Tipping – the usual tip is 15%; however, many restaurants and bars add a service charge on the bill so do check first.  On Seven Mile Beach, the maid gratuities are included in the room charge.  There are no such fees included with the charges at our home so, if you do think it appropriate, please feel free to leave a gratuity for the housekeeper.  She will appreciate it.

Currency – the Cayman Islands has its own money (CI dollars) and it is pegged against the United States dollar.  All establishments will take US dollars but the law requires them (unless they are duty free shops) to provide change in CI dollars.  There is no need to change your money as the banks and exchange companies will give you the same rate as everyone else (unless you have a bank account in one of the local banks).  One US dollar is worth CI$0.80.  To phrase it another way, if you see that something costs one CI dollar, you will actually pay US 1.25.

Pirates Week – this year (2013), Pirates Week is from November 7th to November 17th (I know – we don’t understand why a festival called “week” runs 10 days either but it’s so much fun, we stopped caring).  The festival starts off with a huge parade (which begins after the faux governor is captured by the pirates and they take over for the 10 day period) and fireworks. People dress up like their favourite pirates (or wenches) – particularly the children.  There are kids days, games, competitions (the steel pan competition is a highlight), local food, sporting events, street dances and more fireworks.  Get more information at

New Years Eve at Kaibo – We love this place. Every New Year’s Eve, Kaibo Yacht Club has a wonderful evening at a very reasonable price. Tables are laid out on the beach and you have your choice of several appetizers, a main course and dessert. Wine and champagne are available. There is dancing in front of the bar if you are so inclined or lean back in your chair and enjoy the view and the vibe. There is a terrific fireworks display at midnight and, if the winds allow (they didn’t last year), sky lights go up and float off over the ocean. We take our boat over and park at the docks (there is no charge for docking). Every year many of the men wear tuxes and board shorts (as does Colin – with his flip flops!). We have found the perfect way to end the year and you might want to try it too.