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Plan Your Vacation in Grand Cayman

Final Preparations for Your Trip:

 

FIRST THINGS- SAFETY & CONTACT INFORMATION

 

  • PUT A COPY OF YOUR CONFIRMATION IN YOUR PASSPORT.
  • MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OF ALL PASSPORTS AND KEEP THOSE SEPARATE– LEAVE A COPY OF PASSPORT AT HOME AND TAKE A COPY WITH YOU INCASE THEY GET LOST OR STOLEN. Another idea is to take cell phone photos of each of them and keep the photos on your phone. 
  • Know the phone number of your accommodation so that you can give it to others back home— You have to provide it to the CI Government on your embarkation card you receive on the airplane. The Villa “Name” will suffice for address—but also know in which District you are located:  Cayman Kai, Rum Point, Northside, East End, Cottage, etc. The villa or condo phone number should be on your confirmation form. It should be on your confirmation. If you can’t find it—e-mail me (jim@grandcaymanvillas.net).
  • Know the name and number of your on-island property or condo manager. Again, on the confirmation form. Most all of the villas have DSL internet–but if yours doesn’t, you can set up a temporary dial-up connection (http://www.cw.ky/internet/products/visitor-services/easy-access/). Almost all of the USA cell carriers now work in the Cayman islands (Verizon is the weakest to function here). You can, however, rent a mobile phone. You can do that through www.emptysuitcases.com, buy one ($50) at the grocery store (with some free minutes), OR go downtown to Cable & Wireless and rent one from them (http://www.cw.ky/internet/products/visitor-services/temporary-mobile-daily-rentals/). The cell phones on the island are “pay-as-you-go,” so you buy minutes in advance and can “top-up” at banks, convenience stores, grocery stores, etc.
 
  • If you are a diver—please invest the small premium with DAN (Divers Alert Network) for insurance. This will protect you, should you have a dive accident and require evacuation. Over the years I have had a few guests require decompression in the Chamber at Georgetown hospital. Some of them through no fault of their own–some of them were dehydrated from drinking too heavily the night before. I think the annual family premium is $120.00; and the bill for recompression treatment on island is $6-8,000; Evacuation to Miami will run close to $25,000. I think it is better to be covered. www.diversalertnetwork.org. DAN is non-profit, research-based and operated in Durham, NC in conjunction with Duke University Medical Center. 

Hospitals & Health Clinics

  • We have a 911 system on the island that is address-linked; so even if you forget the address of your home–the 911 people should know it. We have 2 hospitals on the island–the public (Georgetown Hospital) and private (Chrissie Tomlinson Hospital) are both near each other on Walker’s Road– drive from east part of island–straight to end of runway and go straight through the stoplight–(blue hospital signs)– about 1/2 mile towards Georgetown and they are on the left.


  • In Northside–behind the Northside primary school (across from post office) we have a clinic with ambulance. if you have an emergency you can call 911 and ask them if someone is on call there– you could drive to it to save time (allergy, cuts, etc.)


  • The Health Clinic in Savannah is new–and has the closest pharmacy to northside. I have personally used it for my children (ear infections) and they were very nice–receptionist was from New Jersey!

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION

Passports:

 

 

  • After arrival in Grand Cayman, the immigration agent will stick a small piece of white paper in your passport. You will need that piece of paper to prove you have paid the exit fee when departing. Just leave it where they stick it and there will be no problems. If you lose it, arrive at the airport early to fill out another one and pay the departure tax (again). For our family’s trips–either my wife or I collects all the passports and keeps them together.

 

Visas:

  • If you are American, British, Canadian, a citizen of another Commonwealth country (with the exception of Bangladesh, Gambia, India, Jamaica, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda) or a national of any of the following you will NOT require a Visa:  

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, China (peoples republic) citizens holding Hong Kong (SAR China) passports only, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland & Venezuela.

