December
8

The President Stole Your Land

In an illegal move, President Trump this week just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history. WHAT?!?!

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Graphic Courtesy of Patagonia

Here at MI OLA, we believe in #GettingOutThere in nature, whether that be the oceans or in the mountains. We love supporting our brand ambassadors and you mermaids as you #GetOutThere. And we couldn’t be happier to share the local knowledge with our #GetOutThere Guides and Surf Guides. In fact, many of our #GetOutThere Guides by our brand ambassadors are for the National Parks, like Escalante. Yes, that Escalante that President Trump just reduced by roughly 45%!!!!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

Trump is fundamentally reshaping the two large national monuments. And we are sick to our stomachs. As Teddy Roosevelt said,

“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”

Act now. Don’t wait for Trump to do this again. CLICK HERE to TAKE ACTION NOW.

We couldn’t have said it any better than our very own brand ambassador Becca, “This land is sacred with incredibly preserved archeological sites. The fate of some of the most incredible landscapes is at a precipice and anyone who cares about the future of this lands needs to speak up.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Becca.- @roamwildandfree

November
24

2017 MI OLA Gift Guide

It’s Holiday time.  Are you stumped on what to get your active mermaid?  (Or what to put on your own list?)  Our amazing brand ambassadors gave us their best-of-the-best gifts, perfect for the mermaid in your life – even if it’s you!

For a little extra Holiday Cheer, check out this video by Sports Illustrated – Christmas Spectacular featuring Rose Bertram

MI OLA’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Mermaids that #GetOutThere

Dear Santa,

All we want for Christmas is…

Gifts under $50

The most amazing organic tinted sunscreen by Veridatta –  nourishes the skin, looks AMAZING on, and different options of tints for different skin tones!

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A shark fin necklace/bracelet from Cape Clasp.  It’s made in USA and supports the Bimini Shark Lab!

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Want to visit the hottest, must-visit countries, regions and cities for the year ahead? Check out Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018!

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Got too much sun? Try Solar Recover’s fine mist made of all natural ingredients and oils that rehydrate your skin. It’s pretty handy for sunburn and to help prevent peeling.

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Wave of the Day print from one of our favorite mermaids, Goldfish Kiss or a Wanderlust Print from MI OLA team rider Kristen, Samba to the Sea.

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A great pair of socks for all your winter activities from Darn Tough.  Darn Tough are soft durable and extra comfortable to keep your feet warm in the cold months.  The best thing is you only have to buy a few pairs and they will replace them if they wear out since they come with a lifetime guarantee. They are also made in the US!!!

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Gifts under $200

DoTERRA is an essential oil company that sources the highest quality essential oils from all over the world.  Brand ambassador Ellen loves essential oils for everything from sleep to skin care to house cleaning, but she is obsessed with the deep blue line that comes in the Athlete’s Kit for post surf and paddle muscle soreness after long days on the water.

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How about a fun handboard for bodysurfing with a GoPro attachment by Slyde? This fun bubblegum pink handboard rides like a bat outta hell!

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Get the most authentic mermaiding experience with a pair of mermaid fins from Mahina. The Mer’fins are regarded as most functional, highest performing & safest Mermaid fin available!

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For those who love to paddle, Tilley has designed the ultimate Paddler’s Hat with SPF protection and is guaranteed for life!

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Zen out on your yoga mat with a dreamy aerial beach print from Yoga Everywhere. This mat is biodegradable, recyclable and easily washable, featuring an absorbent microsuede layer on top of a 100% natural tree rubber base.

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If you use your GoPro all the time,  having a remote control will add another dimension to the way you can use the camera and the pictures you can create!

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Oiselle Flyout Jacket, giving you the best performance, comfort, and makes you still look “fly” while you are on the run!  Getting outdoors to exercise is tough when the temperatures are sub zero and the daylight is short.  When running, I find my extremities get cold and my core gets too hot.  The full zip allows me to layer but still let out some heat when my core gets too hot.

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Our Dream Wish List

For the big splurge, what could be better than the gift of a retreat???  Join brand ambassador Jessica in Tulum, Mexico February 3-9, 2018, Ithaca, Greece June 2-9, 2018, or Montauk, NY June 13-15, 2018.
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A week’s stay at Sal Salis in Western Australia, snorkeling with whale sharks and taking in the beauty of the Nigaloo Reef.

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Need an awesome camera that can keep up with you in all conditions?  Check out the Leica X-U, a waterproof, shockproof, dustproof…done!

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So there you have it, Santa!  We’d be happy with any tiny little thing on this list.

Happy Holidays!

 

November
17

What a Beach Vacation can do for your Soul

We know that a beach vacation works wonders on our soul, and can potentially completely change your life.

After all, we have an entire Beach Lifestyle section for our brand to help inspire you and other empowered women. Trigger warning: you will start packing your bikinis after reading this article because life changes are waiting for you –  at the beach.  

