The Cayman Islands are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea approximately ninety miles south of Cuba.
Grand Cayman is by far the largest, the most populous, and the most visited. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, together referred to as the Sister Islands, are remote, rural, and sparsely populated.
The great majority of visitors arrive by cruise ship to spend the day in Georgetown or doing activities elsewhere in Grand Cayman. Those who vacation in Cayman often come for excellent scuba diving or for the white sands, turquoise waters, and exclusive hotels of Seven Mile Beach.
The Cayman Islands function as a self-governing British Overseas Territory. George Town is the capital and with only 20 000 people, is the largest settlement in the islands.
George Town - the islands' capital city, the largest settlement, and the hub of commerce and tourism. It is also the location of the main ferry port. Its population is approximately 20 000 inhabitants with as many as 10 000 to 15 000 thousand additional cruise ship visitors and tourists on busy days. George Town has a small, historical downtown area with a number of attractions, shopping areas, and restaurants within a few minutes' walk from the ferry port.
Seven Mile Beach - a long stretch of white sand beach, calm turquoise waters, and exclusive luxury hotels. There are also shops and restaurants across the street. The beach itself is public and can be accessed through marked "public beach access" paths if you are not staying at one of the hotels.
West Bay - The region north of George Town on the west side of the island. Home to many Caymanian residents as well as popular tourist attractions like the Turtle Farm and the Dolphin Discovery.
Bodden Town - A smaller settlement on the south side of the island.
East End - The farthest east region of the island. Sparsely populated and home to a few resorts.
North Side - The north shore of the island, west of Frank Sound Road. Home to beachside cottage mansions, a few resorts and restaurants, and a few tourist destinations including Rum Point and Starfish point.
Cayman Brac -
Little Cayman -
The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries. Administered by Jamaica from 1863, they remained a British dependency after 1962 when the former became independent.
In addition to banking,the islands have no direct taxation, making them a popular incorporation site, tourism is a mainstay, aimed at the luxury market and catering mainly to visitors from North America.
Total tourist arrivals exceeded 2.19 million in 2006, although the vast majority of visitors arrive for single day cruise ship visits (1.93 million). About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported.
The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world. The Cayman Islands are one of the richest islands not only in the Caribbean but in the world.
Tropical marine. Warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, Great vacation spot, relatively dry winters (November to April). In 2004 the Cayman Islands, and especially Grand Cayman, were hit hard by Hurricane Ivan.
Low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs. Highest point: The Bluff on Cayman Brac, at 43m (141 ft).
Travellers can visit without a visa from dozens of exemption countries. Entry is typically granted for up to 30 days.
Owen Roberts International Airport is a small international airport just outside George Town. It has one runway and one terminal, and all flights in and out of Cayman pass through it. Connecting flights to the sister islands pass through it as well.
- Air Canada provides North American service to Toronto-Pearson.
- American Airlines provides North American service to Miami Int.
- British Airway provides Caribbean service to Nassau, The Bahamas and European service to London-Heathrow.
- Cayman Airways provides domestic service to the Sister Islands (Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman) Caribbean service to Havana, Kingston, Montego Bay, year round North American service to Miami Int., Dallas/Fort Worth, Tampa, New York JFK, and seasonally to Chicago-O’Hare, and Washington-Dulles, and Central American service to La Ceiba, Honduras.
- Delta Airlines provides North American service to Atlanta and seasonal service to Detroit-Metro, New York JFK, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
- JetBlue Airways provides North American service to New York JFK, and Boston-Logan.
- United Airlines provides North American service to Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, and Washington-Dulles.
- US Airways provides North American service to Charlotte, and seasonally to Boston-Logan, Washington DC, and Philadelphia.
- WestJet provides North American weekly service to Toronto-Pearson.
Taxis are easily available with fixed rates to all island areas. Hotels are not allowed courtesy shuttles. They are planning to expand the airport.
So far all they have improved is the parking lot. Note that it can take an hour to get through security and Immigration even though the part of the line you see from outside looks short.
Taxis to the Seven Mile Beach hotels are $19.75. To save money you could take the taxis to the George Town bus depot and ride Bus 1 or 2 they will guide you to the correct bus for $2.50 per person. They are the same Toyota vans.
Cruise ships anchor offshore and tender passengers to the harbor dock by downtown George Town. George Town is a very popular port of call and is included by many cruise lines in "Western Caribbean" itineraries.
There is no ferry service or public boat transportation to or from Grand Cayman.
