The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. Made up of 3 islands (Grand Cayman, Little Caymand and Cayman Brac) it is best known for it’s beaches, diving and diverse wildlife. The island offers luxurious beach resorts in stunning locations. It’s laid back attitude, tropical climate and range of activities make it a fantastic holiday destination.
The Cayman islands are fairly easy to get to from Heathrow. BA and Virgin both offer indirect flights to Grand Cayman, stopping over in either the Bahamas or Miami. As with most of the Caribbean the best time to visit is during our winter, between November and April. These months see the least amount of rainfall and the most sun. However the rainy season is still a good option for budget conscious travelers, with rainfall mostly confined to just a few hours of the day.
So what is there to do in the Cayman Islands? We have listed our top picks below…
Go to the beach!
The Cayman islands are famous for their long, sandy beaches. The most popular is the 7 mile beach on Grand Cayman and is home to majority of the islands hotels and beach resorts. The white sandy beach is open to locals and tourists alike, it offers many beach bars, restaurants and even allows open grilling on the beach. Despite the name, 7 mile beach is actually measured at just over 6 miles.
If you want to get away from the crowds and relax on a more secluded beach you can head for one of the other two islands. Little Cayman for example has an idyllic little beach called ‘point of sand’. The island itself is only home to about 170 people, so you will have no trouble escaping the crowds!
See some sea turtles
Sea turtles are popular inhabitants of the Cayman Islands. The best place to guarantee seeing a sea turtle is at the Cayman Turtle Farm, a 23 acre marine park which is home to over 11,000 sea turtles. Here visitors have the chance to see, hold and even swim with the turtles in the salt water lagoon.
However where could be better to see the turtles than in their natural environment? Snorkelers can spot turtles all around Grand Cayman. There is no specific location to view the turtles as they spend their lives travelling around the island but sightings are common off most beaches.
One of the most amazing turtle related sights has got to be watching the turtles hatching. Every year between May and October the beaches of the Cayman Islands are visited by nesting sea turtles. Up to 300 nests a year are made under cover of darkness. When the turtles are ready to hatch they come up at night and make their way to the sea. This is an amazing sight to see, volunteers assist the turtles most nights in making their way to the sea.
The baby turtles spend several days digging their way up to the surface. This prepares their flippers and gives them the strength they need to swim in the sea’s.
Ship wreck diving
The Cayman Islands are a divers haven. There are snorkel and scuba dive sights suitable for all abilities across the islands. Sealife, coral reefs and shipwrecks offer endless opportunities for underwater exploration.
For most divers, the chance to explore a ship wreck is not to be missed. Luckily the Cayman Islands have many, which lie at depths ranging from 10 to 3000 feet below sea level. Some of these ships met their fate during hurricanes or tropical storms, others were purposefully sunk to create artificial reefs or dive sights. One of the most popular is the wreck of the USS Kittiwake (pictured above). The site is a designated Cayman Island national park and is just a short distance from George Town. The wreck lies 60 feet below sea level making it ideal for snorkeling, free diving or scuba diving.
Visit George town
George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands and home to approximately 28,000 people. It offers plenty of shopping opportunities from large shopping malls to duty free outlets, as well as a great restaurant scene. A visit to the Cayman Spirits Company is a popular place to spend the day, here visitors can take a behind the scenes tour of the distillery and learn how the local vodka’s and rum are made.
There is something for everyone in George Town. Those looking for some Caribbean culture can head to the Cayman Islands museum or art gallery. If your after wildlife, take a dolphin or whale watching tour. Or if you just want to unwind, take a stroll down to 7 mile beach and relax in one of it’s beachfront bars.
Stingray city is a shallow patch of water just north of Grand Cayman. Back in the days before tourism, fishermen used to unload excess fish and fish parts into the seas near the sandbar, the stingrays would gather to enjoy this meal. Although no longer visited by fisherman, the sandbar is still frequented by stingrays who are drawn by the noise of boats carrying tourists, knowing they will get fed.
The warm shallow waters are about waist deep and you can be sharing the sandbar with up to two dozen stingrays. The stingrays have built up a trust with humans over the years and will swim right up to you looking for food. You can swim with, feed and stroke the stingrays as they swim around you. This unique experience is not to be missed, it is a popular excursion so pre booking is recommended!
Go to Hell?
In the Cayman Islands you really can go to Hell. Hell being a small town on Grand Cayman, home to a unique limestone rock formation. The formations are grey/ black jagged rocks that take up an area almost half the size of a football pitch. The eerie features helped give the area the name Hell.
The locals have capitalised on their unique name by painting buildings bright red and providing novelty devil photo stands. Hell post office, Hell road and Hell gas station all offer fun photo opportunities for tourists.
As an added bonus you can send a ‘greetings from Hell’ postcard. Although slightly tacky this town would make a fun little addition to your time in the Cayman Islands!
Have you been to the Cayman Islands? Have somewhere to add to our list? Leave a comment below!