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10th Anniversary of Luna Del Mar at the Kaibo Yacht Club

 

 

On June 9th the Kaibo Yacht Club will be hosting a 1oth Anniversary Celebration of their monthly full-moon dining experience known as “Luna Del Mar.”

If you’ve been to Grand Cayman but haven’t visited the Kaibo, you’re missing a relaxing caribbean experience.  The Kaibo is located down the road from the Rum Point Beach Club in the neighborhood of Cayman Kai.  Facing Grand Cayman’s North Sound it has a casual bar downstairs near the shore and an elegant, white linen dining room upstairs, appropriately named the Kaibo Upstairs.  Many of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests catch their private Silver Thatch snorkel charters from the Kaibo dock.

Each month, the Kaibo serves diners on the sand under a beautiful caribbean full moon.  It’s a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else on the island.  The Kaibo calls this night their Luna Del Mar.

June 9th marks the 10th anniversary of this Kaibo tradition.  To commemorate this popular event, the Kaibo is having a Luna Del Mar party.  Chef, Laurence Thram, will serve a fabulous, contemporary, three-course meal.    Guests will dine on white linen, surrounded by tiki torches, with their toes in the sand, listening to music, under a full moon.  After dinner, guests will join together and release paper lanterns into the night sky.

Space is limited and reservations are a must for the June 9th celebration.  Click  reservations at the top right corner of this link.

Don’t be disappointed if you miss the Luna Del Mar Party.  Perhaps you’ll have a chance to attend one of these future Luna Del Mar dinner evenings:

  • July 7th 2017
  • August 4th 2017
  • September 8th 2017
  • October 6th 2017
  • November 3rd 2017
  • December 1st 2017 (Christmas Party edition with DJ from Oneworld)



Zika Update for Grand Cayman – 90 Percent Reduction Achieved!

Pupae of genetically modified mosquitoes from the British biotech company Oxitec. AP Photo/Andre Penner

Pupae of genetically modified mosquitoes from the British biotech company Oxitec. AP Photo/Andre Penner

According to an April, 2017  CNN article, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main carrier for Zika and dengue, has had a 90 percent reduction over the last six months in Grand Cayman!

Beginning last June, the British biotech company, Oxitec, began releasing millions of their genetically modified mosquitoes into Grand Cayman’s environment in order to eliminate the Aedes aegypti species.  The mosquitoes were chiefly concentrated in the Cayman’s West Bay area near Seven Mile Beach.  Oxitec’s genetically modified males don’t bite but mate with females that produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood.  The goal for this approach being that the Zika carrying species of mosquito will be die out over time.

Florida is also pursuing a similar strategy to eliminating Zika.  The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, released 20,000 male mosquitoes on Stock Island in April  for a field trial that will last 12 weeks. The mosquitoes, which do not bite, have been manually infected with a naturally occurring bacteria called Wolbachia. Wolbachia is a bacteria found in many insects but not in mosquitoes.  This bacteria is transmitted from the males to the females and ultimately to the pupae and kills them before the mosquitoes can hatch.

Grand Cayman has not had a confirmed cases of Zika since December, 2016, however the doctors and scientists at Cayman’s Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) are not letting letting their guards down.  Dengue as well as Zika is carried by mosquitoes.  Oxitec and the MRCU are working to eliminate both threats.

Mosquitos seem to be a non-issue for most of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests.  Cayman’s caribbean breezes typically keep mosquitoes at bay near the shore.  That being said, it’s always a good idea to pack or purchase insect repellant if you’re sitting outside in the evening or engaging in activities that may take you more inland (like a hike on the Mastic Trail).




Feed the Frigate Birds at Tukka’s in Cayman’s East End!

Tilley, one of Tukka's employees, feeding the Frigates!

Tilley, one of Tukka’s employees, feeding the Frigates!

One of the most fun and welcoming restaurants on Grand Cayman is Tukka’s located in the east end of the island.  Not only is the food great – a “taste of Australia with a Caribbean twist,” but every afternoon at 5pm they feed the Frigate Birds which is a blast to watch.

Frigates are long-winged, fork-tailed seabirds found across all tropical oceans.  What’s so interesting about Frigates is that, unlike other seabirds, their feathers are not waterproof.  This lack of waterproofing renders them unable to land on water.  They soar on the rising warm air during the day and glide along on trade winds.  These constantly changing winds allow Frigates to easily stay aloft for months at a time.

Frigate birds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food.   Their main prey are fish and squid that they catch when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna.   Frigates also steal the food from other seabirds.  For this, they are known as kleptoparasites.