If you have a doubt regarding whether you need a VISA– please click this link

 

WHAT TO BRING, WHAT TO BUY

 

Your Villa will provide a starter supply of toilet paper, facial tissue, a roll or two of paper towels and personal (facial) soaps for the bathroom.  You need to bring your own shampoo, laundry detergent (high efficiency liquid please), dishwasher (also liquid) packets recommended, extra paper towels/toilet tissue, 13 gallon garbage bags (tall white kitchen size with yellow integral ties), lotions, soaps and toiletries. You also may want to buy some paper plates/napkins, etc…you may not want to do dishes on vacation!  Grocery stores are closed on Sunday, so shop for groceries when you arrive. If you are using McCurley’s tours, they will take you by the grocery store for a quick stop. Holiday/Sunday arrivals can contact  www.caymanshoppers.com to pre-stock your villa as well. The convenience stores (“On the Run” Gas stations) can get you through the weekend. If you plan to grill out, know whether your villa has a propane or charcoal grill. If charcoal, buy a bag of briquettes, as well as lighter fluid and matches.

Your villa will have  bed linens, washcloths and face/bath towels as well as beach towels. Most of the good dive operations will supply you with towels during your dive…so please don’t take the bath/beach towels off the property; thanks. There will be enough towels for each bathroom, but you will want to do some laundry during the week.

Bring a small bottle of  insect repellent, if you are going to eat at any o fthe many outdoor restaurant tables. If there is no breeze (rare) the bugs can be bothersome at dusk mostly…and it is better to be prepared.

Bring a basic First Aid kit. Bandages, antiseptic, Neosporin, etc., as well as any medicines, epi-pens, inhalers, etc., should be in this first aid kit.

Sunglasses, suntan lotion, aloe lotion (for the sunburned), bathing suits, wading shoes and a good hat.

Be certain everyone has a pair of hard-soled (rubber) stretchy nylon “wading/pool shoes.Even if the sand looks pure white…we wear them. Sea urchins, shell shards, etc. can all hurt the feet.  I even wear them around the house (tile floors are hard on bare heels).

Regardless of season, bring a sweater or windbreaker just to be sure you have something if the wind or rain whips up. I only bring shorts year-round, but others may want at least one pair of trousers. Nice golf-shirts are acceptable at all restaurants. Women might bring a few light skirts/blouses. Most guests never wear half of the clothes they bring.

If you plan to snorkel, bring a mask that fits. Some of the places (Stingray City, Rum Point) are so shallow you may only need goggles, as they are easier to wear, carry, etc. But if you are going to be snorkeling a lot, go to a dive shop BEFORE you leave & invest in a mask that fits well– and scrub the inside and outside of the faceplates with Crest toothpaste to rid the glass of silicone residue and assist in keeping it fog-free (bring sea-drops for that too).

Don’t over-pack. It is so easy to do, but try to carry a days worth of casual clothes as carry-on in case your luggage gets misplaced on the way down for a day. If the worst happens, the “Treasure Chest” gift shop at Rum Point has clothes and Chisholm’s/Fosters grocery stores have toiletries.

 

Almost all stores (specifically grocery stores) are closed on Sundays. 

If you are arriving on Sunday (or a holiday)—you might consider having the villa pre-stocked with groceries. www.caymanshoppers.com does a nice job. We also havewww.ezshop.ky. Either  will need to know your manager’s name/number (from your confirmation) in order to be let into the villa before you arrive (he already knows most of them).

Some guest will bring a frozen tenderloin or steaks in a cooler. Make sure any meat is still wrapped in the USDA inspected wrapper. No dry Ice (airline restriction)

 

DO NOT bring fruits or vegetables in your luggage.

 

DUTY FREE ALCOHOL LIMITS

Regardless of what it says on the Cayman Customs form you receive on the plane–

Each Adult (18 yrs old or older) is allowed:

EITHER ;

(1) LITER Spirits; OR

(4) LITERS Wine ( FIVE 750ml bottles); OR

(1) Case of 12 oz Beer.

