The Cayman Islands are most popular during the winter and spring months (December-April), the rainy season just ended, and temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s and it is just pure PERFECTION! I went in May shortly after the high/peak season ended and the likelihood of rain increased. Luckily for me, the weather was still amazing with the exception a few early morning showers and honestly it wasn’t even a big deal because the dark clouds disappeared and the hot sun came out almost immediately and dried up all the rain. If you decided to sleep in late on one of the rainy mornings, you probably wouldn’t have even known that it had rained. Weather is not the only thing that you should account for when deciding what to pack for your Grand Cayman vacation. The Cayman dollar (KYD or as the islanders called it “CI”) is worth more than the US dollar (USD), ~ 4 CI = 5 USD, so what that means is that everything on the island is 2 levels more expensive than in the US(specifically, CA)…the 1st level is due to the island prices; everything is marked up to account for shipping costs. Based on the prices I saw, it was about 30-50% more expensive(and that was before I realized that the the USD was worth less than CI/KYD!) so tack on the monetary conversion rate and everything was just way more expensive than i had anticipated, think amusement park prices but slightly more expensive.
Sunblock – The sun is especially hot in Grand Cayman because it is closer to the equator and receives the highest intensity of sunlight; in other words, the sun’s rays are most focused on this area (I got the tannest I’ve ever been in my life in about 4 days, no need for tanning oils!). We picked up the only SPF 50 sunblock they at the gas station for ~15CI$(~$18.75USD), I’ve seen similar ones in CA for ~$8/9 USD.
My absolute favorite sunblock is Hawaiian Tropic’s Silk Hydration, this stuff is amazing! It smells great(light pleasant tropical smell), is easily applied, not difficult to rub in, and best of all, it doesn’t leave you with that sticky sunblock feeling. It applies like a lotion and keeps your skin hydrated, I love love love this stuff! It’s available in various level of SPF and also has a version for your face!
- Hawaiian Tropic’s Silk Hydration Facial SPF 30 (buy here)
- Hawaiian Tropic’s Silk Hydration SPF 12 (buy here)
- Hawaiian Tropic’s Silk Hydration SPF 30 (buy here)
- Hawaiian Tropic’s Silk Hydration SPF 50 (buy here)
Sunburn Relief Gel (Cooling) – It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re laying out on the beach or in the water and get sunburnt, so make sure you bring some sunburn relief gel with cooling effect. You and all your sunburned friends/family will thank me for suggesting this when 1 of you gets sunburned like a lobster and you can feel the heat permeating from sunburns. Most of the sunburn relief products contain “Lidocaine” which helps to numb the area and hence reduce pain. If you’re a naturalist and don’t want any lidocaine in your gel, check out the next section on Aloe Vera.
- Ocean Potion Burn Relief Ice Gel (buy here)
Sunglasses – Obvi!
Bathing Suit/ Swimwear – Obvi!
Bug Repellent – There were bugs and tiny mosquitoes everywhere, especially at night and in/by the water….as soon as the sun goes down, the bugs come out. After getting BIT UP my 1st night when I went out to dinner, I made sure to spray myself in all the areas where my skin was exposed, rubbed it in, and washed my hands. I went out to dinner thinking I was fully protected and those stealth little buggers bit up my hands/knuckles and the skin along my hairline! They literally found the only areas that weren’t sprayed or covered and bit me up, WTF?!? I have sensitive skin so I look for DEET-free options.
- Gardencense All Organic Insect Deterrent (buy here)
Anti-Itch Cream – Definitely bring this because you WILL NEED IT!! I forgot to pack any anti-itch cream so I went to the closest store and bought the only one they had left and that thing was like ~8 CI$(~$10 USD) for something I could’ve gotten in CA for under $7 USD!
- Cortizone10 Max Strength (buy here)
Aloe Vera – This is the perfect option for those who are limited on space and don’t want to pack itch cream and sunburn relief products because aloe vera works for both! Aloe Vera is also a good non-lidocaine option for my naturalists out there =)
- ArtNaturals Aloe Vera Gel for Face, Hair & Body – Certified Organic 100% Pure & Cold Pressed (buy here)
Light/airy Long Pants – Probably one of the best way to protect your legs from the bugs at night is to cover them up. It’s most likely still going to be very hot on the island so you’ll want something that is lightweight and airy.
Light and airy long-sleeve shirt or light jacket – Cover up to avoid bug bites on your arms, make that is lightweight and airy otherwise you’ll get too hot and uncomfortable because it is quite hot and humid.
Shawl, Sarong, Cover-Up, or Kimono – For my fashionistas out there, I got you! 😉 You basically just need to cover any exposed skin so you don’t get bit. If you’re wearing insect repellent, you should be fine but I prefer to just cover my exposed skin with something temporary when I’m outdoors instead of covering myself with bug spray and getting it on my clothes, etc.
Snacks – If there are any snacks(pretzels, beef jerky, nuts, trail mix, cereal bars, dried fruit, etc) that you like to eat or might want to have, make sure that you bring it because snacks and groceries are expensive too! We tried to save money on meals by going to the grocery store to buy a few snacks, water, basic sandwich making materials, etc…probably under 12 item and the total bill was something ridiculous and converted to ~$72 USD for what would’ve cost less than $40 USD in CA.
Nice to Haves!
Dry Snorkels – Have you ever gone snorkeling and got water in your snorkel? It sucks! Dry Snorkels will help eliminate that! So you’re probably thinking, what is a dry snorkel? It’s a snorkel with a mechanism that lets a minimal/nowater into the snorkel even when you accidentally submerge the snorkel. Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands in general are known world-wide for it’s seemingly infinite water visibility. The water is so calm that it feels like you are floating in pool. You can snorkel less than 6 feet away from the water’s edge on 7 Mile Beach and see more fish
than you can see at Hanuma Bay in Hawaii. You can rent snorkels on the island but who wants to have to use some janky snorkels that hundreds of others have put their mouths on?!?
- Cressi Dry Snorkel – Snorkel Only (buy here)
- Cressi Dry Snorkel Kit – Snorkel & Mask (buy here)
- Cressi Dry Snorkel Kit – Snorkel, Mask, Fin, & Gear Bag (buy here)
Water Shoes – Most of the beaches west of George Town are very rocky so water shoes are a definite “nice to have” especially in Bodden Town.
- Speedo Water Shoes (buy here)
Grand Cayman is an expensive island but it is well worth it, simply go to 7 Mile Beach and you will see why. Nothing beats 7 Mile’s pristine beaches with it’s powder fine white sands, calm clear waters, and coral reef filled with exotic fishes just steps from the water’s edge. It is simply amazing, just thinking about it makes me feel more relaxed and at ease =)