It didn’t take long for Cayman’s frigates to learn about the free meals at Tukka.  Every evening around 5pm or 5:30pm, Tukka’s kitchen assistants bring down a plate of seafood scraps to the shore and the frigates begin to gather.  It’s so much fun to watch them hoover in the air, waiting for their turn to swoop down and take a piece of squid or fish and then shoot back up into the air.

No matter where you’re staying,  bring the kids and your camera to Tukka any day around 5pm and feed the Frigates.  It’s great fun and a great eco-friendly experience!  Tukka’s food is good too!

TUKKA TERRACE

TUKKA TERRACE

GCVC guests feeding the Frigates at Tukka Restaurant in Cayman's East End

GCVC guests feeding the Frigates at Tukka Restaurant in Cayman’s East End




Safe Snorkeling on Grand Cayman!

(This video titled, “Snorkeling Rum Point, Grand Cayman,” was taken by Joshua Turner and posted on his “Snorkel Blog.”)

You don’t have to scuba dive to see and experience Grand Cayman’s plentiful ocean life and coral reef formations. Hands down, Grand Cayman is one of the best islands in the Caribbean for snorkeling!  The water is so much clearer than other islands.

Although you don’t have to take classes or become certified to snorkel, you’re still swimming in open water and it’s imperative that you have good equipment and know a few skills.

I personally recommend purchasing a well-fitting mask and snorkel from your local dive shop before flying.  Red Sail Sports and White Sands Water Sports both rent snorkel equipment, however, they generally carry only one brand of masks and snorkels and that brand may not properly fit the shape of your face.  Not only is a leaky mask uncomfortable, but it can also be unsafe, causing you to feel panic and requiring assistance from your boat crew.  Even if you hate to spend the money on what you think will be a one-time experience, you’ll never outgrow your mask and snorkel and the benefit of being comfortable in the water is worth every penny and will enable you to make wonderful memories of your adventure.

Except when swimming with the stingrays, fins are a must when snorkeling anywhere in Grand Cayman. The high salinity of the Caribbean allows you to easily float on the surface but there may be subtle currents, even near shore.  Fins give you power and allow you to swim with ease.  If you don’t want to spend the money on fins or pack them in your suitcase, it’s easy to rent a pair of fins once you’re on island.   Just make sure you get a good fit.  Fins should fit snugly on your feet, almost tight but not uncomfortably so. Don’t get into the water with loose fins.  Once in the water, fins will loosen a bit on your feet anway.  You don’t want to lose a fin in the ocean.

Now that you have well-fitting equipment, you’ll want to practice in your villa or hotel pool before getting into the ocean.  Most of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos rentals have pools so that shouldn’t be a problem.  Make sure your mask doesn’t leak.  Make sure your fins feel good.  Get a handle on what it feels like to have water in your snorkel and to calmly blow it out.

There’s so much more to safe snorkeling.  The website, Tropical Snorkeling has a great article titled, “First Time Snorkeling, Essential Tips for Beginners.”

We also recommend a private snorkel charter for groups of 12 people or less.  Not only is it cost effective, but you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and take your time on the reefs.  You’ll be able to enter into the water when you’re ready and not be rushed by strangers waiting in line to jump in behind you.  You’ll see so many more fish by more going in a small group instead of with the masses.  You’ll also be able to stay for as long or as little as you like on a snorkel site – floating along and taking it all in.

There are many locals with boats who advertise private charters but not all private charters are equal in quality.   Silver Thatch Charters is our sister company that offers a 27 foot new Boston Whaler and an Australian Captain, George, who knows all of the best spots.  Captain George is a certified SCUBA instructor, CPR certified, and has a great personality. He will tailor the charter to your personal requests and make you feel at home.  George also knows all of the best snorkel sites and will take you where other groups can’t go. To inquire, email reservations@silverthatchcharters.com

You don’t have to SCUBA to experience Grand Cayman’s crystal blue waters, but you do need to take some time to read about snorkel safety and  practice with your equipment in order to be safe and get the most out of your snorkeling experience!

 




Hike the Mastic Trail in Grand Cayman

If you’re renting a villa in Cayman Kai, North Side, or East End, AND a nature lover, you should definitely add the Mastic Trail to your list of Cayman Island must-dos. The trail is a 200-year-old gravelly path that winds through a native mangrove swamp and a 2 million-year-old woodland area.  You will see exotic birds and fantastic and rare plant life.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/mastic-trail-tour

http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/mastic-trail-tour

The trail is preserved as a flat, beginners hike by the Cayman Islands National Trust, which also sponsors guided tours. The hike is challenging but worth the trek, especially with a guide.   Wear tennis shoes or other closed-toe style and bring plenty of water!

f10996_abff3002d53343a5b4d38435b244a966You’ll need at least two or three hours to enjoy the Mastic Trail on a guided tour (held Tuesdays through Friday mornings) that costs $20 for members and $24 for non-members. Contact the Cayman Islands National Trust to arrange a tour. You can also choose to hike the trail on your own, however, we recommend to our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests to go with a guide.  A few of the plants are beautiful to see but may cause a bad rash if they are touched.  Maps of the trail are available at the visitors center.