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE & DIRECTIONS

Arrival Procedures:

The airlines hand out both a Cayman Immigration form and a family customs declaration. You should fill out both before you land. Notice two things; your flight number and that they write their dates as DD/MM/YY, not MM/DD/YY. You are staying at a “private guest house”.  Write down the villa name and district where it is located, as well as phone number.

Upon arrival, you will be directed to the embarkation area.  Proceed through the queue on the left.  Although it moves slowly at first, once the Cayman nationals on your flight have gone through…the officers in the lines on the right will wave you over to the Nationals line!  There, you will need to show the Cayman Immigration Official your passport and both forms.  Once processed, you go to your right, and claim your luggage as it comes off the conveyor (the carts are plentiful and free, so no need to hurry). Grab some free brochures/literature from the Cayman Cottage-looking welcome desk. You then get in a customs line (on left) for “nothing to declare”, unless you are bringing in more than the allowed items stated on the Caymanian customs card. You allowed (duty free) a case of beer or 5 bottles (750ml each) of wine or 1 liter bottle of spirits per adults (over 18). You can pay duty and bring in more than this. Just be prepared for about 30-40 minutes of delay.

After processing, take your bags/cart out the door to the left, to the covered curb.  If you have contracted McCurley’s Tours (for your rental car) to take you to your villa, look for one of their Tan Toyota vans.  If you have rented a car, park your bags/cart to the left of the circle, and whichever person will be driving should walk to their left about 150yds to the car rental “strip mall” (about 10 car rental shops) right across the street from the airport. NEED A CELLPHONE while on island? Right to the left of the exit doors is a small giftshop outside the airport that sells $50 cell phones that you can “top-up” with minutes while on island. Actually a good deal. Andy’s rental cars are in a new building directly across the parking lot from the arrival doors (on the right). If you need cash at this time, there is an ATM machine just inside the double glass door to the Departure Area (where the ticket counters are) right next to the traffic circle outside of the arrival gate. You can get either CI$ or US$ from your U.S. ATM card!

Drive on the Left!

Departure Procedures:

The best plan is to call the airline on the morning of your departure to be sure your plane is on time. Then, plan your day around dropping the bags off (checking them in) exactly 3 hours early,  go have lunch/shop in town (10 minutes away), turn in the rental car (across the street) after lunch and walk to the departure lounge. When you drop off your bags (2-3 hrs early), use the short term pay-parking lot across from the airport. It only cost CI$2.00/hour, and you won’t be there more than 20-60 minutes checking in, and then you can drive to lunch.

If you park your car out in front of the airport and leave it, they will attach an iron “boot” to your tire (fine required).  If you do need their (sky cap) services; use them, as they are always polite and will get your heavy bags to the front of the line (pretty much just $2-3/bag, as in the states). The counters open about 3 hours prior to the flight departures.

Have some local CI$1 or $5 paper currency with you for the parking ticket machine located next to the arrival gate– (only CI$ accepted) you need to have your ticket paid for BEFORE you try to exit the lot– CI$2/hour

You need to have the little white immigration card from your arrival form in order to depart.  If you have lost it, ask an offer for a new one to fill out.

There are duty-free shops in the departure lounge, where you can buy liquor, perfume, cigars, etc…at pretty nice prices.

This is a pretty good plan. If you check-in your luggage early (10-11AM), and you have a 2-3PM flight, you can easily arrive back at the car rental place and only be waiting 30 minutes in the departure lounge to board. Remember, there are no gates to run between! Just be sure you have a boarding pass (seat assignment) before you leave the airport for lunch. I personally go to the Sunset House, just south of Georgetown—so I can watch the planes land and be certain that my plane is actually here!

