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Arrgh! Grab Your Mateys and Let Pirate Week Begin

Listen up, scallywags! It’s that time of year again - it’s Pirate Week in the Cayman Islands. If you’re considered one of the lucky ones to be in the Cayman Islands for this national festival, your days will be filled with music, street dances, competitions, games, local food & drink, and of course plenty of pirate’s booty. And since we all can’t be there to experience the party for ourselves, here’s a few ways you can bring the pirate’s booty to you. So grab your mateys and let’s party!

In the Cayman Islands, the Pirate Week festival begins on November 7th and continues through November 17th. And every day there’s a long list of themed parties, happy hours, parades, races and even a few battles. While we don’t encourage you to battle your fellow crewmembers, we do recommend conjuring up some authentic pirate themed cocktails to really get the party started.

Drink Like the Pirates Drink

Since it may come as no surprise that one of most beloved spirits of pirates was rum – light rum, dark rum, gold rum; doesn’t matter as long as it’s poured up! So drink like the pirates do with this delicious recipe for a Goombay Smash:

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • Ice cubes
  • 6 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Malibu rum or other coconut-flavored rum
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 2 tablespoons gold rum
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 pineapple wedges
  • 2 orange slices

How to make:

Fill cocktail shaker with ice; add pineapple juice, orange juice and all the rum. Cover and shake until very cold. Fill 2 short glasses with ice. Strain cocktail mixture over ice, dividing equally. Garnish with pineapple wedges and orange slices. 

Goombay Smash, Pirate Themed Drink - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bonappetit.com

If you need a recipe that will accommodate all of your mates, try this Spiced Rum Recipe No. 5

Ingredients: Makes 3 ½ Cups

  • 1 bottle (750ml) medium-bodied aged rum, such as El Dorado 5 Year, Mount Gay Eclipse Black or Appleton Estate V/X
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 segment of star anise pod
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 4x1-inch strip of orange peel
  • ½ vanilla bean

How to make:

Combine rum, allspice, cloves, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg in a lidded 1-qt. jar. Twist orange peel just above the mixture to release some of its oils; add peel to jar. Split vanilla bean length-wise; scrape seeds into jar and add bean. Cover jar tightly; shake to combine. Let set in a dark place for 2 days, shaking once after the first day. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve into a clean bottle; discard spices. Serve however you’d prefer – over ice, straight up, etc. 

Spiced Rum - Pirate Drink Recipe, CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bonappetit.com

See the Pirates Take on the Seas

If you’re in the Cayman Islands for this unprecedented occasion, you might even be lucky enough to witness a “pirate invasion.” On the first Saturday of the festival, a battle royal between two enemy pirate vessels takes place at George Town harbor. It’s also rumored that the opposing pirates take the Governor hostage until a victor is named and the battle is over.

Pirate Week, Cayman Islands - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.piratesweekfestival.com

Eat Like the Pirates Do

Next, we suggest that there are plenty of pirate-inspired snacks to feed your fellow mates. Of course, it’s a definitely plus when these tasty treats can double as protection, should an enemy ship come to invade.

Pirate Themed Recipes from Betty Crocker - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bettycrocker.com

Perhaps our favorite idea for a pirate themed party comes from Betty Crocker®. Treasure map pizza, a watermelon pirate ship and plenty of snacks that can be used in battle can’t help but sound like the perfect menu to us.

For your treasure map pizza, grab your preference in pizza dough and use all your favorite pizza toppings to make the treasure map that will lead your guests straight to the booty (and a full stomach, of course). Hint: you can use red pepper slices (or any sliced vegetable) to make the “x” on your treasure map.

You’ll definitely want some make shift cannon balls at your pirate themed festivities. We recommend anything round and delicious – cheese balls, grapes, whoppers, etc. Not only are these great for sharing, but also they could be very protecting should you need them. Your snack assortment could also include peg legs (pretzel sticks), mermaid bait (gushers) and fresh caught fish (cheddar fish crackers).

