1. Do I need to rent a car?
Yes! Most definitely. Our guests do have a discount with a car rental agency on the island, so as soon as you make a booking with us, we will give you that information.
If you are coming to the Cayman Islands during high season, book your car immediately after you secure your Cayman Rental villa accommodation. They DO run out of cars on the island, especially at Christmas time. You do NOT need an international driver's licence -- the one you have is fine. You have to pay an additional $7.00 for a Cayman licence -- the rental car agency does that for you. You must be 25 years of age or older to rent a car in Cayman. Without a car -- you can still get around by taxi (about $65.00 from the Airport to the Villas) or by bus. The bus runs once an hour. It's on "island time" so that does not necessarily mean they run one hour apart. There are no bus stops in the East End -- just wave at the bus and it stops.
2. Cay we rent Scooters on the island?
Yes. You can rent them downtown in Georgetown, however, we do not recommend that you rent one for several reasons:
· Getting from Georgetown to East End on a scooter with a 50 cc engine (the kind they rent on the island) will take you at least 1 ˝ hours to reach your Cayman villa. If your arms last that long! The fastest you can get a 50 cc to go is about 45 mph. Less if there are 2 people on it.
· The accident rate with tourists on scooters is very high, mainly because in Cayman, they drive on the opposite side of the road as the cars in North America do. There is no room for error on a scooter. If you pull out onto the road and have looked the wrong way (the way you would at home if you live in North America) and are hit by a car, your Cayman vacation is over (maybe even your life).
· Some of the roads in the East end, particularly on North Side, have large potholes. If you hit one on a moped, you will lose control of the moped and be thrown off. So, if you do decide to rent one, while staying at our Cayman Villa rentals, we highly recommend you do not drive on unfamiliar roads at night.
· Helmets are required by law in the Cayman Islands.
SO -- if you love the feel of wind in your hair -- rent a Jeep! Definitely a lot safer!
3. What is the Beach like?
The beach is a natural beach, meaning there are some rocks, coral and sea-weed, as well as some turtle grass. There are sandy patches too. Our beach is 300' wide. Hurricane Ivan dropped a lot of the rocks in the water and we are slowly clearing them away. The beach is combed a few times a year, so the beach itself is fine for sun-tanning or for children to play in. If your children want to swim in the water, we recommend you buy little waterproof shoes for them to wear. Just 10 minutes from us in either direction are two beautiful public beaches. These are maintained by the government, combed regularly and are both perfect for swimming -- sandy bottom where the ocean is. The water is very salty, of course, so children often prefer to swim and play in the swimming pools at the Cayman villa rentals because the salt water stings and is very painful when it gets in their eyes.
4. Do you have Lounge chairs?
Yes, each Cayman rental villa has 4 lounge chairs. They have each Cayman villa's name written on the back, as well as each one being coloured differently so they can be easily identified. If you take these lounge chairs to the beach, please bring them back with you when you leave. They are VERY expensive, so unattended lounge chairs sitting on the beach -- particularly since it is such an open area -- could be stolen (and you would be responsible). They are VERY light -- aluminium, so they are not at all heavy to carry across the street and back.
5. Do you supply toiletries in the villas?
We supply a "starter kit" in each villa. This consists of:
· One bar of soap in each shower (which should last the week).
· One roll of toilet paper in each bathroom
· One roll of paper towels in the kitchen
· Dishwasher tablets for the dishwasher
· Hair dryers are also supplied.
6. Do you supply linens in the villas?
Yes, all of our Cayman rental villas supply all linens, as well as BEACH TOWELS for your use. If the beach towels are not returned, you will be charged $40.00 CI each for them so take care to bring them back if you go to the beach or snorkelling anywhere. This is the one item that people tend to lose so we have had to implement this charge because the next guest needs beach towels too.
7. What currency is accepted?
US dollars are accepted everywhere, but the change will be in Cayman currency (called "CI"). All stores & gas stations, etc, will convert USD for you, you do not need to exchange your money at a bank, although you probably would get a better exchange rate. When you get home after your trip, you cannot exchange the coins -- so leave them behind as a tip for the maids.
8. Should we tip the maids?
Our maids work very hard to make sure our Cayman rental villas are spotlessly clean when you arrive. They are paid minimum wage and rely on their tips. We suggest a minimum of $10.00 per adult for each week you are there, plus all the loose change you have when you leave. You can't exchange it back home, so it's useless to you anyhow. Maid service is done before you arrive and after you leave. If you would like a mid-week service during your Cayman vacation, you would arrange this with the property manager down there. You would have to pay for it yourself (approx. $10.00 an hour).
