you'd like to bike the West Bay Loop (which I 5000% recommend), get in touch with Richard on his website here. I hadn't ridden a bike in a year or so, and would only call myself slightly in shape at best; so don't let the 11 miles scare you away. : )

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In this month’s Cayman Kind, we would like to introduce you to Michele (pronounced “Mi Ke’ le” for those of us who do not know Italian), the proud owner of Vivo Cafe & Restaurant.

Michele, who is originally from Italy, boldly immigrated to England at the age of 31 without understanding a word of English, to fulfill his desire to study culinary arts. Although he loved the culture and vibrancy that London is famously known for, like many Londoners he longed for sunshine and warmth, which quickly brought him to Cayman. Although he only planned for a short stay, he fell in love with the Island that he has now called home for over 6 years.

organic sodasAfter working for various restaurants on the Island, Michele decided to pursue his dream of owning his own in 2015. Thus Vivo Cafe was born. The word VIVO originates from the Latin vīvō and means 'alive' or 'to live'. Michele’s greatest passion in life, other than his beautiful family, is to educate his customers on the incredible health benefits of ‘live’ foods by offering organic vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free cuisine. He also strives to do this in the most eco-friendly way to our planet, and claims to have what he terms as the only “360 degree sustainable” restaurant in Grand Cayman. As an example, the serving plates are made from Kasha wood from a sustainable forest, the utensils from bamboo, and the napkins from wheat straw.

Coming from North American, I was naturally skeptical of the the idea that vegetarian or vegan food could satisfy my traditional Midwestern taste, no matter how I felt about sustainability. Michele was quick to point out that Vivo’s biggest fans are often devout carnivores who have never experienced quality vegetarian options. Vivo’s Trip Advisor reviews certainly backed this up with an astounding 96% Very Good or Excellent rating, and they are currently ranked #1 out of 18 restaurants in West Bay. But as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the coconut. Since locally sourced coconut is abundant on Grand Cayman, it is one of the staples on the menu, and is often used as a meat substitute. From my personal experience, both the coconut ceviche and coconut bacon were surprisingly delicious.

Next time you are in Cayman, stop by the restaurant and say hello to Michele. He loves to welcome new guests. Vivo is located on the beautiful Northwest shore of West Bay, and offers a peaceful and breathtaking view of the ocean from tables and a bar-style counter that faces the sea. You can visit their website here for more info.

view at vivo restaurant

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deck looking over marinaThe day I walked into Catch Restaurant & Lounge to interview owner, Walter Fajette, was also the day the power went out across all of West Bay (due to a car taking out an electric pole). It was lunchtime and the restaurant was without power. Things were a little hectic, but Walter still made time to sit down with me to tell his story. Amidst all of that, Walter was cool, calm, collected and extremely courteous and welcoming. Five minutes in and I was already impressed. His Italian accent didn't hurt either. :)

Walter moved to Cayman from Italy in 1996, planned to stay for 6 months but ended up staying for 20 years instead. He relishes the relaxing lifestyle, but has by no means been lazy with his time here. He and his business partner Cristiano own and operate two extremely successful restaurants on the island: Catch and Agua.

Seven years ago, after working as wait staff together at Calypso, Walter and Cristiano decided to open Agua. Walter has always had a thing for hospitality having started hotel school at 13 years old in Italy and working at Disney Land in Florida early in his career. He loves talking to people, has a great knowledge of the American pallet and likes to surprise guests with thoughtful details. Walter used all of these talents to help turn Agua into the popular upscale restaurant it is today. A couple of guest favorites include Peruvian Ceviche and Wasabi Tuna.

table set for twoJust about 2 years ago, when Walter and his partner heard about a real estate opportunity near Calypso at Morgan's Harbor, they jumped at the opportunity to open another restaurant. They knew exactly what kind of restaurant they wanted to open because they had worked next to the property while at Calypso. While Agua has a city vibe, they wanted to do something totally new with Catch by creating a restaurant with the same quality and service patrons of Agua had come to know, but this time with a Caribbean vibe. Walter and his partner have been intentional with every detail in creating the Catch atmosphere; from the colanders that your bread is served in to the doily coasters wrapped around your glasses and the decision to skip table cloths for a more genuine feel it's all been thought out. Guest favorites include the Tuna Sashimi and the Fresh Catch which changes everyday with options like Trigger Fish, Yellow Fin Tuna, Black Fin Tuna, Grouper, Snapper, Mahi and Wahoo.