Here’s what a beach vacation can do for you:

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Ellen- @artemis_eleven

 

  1. Get Present
    Mindfulness is great. Being present and unplugged is even better. If you’re like most people, technology has taken over your life. You’re scrolling through Instagram comparing your life to other people’s lives, when you want to give your brain a break. You know what’s better?  Actually stepping away from all your devices, being still, listening, sensing, breathing, and experiencing what’s going on around you and within you. What better place to do that than on the beach?mi-ola-mermaid-2
    Beach vacations can bring you serenity, or just put you in touch with what’s going on inside.If you’re looking for luxury minus your laptop, consider traveling to a remote area where it’s difficult to get wifi or visiting a luxury resort where they take away your phones. You may need to go international to find these spots, or do a bit of research to find them in the US.  Places like Little Palm Island make sure that telephones and televisions are intentionally absent from their suites to enhance your experience. When checking messages becomes a social faux pas, it’s much easier to stay unplugged and escape the grid.
  1. Boost Your Mood
    Sunlight, blue skies, and the sea boost your Vitamin D. And according to Conde Nast Traveler and all of our team, being near water makes you happier. When you’re in a peaceful place, staring out at the ocean, your body and mind can find hope and renewal. Away from your usual frenetic schedule, your mood will lift, and you’ll feel inspired.

    Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen- @flentil

     

    The memories, inspiration, and exposure to a different ways of life stick around, just like the sand you’ll find in your suitcase. As the saying goes, “You can shake the sand from your shoes, but not from your soul.” If you’re looking for a cool spot to visit, check out our surf guide to Morocco.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Susi- @insta_susi

  1. Get Deep (Sleep)
    Daily stress often leads to sleep deprivation, which can then mess up the hormones that regulate hunger. It’s a vicious downward spiral from here, and high-quality snoozing could have prevented it all. Sleeping at the beach doesn’t just happen because you’re on vacation. It’s much easier to fall asleep and to stay asleep when the sound of waves soothe you.  While you’re at it, take as many naps as you like.  You’re on vacation.

    Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Maryann – @Maryann_its_not_a_3hrtour

But don’t sleep on your next big opportunity. You can now invest in the most fashionable and functional swimsuit out there. MI OLA is revolutionizing beaches around the world. Share in our success and learn more.

November
3

Why the Bikini is the Uniform for the Empowered Women

Are you tired of seeing the same “bikini body” headlines permeating celebrity news?  Yes, us too.  

While bikinis get attention in mindless gossip, it’s status quo and superficial. Yes, most women want to look good in a bikini. But not every woman feels the need to seek external validation when wearing a bikini. We believe that the bikini is the uniform for the empowered woman, no matter your size or shape. Here’s why:

  1. Beauty radiates from the inside out

If you’re like most women, you know when a photo is staged to be sexy. These photos show off perfectly toned bodies with barbie feet, arched backs and boobs and butts that are thrust out. We don’t need any more of these photos. Let’s say it again: We don’t need any more of these photos.

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We like to see women in action. MI OLA brand ambassador @giuliamanfrini_ ripping in Costa Rica.

While we believe everyone should look good, these images perpetuate an outdated paradigm where a woman’s value depends on being objectified.

Beauty radiates from the inside out, whether you live in a bikini or not. We want to create a community that empowers women to do more of what they love with less stress. If you’re looking to redefine the “bikini” rules and live on your own terms, you’re in the right spot. We believe that confidence comes from within. No matter if you’re stick slim or curvy,  we know that you crush it in life, on the beach and in the waves.

 

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  1. Amy Schumer is the voice (and body) of the new paradigm

Amy Schumer mocked beauty standards on #nationalbikiniday in this Instagram post. Amy, we hear you. We are you. The “bikini body” is typically defined by cultural standards and it often lacks meaning and substance. When can we wake up to the idea that most women don’t wear swimwear to look sexy for others. We wear it so we can have fun, feel comfortable, relax, or – crazy idea – go in the water.  

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We wholeheartedly agree with Amy:

“Is it fat shaming if you know you’re not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don’t think so…I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love.”

 

  1. A shift in perspective is needed

Think about most images in fashion and swimwear.  They usually feature passive women looking “sexy” for the male gaze. An image-based ad where a female sits idle, watching others doing, while “naturally” arching her back and pointing her toes is outdated.  We want to see women #getoutthere and have fun.

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That’s why we shoot active women in our suits, in the water and on the beach.   Our women are surfing, SUPing, doing yoga, driving to a new beach… actively enjoying life.  They are not waiting for anyone to come save them. They are not waiting.  They are doing.

We are also big fans of the Getty Image Lean In Collection that makes stock photos of women more empowering. We’re not here to be just another swimwear line, but rather to change the images that we and our children see as a whole. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook believes:

“You can’t be what you can’t see. In an age where media are all around us, it is critical that images provide examples that both women and men can emulate.”

 

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We have a huge perspective to shift and we’re eager to get started. That’s why we’ve created an opportunity to invest in our mission! Visit https://www.startengine.com/miola. We’re working to make the best women’s swimwear. ever.

August
29

How to Help Donate to those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Last week, a major hurricane slammed into Texas. Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a powerful category 4 hurricane last Friday. Almost a week later, even though Harvey now is a tropical storm, the storm is still wreaking havoc on Texas with an unprecedented amount of rainfall. Unprecedented as in some areas of Texas could see 50 inches of rain in a span of a couple of days, in comparison to the annual rainfall being 50 inches. Read on below to learn more about how you can best donate to those affected by Hurricane Harvey by MI OLA Chief Bikini Officer Helena.

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George Huntoon helped Monica Aizpurua and her daughter Tristan Aizpurua, 18, to a boat in the Meyerland area of Houston. Credit Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Graphic courtesy NY Times

Houston is underwater. The water is still rising. 450,000 could seek disaster assistance. 11 trillion gallons of rain has already come down on Texas. 56,000 calls to Houston 911 in 15 hours. Around 13 million people are under flood watches and warnings stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey menace the already drenched Texas and Louisiana. And the hurricane is expected to pass over Houston again in a few days.