 

GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Please click my link at https://www.grandcaymanvillas.net/frequently-asked-questions/transportation/ for rental cars; McCurley’s Tours pick ups, etc. If you are new to Cayman, consider the personal touch of McCurley’s Tour/rental cars. If you need a van, contact Marshalls, Budget or one of the others.

If you are arriving privately; the private terminal is just south of the main terminal; so ask the rental car compnay to send someone with the car, try to arrnage the paperwork aghead of time, fax copy of licesnes, etc. to make things flow easier on arrival.

 

 
 

KEYS TO THE VILLA

We will send you key package instructions with your final payment receipt.

Most villas have combination locksets now. You may receive a visit that afternoon from the on-island manager. You should call the manager (Phone number on your documents) when you arrive to let them know you are in. Refer to your paperwork please before asking about keys. Leave the keys in the villa when you depart. Just know what to do when you arrive so there are no problems (and call the manager first if you have an issue).

If you have any doubts, email us. 


DIRECTIONS TO THE VILLA

(Cayman Kai, Northside, Old Man Bay, Rum Point or East End)

Exit the Airport or Rental Car parking lot to the right. Look right first–Drive on the Left!! You are headed towards Northside or Eastern Districts (via Boddentown) in case you get lost right away and need to stop for directions.

 

After leaving the rental car parking lot, turn right (into left lane!!) proceed about ½ mile, take a left turn at the first “T” intersection (post office boxes on your left), you will then curve around to the right, and be driving parallel to the fenced runway, going southwest. Look to your right & you will see a large supermarket…Foster’s Food Fair and other stores. Our Sam’s Club is called “Priced Right” and is on the left end of this shopping center (no membership needed). Also a package store here too. This is one of three large supermarkets on the way to Northside. There is another beautiful supermarket , package store & shopping center two miles further (Hurley’s), so if Fosters is too crowded, or you don’t want to risk a right turn in heavy traffic just yet…don’t worry; keep going. Newest one is in Savannah (Fosters)–about 5 more miles east.It is closer to the vilal so the ice cream won’t melt as much!

 

Stay in the left lane and bear left at the 3-way “circle of death.” –Proceed straight to the southwest end of the fenced runway (1/4 mile after Fosters..)  Turn left. Mark your odometer. (look up to see planes landing!)

 

Proceed about 200 yards across the bottom of the runway and turn left on Crewe Road (of course not marked) going east towards Boddentown. It feels like you have just circled the runway! You will pass a gas station (I think it’s a Texaco). You will stay on this road for a few miles…so relax regarding turns. Just stay in the left lane. When you come to traffic circles, just go around 180 degrees…proceeding east along the southern coast of the island towards “Boddentown” & “Points East”.

 

Hurley’s Grocery Store, Blockbuster, Toy Store, Pharmacy and Tortuga Liquors at Grand Harbour should be at approximately 2 miles on your odometer at a large traffic circle on the left (look for tall palm trees on your left and a pastel-colored, gingerbread shopping center). You can get off here to shop, check out the wave/skateboard park in back and then get right back on the road going left (east). There is a restaurant and sports bar behind the shopping center too.

 

We have just built (2008) a new “Eastern Arterial” roadway that cuts across the island to Savannah (saves about 5 minutes drive time or more during rush hour)– if you take the “Arterial”– just go 180 degrees around each circle heading east– when it dead ends– take a right towards Savannah (1 mile)– then at the intersection–take a left towards “East End, Boddentown, etc)– best for newcomers to just keep the ocean on the right and drive east.

 

In Savannah–we have a new “Countryside Shopping Center” with a large Fosters grocery, Thompson hardware, Wine/spirits shop, Subway, Wendy’s, movie rental, AND A HEALTH CLINIC IN CASE ONE OF YOU GETS ILL (ATTACHED PHARMACY TOO)Savannah Health Clinic I think.