 You’ll find the trail about 15 miles east of George Town in central Grand Cayman.  The map below shows where the trail is situated on the island.

The Mastic Trail is centrally located on Grand Cayman.

The Mastic Trail is centrally located on Grand Cayman.




Flowers Sea Swim in Grand Cayman!

 

Local folks and tourists participate in the Flowers Sea Swim on Seven Mile Beach. A fun event to raise money for a local Cayman charity!

Local folks and tourists participate in the Flowers Sea Swim on Seven Mile Beach. A fun event to raise money for a local Cayman charity!

 

On Monday, June 12th, starting at the Ritz-Carlton and finishing at Royal Palms, 1,000 swimmers will enter the beautiful crystal clear blue waters along Seven Mile Beach and compete in the Flowers One Mile Sea Swim.

The Sea Swim is one of Cayman’s biggest sporting events and is also known as the world’s richest race, with participants being eligible to win $100,000 in prizes. Even better, it’s also a fantastic fundraising event as all entry fees are donated to a local charity.  Proceeds from the 2016 Flowers Sea Swim benefitted the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

Competitors range from 8 to 80 years and are of varying abilities, locals and tourists alike.  All swimmers will receive a goody bag and have the opportunity to win some great prizes!

For those who aren’t confident in the water there is a Walk & Watch option whereby you walk the one mile on the beach, alongside the swimmers. This is a great way to share in the excitement, contribute to a worthy cause and still be eligible to win fantastic prizes!

No matter where you’re staying on Grand Cayman, come to Seven Mile Beach and participate in the swim.  It’s a great time and will help a worthy cause.

Link to register!

 

 




No Waiting in Customs with Grand Cayman’s Meet and Greet Service!

The Cayman Islands Aviation Authority (CIAA) now offers visitors to the island a “Meet & Greet” service.   This service helps you and those traveling in your party to avoid long lines in Immigration and Customs.  Many of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests have availed themselves of this service and were glad they did!

CIAA offers the service for both arrivals and departures to the island.

For arrivals, a CIAA Customer Service Officer will be waiting for  you at the plane steps holding a sign with your name on it. The Customer Service Officer will then assist in fast tracking you through Immigration and Customs. After clearing your luggage in Customs, the officer will escort you to the taxi dispatch booth or to the rental car plaza to pick up your rental car and you are on your way to relax at your villa!

For departures a CIAA Customer Service Officer will meet you at the drop-off curbside. The Customer Service Officer will assist you with your luggage and provide an escort during check-in. (CIAA recommends checking in on-line if possible as this helps to speed up the process.) The officer will then assist in fast tracking you through the airport security checkpoint and all the way to your gate.

The cost of this service is $30.00 CI dollars or $36.85US dollars per traveller.  CIAA requires you submit your request for Meet and Greet service at least a 48-hours prior to arrival or departure.  They need longer than 48 hours notice for parties larger than 10 or more travelers.

Interested?  Complete the CIAA Meet and Greet Application Form and fax to 1-345-943-7071.

Information for Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman:  298 Owen Roberts Drive | P.O. Box 10098 |Grand Cayman KY1-1001|CAYMAN ISLANDS Main:+1.345.943.7070 | Facsimile:+1.345.943.7071| Email: CustomerService@caymanairports.com| Website: www.caymanairports.ky




FUNKY MONKEY – GRAND CAYMAN’S HIPPEST CLOTHING SHOP!

One of the favorite clothing shops of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests is Funky Monkey.  The owners of Funky Monkey, Jody Lunt and her husband, Sean, opened their store about ten years ago and have done a great job stocking fun, hip styles that can’t be found anywhere else on the island.

They stock brands such as Analili, Elan, Banana Moon, Desigual, Johnnie O and Volcom to name a few, which are imported from Australia, France, Spain and the USA.   Analilli is a designer line of beautiful dresses, pants and tops in breezy bold fabrics  Their maxi dresses are gorgeous but also comfortable and the perfect option for any occassion.  Jody imports a limited number of each item, so you can rest assured that all your friends won’t be wearing the same pieces!

Analilli at Funky Monkey

Analilli at Funky Monkey

Funky Monkey’s bathing suits are also gorgeous.  The bikinis from Brazil are absoute works of art.  I admit that they aren’t for my body type, but my daughters who are in their twenties looked fantastic in every one they tried on.

Funky Monkey also sells yoga clothing and a limited selection of nice pajama sleepwear as well as a selection of men’s linen shirts, shorts, pants, dress shirts and hats.