Graphic courtesy NY Times

This is an insane, mind-boggling disaster. People are suffering… and recovery is going to take years. We all need to help. But how?

DON’T DONATE TO THE RED CROSS. Donate to organizations that will be on the ground helping people get back on their feet.

My favorite organization that is helpful to disasters around the world? Team Rubicon. They are an amazing organization that deploys veterans to disaster zones. These people are on the ground, salvaging belongings and helping people.

Other great options are donating to local organizations and churches that can help people immediately in the areas affected, with very low overhead.

Why am I anti Red Cross? Experience. And Data.

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As a resident of the Rockaways, we were made homeless by Hurricane Sandy. It was the first time of my life that I didn’t know where I would sleep, and we also had my 18 month old girl with us. Every day, we went back to Rockaway to salvage our belongings and do what we could to save the house — without electricity, running water, or heat — and it was below freezing some days. We saw a LOT of media. And we saw a lot of amazing volunteers and organizations from around the world that helped the people on the Rockaway Peninsula. (Thank you!)

We did not see the Red Cross. Oh wait, except for on TV — you know that big concert with Bon Jovi that raised over $300Million for Hurricane Sandy victims. That money that was very slow to be distributed and some of which was moved to other areas of the country after the Red Cross determined that no more help was needed in the Rockaways.

(BTW — Our neighborhood is still rebuilding and still has abandoned, crumbling houses — almost 5 years after the Hurricane. Many people I know did not receive any aid. The ones that are back in their houses? Many paid to rebuild without any payout from insurance, or funds from FEMA.)

People walk through floodwaters on Telephone Road in Houston on Sunday after 2 feet of rain from Hurricane Harvey pummeled the Gulf Coast. Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

People walk through floodwaters on Telephone Road in Houston on Sunday after 2 feet of rain from Hurricane Harvey pummeled the Gulf Coast.
Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

Others concur about the lack of Red Cross efforts in the wake of natural disasters. A friend who was displaced by Hurricane Irene says “They (Red Cross) gave us a mop with 1 mini snickers and Tylenol. Which inspired much laughter in my neighborhood. A mop? There was LITERALLY 5 feet of water in my house.”

Another affected by Hurricane Sandy says “The mop they gave me was broken.”

Additionally, the media has covered how BAD the Red Cross is at natural disaster relief.

During Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, 40% of the Red Cross Relief Trucks were diverted for public relations (ie, providing a clean truck to appear in the background while officials speak)

25% of the funds raised to help Hurricane Victims in Haiti was used for internal expenses

So where should you donate?

Team Rubicon was excellent after Hurricane Sandy and is on the ground in Texas now.

Here are a couple of articles with lists with other great options.

How to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims (Slate)

Hurricane Harvey Charities That Work (VOX. please skip over the Red Cross plug and choose from the other organizations.)

Here’s How You Can Help People Affected By Harvey

Let’s get started helping the Hurricane Harvey Victims rebuild their lives. They are suffering. Let’s make sure that our donations reach them and make a difference.

June
16

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide

If you’ve been a tad bit too busy getting out there enjoying the warmer weather and forgot that Father’s Day is this Sunday (gasp!), we’ve got you covered (literally and with our surf bikinis that stay on!). Check out our top five last minute Father’s Day gift recommendations for the active dads in your life to help him keep up with you!

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MI OLA brand ambassador Jen P. @flentil with her family

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide

  1. Grab a gift card to the ultimate online outdoor shop for men – Huckberry. Send the gift card directly to the dad in your life, or send it to yourself and print at home to deliver by hand (we recommend presenting with a bottle of his favorite drink).
  2. Meal subscription service to Thrive Foods Direct.  Perfect for your dad on the go! Focused on high-net-gain nutrition (aka the biggest nutritional bang after digestion), you may want a subscription too!
  3. Spotify Premium subscription, because there is nothing like being in the groove and staying in the groove (no pesky ad interruptions!)
  4. Cool outdoor gear that’s tried, tested, and delivered to his front door every month? Yes please! Enhance his outdoor experience with a subscription to Nomadik.
  5. For when he’s kicking up his feet and relaxing after a long day outside, how about a subscription to his favorite magazine like Outside Mag or an Amazon gift card for his favorite e-books?

 

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MI OLA brand ambassador Susi @insta_susi with her husband

June
2

Hang With MI OLA Girls

All around the world, from Tahiti to the Florida Keys, our MI OLA ambassadors #getoutthere. They surf, salute the sun, SUP, hike mountains, cycle cross country, to so much more and we love keeping up and supporting them with their adventures. Not surprisingly, several lead retreats and are instructors, from yoga to kite surfing. If you have a trip planned or need some inspiration for your next outdoor vacation, why not hang with the MI OLA girls? Check it out below!