 

You will follow this road all the way along the southern side of the island. Whether you take the arterial or the southern coastal road– Along the way, you will drive through the areas of Savannah , Newlands, Lower Valley and ultimately Boddentown (in Boddentown keep an eye to the left for Nina’s  “Beach Bubbles” shop and the Pirate Cave gift shop…8 miles on odometer). Stay within the speed limits (they are in MPH).

After clearing Boddentown , you will see beautiful blue water on your right as you drive about another 3 miles, and pass the Lighthouse Restaurant in a district called “Breakers”.  Lighthouse restaurant will be on your right (if the flags are up, he is open). You have gone approximately 11 miles so far. Watch your speeding on the island– they give expensive tickets.

One mile past the Lighthouse Restaurant (again, about 12 miles total to center of island), is the main North/South road of the island (Frank Sound Road). A left on this road takes you towards Northside/Cayman Kai/Rum Point/Old Man Bay. There is a fountain and sign post on the left. Alternatively, going straight here will take you to the East End.

 

If your villa is in Cayman Kai, Rum Point, Northside, Old Man Bay or Queens Highway:

Take the left turn (heading north). At the top of the island (2 miles north on this road)…you pass a small ESSO gas station– bearing left takes you to Cayman Kai, Rum Point & Northside. Turning right (after the gas station) takes you to Old Man Bay, the Queen’s Highway and ultimatley East End.

 

If your villa is in East End (Cayman Castle, Cayman Chillin): 

Do Not take the left turn above (heading north) and instead proceed straight ahead (east) along the southern coast of the island. The road will wind through Cottage, Half Moon Bay, past the blowholes and then into the village of East End. Just stay on this “island perimeter road” and you will end up heading north along the east coast. Watch the 25 mph limit. Colorful Paradise Villas first–then Compass Point & Ocean Frontiers; Cayman Castle & Guesthouse, then Tukka restaurant. Cayman Chillin’ is just north of  Tukka restaurant. Another mile or two you would be at the Morritts and Reef Resorts (Fosters grocery, “Waves” giftshop & some newer stores are across the street from them). The “Jacques Scott” liquor store is now also in the strip mall across from the Reef Resort. We have a new Italian Kitchen restaurant there as well.

If you kept driving north on this road in east end—you would drive past Morritt’s and The Reef timeshare resorts on the northeast tip of the island—  and then onto the Queen’s Highway towards (west), through Old Man Bay and onto Rum Point & Cayman Kai. There is only one exterior road around the island—so you would really have to try to get lost!


THINGS TO DO ON THE ISLAND

Please click ACTIVITIES for a list of fun things.

I would say the favorite things many of my family guests have done include:

Having a private stingray city trip/snorkeling trip with www.boatsandbutlers.com ; www.caymanluxurycharters.com 

Stingray City trip on Red Sail Sport’s 65’ Catamaran www.redsailcayman.com

Having a cook/chef cook a meal in their villa. Our # 1 chef is Mise En Place at www.catering.ky and our #1 cook is Rosie Paris at terrypqueen@yahoo.com . Schedule them early in your stay, as you may want them to come back!

Having David Wolfe Photograph your family (Click this link)

Being picked-up at the airport by McCurley’s Tours with rental car (s) waiting at the villa.

Having the villa pre-stocked by www.caymanshoppers.com

Dinner at the Lighthouse restaurant

Ordering original Cayman Artworks from Hannah Cook (www.hannahcook.com) to be carried from Cayman or shipped back to home for framing there!

Dinner at Tukka in east end. Brunch on Sundays is great on their porch.

Shopping at “Beach Bubbles” in Boddentown (hand made soaps, jewelry, ornaments, etc.)

Spa Treatment at the Ritz or Westin Spa

Renting kayaks, cribs, bicycles, etc from www.emptysuitcases.com

Rum Point any morning/afternoon (Except Sunday- too crowded with boats; go to Tukka in East End for their Sunday brunch!)