9. Do you have DSL/High Speed Internet ? A DVD Player? A Telephone?
Yes, all of our Cayman Villa rental units have DSL. Bring your own computer. There is a telephone and DVD player in each unit. The telephones are equipped for LOCAL calls only. You cannot make long distance calls from the Cayman rental villas; you would need to buy a phone card, available at any gas station, supermarket or convenience store. You can rent DVD's at the Video/DVD store in the Countryside Mall in Savannah. You need to have a driver's licence for ID. Huge selection. Please support the local business, they need the tourism dollars. The liquor store at the Reef also has a small selection of DVDs for rent.
10. What is the electrical current in Cayman Islands?
Cayman has the same electrical current as North America: 120V. All our Cayman Villa rentals come with hair dryers and an iron (& ironing board), so perhaps the only thing you need to bring would be the recharger for your laptop computer, digital camera, etc.
11. How do I get to the Villa? Where do I shop for Groceries? Where is the Pharmacy? Anything else I should know?
You will be sent an information package approximately 2 weeks before you arrive which tells you:
12. Can I charter a boat to go Fishing? To go to Stingray City ?
Yes, absolutely. Herman's Fishing Charters is located in the town of East End by the Texaco Station (he's one of our neighbours, too). Not only does Herman take you fishing -- he'll come back home with you and cook the fish you catch - a real gourmet meal. A really fun experience!
Stingray City -- charter a boat if you have a fairly large group. (I can give you names). Otherwise, just book with "Red Sail Sports" at Rum Point for the AFTERNOON outing on the glass bottom boat (especially if you have little ones, older guests, or anyone not keen on getting in the water -- they can watch the action under the boat). Then head up to Rum Point Beach in the MORNING, spend the day there. Their snack bar is reasonably priced, and serves really good food (drinks too).
13. What is there for Kids to do?
All depends on their ages. First and foremost, kids of ALL ages LOVE the swimming pools. One of the swimming pools is 3 ˝ feet deep. Perfect for children or non-swimmers -- but too deep to be called a "kiddie" pool.
14. What is there for the Adults to do?
If you are looking for lots of action and to hit the clubs every night, you are on the wrong end of the island! However, if you want a little bit of nightlife, then although we're on the quiet side, there are some options available! The enjoyable thing is that you will be mingling with the locals -- not packed in with all the tourists.
1. Nicki's Beach Rides is one that has a good reputation. Beautiful, professionally trained horses available for morning and sunset horseback riding, at 9:00am or 4:30pm, on trails or on the beach. Nicki's Beach Rides offers one and a half-hour rides at US$65, per person -- Nicki herself guides all rides. Six riders maximum, novice or experienced, minimum age seven years old, and basic instruction is given. Tel: (345) 916-3530 or (345) 945-5839
2. Pampered Ponies http://www.ponies.ky/ are unique in that you can swim in the ocean with the horses. Western or English saddles available. Early morning, sunset & moonlight rides available. Tel: (345) 945-2262
· SPA - less than 10 minutes away in the Morritt's Resort is the full service "La Mer" Spa, La Mer offers a complete line of services from Body Treatments to Facials and from Ear Candling to a Swedish Style Sauna, all at competitive prices at a very convenient location. Make it a point to stop by and experience the pleasure “first hand” on your next visit to the resort.
15. Can I bring my dog to the Cayman Rental Villa?
First of all, you should be aware that there are very stringent regulations about bringing any live animals on to the island. In the case of a dog, they must have an international microchip to start with. They also must have a blood test taken, which is then flown from anywhere in North America to Kentucky for processing. The results of this test take 4-6 weeks (they have to grow cultures). This blood test cannot be done within 2 months of the date of travel. Also, many inoculations are required. The dog has to have a complete medical examination. Within 2 weeks of travel, they have to have a second complete medical evaluation by an Agriculture Canada Vet ( if you live in Canada ) or a Vet with the US Department of Agriculture. Then you must courier all the necessary paperwork down to the Cayman Agriculture Authority, who may, or may not accept your pet into their country. This is the summary -- in reality, it is much more detailed. Please refer to the Cayman Government website:
http://www.gov.ky/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/CIGHOME/PRESSROOM/ARCHIVE/200208/IMPORTCATDOG.PDF for further information. Cats have most of the same regulations.
You should also be aware, too, that many planes do not accept Pets. Air Canada will if it is an international flight (but not domestic), however, the cargo area where the pets are held is NOT heated. It is around 0 Degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Check with your airline & the Cayman Department of Agriculture because their rules do change from time to time. Ask the price of flying a pet too -- in many cases it will cost you more than your own ticket!