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Do you love traveling to yoga vocations around the world? Then yogi and ambassador Jessica Bellofatto is your go-to mermaid! Jessica leads retreats all around the world, from Greece to Panama. Past retreats have been surfing in Costa Rica, Stand Up Paddleboarding in Mexico, hiking in Macchu Picchu or cycling through Tuscany. Her ultimate priority with her yoga retreat vacations is FUN. Get ready for your dream adventure: energizing yoga, cultural immersions, and delicious organic food are on the agenda. Jessica has upcoming retreats in York, Maine, Bocas del Toro, Panama, Rincon, Puerto Rico, Tulum, Mexico, Ithaca, Greece, and Umbria, Italy.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jessica- @jessicabellofatto

 

Planning on exploring and road tripping through the Florida Keys? Be sure to stop in Marathon at ambassador Amanda’s yoga studio, Sol Shine Yoga. After a transformative trip and yoga teach training in India, Amanda founded Sol Shine Yoga Studio in Marathon. The studio is a community staple in Marathon where conchs, snowbirds, and spring breakers alike come to practice. And be sure to check out the studio’s great workshops, from full moon yoga to a Zen Sound session. Sign us up!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda – @mermanda_

 

 

Dreaming of escaping to a tropical island? Us too! Why not learn to kite board in Tahiti with ambassador Elise and her husband Mat? For all levels, from beginners to advanced, Wind Chasers Tahiti personalizes your lessons, making sure it’s safe and fun. Their school does lessons on the different spots of the main island of Tahiti so you can discover the most beautiful places for kitesurfing. Follow the wind with Wind Chasers Tahiti !

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Headed to the Hamptons this summer? Drop on in to ambassador Leslie Pearlman’s yoga studio, Good Ground Yoga in Hampton Bays.  The studio is a vibrant, creative center where people gather to embrace the spirit of yoga and holistic healing. Good Ground Yoga welcomes students from all walks of life– from first time students to seasoned practitioners. Throughout the year the studio offers teacher trainings and workshops. And don’t worry, you don’t have to plan to teach yoga to take yoga teacher training – – check out Leslie’s great insight!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Leslie- @goodgroundyoga

 

 

Are you dreaming of a relaxing beach vacation? Then head out to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. With ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, it’s one of the only places where the sun rises and sets on the water! The Outer Banks (OBX) also just so happens to be where ambassador Adrienne Kina lives and plays. From pristine beaches, fishing, museum hopping, shopping, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking and biking, the OBX is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. If you’re itching to learn to surf or kite board (or are in the market for a new surfboard!), head on over to REAL Watersports where Adrienne works.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

May
26

#GetOutThere Guide: Florida Keys Roadtrip

Road trips are a great American classic. There’s just something about having the radio on and volume up, windows down, and pedal to the metal that invokes an element of mystery and excitement unlike any other way to travel. Follow our ambassador Amanda (@Mermanda_) on a mermaid style road trip down the Florida keys where she uncovers and discovers sunken treasures in her own backyard.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

The MI OLA girls guide to a Florida Keys Road Trip 

The Florida Keys are an archipelagic collection of 43 islands connected by a 113 mile, 42 bridge leap frog roadway known as the Overseas Highway.

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On this journey we’re starting at the top, mile marker (MM) 102.5 Key Largo, John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park. The first underwater park in the United States and home to Christ of the Abyss, the underwater Jesus statue. While most of the park is underwater, the coral rock beaches are a truly keysie spot for ocean side meditations, a yoga class inspired by the sea, and pirate style exploring through the mangroves. If you stay long enough you’ll probably catch a glimpse of a few marine mammals, if not, cruise on down to our next stop.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

 

Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, MM 84.5, is home to rescued sea turtles, sea sions, and dolphins turned educators. The trainers and residents of Theater of the Sea are eager to tell you all about proper use, disposal of and alternatives to plastics, as well as what fish to and not to eat right now. There are always new, innovative ways we can keep our oceans healthy, especially the Marine Sanctuary that is the Florida Keys.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

Also in Islamorada is an eclectic little must see known simply as “Robbie’s.” At MM 77.5 bayside  you can grab lunch, check out some local art, and you can …wait for it… HAND FEED wild, 200 pound, 6 foot long, giant scale-y Megalops sea monster’s, commonly known as Tarpon. Yep, adrenaline is a go and you’re gonna need a MI OLA suit for this one!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

While we’re on the subject of “Hand Feeding Things Your Mother Doesn’t Want You Anywhere Near,” head south 25 miles and you will find Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. A fully interactive aquarium where you can feed, by hand, everything from sharks and stingrays to turtles and rainbow fish.

For more adrenaline adventures and action sports check out Keys Cable. They have a full menu of board sports for which you’re gonna want your MI OLA. Most of their offerings can be done on site in their 5 acre lagoon; read: wake boarding, paddle boarding, SUP yoga. If the winds are right they can take you and teach you to kite board.

Also located in Marathon, Florida, affectionately known as “the Heart of the Keys” is Sol Shine Yoga at MM 50.5. This your yoga studio for hot, private, aerial, yin, and even full moon beach yoga.

Check out Amanda’s #GetOutThere Guide to Marathon, FL.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

 

Keep heading south over the Seven Mile Bridge, through Keys with crazy names like Cudjoe, Sugarloaf, and Shark, another 50 miles or so and you will reach MM 0; Key West – the southern most point in the United States where you’re closer to Cuba than to a Wal-Mart, we like it like that.

Key West is a world of it’s own. There is so much to see and do; a stroll though the butterfly sanctuary, wreck and reef diving until your heart’s content, parasailing, or bar crawling in the footsteps of some of the great paradise dreamers like Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney, and Ernest Hemingway. Of course, you could also spend days, or years, relaxing on the beach sipping rum runners, margaritas, and Miami vices.

The only downside to this MI OLA girls dream is the limitation on where to stay. Camping is hard to come by, hotels can be pricy, and Air BnB’s aren’t always allowed. Check out the hostel in Key West or Gulf View Resort on Grassy Key as your home base for this once in a lifetime, passport not required, road trip.