Snorkel Safari (jet ski safari) at Morritt’s Tortuga Timeshare Resort

Kiteboarding with www.oceanfrontiers.com

Half-day Fishing Trip ( I prefer reef fishing to deep-sea; better odds; Call Captain Herman at 345-917-3779) (He picks you up at Morritts dock and if you are lucky..can cook for you too!)

G-Kart racing on Cayman’s new track behind CUC near the airport.

A pleasant walking trek through the Queen’s Botanical Gardens (nearby)

Taking the kid’s to the Turtle Farm (Boatswain’s Beach) on 7MB (this is last for a reason-$$$ and a hike).

 

THINGS NOT TO DO ON THE ISLAND

 

    • You will notice that I have left off GOLF. The best golf course on the island is on 7MB. The “North Sound Golf Club” (www.northsoundclub.com) is the only 18 hole really nice (6,505 yds) course–. The Government’s website speaks best to golf on the island- http://www.caymanislands.ky/to_do/golfing.asp ; however it doesn’t include the new 9 Hole Ritz golf course designed by Greg Norman. That course (“Blue Tip”, named after a shark) looks pretty nice from the air, but they don’t allow non-guests to play usually.  The North Sound Club used to be called “Links at Safehaven” and is now owned by the developer of the Ritz-Carlton. There are plans to merge these clubs and develop the land around them in 2011. You can make tee times 3 days in advance by calling them or emailing golfpro@northsoundclub.com . Winter rates are currently US$150 (US$50 after 4PM) and include your cart.

 

There is a shorter 9 hole course at “Britannia” with alternate tee boxes and a softer “Cayman” ball. This is probably the only golf  I might consider with kids- reasonably priced, fun and easy.

Personally, I can play golf at home, on better courses, for less money and headaches– I leave my clubs at home. The clear blue water and warm sand is why I came this far for vacation! There is a championship golf course planned for    the east end of the island– it won’t start for a few years.

 

I would personally stay away from Rum Point on Sundays/Holidays until 5-6PM. If you have rented a home nearby– I would take a trip to 7MB that day– or go to Tukka’s restaurant in east end for brunch–then to Morritts or the Reef Resort in the east end for the afternoon ( www.thereef.com or www.morritts.com ) or to the Botanical Gardens. Sundays most everything (except restaurants and bars) is closed in town– usually there are no cruise ships either– so it is nice to visit town and the beaches. The Reef and Morritts resorts have pools, beaches, watersports, bars and lounge chairs– enjoy the peace and quiet of the east end.

If you have any thoughts of importing or using illegal drugs on Grand Cayman; I would strongly advise you to abandon that course of action. We have a big prison. This is a Crown Colony; and the US and UK have treaties recognizing the lawful imprisonment of each other’s citizens for certain offenses. You will be a guest of the Cayman Islands for a long time if caught. Just getting to trial (for drugs specifically) takes 3-9 months–

Drunk Driving is also a bad idea— the BAC (Blood-Alcohol Content) tolerances are lower (.08) and penalties stiffer. If you run off the road in Cayman–there are usually big sharp rocks on one side and the ocean on the other– best to be on your game to drive here.

CONVENIENCE TIPS (Live/look like a Local):

 

Fresh Fish for the grill. Pack a small cooler with whenever you go into town. When in Georgetown, look at the waterfront right where Mary’s Street terminates at the sea (Hammerhead’s Bar) and you will see a couple of umbrellas with 4-5 fishermen selling fresh fish on the shore. They are fresh-caught…and ask to see everything in their coolers as well. Snapper, Grouper, Wahoo, and Yellowtail are the best fish…. Click this link (www.cmlor.com/tools/grand-cayman-webcam.aspx ) to see the live webcam of the fish market! By having the cooler, you can shop in Georgetown or go to the Turtle Farm and don’t have to race back to the Northside. Closer by, some afternoons the fishermen in the Northside are cleaning fish at the public pier/ramp next to “Over the Edge” in Old Man Bay too (about 1PM-2PM). Lastly– Karen Forbes, who owns the Texaco station in East End– runs the fish fry on Sundays and can help out too sometimes 925-7439.

