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Travel to Cayman 2022

Disclaimer: The rules change often, so this is not an official guide!  Updated May 9, 2022

November ’21 saw the opening of the borders after almost 2 years of very strict travel restrictions. The borders are now open to most travelers per guidelines found at COVID-19 Guidance: Travelling to the Cayman Islands (exploregov.ky).  It’s not an easy read, but be sure to do your homework and your travel will be easy.  (If travelling with young children, look closely at the regulations.)

Phase 5 is now in effect and travelling to Cayman is not difficult as airline routes are beginning to open. Cruise ships are also returning to the island, but restrictions for cruise ships differ than air travel.

The first part of the process is uploading your vaccination documents and other information in the Travel Cayman portal and receiving an authorization to travel. (www.travelcayman.gov.ky)  The authorization, once received is good for travel for 3 months and comes in the form of an email with a qr code. In April, an antigen test the day before travel was required (also known on the island as a lateral flow test.) A negative antigen test is also required by the U.S. for entry back into the states.

Bottom line,  with a QR code from Travel Cayman and a negative test, Cayman is within reach!

Once on the island, you will find quiet wonderful and open beaches. Immigration into Cayman has also become easier with the addition of self serve kiosks.  The kiosks can be used by U.S citizens staying no longer than 30 days on island. This greatly reduced the lines at immigration.

Before leaving, there are many places on the island to be tested.  Tests cost $25 CI or  approximately$32 USD. I believe the monitored at home tests are also acceptable.

Again, do your own research as the regulations can change at any time. But once on the island you will enjoy all the wonderful aspects of Grand Cayman!  Most restaurants were open, and while the downtown shopping was shut down, Caymana Bay and other shops were open for business daily.

So upload those vax cards and enjoy a wonderful peaceful Cayman.

1/26/22  Phase 5 is now in effect…  Unvaccinated young children now “take on the vaccination status” of the parents.   Also a negative antigen (lateral flow) test is required the day before arrival, but monitored at-home tests are accepted.  Again, please check the sites listed above for the official rules.  (The U.K. announced that pre-arrival tests will no longer be required for entry into the U.K.   Hopefully Cayman will follow.)

Wondering about Cayman Weather?

Wondering what the weather is like in Cayman? You can now find out with the NEW app!

The Cayman Islands National Weather Service announced the release of a mobile app on Monday that can be found on the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. The app – called Cayman Islands Weather in the Apple Store – can be located by searching for Cayman weather or Cayman Islands National Weather Service.

The app can be used to obtain a five-day Cayman Islands forecast, as well as current weather conditions from the automated weather observing systems at the Owen Roberts International Airport.

Personal Recommendations

Submitted by Alan  Revised 5/9/22

Restaurants:   (not in any order)  There are SO many great places to eat on the island.  The following is just a few of the places we love.

The Brassiere:  A little hard to find as it is not on the beach.  It is located between 2 office buildings in downtown Georgetown.  At this time, tops our list.  On Monday night is the best deal on the island as there is an option for a couples fixed menu for $89 per person includes a bottle of wine.  Even without the “deal” the food is wonderful.  They have their own fishing boat, and on premise herb and fruit garden so everything is fresh!

Calypso Grill:   save room for the sticky toffee pudding.   Calypso used to be our favorite, although it has become a little more pricey and not as exceptional, but still good.

Cassanova in Georgetown:   Italian..  Ask for an outdoor table.  Good Italian fare at reasonable prices.  Overlooks the beach and at low tides, tables are on the beach.

Cayman Cabana:   Beach bar next to Cassanova’s in Georgetown.   Farm to table dinner on Thursdays that is incredible.  (Not sure if they Luigi is still doing the farm to table, but worth an ask)

Ragazzi:  Italian (near the Ritz) as well as great wood fired pizza

Morgans:   Great food with wonderful outside seating.  And it is very close to the Anchorage.

Sunshine Grill :  good burgers and fish tacos, less pricey and very, very casual  (at the pool of the sunshine suites hotel)

Seven Mile Burger:  Menu is very similar to Sunshine Grill.  Great burgers. Great prices.  In Governors Square, small restaurant, good for take out as well.

Heritage Kitchen:   very local  (nice shack on the beach behind a gas station toward west bay)  best to take home and eat on the beach at your condo.

Going with kids??   Take out pizza from XQ    upstairs bar and restaurant    Also can eat there, but we never have.  There is a nice bar area and usually a band.