Go, #getoutside!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @Mermanda_

May
19

Last Minute Memorial Day Weekend Ideas

Mermaids, we have made it to the start of another summer! With Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer next weekend, if you’re like us and can’t believe how fast this year is going, then you may have forgotten to make Memorial Day plans. But, we have your covered – – with surf bikinis AND some awesome last minute Memorial Day Weekend trip ideas! Check it out below:

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Andrea V- @vitiviti

 

Last Minute Memorial Day Weekend Ideas

Day Trip to Rockaway or Long Beach
Calling all New York City + surrounding area mermaids! Escape the concrete jungle, hop on the ferry, the subway or LIRR, and head to the beach. Two of our favorites are within an hour train ride from Manhattan. And the best part? You don’t even have to worry about finding a hotel or AirBnB – – Rockaway and Long Beach are perfect day trip destinations.

Check out our Surf Guides to Rockaway and Long Beach

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Sanibel Island, FL

Sanibel Island on the southwest coast of Florida to explore one of Florida’s most pristine beaches. Known for its wide variety of beautiful shells, Sanibel Island is a beachcomber’s paradise and nothing short of magical. According to the Sanibel tourist board, there are 250 different type of shells, 230 types of birds, 15 miles of beaches, and zero traffic lights!

Check out our Guide to Sanibel Island

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Amanda- @mermanda_

 

 

Have Fun in the Mountains in Lake Tahoe
The Lake Tahoe Basin has the glistening gem of a lake at its heart; ideal for summer swims, reading on the beach, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The lake is approximately 72 miles around, by road, and makes for a beautiful, scenic drive; Emerald Bay is a highlight of the drive; a natural bay surrounded by steep mountainous terrain jutting from its edges. The Tahoe Rim Trail is an amazing long distance hike that circumferences the lake, in and out of state park land, wilderness, and forest.

Check out our guide to Lake Tahoe

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Briana- @openheartadventure

 

Road Trip(!) to the Outer Banks
Hop in the car, and head to the Outer Banks, a 200 mile long barrier island that sits off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. With ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, the sun rises and sets on the water. Be sure to pack all of your outdoor gear, as the Outer Banks offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, fishing, hang gliding, world class surfing, kite boarding, windsurfing, SUP boarding, jet skiing, boating, kayaking, biking, or just relaxing on the beach!

Check out our #GetOutThereGuide to the Outer Banks and our Surf Guide to OBX.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Adrienne- @yokeens

 

Costa Rica
Itching to hop on a plane and travel outside of the USA for the long weekend? Costa Rica has many direct flights from all over the continental US, perfect for a quick getaway. Our tropical home base, Costa Rica is paradise for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some of our favorite beaches to surf and explore included Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas, Playa Grande, and Playa Guiones.

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Lifestyle photo shoot for Kim (@_thesunnyside_) at The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. Kim is wearing a MI OLA surf bikini. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea Photography.

Kim (@_thesunnyside_) photographed by MI OLA team rider Kristen M. Brown, Samba to the Sea (@sambatothesea).

 

 

 

May
12

How To Cope With An Injury

It’s true. If you do any physical activity long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll get injured, either from overuse, over-zealousness or just bad luck. Accidents do happen, and some of our favorite activities have inherent risks of injury.  Usually, the injuries are minor, and after a few days off, you’re back in the game.  But sometimes, the injury is significant, requiring a long layoff or possibly retiring from that sport completely.  It can be hard to get on with things when something you love to do isn’t an option any longer… So how do you cope when you’re an injured mermaid? Check out brand ambassador Jen P. (@flentil) tips for coping with injury below!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Dry Docked: Even Mermaids Get Injured Sometimes. How to Cope!

From Mermaid to Medusa

When you can’t get out there, Depression, Crankiness and all-around Crazy can result…but they don’t have to!!!

I have many sports and activities that I enjoy, but first and foremost, I’ve been a lifelong runner.  I didn’t just love it…I was good at it. Really good.  I was competitive right up until…I had major knee surgery this past March.  It was unexpected, and when the surgeon went in to fix me up, it was worse than they thought.  When I had my post-op visit with the surgeon, one of my first questions was “Can I run again? And when?”  I got a reluctant “Maybe” and a sobering discussion about the condition of the cartilage in my knee and my long-term prognosis for running and other high-impact activities.  It became rapidly apparent that if I did run again, it would very different from before.  No more hills. No more high mileage.  No more competitive training.  No more racing.

I used to be fast.  I was a good runner.  Even now, at age 47 (gulp! Am I really admitting my age in a public blog?) I could hold my own with runners half my age.  I loved the training.  I loved the racing.  I loved being outside.  I loved running with my running buds.

Just like that…gone. Over. No mas.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Don’t Just Drift With the Current…Start Swimming. Take Control!

The Universe had sent me a forceful message that it was time to start a new Chapter.  I could write it myself or let it be written for me.

OK, so I may or may not have cried most of the way home from that appointment with my surgeon.  But once I got that out of the way, it was time to think about the fact that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my days sitting on my duff feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how I used to be a runner. Who was I going to be now?  Well, pretty much the same person as before, DUH! And that wasn’t a person that sat around sulking, that’s for sure! Let’s GO!

It was time to figure out what I COULD do, and get on with it!  Because any person who loves physical activity, starts to get a wee bit dodgy when they are cooped up and sitting around for too long.  It isn’t healthy, mentally OR physically.   I wasn’t going to be doing myself any good, and I certainly wasn’t going to be any good for my husband and son, either.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Don’t be a One-Trick Pony

Diversify Your Interests: Get Excited for the Next Big Thing!

