Life on an island is not for everyone. I know, I know. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to live in a tropical paradise, disconnected from the rat race and live a more peaceful lifestyle, going to the beach every day?
The fantasy is fun to think about but the reality is just that: real. People who live here still have jobs and commitments and social lives to maintain, just like back home, so some weeks the beach doesn’t cross your mind. After the novelty of moving to a tropical paradise wears off, you can even find yourself not going to the beach for weeks or months on end. Some people *shock horror* don’t even like the beach that much.
I – for the record – am not one of those people, but I totally get it.
A visit to the beach usually requires at least a small degree of organisation (you can’t just rock up after work unless you’ve remembered to pre-pack your flip flops and a towel, and possibly your swimwear), and more often than not you return with everything COVERED in sand, which then finds its way into every nook and cranny of your house. It’s far too easy to catch a sunburn, your hair gets salty and brittle, and if you forget to bring a book it can get a bit boring to just lie there after a while.
So what do you do if you find yourself living in the Cayman Islands and you unashamedly shun the beach? Fear not, dear reader, for I have made a list of all the fun things to do in Grand Cayman that don’t require getting even a little bit sandy.
[Note – these things are all more geared towards someone looking for a day-time activity. I’m planning on doing something similar for nightlife soon!]
- Eat a delicious lunch at one of the island’s best restaurants
Yes, okay. Eating out is a very obvious place to start but Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean and it would be rude not to enjoy some of the amazing delights on offer. Here are 3 of my favourite lunch spots (with great deals for 2 or 3 courses at lunchtime, cos I love a bargain!)
- Grand Old House. Beautiful views over the South Sound, delicious seasonal food and a great lunch deal of 2 courses for $25 including grats.
- Bacaro. Tucked away inside the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, this gorgeous gem is known for its Venetian Style tapas and cocktails – however they also do a fab 3-course express lunch menu with a glass of wine or beer for a paltry $26!
- Mizu. Fancy some Asian inspired fare? In a rush? On a budget? Go. To. Mizu. $15 for 3 courses and you’re in and out within 45 minutes. Perfect for a lunch hour break from work and the food is always tasty. Don’t miss the creme caramel dessert!
- Glaze Cafe
If you’re in any way a creative or arty person, you’ll love the chance to spend an afternoon quietly painting ceramics in the Art’s Nest Glaze Café. This is a pretty good thing to do on a budget too as the pieces start at $10, which includes 3 different colours of paint and all equipment! The best part? You don’t need to book, you can just drop in any time!
- Spa day
There’s no shortage of places on island to spend a few hours pampering yourself with a massage or a mani-pedi, but a lot of places charge $$$ for the privilege. However, if all you’re looking for is a relaxing afternoon using the facilities, you can hit up the Hibiscus Spa at the Westin – they allow you to just enter and use the facilities including steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and relaxation room for as long as you want for just $25. And if, while you’re there you decide to treat yourself to a pedicure, I won’t tell anyone 😉
- Blue Dragon Trail
There aren’t a lot of free activities on the island but this is one of my favourites as it takes you to all the districts from West Bay to East End, finishing up at Rum Point. The trail was set up in 2004 to raise awareness of the declining Blue Iguana population on the island. Some of the iguanas have been removed now, but at the current time of writing, 12/15 of them are still there and it’s fun to hunt them down and take a selfie with each one. Technically as some of the “dragons” are situated on beaches this doesn’t qualify as a completely beach-free activity, but it’s enough fun that I’m going to count it anyway. Find the map here.
- Crystal Caves
This is a fairly new activity to the island, and whilst it’s a little bit touristy I think it’s off the beaten track enough to count for this list. The caves in question are beautiful and stay naturally cool during the day, and the guides are incredibly informative about the crystal formations, as well as the surrounding flora and fauna.
- Botanic Park
This is the place to come if you want to find some real Blue Iguanas! It’s got a ridiculously cheap entry fee for residents ($5) and is super relaxing to just walk around and be at one with nature.
Yes, there’s a bowling alley on the island! It’s only a small one with just 4 lanes but it’s good, cheap fun starting at $10 a game. The alley is at King’s Sports Centre and is open from 3pm on weekdays and 1pm on weekends.
- Cinema Camana bay
A bowling alley, a cinema…it’s like being back in the city! Well, not really but yes Cayman does have a cinema showing a lot of the latest releases, so if you’re a film buff and want to get out of the sun for a few hours you can!
- Roller Skating
If you grew up in the 1980s you might be tempted to spend your afternoon at the skate rink! Kings Sports Centre offers roller skating on weekend afternoons from 4.30pm on Saturdays or 1pm on Sundays, and if you’ve never skated they also offer lessons. Relive your childhood!
- Drinking cocktails at a swim up bar
If all else fails, you can’t go far wrong setting up shop at a bar. If you’re not averse to getting wet you can even don your swimsuit and drink at the bar without even having to leave the pool! My 2 favourites are at Margaritaville Resort and Royal Palms Beach Club (you don’t have to go on the beach to get to the pool!)
- Walk dogs at the Humane Society
I really wanted to end this list on an even number but I couldn’t leave this one out! The Cayman Islands Humane Society is an animal shelter that houses a huge amount of stray or abandoned dogs and cats and tries to find them new furrever homes. Obviously they are a charity and have SO MANY DOGS that it is impossible for the staff to walk each dog every day by themselves. It’s free to go along and ask for a dog to walk, and they’re so grateful. You can even take the dogs to the beach or further afield for a fun day out! You might even be tempted to foster or adopt your new furry playmate 🙂
These are all my favourite things to do on a rare day off in Grand Cayman, but if you have more feel free to leave a comment below. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to get off the beach and see what else the island has to offer!