Visit any Beach. While (technically) property owners own their land to the high water mark, all of the hotels, condos and resorts want you to visit them. Specifically; Rum Point, The Reef Resort, Morritt’s Tortuga, The Westin & Hyatt, Sunset House, Marriott, Treasure Island, etc…welcome you to swim on their beach, use their restaurants, bars, watersports, etc…They may not want you using their lounge chaises however. There are also public beaches all around the island that the local Caymanians rarely use. They are usually pristine, and have some facilities. Do not feel like an outsider on this island. The people are friendly and want you to have a good time. The only look you might get is if you use a ton of water at their shower (water is precious).

Know the Calendar. Our arrivals are mostly on Saturday, and that evening Lammie (calypso music) plays at Morritt’s. Barefoot Man plays Tues/Thur at Royal Reef. The “Big Kahuna” comedian plays Morritts on Wednesday nights.  http://www.morritts.com/Page06_Weekly_Activities_Schedule.htm and read their “Turtle Times for a schedule of events at Morritts– www.redsailcayman.com  has the best Stingray City trip on their 65’ catamaran Tu/We/Th (call 345-945-5965). It is the most convenient snorkel trip to you…near Rum Point. Reminder, all stores and grocery stores are closed on Sundays. Rarely any cruise ships on Sundays/Mondays; and Wednesdays are the worst in town for cruise ships (up to 5-7 of them!).

Don’t Overdress. The island is casual. Everyone expects you to be very comfortable. Shorts and T-shirts (or collared polo shirts for restaurants) are fine. Many ladies just wear a cover-up or wrap skirt over their bathing suit out to dinner. No Thurston Howell III’s (blazer & ascots). I promise-You won’t wear half of the clothes you brought with you regardless.

BASIC INFORMATION

Our voltage is US standard (110-115v/50-60A). Most homes are connected to “city water” which comes from the (reverse osmosis) desalination plant in West Bay and is pumped/piped around the rest of the island. It is as pure as the bottled water they sell in the market locally.

Our grocery stores are mostly US sourced (Fosters is an IGA affiliate), so there is a great selection and variety of produce, meats and foodstuffs. Many guests will bring down frozen steaks–make sure any meat is till in the USDA wrapper and don’t use dry ice (airline restriction).

We drive on the left-but the island is flat and easier to negotiate than one might think.

We have TWO HOSPITALS and an “address-indexed” 911 system if you call the emergency number and can’t remember your address (I would leave your confirmation by the phone in case the “system” doesn’t work for some reason).

 CASH & ATMS

  • US$ and CI$ (as well as credit cards) are accepted all over the island. American Express travelers Cheques too. If you think you might need to get cash from the (Local Bank)  ATM’s –just recently a few guests have mentioned that they have had to call the US bank to let them know they are traveling in Cayman. YOU CAN DO THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE. Just call the number on the back of your ATM card to let them know the dates you will be out of the country. It will save you time. There is a Cayman National Bank ATM in the airport that will give you either CI$ or US$ from your USA bank account ATM card.

Long Distance Calls & Cell Phones

  • Many cell hones work on the island. Verizon is the weakling right now (sporadic service). Sprint, AT&T/Cingular and a most others work fine. The roaming and toll costs are very high. When you are at your villa– and want to make a long distance call; you can use 1-800-CALL-USA to call back the States and charge on a credit card. Many prepaid phone cards (Sam’s Club, Costco, Wal-Mart) can work here as well as in other countries. Just before you buy a pre-paid card–make sure it has a local Cayman number (area code 345)  to call for access. Some villas offer VoiP (Vonage, Magic Jack, etc) free phone calls. A few villas allow you to call wherever you want and just deduct them from a deposit.