Sometimes, it is easy to get all wrapped up in your fave activity to the exclusion of other sports and interests.  That was me for a long time.  I’m so thankful that I started paddling 4 years ago…it’s been a real gift since my injury.  It gives me that same long, steady, rhythmic outdoor experience that I loved with running and it’s an equally intense workout.  I’m so thankful that when I turned 40, I let my friend talk me into learning to surf, it’s given me a whole new way to have fun in the water.  When we were on spring break right after my surgery, I traded out my pre-dawn run for sunrise swims along Seven Mile Beach.  An hour of swimming goes by pretty fast when you are looking for sting rays and puffer fish!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Move On and Get Moving!

We all know the saying: Whoever is having the most fun, wins!  Truth be told, I’m having a great time getting better at a few things that I didn’t make as much time for previously.  And that has been awesome!  Instead of a marathon or a few 5Ks on the schedule, I have a couple of SUP races to look forward to this year!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

The one sport that remains untested since my surgery is surfing…and the jury is still out on that one. I won’t know until summer. If it works out, I’ll be thrilled.  If not…I have my boogie board and fins ready to go!  And of course, my fave MI OLA bikinis!!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

I wish you all good health and fitness! But if an injury does happen to set you back, don’t let it stop you! GET OUT THERE!

Do you have any tips for coping with a long-term or permanent injury that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!

May
5

#GetOutThere Guide Turks and Caicos

If you’re seeking amazing tropical turquoise waters, relaxation and quiet, head to Turks and Caicos.  These islands are visually stunning and any beach dwellers dream. The islands do not draw the large crowds of other more developed Caribbean islands, but don’t let that fool you. This place is a jewel. We caught up with world traveller and MI OLA ambassador Ashley B. to get the inside info on these islands. Check out her #GetOutThere Guide to Turks and Caicos below.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

 

The Islands:
Providenciales is the most popular and populated of the Turks and Caicos islands.  While the other islands are equally beautiful, you need to take a ferry, private chartered boat, or inter island flight to travel between them.  Some of the islands are uninhabited. Nearby the island shores are “cays”.  These smaller bodies of land are accessible only by boat. The cays are white sand beaches only a few inches above the ocean reef. Some cays are private property, so be mindful of possible trespassing when arriving ashore.

Best Beaches:
Sapodilla Bay
Malcolm’s Beach
Pirates Cove-west harbor

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

What to Do:
Fishing: Most areas inside the reef are protected, so no fishing unless you’re outside the reef. There is ample fishing to be had, however a charter can be expensive. So if possible, bring your own gear and rent a boat for a morning or day. This will save you money and make the experience more personal.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Boating: When renting a boat for the day, be sure to get a navigation GPS system and a map. While Providenciales is fairly easy to navigate, the waters are more challenging. There are shallow reefs and rocks which can be a problem if you don’t know your way around the waters. Visit the other nearby “cays” and enjoy a secluded beach to yourself. You may also want to dock your boat in the Blue Haven marina or Turtle Cove marina for a bite to eat or a drink.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.


Snorkeling: Snorkeling in the shallow waters or coral gardens is beautiful. You can expect to see starfish, sea turtles, various types of fish, lobsters, sharks, and sting rays. Having your own gear is easiest as you will likely want to snorkel at most beaches and reef sites.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Diving: Best if you are certified before your trip. Beginner dives (resort dives) include pool simulation and the depth for diving is only 40ft. This is a very expensive experience. Anticipate $300 for resort dive and $150-$200 for a 2 tank dive if certified.
Other activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, walking/running on the mile long beaches
Where to Dine:
Bella Luna is an Italian restaurant with very cool ambiance and delicious food. Order a homemade pasta dish or any of their fish entrees.
Shark Bite is a casual island food eatery located on the marina in Turtle Cove. This is a great place for a cocktail or simple bite to eat. The conch fish and chips are best.
Da Conch Shack is located right on the beach. Put your feet in the sand as you sip on the rum punch and snack on the conch fritters.
Coco Bistro is an upscale restaurant serving delicious eclectic dishes that are unlike anything else on the island. This restaurant has a reputation as one of the best restaurants on the island. Make a reservation in advance!
Las Brisas is the best place by far on the island. The food and the view are unparalleled. Everything on the menu is amazing and cooked to perfection. This is a small restaurant located right on Chalk Sound. Be sure to make a reservation before sunset.

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

Getting Around:
A car is a necessity. We were able to rent one through our Airbnb. You don’t need anything fancy or a 4 wheel drive, just something to get you around the island. I wouldn’t recommend a scooter as the weather is variable and the roads are not always accessible via scooter. The best desolate and secluded beaches are only accessed by dirt roads and some rocky terrain. There is one main road on the island-leeward highway. Navigating around the island is very easy, but ask for a map if possible. Remember to drive on the opposite side of the road than the US!

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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

 

Where to Stay:
Airbnb or VRBO is the best bet. The hotels and resorts in the Grace Bay area are nice but are overrated. The resorts cater to an “all inclusive” type vacation and this area of the island is not only popular, but also pricey. We stayed at the “Sweet Escape” in Turtle Cove. We were even able to rent their Jeep vehicle as well as their Triton boat for two days! This was a more affordable and convenient way to go for us.