16. I've Never been to Cayman -- How is it different than other Caribbean Islands?
If you have never been to Cayman, you are in for a very pleasant surprise! We have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. Why is this important to a tourist? Having the highest standard of living means all restaurants are inspected every single month by the Health Department (and they do not notify the restaurant when they are coming). Every one that I've been to has been spotless. (I certainly can't say that for other islands I've visited! Certainly not Mexico, either). They also inspect all of the rental properties (hotels as well as vacation rental villas) once a year, and if anything is not right, you have to fix it or they do not renew your licence. There is no negotiating and no bribing. It's a 3 part inspection: tourism dept, environmental health & safety and a fire inspection.
Cayman also has lowest crime rate in the Caribbean. There are 2 reasons for this:
1. Zero unemployment
2. Harsh penalties for any crime. They're under British Rule in Cayman
There are no beggars -- I have not seen a single one in the 3 years I've been there. Some of the Caribbean islands are notorious for their beggars & peddlers bothering & harassing you while you are trying to sunbathe on the beach. That does not happen here. Also, it is safe to walk anywhere at night.
17. Is Cayman Island Expensive?
Some people say it is expensive in Cayman, and it certainly can be. Especially if you stay at 7 mile beach, where it is all tourists. All of the restaurants I've been to on 7MB are very expensive -- some outrageously so. They don't have to be reasonably priced -- where else would the tourists go? Tourists do not really "price shop" for meals.
Our Cayman villa rentals are in the East End, which is the quiet & peaceful side of the island. We have lots of great restaurants -- and reasonable prices. The reason prices are reasonable (and food good) is that they have to rely on repeat business. We have very casual places, like Vivienne's Kitchen, 5 minutes from our villas, with picnic tables overlooking the ocean, to moderately priced "Portofino's Italian & Seafood Restaurant" with a fabulous all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch [11:30 - 3:00 p.m. ] for $18.95 (children 1/2 price). There are several others nearby too. You will be given a list of the local restaurants when you make a booking.
18. How do I make a reservation at the villa?
Easy to do!
1. Click on the "Dates & Rates" page, then click on "RESERVATIONS". Do NOT use this form for inquiries -- it's just for actual bookings!
2. There is a drop down menu -- be sure you select the correct Cayman rental villa!
3. Fill in the NET rate for the villa -- normally, this would be the WEEKLY rate or the rate you were quoted by Sandra. Do NOT put the Daily rate in!!!
4. Fill in all your personal information -- name, address, contact phone numbers, and all the other information required.
5. Fill in your Credit Card number carefully. We accept only VISA or MasterCard at this time -- no Amex yet. You can also send a Certified / Cashier's cheque / bank draft by overnight courier. We prefer FedEx or UPS.
6. In the NOTES section, put anything that is important and I should know, i.e.:
· "We require a Crib & High Chair"
· "We are travelling with the Smith family who booked X villa" or
· "We are arriving very late at night" (we'll leave the porch light on) etc.
· Put your flight details in there too, if you know them.
7. Check it over VERY VERY carefully. If you submit it and later discover a critical error (i.e. booked the wrong villa, or put in the wrong dates) you have to re-do it; I cannot change the form from this end.
8. PRINT A COPY FOR YOUR RECORDS, then Hit "SUBMIT"
19. Now that I've made the reservation, how do I get my key?
The property manager will put the key under the mat approximately 1 hour before you arrive. That's one reason we need to know your flight details. Check-in time is generally 4:00 p.m. because the maids need time to clean the units thoroughly before your arrival. If you arrive sooner, if the place is ready, by all means, it's OK to go in. If they maids are still there, then you may not go in the unit -- you will get in their way. Either go shopping for groceries, or relax on the lounge chairs outside.
20. Anything else I need to know?
Yes, bring lots of Sun Tan lotion. It is outrageously expensive on the island. The Cayman sun is HOT and you will burn without it. Speaking of burning, bring Sun BURN cream as well. It, too, is outrageously expensive. Not to mention if you or your children happen to get burned on a Sunday -- you are out of luck -- everything, including the drug stores, is closed on Sunday.
We are fortunate on the East End that there is a steady light breeze, so even hot, humid days do not feel so hot and humid. The other huge advantage is that it keeps away the bugs and MOSQUITOES (other parts of the island have a problem with Mosquitoes). However, with the breeze, it can be deceiving as to how much sun you are really getting.
21. Medical Facilities & Emergency Services
Just down from us at the East End Medical Centre is a walk-in clinic open 2 nights a week (hours are posted on the door ) with a visiting doctor from Georgetown. This is also the case a bit further down the road, in Savannah (where the Countryside Mall is), where they also have a medical clinic open on different nights than the East End Clinic.
In Georgetown, there are numerous medical clinics, and two hospitals.
There is a Police Station in the East End (just 5 minutes away beside the Castle) as well as a larger station in Bodden Town.
The nearest fire station & ambulance are located on Frank Sound Road.
In case of emergency, just dial 911.