And it wouldn’t be the perfect pirate party set up without your gang’s pirate ship right? Using a watermelon and some DIY paper pirate sails, your watermelon pirate ship should come right together. Simply carve your watermelon into a ship-like shape and add balls of honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe and blackberries. Don’t forget to add your signature paper sails so everyone knows your ship stands tall.

Arrrgh mateys, there you have it. Now that you've got all you need to celebrate Pirate Week in style, your captain wants to know how yer plan to be celebratin'. Share yer favorite party tips in our comments below and watch out...you never know when a pirate invasion could be underway!

Excursions & Tours to Make the Most of Your Vacay

National Tourism Week is May 4th through the 12th. That means it’s time to pull out your camera, slap on a fanny pack and start exploring all the great tourism spots in the Caribbean & Mexico (okay, maybe without the fanny pack). Check out some of the excursions & tours we’d consider a must when on your next beach vacation.

Go Down Below: Cancun's Underwater Museum

If you travel to the Caribbean & Mexico looking for the best diving and snorkeling spots, this excursion was made for you. Located in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, the Cancun Underwater Museum is a diver’s absolute must.

Cancun Underwater Museum Excursion from CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit: Coventur DMC

The project was founded by Jaime Gonzalez Cano of The National Marine Park, Roberto Diaz of The Cancun Nautical Association and English artist, Jason deCaries Taylor in 2009. It’s currently home to more than 400 permanent sculptures in depths ranging from 9 to 20 feet. Called “The Silent Evolution,” artist Taylor aimed to offer a cultural view of how the Mayan people evolved throughout the years. These sculptures were also designed in efforts to become artificial reefs. They are all made to boost the local ecosystem, provide shelter to the marine creatures and create areas for corals to flourish.

So while staying at one of the many fabulous all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, be sure to make the trip below and see this ocean wonder.

Go Kukoo in Aruba: Kukoo Kunkuk Pub Krawl

You’ll find another one of our favorite tours in Aruba. Kukoo Kunkuk tours are perfect for the partier in us all. After a day spent lounging at one of the many luxury Aruba resorts, the Kukoo Kunuku bus will pick you up for an evening of unforgettable memories.

Kukoo Kunkuk tours in Aruba from CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: http://www.kukookunuku.com

Chose from a signature Aruban dinner at a local residence and bar tour to follow on the Kukoo Kunuku Dinner & Barhopping tour or go straight for the bars on the Kukoo Kunuku Pub Krawl. Both tours offer free drinks or drink specials at a series of three or four bars. So whether you’re celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or bachelor party, or just want to go out on the town, a night out with Kukoo Kunuku will be one for the record books.

Mingle with the Stingrays: Stringray City, Grand Cayman

The next activity we’d recommend can be found in Grand Cayman. Not only are the Cayman Islands known for their white sandy beaches and top-rated resorts, but you also have the opportunity to swim amongst string rays at Stingray City. Stingray City is in the shallow waters of Grand Cayman’s North Sound and is surrounded by a barrier reef, perfect for snorkeling.

The Stingray City sandbar is home to dozens of tame southern stingrays. The stingrays began gathering near the Grand Cayman shore in the late 80s, as fishermen used to clean their fish on the shallow sand bars. The stingrays would approach these shallow waters to eat the leftover fish and sooner than later, stingrays began to associate the sound of the fishermen’s boat motor with food.

Stringray City in Grand Cayman from CheapCaribbean.com

As you wade in the 3-ft-deep Caribbean ocean, enjoy feeding and petting these stunning animals as they swim amongst their natural habitat. Depending on the type of excursion you’re looking to do, you can also venture out to the barrier reef for some eventful snorkeling or diving.

While we won’t argue that there’s not much better than lounging on a white sandy beach with a beautiful view, we also suggest getting out an exploring the fascinating areas that make up the Caribbean & Mexico. No matter where you’re headed on vacation, there’s always a long list of things to do and places to see. So it’s official…you have our permission to unleash your inner tourist and start exploring.

Share your favorite things to do and places to see while on vacation in the comments below.