 

What to Anticipate:
The islands use USD as the currency. This makes purchasing most items very easy. Credit cards are accepted in most places. Everything is imported,  and thus has a fairly expensive price tag. Don’t be surprised by the high price of grocery items. Anticipate $50 for a 24 pack of beer. It’s worth it to bring whatever items possible in your luggage as you will be shocked by the cost of the simple necessity items. A cooler and picnic is the more thrifty route compared to eating at the eateries on the island.

What to Bring:
Bug spray- mosquitos and no-see-ums are common on the island depending on the time of year
Sunscreen- non greasy is best due to humidity
Snorkel gear- cheaper than renting, although some Airbnb and VRBO rentals may provide this
Light clothing- evenings are warm so no need to bring heavy clothing
MI OLA bikini!
Getting there:
While getting there may be long and a little pricey, be sure to check flights connecting through other nearby cities. Providenciales is a smaller airport and the island itself is not as commonly traveled as the other nearby islands. Anticipate the airfare to be $600-$700 average roundtrip.
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MI OLA Ambassador Ashley B.

April
28

#GetOutThere Guide: Grand Cayman

We have amazing brand ambassadors. They inspire us to #getoutthere every day and are always on the move, especially Jen P. (@flentil). From the Galapagos, Costa Rica, running marathons, sunrise SUP sessions, to the Grand Caymans, this mermaid certainly keeps us on our toes! Jen just got back from a recent trip to the Grand Caymans and here’s her guide. Check it out!

 

Caribbean Paradise: Grand Cayman

For the last 5 years, my family has made Grand Cayman an annual destination. Every year, we think we’re going to change it up and go somewhere new, but we love it too much!  The crystal clear, turquoise water, the sultry warm air and the amazing sea life keep bringing us back.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

What to Do:

Snorkeling

The main activities on Grand Cayman are water-based, naturally!  Vibrant reefs and the famous Cayman Wall offer incredible opportunities for diving and snorkeling. There are wonderful spots to check out pretty much everywhere.  Even right in downtown George Town, there is an amazing marine park, Devil’s Grotto and Eden Rock.  Enter from South Church Street – you can park right at Paradise Seaside Grill and the entrance to the water is just to one side of the restaurant.  And Paradise is a great place to enjoy a post snorkel or dive meal with pleasant, shaded outdoor seating right on the water.  You can also go one building up the road to the Eden Rock Diving Center for another entry point to the marine park – plus, they have rental snorkel and dive gear if you don’t have your own.

You can swim out from the beach pretty much all up and down Seven Mile Beach to enjoy fun snorkel adventures, but further north on Seven Mile Beach is Cemetery Beach, where there is a really nice snorkeling spot.  You do have to swim out about 100 yards to get there.  The beach is just behind – you guessed it – a local cemetery.  As you pass by the cemetery from the road to the beach, please be respectful!

Another well-known snorkel spot is Rum Point. Located on the East Side of the Island, it’s about a 45 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach.  It’s a great spot for young kids – the water is quite shallow. There is a pretty fun, short stretch of rocks with many little reef fish in about 5 feet or water that is accessible just to the right of the dock out past the swimming areas.  For the adults and bigger kids, there is more snorkeling further out with amazing corals and larger fish. Be mindful of currents and boats. And if the wind is out of the east, it will be choppy with poor visibility.

 

If you plan to visit Rum Point, GO EARLY.  Rum Point is a popular destination for both on-island visitors as well as cruise ship guests so by lunch time it can get really busy!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Diving

Because Grand Cayman is essentially the very top of a huge underwater mountain, the famous Cayman Wall runs around the island, dropping off in some places to 3000ft!  Because the wall faces all directions, there will almost always be at least one area suitable for diving regardless of conditions.  Dive shops abound on the island, along with reputable tour operators.  Do your homework and find one that is right for you!

 

Sting Ray City

You can’t really talk about Grand Cayman without mentioning Sting Ray City – it’s the largest tourist draw for the entire island. Each year, millions of people trek out to the shallow sandbars in North Sound. Southern Stingrays are literally everywhere!  They have become quite used to people, so even though they are still wild (which means they do still have the barb at the base of their tail) they are comfortable swimming around you.  Generally, someone from your boat’s crew will hold one for you to say hello to if you wish, or, if you’re like me, you can kind of go to the edge of things, away from the everyone else, and just enjoy swimming alone with these beautiful, enormous creatures.  This spot can become a bit of a spectacle, so if you plan to check it out, I definitely recommend going first thing in the morning or at the very end of the day, when the majority of other tours are gone.  Check out the “Breakfast with the Rays” tour offered by Red Sail, or there are lots of private charter options that will get you out there when fewer people are present.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Fishing

My son’s passion is fishing, so every year we try to include a fishing charter of some kind.  Good fishing is as close as a quarter mile offshore, where the ocean floor drops off sharply, plummeting thousands of feet to create a natural thoroughfare for the big migratory pelagic species prized by anglers.

One of the Cayman Islands’ biggest attractions for anglers is that big fish run close to the coastlines of Grand Cayman. Popular gamefish such as blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dorado and barracuda are caught year-round. Water temperature varies annually only about 8 -10 degrees and the baitfish are here year-round – which means the bigger fish are too.

If you’re keen to fish, you can charter a boat for deep sea fishing, bottom reef fishing (sometimes more fun for young kids) and light tackle/fly fishing in the flats.  Pretty much every type of fishing option is present on Grand Cayman and there are countless outfits to show you the ropes!

