Most seasoned travelers have heard of the Cayman Islands, and yet not all have enjoyed a visit. This year is the perfect time to introduce yourself to this unique group of islands that are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Tucked into the Caribbean, they include three main islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac).
The Cayman Islands are, like all other Caribbean Islands, unique. They are mostly low lying with just central bluffs rather than mountains. They have amazing beaches and coral reefs, and Grand Cayman takes its name from being the largest of the three. Surprisingly enough, Cayman Brac is the next biggest, and Little Cayman is the smallest. The islands have no rivers or lakes, though mangrove swamps are quite prevalent on the islands.
All three islands typically promise travelers a comfortable tropical climate all year long, and native food sources are abundant with banana and mango groves numbering equally to citrus groves. The islands are home to mahogany forests and some unusual palms, and a variety of indigenous species, including beautiful green sea turtles, different kinds of lizards, and many birds.
So, you can start to understand why travelers have flocked to the islands for many centuries, and today it is also known as an international banking and finance hub, which is why there are so many excellent luxury rentals available to travelers.
In fact, the Cayman Islands are such a great spot for a holiday that Reader’s Digest said they “tick all of the boxes you’d expect of a Caribbean getaway, and that there is more to the area “sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and classic rum cocktails.” They point out that the food served in most restaurants is of the “locally-grown, meticulously-prepared” kind and that its beaches and waters are some of the finest in the world.
Where to stay in the Cayman Islands?
First and foremost is to book yourself one of the many luxury Cayman villas. You’ll find them in spots as diverse as Boden Town, Cayman Kai, East End, West Bay and more. Most, like White Cottage, Stepping Stone, and Oceanus sit right along the sand. They will place you near to town and surround you with luxuries as diverse as a household staff (including private chef), as well as indoor and outdoor living spaces, private pools and terraces, and much more.
What to do on Grand Cayman?
Then it is time to begin enjoying the many world-class experiences that the Cayman Islands offer, including:
- Starfish Point – Note as an ideal spot to sunbathe, it is more appropriate if your goal is to swim with starfish. As one expert explained, the “warm, crystal-clear waters just off the shore play host to hordes of colorful starfish that trawl the shallows in search of food. These fascinating five-legged creatures don’t seem to mind sharing their habitat with curious beachcombers, so long as they’re left under the water’s surface”. You might also pay a visit Stingray City and swim among the lovely and elegant rays that call it home.
- Rum Point – This is a Grand Cayman favorite and close to Starfish Point, making it a perfect part of your itinerary. It is home to some of the best mudslides on the island (and claims to be the source of the recipe), though it is also popular for its picnics. Cayman Kai is also home to beach bars, Kaibo and The Wreck.
- Seven Mile Beach – Another Grand Cayman destination, this is the spot for those who want to experience one of the best beaches in the world. It is less than seven miles in length, an often quite crowded, but its silky sands and flawless waters will make even the avid non-sea swimmer a sudden beach fan. Those who visit in the winter may also want to see if the famous Cayman Cookout is going on at the beach.
- Crystal Caves – Located at Old Many Bay on Grand Cayman, these are not for everyone (but even if going underground is not your thing, it is well worth trying for the amazing sights to be found). The Crystal Caves are just that – natural caves full of calcium-based crystals. There are stalactites and stalagmites to enjoy, and it is even rumored that the caverns are home to an undiscovered pirate’s treasure.
- Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park – Yet another Grand Cayman site, it is home to authentically endangered and indigenous species, including the massive Cayman Blue Iguanas. Described as “as close as it gets to a real-life dragon,” these were once almost extinct but have started to recover (transitioning from a population of three to more than 700). The park is also home to an annual Orchid Show every February and one that is noted for its amazing array of blooms.
- Shops at Camana Bay – While we might not usually identify a specific spot to do some shopping, this Grand Cayman destination consistently gets thumbs’ up from its visitors. It is in the George Town area and covers hundreds of acres. It has scores of shops and eateries, a weekly farmer’s market, and is home to the West Indies Winery. NOTE: If you are eager for the very best sunset views while on Grand Cayman, it will be from the quirky and appealing Observation Tower built here in the center of the shopping area. Over 75 feet tall, it has a great Top Deck designed for a flawless sunset photo.
- Cayman Turtle Center – Learn all about the adorable green Cayman Turtles and experience their touch tanks. There are also lots of observation areas with a Predator Reef full of sharks, lots of iguanas and birds to discover, and more.
- Cayman Brac’s Limestone Bluff – As luxury rentals explained, the bluff “rises 140 feet at its highest point on the island’s northeastern tip. Intrepid rock climbers have long considered the Brac one of the world’s leading exotic challenges.” Today, however, you can work with expert climbers and outfitters that can help you experience and succeed at the challenge. Don’t forget a visit to Skull Cave while on Cayman Brac.
There is so much more to see and do in the Cayman Islands, so why not get a start on doing so this year and find out exactly why so many have loved traveling to this part of the Caribbean for centuries.