Kaibo (East End):  on far side of island.  Great beach bar and marina.  Little farther down the road is starfish point.

Tukka Restaurant & Bar (east end):  On far side of the island (maybe an hour drive).  Just found this place last year.  Nice atmosphere and wonderful food at good prices.  Fun place to go.  Had lion fish ceviche last time.  “a taste of Australia with a Caribbean twist”  Going to try their “Tree Chicken” on the next visit.  Update:  Tried the “Tree Chicken”, not bad…. the appetizer was prepared as fried drumstick, bbq wing, and a spring roll.

Tukka West: (new in 2022)  Tukka on the east side was so popular, but far from 7 Mi, the chef opened a 2nd location in Morgan’s Harbour next to Calypso.   Yay!!

Local fish market (not the name)  There is a tent on the beach in Georgetown.  Local fishermen have fresh fish.  Snapper, Wahoo, Mahi-mahi).  Ask them to filet it.  Costs vary so try not to look like a tourist.  But rest assured, fish is fresh from the sea and only lasts as long as the daily catch.

The Wharf:  I’m going to mention it here only because it is one of the more famous places on the island.  I feel it is rather touristy, but many people do enjoy it. Tarpon feeding is fun to watch for the kids.

Seafire resort at the Kimpton:  Good food.  Only have been there once though.  Major plus is that it is walking distance to the Anchorage.

2019 Updates:

2019 trips are in the books and Cayman continues to impress with the quality of restaurants on the island. New (ok, maybe not new since it has been around for 30 years!) is the Cracked Conch.  Located with Macabuca near the Turtle Farm, the Cracked Conch has a wonderful outdoor patio as well as indoor seating and an incredible bar area.   My recollection of the food years ago was conch soup, conch steak and fried conch.  After many people told me to try it again we decided to make a go of it and drove up north.  Wow, sure glad we did!  Possibly the best meal we had on the island!   The short rib appetizer was amazing as well as the fresh tuna with ” Smoked Mashed Potato, Yuzu Young Coconut Salad, Salsa Verde “.  It was so good we went back another day and I ordered the exact same things.  2022, not quite the best meal anymore, but very good!

Also new (again not new but at a different location), Agua in Caymana Bay is also outstanding!  Yet again, a wonderful dining experience outside “sitting on the dock of the bay”.

And last but not least a revisit of Ristorante Pappagallo up in West Bay.  The ossobuco was truly magical.

**NEW in April 2022

Door No. 4:  Tucked inside a new retail named The Grove. Small but very unique dinner menu as well as drink menu. Very trendy bar atmosphere, but the food was exceptional. And maybe try the “pornstar” drink if on the menu!

Unique: In Georgetown across the street from Rackams. Unbelievably great food. The chef was at the Ritz for 10 years, then the Cracked Conch. He is a magician when it comes to cooking.

There are so so many more restaurants as well.  Please feel free to email me if you are thinking of somewhere I have not mentioned and I will email back.

Drinks:

Mudslides!!!!   Rackam’s     bar in Georgetown.  Not great food, but we go there for “dessert”  ie..  mudslides   and we go at least once every trip..  sometimes straight from the airport.

Mudslides!!!!    Sunset House   just past Georgetown.

Mudslides!!!  Good anywhere else on the island as well.

Calico Jack’s:   Sadly, Calico Jack’s is closed! There had been plans for the owner, Handel, to move to Barkers Beach and cater more to the locals and the cruise ship drop off crowd, but I believe that is on hold for the time being.

Legends Sports bar:  As the name suggests, plenty of tvs with sports.  Although you might have trouble getting football on tv because of all the real football on tv.

Other drinks:   Jacques Scott Liquor store close to the airport.   Amazing selection of wine and hard liquors as well.   Local beer is White tip, Sting ray, Ironshore and the most popular 345….   The young guy at the local liquor store wouldn’t sell us the 345.   It is the most popular because it the cheapest!!    Stick with the White Tip or Ironshore or the new local IPA.   Also new for 2022 is a local brewery , the 19-81 Brewery (longitude and latitude of Cayman). Their line up includes a Blonde, an IPA, and a Sessions.  All are very good.

Wine Bar:  In Caymana Bay.  If you like wine of course…  They have about 30 different wine dispensers.. You give them your credit card, the give you a card to use.   You swipe it for a taste, a small glass, or a full glass of whichever wine, then go sit outside and enjoy.