You can fish from shore, and no license is required, as long as you practice catch and release…just be sure you are not in any protected marine park areas – and there are many of these, so check carefully before casting out.

Catch and release is strongly encouraged for all fishing in these waters – unless you know it will be your dinner, please release your catch!  Your guide will know seasons, limits and keeper sizes for the fish, or you can easily find this information online.

Sailing

There’s often a good breeze blowing around this island, so if you enjoy sailing, you can either rent a sailboat for yourself, or catch a ride to enjoy a trip to Stingray City, secret snorkel spots, or just to take in the sunset.

SUP

If you love SUP, this place is for you!  Beautiful clear water, there’s always something to see.  If you own a board, especially an inflatable, pack it up and bring it along.  Rentals are available on-island, but check into rates, because it can get expensive.  I strongly recommend getting out at daybreak or just before sunset, when the wind tends to be lightest and the sun won’t scorch you.  If you head out later, be sure to mind your sunscreen and pay attention to wind.  It can pick up quickly and I’ve seen a number of people, especially beginners, who needed help getting back to shore.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

George Town

George Town is the big city on the island, with many shops and restaurants if you feel like wandering around.  Keep an eye on the cruise ships that are docked because if there are several of them, downtown will be SUPER crowded until the mid-afternoon when their passengers head back to the ships for departure.  Other things located downtown include the Atlantis Submarine and they also have a glass bottom boat option.  These are cool ways to see all the underwater beauty if you are traveling with others who don’t snorkel or dive, or just if you need an adventure out of the sun in the middle of the day!

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Garden

Looking for an inland activity?  These botanic gardens are a great change of pace, especially on a cloudy day.  Enjoy the manicured paths, ponds and beautiful local flora. These gardens are one of the few places where you can see the now-endangered native blue iguana. The blue iguanas have been overrun by the non-native green iguanas, but they are keeping them safe within the boundaries of these gardens and you’ll see them in a few places as you walk around.

 

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

 

Getting around on Grand Cayman:

Depending on where you want to go, there are some easy shuttles you can take to get around, especially if you are going to some of the better known tourist destinations.  The island isn’t very big, only 22 miles long and 8 miles wide at its widest point.  Nothing is too far away, but the driving is a bit slow, so allow time.  Renting a car is a convenient way to get around and offers a lot of freedom to explore, but remember, they are a British Territory, so they drive on the left side of the road – be sure you are comfortable giving that a go!

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

Where to Stay:

There are lots of choices to suit your budget and interests.  The most popular area is Seven Mile Beach because of its beautiful, white sandy beach and tranquil swimming.  The accommodations on Seven Mile Beach include hotels and condos.  House rentals can be found in other areas of the island, especially on the east side towards Rum Point.  There are numerous boutique hotels around the island as well.  Getting away from Seven Mile Beach will give you less hustle and bustle, but you may find that the beaches are rocky or not suitable for swimming so make sure you do your homework to make sure you find a place that suits your needs and interests.

What to Eat:

No surprise that you should order the fish any chance you get, it’s the freshest option.  And if you see lionfish on the menu, GET IT!  This species is highly invasive and causing all sorts of damage to the reefs.  By creating demand for this fish in restaurants, you are helping to control the local lionfish population.  Other local menu choices includes Caribbean jerk, escovitch and conch chowder.  In and around George Town there are loads of restaurant options.  We’ve enjoyed Paradise Grill (as I mentioned) as well as the Lobster Pot, which has a nice sunset view if you ask to sit outside and the kids always enjoy looking down at the tarpon swimming right around the docks.  You can get fantastic BBQ from Pepper’s Bar & Grill (they also do take-out and delivery).  Eats Cafe is a less expensive but super reliable place to grab a bite, it’s right on Seven Mile Beach across the road from the Westin.

If you head out of town towards the more residential areas such as Bodden Town, you may see some roadside jerk stands.  If you spot one and you’re hungry, definitely stop in!  The food is usually less expensive and REALLY good!

If you stay in a place that has a kitchen, there are several grocery stores in and around George Town…Kirk’s Market has a good selection.  If you see local avocados for sale, pick up a few, they are AWESOME!  A lot of food is imported, so you may have to pay more than you are used to for certain things.

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Photo by MI OLA Brand Ambassador Jen P. @flentil

What to Bring:

It’s ALWAYS tropical – temperatures hover between 80s and 90s Fahrenheit, so you don’t need much!  Unless you are planning on a fancy dinner, you will be just fine with casual beachwear, tons of SPF, and an array of MI OLA bikinis…and DON’T forget your MI OLA rashie, because the rays are super strong!  My family tries to take a break from the sun daily between 11 and 2 or 3pm to ensure we don’t fry! If you have your own snorkel gear or SUP, of course, bring it along!  But it can all be rented if you want to travel light.

 

 

How to Get There:

If you live near a major city in the Central or Eastern parts of the US, there’s a decent chance you can fly direct and be on Grand Cayman in a matter of just a few hours.  Not gonna lie, the first time we went, my son was 5, so a direct flight had HUGE appeal. If you have kids, you get this!  But if finding the best airfare is your goal and you have more flexibility, definitely start looking well ahead of time and you’ll likely find some great deals.  The airport is small, so if you are visiting during peak season (Dec – April) you may run into really long lines getting through customs.  Totally worth it in the end, though!  Meanwhile, they are also upgrading the airport so perhaps this aspect of getting there will improve.

 

What are you waiting for???  Get out there and enjoy Grand Cayman!!