I need to use the last of these before they expire! #firstworldproblems
As the Cayman Islands were beginning to allow foreign visitors again for its Phase 4 of reopening during the pandemic, I wanted to get in before the high season began in mid December. You have to register proof of your fully vaccinated status on their travel portal for a Certificate To Travel.
Then you need to acquire proof of a negative PCR for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.
And don’t forget your passport! Almost missed the flight because of this; and alas it took only 6 minutes from taxi through securities to gat to my seat on the flight with only 11 minutes to spare before the doors closed at 7:43am for a 7:58am departure.
Had this flight gone on without me, there would be no possible alternative other than a grueling itinerary involving repeating a rapid PCR test for $350 and 2 layovers in Chicago and Miami before finally getting into Grand Cayman the following night. Luckily that did not happen; my flight arrived nearly an hour earlier at 11am local time:
When you arrive, there’s a separate arrivals halls to ensure your health declaration forms and certificates to travel are in order:
To avoid spoiling your stay with a surprise fine at departures, make sure you have arrangements made at your nearest clinic wherever you’re staying as the government requires you to test negative for COVID-19 on a $25-$30 rapid antigen lateral flow test on day 2, 5, and 10 of your stay (your arrival date counts as day 0) to avoid a quarantine.
They hand you these informational forms after they stamp your passport:
They then give you a card that you’ll need the testing clinic to stamp. You’ll need to show this stamped card upon your departure to avoid a potential fine.
After the arrivals hall for passports, a $23 cab ride into Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach, this was all mine by noon:
The Locale Hotel Grand Cayman is a great central location to mostly everything you need for a relaxing 4 days here; across the street you have numerous local eateries as well as the typical Pizza Hut/Wendy’s/Quiznos, 2 nearby yoga studios, at least 3 wellness massage spas, and a newly developed Caymana Bay district and promenade about a 7 minutes’ walk away.
Really odd to see Christmas decorations in 90ºF weather:
While in Caymana Bay, climb up the Observation Tower’s unique double helix staircase (free):
After a few flights you get okay views over Grand Cayman:
But the real treat is the 5 miles (not 7!) of the Seven Mile Beach you literally can feel like you have all to yourself. I barely saw a soul walking up and down here numerous times at various points of the day:
Sick of the beach? Swim with stingrays at Stingray City, play with turtles at Cayman Turtle Center, learn stand up paddleboarding, go scuba diving, snorkeling, or do yoga at any of the numerous studios on the island:
The Cayman Islands are also known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and it’s hard to screw this one up; literally everywhere I ate was impressive. Avoid the basic fast food shops unless your nostalgic for them; you can’t go wrong with the Tandoori Cauliflower Steak and the doubles at Cimboco:
Any of the bowls, toasts (ESPECIALLY the vegan, gluten-free cornbread like toasts hnnnnnnggggg), or salads at Island Naturals Café:
…or a dinner at Tillie’s by the beach as you watch the sunset:
- At time of posting in Cayman Islands, it was 29 °C - Humidity: 74% | Wind Speed: 3km/hr | Cloud Cover: sunny