Funky Monkey is also a great place to find unique gifts for the kids, house sitter and friends back home. They have some of the most helpful and friendly staff around who will happily assist whether you’re looking for something special or simply indulging in retail therapy. From the beach to the street, Funky Monkey has the entire family covered from head to toe!

Funky Monkey's latest offering of beautiful, beaded boho bags.

Funky Monkey’s latest offering of beautiful, beaded boho bags.

Funky Monkey is located in the Governor’s Square Shopping Center just a block away from the Westin Hotel on Seven Mile Beach.




A Private Chef on Grand Cayman for Those Who Prefer Glutten-Free, Vegan

CHEF BRITTA!

                                                       MEET CHEF BRITTA!

Interested in hiring a private chef on grand Cayman who specializes in local vegan cuisine?  Chef Britta Bush, owner of Saucha, will come to your villa and cook an amazing vegan meal for you and your guests.

Britt’s kitchen is 100% dairy and egg-free. She uses only the freshest ingredients from local farmers to create healthy fine dining. Her Grand Cayman farmers use their collected fresh water and pesticide-free nutritious soil to grow mangoes, dates, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, pumpkin, white guava and other exotics.  Britta takes them from their farms to your private villa table.

LOCAL GREENS AND HERBS ORGANICALLY GROWN ON GRAND CAYMAN

BRITTA’S LOCAL GREENS AND HERBS ORGANICALLY GROWN ON GRAND CAYMAN

 

Britta also brews her own kombucha in a variety of flavors.  Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea-based probiotic beverage.  Kombucha has been revered as a healing tonic for at least 3,000 years.  It is believed to provide healthful micronutrients and bacteria beneficial to digestion, detoxification and immunity.  Worldwide, people make and drink kombucha for the way it makes them feel, alive, healed and replenished.

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Many of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests take advantage Britta’s Weekly Care Packages, where she will deliver a custom created menu of essential allergen-friendly snacks to your villa such as:
 Pesto Cashew Cheese 
Tomato Flax Cracker (made with locally grown mini-tomatoes)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake
along with a selection of artisanal Kombucha

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy Chef Britta’s culinary talents.  She will create a wonderful evening for you and your guests.  Oh, and by the way, we strongly recommend you request her Peanut Butter Banana Dream Torte for dessert.  It’s fabulous!

Check out Chef Britta and Saucha on Facebook.

 

Cheesy Kale Chips top off Pesto Quinoa with cashew cheese and a gorgeous marinated tomato & yellow squash marriage.

Cheesy Kale Chips top off Pesto Quinoa with cashew cheese and a gorgeous marinated tomato & yellow squash marriage.




A Great Suggestion for Day of Departure!

THE GEORGE TOWN YACHT CLUB AT NIGHT!

                        THE GEORGE TOWN YACHT CLUB AT NIGHT!

 

It’s your last day on Grand Cayman.  You’ve had a relaxing and fun week, but, like all good things, the vacation must now come to an end.   A long day of travel lies ahead.

Grand Cayman Villas and Condos has a pro tip for cutting down the long wait until boarding and avoiding the crowds in the Owen Roberts Airport.

We suggest you plan to arrive at the airport three hours ahead of your flight when the ticket desk first opens.  Getting to the airport early before the crowds begin to line up should enable you to check bags and obtain your boarding passes fairly quickly.   Turn in your rental car prior to ticketing.

Once you’ve turned in your rental car and have boarding passes in hand, shepherd your family or group outside and catch the shuttle to the George Town Yacht Club for cocktails and a relaxing lunch.

The George Town Yacht Club is only a few hundred feet directly across from the airport at the Barcadere Marina. It is literally a two minute drive. There is an outdoor as well as an indoor option for dining.  Indoor is lovely and airconditioned and outdoor is beach dining and has a nice view of the marina. Their menu offers a wide variety of selections that is sure to please everyone in the group no matter their age.  The service is pleasant and efficient and they are used to diners who need to be on time to catch their flights.

After lunch, the shuttle will take you back to the airport. It’s a good rule of thumb to allow 30-40 minutes to get through airport security depending upon the time of year.  Winter and Spring Break season are usually the heaviest.

Feel good that you’ve just spared yourself and your family two hours of boring wait time with hundreds of fellow travelers.  It will make the flight home seem so much shorter.

The shuttle runs back and forth from the airport to the Yacht Club all day.  You may call ahead to let them know of your plans.   Their number is 1-345-947-4842.  For more information on the George Town Yacht Club and their shuttle, check them out on Facebook.

THE YACHT CLUB SHUTTLE RUNS ALL DAY FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CLUB

THE YACHT CLUB SHUTTLE RUNS ALL DAY FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CLUB