Diving:   We go with Nat from InDepth Watersports– Nat@indepthwatersports.com  :   If not a diver but wanted to try he does a great job of discover scuba dive course…    15 min shore lecture, quick skills test and then a 40 ft dive.

Snorkeling:  I don’t do much snorkeling since I am a diver, but great snorkeling off Sunset House and many other places near there..   Great snorkeling off Turtle reef and a restaurant called Cracked Conch.    Macabuca, the bar attached is a nice place to have a beer or even a quick bite to eat.  I’ve heard good things about the all you can eat bbq night, but hey, I’m from Texas and a bbq snob!   Cemetery reef down from the Anchorage is also one of the best snorkeling sites.

Other things;    Stingray City, but try to go on a day when there are no cruise ships in town.   1) much more enjoyable 2) the stingrays are hungrier)   We have rented a boat the last couple of times.  Last time the girls boyfriends are big fishermen, so we went fishing, then to stingray city and rum point (Kaibo).    Rum point was really not worth it, except to stop off for lunch on a different part of the island.

Kaibo and just down the road is Starfish point.  (only time we had been to starfish point the weather had moved in and the starfish buried themselves in the sand, so only saw 2 starfish..  Supposedly there are many many more.

Shopping:  not much…  a place called Pure Art for local things (art, jewelry,)  My least favorite place to go, but Lynne’s favorite.  Takes me, a guy, about 90 sec to go through.  Women about 45 min.  Guys, bring a book and sit on the swing out front, or go to Sunset house for a quick drink.  Pure Art is located well on the other side of Georgetown.

Anything else???    Oh yes,   Almost all grocery stores and Liquor stores are closed on Sunday!!!  As of April 2022, a smaller grocery store in the new Grove is now open on Sundays with more than just the essentials.  But still a more limited selection than Fosters or Kirks, so if you are arriving on Saturday, be sure to stock up before running to the beach.   The currency is tied to the dollar so the rate never changes.  You can pay U.S. currency at any place any time.  It is .80 cents for the local currency.

More Stuff:    There is a grocery store to the left as you exit the condo just past cemetery reef.   And just opened in Dec 2016 is a Jacques Scott liquour and wine store in the same location.  There is also a “cost-u-less” store on seven mile beach.  You can see it from the “highway” on the left coming from the airport to the condo.   It is off one of the roundabouts…   It has food but also has things like floats etc.  We usually buy some fruit there as well as there is a rotisserie chicken like at Costco….  Not bad for quick lunch food….

Farm to Table dining @ Cayman Cabana

Two years ago, while in the checkout line at Kirk’s supermarket, we happened to strike up a conversation with the person in front of us.  Christine was a writer for the Flava magazine on the island.  She mentioned that she and her husband, Luigi were the owners of Cayman Cabana, a local beach bar and restaurant in Georgetown.  Luigi is from the island and is the chef at Cayman Cabana.  She told us that Thursday nights feature a farm to table menu.  So when Thursday night rolled around, we decide to go.

Showing up at the restaurant, we were met by Christine and Luigi.   A quick drink at the bar while we waited for the other guests to arrive gave us an opportunity to meet the chef and a few other early arrivals.  We were seated at a table on the upper deck of the bar with 20 or so place settings.  Then the feast began!  First Luigi welcomed everyone with introductions and a preview of the meal to come cooked with fresh local ingredients.  A quick toast with a fresh fruit press drink and on to the meal.  I cannot recall all the courses and there is no set menu for the week.  It all depends on what Christine and Luigi find at the local market that day.  But there were flatbreads, pastas, fresh fish locally caught by the fisherman right next door at the local “fish market” and a coconut ceviche that never comes off the menu.  They tried to once, but the outcry was too great from their “regulars”.   Now if you never had the opportunity to try coconut ceviche, well, this is the place!  We were seated next to a couple from Arkansas.  It was also their first time at Cayman Cabana.

So fast forward to spring break 2018.  We were on our way to Tukka, but the road construction and traffic was too constricting.  We u-turned and wound up at Cayman Cabana.  On a Thursday night!  Christina was able to find four spots for us at the tables that were set for 150+!  Yes, it was spring break in Cayman.   Same great food, same great service, and same great atmosphere and we just happened to be seated right next to the exact same couple from Arkansas, who just happened to be on the island as well and it was also  their second time at Cayman Cabana.

Once again a lovely evening with an exceptional farm to table banquet!

So if you are on island on a Thursday night, call Cayman Cabana and inquire about the farm to table dinner, but be sure to go hungry!