 

  • Lately– guests with laptops anyway have signed on to www.skype.com and plugged their laptop into the modem to make free calls to the USA. An account that calls only one country is $5.00/month! Might be the cheapest way to call yet!

 

  • THE BEST THING I HAVE FOUND IS TO BUY A CHEAPY CELL PHONE AT THE GROCERY OR AT THE AIRPORT GIFT SHOP (Right outside of the Arrival or Departure Lounge-small building) for $CI50 that includes $20 credit. You can “Top Up” these phones at gas stations, banks and many stores on island.

 

  • This phone will also work on Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica and St. Kitts. You might just get one for your “Caribbean Identity”!

 

  • Another option is to buy a $99.00 SIM Card for your (tri-band unlocked GSM)  cell Phone– you will have a local (Cable and Wireless) Cayman number for your cell–and incoming calls from the USA are FREE! You can “Top Up” your cell phone at gas stations, banks, groceries, etc all over the island–this is a great convenient way to go if you are active on the island. Avoid roaming charges as well! note–you have to dial the 345 area code for local calls–but at $.30/minute is WAY cheaper than $3.00/minute plus roaming charges on your USA cell number. http://www.cellularabroad.com/caymansSIMcard.php

 

Rent a Laptop

  • A new service for just 7 Mile Beach area (right now) is a company that rents you a laptop (fully loaded, with even a VoIP phone as well!  http://travel.com.ky/laptop/  you email him at casper@candw.ky . He might be able to meet you at the airport on arrival? I will monitor this business (Sep 09)

 

Renting or Buying Snorkel Gear

  • I often get asked about this. None of the homes come stocked with complete sets of mask, fins and snorkels for each size and face-shape. Each home would need a manager just for snorkel gear! You can buy it in the states and bring it down; or buy it here at the Waves gift shop in east end (next to Fosters) or in town at the better scuba shops (Divers Supply, Divers World-both open on Sunday).

-OR-

  • You can rent snorkel gear from Red Sail Sports ($$) at Rum Point — but my recommendation is to rent it from Dave & Alan (Canadians eh?) at www.whitesandwatersports.com behind the Reef Resort in East End. I know these guys pretty well and they offer good equipment for the week for great rates. They offer snorkel tours, kayaks, wave runners, paddle boats and tube rides as well. They have a “colorful” Jamaican guy named Apollo that is entertaining as well on the beach.

        

  COOKS FOR 7MB, NORTHSIDE AND EAST END  PROPERTIES-

(Call them to book, then confirm later and reconfirm before you arrive- 3X is a charm)

  • Rosie Paris – 345-927-0314 or 345-329-8030; terrypqueen@yahoo.com ; CLICK BROCHURE (very highly recommended)
  • Stephanie McLean – 345-926-1953 (lives in East End, very nice as well if available)

         

CHEFS FOR HIGHER END SERVICE- (Island- wide)

Cruise Ship Schedule

  • If you would like to know how many cruise ships will be in the port of Georgetown during your week and on what particular day—Please click this link below to the Cayman Islands Port Authority. It may help keep you from making a big mistake and driving into town on a day when there are 7 cruise ships in port!
  • http://www.caymanport.com/schedule.htm

 

LASTLY—

I want you and your guests to have a great time. I know many people on the island and they know me. I work hard to maintain a great relationship with all of them (restaurants, dive operations, etc.)  I send a lot of business their way each year—rental cars, restaurants, dive operations, etc. As long as they treat my guests well—I will keep referring them. If you have a great time or bad experience on the island—I want to know about it please. If you have a celebration dinner of 10 or more adults—I would strongly recommend the “Captain’s Port Room” at the Lighthouse Restaurant. You have the (air-conditioned) room to yourself—and their wine list too. We have enjoyed many great meals there. Giuseppe is a great host.

 Thanks again for your business—and I trust this has been informative. Please feel free to ask any questions or make recommendations that I can include for subsequent guests.

Jim Leavitt jim@grandcaymanvillas.net