Why vacations in the Cayman Islands? The three islands comprising the Cayman Islands offer the world’s best tropical vacation, with stunning beaches and fabulous luxury resorts. Everything about the Cayman Islands leans toward the ideal, from the glorious food to the flawless weather. The beaches offer wonderful diving and snorkeling, while the islands have duty-free shopping for designer goods. The Cayman Islands has the best shopping in the Caribbean.
In or out of the water, the Cayman Islands are not to be missed.
About the Cayman Island
The Cayman Islands are best known for two things: a thriving economy and tourism. Visitors come here for renowned beaches such as the Seven Mile Beach, stunning coral dive sites, and an enjoyable diverse culture. It’s also a popular stop on cruise itineraries due to the number of fantastic Grand Cayman cruise excursions waiting to be explored.
Originally believed to be discovered by Christopher Columbus, the Cayman Islands are now a British Overseas Territory in the Western Caribbean almost 500 miles southwest of Miami. Its capital is George Town on the main island, Grand Cayman.
English settlers began arriving in Cayman in 1734 and likely brought their slaves with them. Compared to other Caribbean islands, Cayman had no plantations, few slaves (never more than a thousand), and these had no great effect on an economy that was never agricultural but always seafaring. Many slaves were freed as a matter of course, and when slavery was officially abolished, half of the original slave population were already freed.
The Cayman Islands are an archipelago of three different islands. Incidentally, there is no ferry service between the islands. Island-hoppers need to travel by plane.
Grand Cayman, the largest of the islands, is the heart of the Caymans. This is where to find the best accommodations and activities.
Known for its tax advantages, Grand Cayman has a lot more to offer. Its best-known attraction is Seven Mile Beach, one of the finest white sand beaches in the entire Caribbean. Scuba diving is a way of life on Grand Cayman, with 365 different dive sites, many of which can offer diving certificates.
Cayman Brac is located 90 miles from Grand Cayman and offers visitors countless natural adventures. Known for its huge limestone bluff, Cayman Brac is the home of several secret pirates’ caves, many hiking trails, rock climbing, and more great diving sites. Fishing in clear waters is a popular activity. If visitors catch anything, there is a good chance their host’s chef will prepare it for them.
Little Cayman is the smallest of the three islands, and the most undeveloped. This is the place for serious divers and nature photographers. Little Cayman is most famous for its Bloody Bay Wall, a straight underwater wall that dramatically drops 2,000 into the water and a world of yellow sponges and bright corals.
Language Spoken in the Cayman Islands
English is the official written and spoken language of the Cayman Islands, with Spanish a popular second language.
Currency Used in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Island Dollar is the official currency, with the U.S. Dollar being acceptable everywhere. The value of the Cayman Island Dollar to the U.S. Dollar is approximately $1.20 to $1.00.
Things to Do in the Cayman Islands
Eden Rock & Devil’s Grotto (Grand Cayman)
Diving rules in the Cayman Islands, and nowhere does it reign the way it does at Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto on Grand Cayman near the fabulous Seven Mile Beach. Below the waters are Eden Rock and the Devil’s Grotto, which provide mazes filled with an array of fish to keep the snorkelers company. Tours can be arranged with the Eden Rock Diving Center. The Devil’s Grotto is filled with amazing underwater caves and tunnels. When the light shines through the caves, diving turns into a surreal underwater experience.
Mastic Trail (Grand Cayman)
The two-mile Mastic Trail connects the south and north end of Grand Cayman. While it can be hiked on one’s own, the unusual plants, trees, and noisy birds are best enjoyed with a guide from the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. The trail includes some of the last subtropical dry forests in the entire Caribbean.
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a gorgeous garden with a lake – the perfect site to stroll and appreciate nature at its most exotic, as well as Cayman Island’s birds and wildlife. Visitors can sit, relax, and watch the gorgeous parrots fly overhead. Wear good shoes, bug repellent, and smell the orchids. Great photo opportunities.
The park is also the site of the Blue Iguana Conservation Facility, which serves as a breeding facility for the ultra-rare Blue Iguana
Captain Keith Tibbetts Wreck (Cayman Brac)
The wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts, a Soviet frigate, is a fun diving exploration. The doomed ship crashed into the barrier reef, and it can easily be reached from a dive boat. Some of the wreck is quite dramatic due to hurricane damage. Experienced divers can penetrate the wreck for a closer look.
