State the obvious, Grand Cayman is a Caribbean paradise and a wonderful place to both live and vacation. However, its beauty and prestige do not make it immune to some unavoidable quirks and peculiarities. I feel the longer one lives in Cayman, the less noticeable these oddities become. However, as a Midwest girl laying fresh eyes on this undeniably unique island, I have observed some truly one-of-a-kind occurrences that are too good not to share! The 25 items below are things that have surprised me, amused me, or just plain stopped me in my tracks since I have moved to Cayman.

  1. Island residents pay hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars to stay at hotels that are 10 minutes from their own home. AKA “staycationing”, somewhat of a COVID-inspired phenomenon.
  2. Ordering anything from overseas pretty much guarantees several weeks or months of waiting. That is, if it even arrives.
  3. ALL supermarkets (and many stores) are closed on Sundays meaning weekly errands have to be completed on Saturday. Oh, the horror.
  4. The island’s dump (Mount Trashmore) is located in plain sight and is literally the highest point on the island. In 2020 it started on fire and school had to be cancelled because of the fumes.
  5. People feed and pet wild stingrays like they are puppies. It is even considered good luck to kiss them.
  6. There is such an overpopulation of green iguanas that people actually go “iguana hunting” for a cash reward. Before you get too excited, I think the reward is only $5 per iguana.
  7. There seems to be no system for returning shopping carts at the grocery stores. If there is one, no one is following it. As a result all the carts end up strewn throughout the parking lots, at bus stops, and on the side of the road. Yes, I am upset about it.
  8. Driving 45 minutes to the other side of the island is considered a “get-away.”
  9. Virtually no one has a personal mailbox. No junk mail. No bills. Everything is either dealt with electronically or mailed to employer P.O. boxes.
  10. As there is no televised news station in Cayman, all pertinent information can be learned through a Facebook group called the Real Women of Cayman.
  11. On any given moment it could be torrentially raining in one area and blue skies one minute down the road.
  12. Nowhere else in this world is there a Tony the Mango Man. And nowhere else on Earth do the mangos taste quite as good!
  13. At first I thought it was a myth but apparently people actually cook turtle meat and put it in a soup called Turtle Stew.  (Which is a bit appalling to me but we won’t get into that here).
  14. Gaelic football, despite its inane rules, is somehow a very popular sport for both men and women on the island.
  15. The famous, award-winning 7-Mile Beach is not actually 7 miles at all, it is about 5 and a half. But you can walk the entire length of it which is pretty awesome.
  16. The right of passage for new island arrivals is to attend either a boat party or a brunch (probably both, many times over). Oh, and be recruited to play Gaelic football.
  17. Chickens. Chickens everywhere. On the golf course, in the streets, at outdoor restaurants, at the beach, and anywhere else you can think of. They will be there…asserting their dominance.
  18. Being able to live COVID free throughout the entirety of this never-ending global pandemic!
  19. Paying $2,000 per month for rent is considered a “good deal.”
  20. Nobody really knows where to buy underwear. Except the Real Women of Cayman… they might know.
  21. A bag of romaine lettuce costs $9. *GASP!!*
  22. People put on sweatshirts when it drops to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. (Sorry, *jumpers* for the English folk)
  23. There are over 40 dive operations and 365 dive sites. There is literally a dive site for every day of the year
  24. NO TAXES 😉 (but the money you save in not paying taxes goes straight to your romaine lettuce budget)
  25. Your friends group is so international that you begin to pick up an unidentifiable accent and slang that could be English but maybe it’s South African? Either way, it’s totally lekker bru!

As you can see, Cayman is quite a unique little island! It goes to show even tropical paradises are susceptible to certain eccentricities. But just like anywhere else in the world, the longer you live somewhere, the more these things become ingrained in your worldview. Cayman is an island that inconveniences its residents in some ways but spoils us in so many others! If you can get past the chickens and the $9 romaine, I think you’ll find it’s a pretty fabulous place to live.

 

Written By:

Kate Amigo

Current Rock of Residence:

Island Girl Since:

Originally Hails From:

They say that reading can "take you places." Oh boy, were they right. My husband and I took turns reading "The Firm" by John Grisham, a legal thriller in which the main character travels to the Cayman Islands. By the time we had finished it, he was already looking up jobs on the island. As fate would have it, he got hired right away. And me, after 24 years of living in the Midwest, packed up my life into a couple suitcases and took the leap with him. So far my first year of living on a rock has been a complete adventure and total learning experience. From shark encounters on reef dives to carrying home fresh mangos on our scooter. From sunset swims to international 5k clubs. Every moment of this island adventure has been unique and wonderful. I cannot wait to see what else this rock life has in store for me! My blog: https://islanddiariesbykate.com/

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