Formed from a mountain called
the Cayman Ridge
A true tropical haven
Formed from a mountain called
the Cayman Ridge
GMT -5 hours
A collection of three islands make up the Caymans, each with their distinct charm: Grand Cayman, the largest and loudest of the three, rugged Cayman Brac and serene Little Cayman. Environmentally protected and brightly coloured reefs provide over 350 diving spots teeming with marine life. But, as this is the culinary capital of the Caribbean, you may solely be here for the exceptional gourmet cuisine.
If you can leave behind the sugar-icing sands and turquoise waters at the peerless Seven Mile Beach, there’s plenty more to entice you. You can plummet to depths of 760 metres just a quarter of a mile offshore – try Bloody Bay Wall off Little Cayman for size or go snorkelling at the tranquil local’s haunt of West Cemetery Beach to swim among some of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt reefs.
After all this strenuous activity you're bound to welcome the truly diverse range of cuisine available across its 200 restaurants. Stop for a blackened snapper at one of the many beachside shacks, perhaps washed down with a shot of Tortuga or Seven Fathoms spiced rum. Alternatively, head to the Rum Point, a remote outpost where you’ll want to sample a Mudslide, a frozen rum and coffee liqueur concoction invented here, that’s sure to stir up your evening. Book your flights to the Cayman Islands today and capture its spirit.
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Whether you just want to unwind and take things slow on its outstanding beaches or prefer to dive into a raft of fun activities, you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger on the Cayman Islands.
1. Explore the Crystal Caves. One of the islands’ latest attractions is this intriguing network of over 100 limestone caves buried deep in Grand Cayman’s interior, three of which are open to you. Marvel at the impressive stalagmites and stalactites, explore hidden chambers and connecting passageways and a vast interior lake, while keeping an ear out for the bats that roost here.
2. Stop by Foots House. One of Cayman Brac’s quirkier attractions is the oceanfront house of eccentric local sculptor Ronald ‘Foots’ Knyes which doubles up as a gallery for his curious creations. The walls are daubed with messages concerning art, war and the rock band Led Zeppelin, while provocative sculptures sprout from practically every nook and cranny. See if you can find the clay skull housed in a toilet, a pair of nude busts, some giant feet and a fake missile, among others. Get a personal tour from Ronald and learn just how he’s curated his artworks while also courting controversy from conservative locals.
3. Stroll around the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. These peaceful landscaped gardens highlight hundreds of native species across a series of trails, including a rainbow-themed Colour Garden, an orchid garden which blooms in late spring and a longer woodland trail. Enjoy the abundant birdlife here and if you’re lucky you may even cross paths with the endangered blue iguana.
4. Go to Hell. Ever wanted to say that you’ve been to hell and back? Well, here’s your chance. That’s what the collection of black limestone peaks by Grand Cayman’s West Bay are called. These were formed some 24 million years ago by salt and lime deposits which jut out from the surrounding greenery. Be sure to send your loved ones a quick postcard from Hell before you depart.
5. Marvel at a remarkable natural phenomenon. Take a night time bioluminescent boat tour to Bio Bay to witness this natural wonder up close. The 20-minute boat tour gives you the option to also snorkel in calm waters where your visibility is increased ten-fold. The weather-dependant tour departs from the Cayman Islands Yacht Club near Seven Mile Beach.
Grand Cayman is the largest and most commercial island. The streets of its capital George Town are fairly thronged during the day but tend to empty out at night. If you can tear yourself away from the classy beach resorts here, you can treat yourself to some upscale dining, while away some hours in one of its laidback bars or splash out in its exclusive boutiques. Dine at the Wharf at a waterfront table where you can watch schools of tarpon fish while you chow down on its fresh international cuisine. Kickback with a White Tip beer, which funds conservation efforts around the local white tip sharks. Check out Bodden Town, the island’s original settlement for a taste of history. If you’re coming in spring don’t miss the annual CayMAS Carnival with its colourful street parade. Later in the year there’s plenty happening too, with Cayman Art Week, Cayman Restaurant Month, Cocktail Week and even a Pirate Festival.
Grand Cayman’s signature stretch of sands, Seven Mile Beach, is actually only five and a half miles long, but you won’t care about that when you’re lounging around on its brilliant white sand or wading into its warm waters. Most of the island’s resorts are clustered here for good reason but it remains open to the public to enjoy. At its heart lies Camana Bay, a lively waterfront village that’s home to world-class shopping, more than a dozen restaurants, bars, cafes and eateries. The mini town is fast attracting digital nomads as a vibrant place to work as a global business hub which lends it a certain youthful energy. Camana offers a 75-foot observation tower, a weekly Farmers & Artisans market where you can shop for unique souvenirs and the only footpath on Grand Cayman connecting the sea with the sound.
Next up comes Cayman Brac. Named after an imposing 153-foot bluff, Cayman Brac is a true rock climbers’ paradise, with a spectacular variety of terrain to appeal to adventure lovers. Ecotourism is the big draw here. Birdwatchers flock from across the globe to visit the island-wide nature sanctuary and spy on colonies of brown boobies, loggerhead kingbirds, viteline warblers and the endangered Cayman Brac parrot. Its dense vegetation includes red birch trees, yellow flowering Christmas flowers and the aptly-named ‘dildo cacti.’ You can also go diving for shipwrecks like the Russian-built koni class frigate, one of only a handful of Soviet wrecks in the western hemisphere and the only one that’s easy to get at.
Home to less than 200 people, Little Cayman is a bona fide island escape and easily one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean, where resident iguanas have right of way. The ideal place to disconnect from the world and simply enjoy its natural assets. Here you’ll find a dozen secluded beaches, numerous lagoons, mangrove forests, salt ponds and tropical forests strewn with orchids, including the world’s rarest, the ghost orchid. It’s especially reputed for its prime diving spots like Bloody Bay and Jackson’s Bight, while rare wildlife to spot here includes red footed boobies, lesser Caymans iguana, hawksbill sea turtles and West Indian whistling ducks.