Pedro St. James National Historic Site
The Pedro House, as it is usually called, is the oldest stone structure in the Caymans and is located less than half an hour from George Town. It is filled with critical colonial historical details. While it was built by slaves, this is where the end of slavery was formally announced.
Its three stories rise above all other buildings, making it the Cayman equivalent of a skyscraper or castle. After touring the house, visitors can stroll through the lush gardens with a fantastic view of the sea below.
Cayman Turtle Center
The Cayman Turtle Center in West Bay, Grand Cayman, is fun for everyone, but especially for the kids. This interactive park allows swimming with fish and turtles in a saltwater lagoon or watching the alligators being fed. Visitors can feed birds in the aviary.
Best Beaches in the Cayman Islands
Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman may be the most famous beach in the world – and it has earned its reputation. The wonderful white sand is surrounded by hotels, bars, and eateries. Anything anyone could ask for is here. It is bursting with life for those looking for plenty of activities. Best yet, it is less than a 10-minute drive from George Town.
Visitors come here for every type of water sport – sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, paddle boarding, and more. Don’t feel like getting wet? Head for the theater, shops, art gallery, or golf course that make up the rim of the beach.
Not surprisingly, Seven Mile Beach has some of Grand Cayman’s best accommodations.
Cayman Kai, Grand Cayman
Cayman Kai is located on the northern end of Grand Cayman. It offers much the same enjoyment to visitors as does Seven Miles Beach, but it is more secluded and quieter, and accommodations will probably be less expensive than on Seven Mile Beach.
Rum Point, Grand Cayman
Yes, the beach at Rum Point is fabulous, and so are the watersports. Kayaks and jet skis can be rented, but Rum Beach is not the best beach for snorkeling. There are hammocks for lazing, a restaurant, and a bar, and it’s a great place to idle for a day. But people actually come here for the mudslides – that is the beach’s famed rum mudslide drink. It may be more famous than the beach.
For visitors wanting to spend some time enjoying mudslides and for a day or so, there are the Rum Point Club Residences and the Kaibo Yacht Club.
Starfish Point is not far from Rum Point. Instead of deadly mudslides, however, it has lots of starfish. There is excellent snorkeling at Starfish Point, and snorkelers will have company – the seafloor is filled with starfish. The beach is shallow until it drops off about 10 feet. There are lots of starfish here, and there are even more if you continue snorkeling further out.
The waters are also filled with friendly stingrays, who get close enough for snorkelers to touch.
The Cayman Islands have gained fame for white, sandy, sunlit beaches. Cayman Brac’s Long Beach is different. Its grand bluff is made for great hiking and dramatic views of the ocean and the rare brown booby and their nests. The best view is from the lighthouse at the top of the bluff. Get here early and revel in one of the Cayman Islands’ most stunning sunrises.
The Best Resort or Hotel in the Cayman Islands
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort is what guests get when they combine the world-famous Seven Mile Beach with a resort listed on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List. Sheer perfection. Couples can avail themselves of the resort’s all-inclusive wedding package that includes prewedding activities and a wedding at one of the world’s most scenic sites.
Dinner is served at one of the resort’s beachfront restaurants or right on the beach itself. The pool has cabanas, loungers, and a swim-up bar. Guests can rejuvenate body and soul at the Hibiscus Spa.
The Best Resort or Hotel for Couples in the Cayman Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has the fabulous Seven Mile Beach at its front door. Guests have a choice of six bars and restaurants, including the Blue by Eric Ripert, which is the only AAA Five Diamond Restaurant in the Caribbean.
All rooms and suites have a private balcony and have a garden or ocean view. Seven Mile Beach has been called the Fourth Best Beach in the Caribbean by Trip Advisor and the 12th best beach in the world by MSN. It’s the perfect beach for couples to stroll or enjoy some sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Best Resort or Hotel for Families in the Cayman Islands
The Wyndham Reef Resort in northeast Grand Cayman has accommodation for singles and families, each one with an ocean view. The restaurants all have ocean view dining, as well. The Wyndham has several all-inclusive packages, from all-inclusive meals and drinks to scuba diving packages. The resort will offer diving courses and arrange for diving outings.
For the kids, the resort offers a children’s pool and daily activities such as arts and crafts, bird and fish feeding, bingo, and movies.