Many patrons will eat at Catch one night and then turn around and go to Agua the next night. Repeat customers ask Walter where he'll be working, so they can catch up with the amiable owner—many have become like family. After talking with Walter, it's easy to understand that he is a big part of the restaurant brands and that he truly loves the business. When vacationing he likes to do research by trying new restaurants and describes himself as a visual customer—paying attention to the details and what delights him, so that he can consistently incorporate fresh new ideas. Once he and his business partner have mastered something, they strive to add something else to the mix.

Walter kite surfingAside from co-owning two awesome restaurants, Walter also owns a kite surfing business. Before actually opening either restaurant, he turned his passion for kite surfing into a business by teaching it. As he talked about the water sport, he lit up with such joy and explained that it helps him clear his head. I reminded him that it was dangerous and he just laughed and said that the first thing he does every morning is check the wind. Apparently, 15-20 knots is the perfect wind speed for a great kite surf. You can often catch Walter "up in the air" at Barker's National Park which is a favorite spot for local kite surfers.

engaged to be marriedWhile describing his love for Cayman, Walter said the #1 thing is the weather. It's almost always the same and makes the lifestyle more relaxed. It allows him and his fiancée, Sandy, to enjoy hours on the beach together and because the weather is so nice you need less things. You can throw on a t-shirt, pair of shorts and flip flops and be out the door. What was cool was seeing two totally different sides of Walter. He said that he loved the restaurant business because no two days are the same, but he loves Cayman weather because it is always the same. I guess we all need some things to surprise us and some things to rely on. Having a good mix is a great recipe for life. Walter and the love of his life are getting married in April, and they are very happy to call Cayman home. Many well wishes to the happy couple!

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Have you ever rode a horse in the ocean? Until recently, I didn't even know horses could swim, and soon thereafter I got to actually ride a horse as it swam in the ocean! Our friends at Pampered Ponies, in Grand Cayman, offer this unique experience as a part of their horseback riding tours. 

Pampered Ponies FarmLast time I was on island, several friends and I had the opportunity to go on an excursion with Pampered Ponies. When we arrived, the owner Lori, gave us a great tutorial on horse riding and then one by one we climbed their helpful set of stairs to get on our horses. We started our ride from their sweet, little horse farm in West Bay and headed towards the beaches at Barker's National Park on a remote sandy-dirt road.

I've only rode horses a couple of times, so I was smiling ear to ear as we started the journey. Our guides, Bing & Jim, were extremely nice and made sure we were comfortable with our new 1200 pound friends.

My horse, Moonstruck, liked to snack along the way so Bing had to help me encourage him to keep moving...several times. As Moonstruck would sneak in snacks from the side of the road, my friend's horse behind us would follow suit, so we got blamed for being a bad influence on the pack which we all laughed about. We were already having an awesome time and we hadn't even reached the beach.

riding horses along the beachWhen we arrived at the beachfront I got pretty wide-eyed and giddy. I had never rode a horse on the beach and neither had any of my friends. We all began to chat with excitement, and I grabbed my camera that I had slung cross-body in preparation for epic pics. Our guides led our bunch to the beach and we began riding parallel to the shoreline looking out over the blue-green Caribbean sea. It was magnificent, peaceful and freeing. I attempted to snap some shaky photos, but Bing came to the rescue and asked if he could take some photos for me. He was obviously way better at multi-tasking on a horse. He was such a go-getter, and rode around capturing photos of each of us riding our horses.

After a good trot, we stopped along a scenic patch of the beach to tie up our horses and prepare for the plunge into the sea (ditching the saddles, our shoes and such). Off to the right there were several kite surfers showing off some impressive moves. We got back on our horses and Bing and Jim led us into the ocean. We squealed with excitement and disbelief as the horses started to swim out. Moonstruck and the other horses started to make funny noises and Jim told us that they were filling up their lungs so that they could swim easier. I had to cling on pretty tight because it felt like I was going to slip off a few times, but I didn't mind because it was all so cool. I felt very adventuresome as Moonstruck carried me through the ocean waves. When we got back to the shore we all took some time to dry off and observe the kite surfers before making our journey back.

A few tips for first time horseback swimmers:

  • I would recommend this to anyone 15 and up just because it did take some concentration to stay on the horse in the water and could make a little one nervous, but that totally depends on your kids' personalities and your comfort level with horses and adventure. : )
  • Wear your swimsuit under your clothes.
  • Wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet. I wore gym shorts and a loose tank top. Some of my friends wore capri sports pants which worked out well, too.

The whole thing was truly a blast, and I hope to have the chance to do it again someday! If you've rode horseback on the beach and/or in the ocean, let us know what your experience was like in the comments!

posing with our horses
  Linda with her horse


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Before you vacation in Grand Cayman make sure to familiarize yourself with the island. Your trip will be much more fulfilling when you have some context and sense of place. Grand Cayman (the island we're on) is the largest of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands (the other two islands being Cayman Brac and Little Cayman). Grand Cayman is approximately 22 miles long with an average width of four miles. You'll be amazed how many towns, attractions and beaches are packed into the 76 square miles of our island. Get to know it below!

West Bay District

West Bay is home to world renowned Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Public Beach. Governor's Beach, also in West Bay, is located in front of and beside the governor's home and is actually a beach within a beach as it is a part of Seven Mile Beach. If you're looking for a quiet beach experience in West Bay try Barker's National Park at the northeast end of both the district and island. West Bay is home to many resorts and condos due to the draw of Seven Mile Beach. There are also several well known attractions in the district including the Cayman Turtle Farm, Dolphin Cove, Dolphin Discovery, Hell, access to Kittiwake diving spot, and Cemetery Reef for snorkeling just to name a few.

Georgetown District

Georgetown, the largest city and capital of Cayman Islands, is directly south of West Bay. Downtown Georgetown is very popular for dining and shopping as there are a multitude of restaurants and shops lining the streets and shoreline. At many of the oceanfront restaurants you can watch cruise ships as they sail in to anchor with excited passengers ready to explore Grand Cayman. The National Trust Visitors Center and National Museum are a few additional places to visit while in Georgetown. There are also cool submarine and glass-bottom boat tours, rum distillery tours and much more to do in this historic city. Smith Cove beach is a fun stop just south of the city in South Sound.

Bodden Town District

To the east of Georgetown lies the former capital of the Cayman Islands, Bodden Town. The town is home to an intriguing Caymanian house known as "The Mission House". The Mission House is a traditional style home that rose to prominence on the island in the 1800's. Tours of the historic home are available Monday through Friday by appointment only. The Lighthouse Restaurant is also a very popular stop in Breakers/Bodden Town. Dining on their exquisite dock is a breathtaking experience. The Bodden Town Pirates Caves are an additional site in the town. Although Bodden Town is a village itself the district of Bodden Town is larger and also houses the towns of Savannah and Newlands that have some cool sites as well including Pedro St. James Castle. The beach that lines the shores of Bodden Town is a natural site of driftwood and choppy waters and is worth a watch with a picnic on the sands of the shore.

East End District

The East End of Grand Cayman is best known for its secluded atmosphere. A day trip to East End Beach, Colliers Public Beach or Barefoot Beach will assure an intimate, tranquil experience. Heritage Beach in East End has a great view of Frank Sound, although the turtle grass makes this beach better for activities in the sand like walks, picnics or watching a sunrise. The exciting and surprising Blow Holes can be found on a drive through this district, too. Find the holes and watch for bursts of water! In addition there are several places for snorkeling and countless diving opportunities in East End.

North Side District

The North Side District is also somewhat secluded, but it's chock full of exciting activities. At the very tip of the district you will find one of the most beloved attractions on the island, Rum Point. Boats will even pick you up at Rum Point and jet off to Stingray City. Starfish Point and Cayman Kai are also nearby. Elsewhere in the district you can explore nature on the Mastic Trail or at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

Experience the Diverse Districts

Each district here has its own personality and offers a wide array of things to do. Make sure to take some time to experience each one. If you're lucky to stay around long enough a trip to one of the two islands that comprises the 6th district - The Sister Islands - is worth the time, too.

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