Driving in Cayman
Cayman driving is on the left hand side of the road, which can be confusing and disorienting for people used to driving on the right. '"Drive on the left, look to the right!" In addition to keeping oriented yourself, remember that other foreigners may make mistakes and end up on the wrong side of the road, especially when entering and exiting parking lots or single lane undivided roads.
Grand Cayman also has many single or double lane roundabouts that may be unfamiliar to tourists in North America. When entering a roundabout, always yield to approaching vehicles. Don't go in front of them! If you are exiting at the next exit, keep to the outside lane.
If you are continuing to the next exit, keep to the inside lane. Some roundabouts also have double lane exiting, which can be a little confusing. The most important thing to avoid is driving on the outside lane and failing to exit, as someone might try to pass in front of you, expecting that you will be exiting alongside them!
Distances and speed limits are marked in miles.
Police roadblocks are not uncommon. They may wave you through, check license and registration, or screen for drinking and driving. Unlike some other Caribbean destinations, negotiating or bribing is not expected.
Rentals are generally safe, reliable, and readily available. You must be 21 years old to rent a car. Seatbelt use is mandatory. Tourists who wish to drive on island must obtain a temporary local license called a visitor's permit by showing their home driver's license and paying a $16 CI fee.
Rental agencies offer this service onsite. Visitors who plan to borrow a vehicle from a friend or relative need to get a permit from the police station or the Department of Vehicle and Driver's Licensing.
Taxis are safe, reliable, and easy to find. There are various companies. Any marked cab is fine. Sample rates ($CI):
Seven mile beach to the airport: $20-25 Seven mile beach to East end: $75-100
If you don't mind the heat or the sun, walking is a perfectly good way to get around Georgetown or the Seven Mile strip. Most populated areas have sidewalks and the island is quite safe for pedestrians practicing common sense e.g. avoiding walking alone at night in deserted areas wearing expensive looking jewelry.
Pedestrians may find it confusing or unsettling that they are honked at frequently while walking. This is quite typical here and it's not a sign of anger from drivers! While there are designated bus stops, busses that look like small vans are usually just flagged down by pedestrians walking along the road. So the honking is simply a "heads up" that a bus is approaching, in case you were hoping to take one.
Getting around by bike is not particularly common in Cayman, but it is possible. There are bike lanes in a handful of areas. Elsewhere, drivers are generally courteous and accepting of bicycles, but they generally share the road with slow moving or faster moving traffic.
Grand Cayman Public Bus Transport, Edward St. next to the library, Georgetown. Licensed buses are identified by blue licence plates. Daily service starts at 6AM from the depot and the schedule is as follows from George Town to:
Bus routes traveling through George Town
George Town to West Bay.
George Town to West Bay.
service between the depot in George Town and Bodden Town
service between the depot and East End.
service between North Side and East End.
service between North Side and West Bay.
George Town inter district service.
service between the depot to Hutland in North Side.
service between George Town through Frank Sound North Side.
The Commonwealth variety of English is the official written language and the local creole is spoken by virtually everyone. Native Caymanians have a pleasant and unique accent with many charming turns of phrase. For example, in Cayman rumours are not heard "through the grapevine", instead they're heard "along the marl road". Locals pronounce Cayman as Kay-MAN, and not KAY-min.
Cayman Islands National Museum, Harbour Drive, George Town. Phone: 345-949-8368, Fax: 345-949-0309. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-2PM. $4/$2.
Ft. George remains, Harbour Dr. and Fort St., George Town. Remains of a 1790 fort built to protect the harbor.
Cayman Maritime Treasure Museum, North Church St., George Town. Boat building, turtling and pirates. $5/$3.
Hell, West Bay. This is a common tour stop, often shrugged at by those who go there. It consists of black volcanic rock formations that are thought to resemble what Hell might be like. You can get postcards postmarked there, and there are a couple of gift shops selling all the Hell-themed souvenirs imaginable.
Boatswain’s Beach, formerly the Cayman Turtle Farm, is a 24-acre marine park. The world’s only commercial Green Sea Turtle farm, it is home to over 16,000 sea turtles, ranging in size from six ounces to six hundred pounds and now even houses an alligator.
Boatswain’s Beach features a 1.3 Million Gallon Saltwater Snorkel Lagoon where visitors can swim with turtles and other marine life; a Predator Tank (viewable by snorkelers)is filled with sharks and huge turtles; an Aviary and Iguana sanctuary; a Nature Trail and “Blue Hole” Sunken Cave, turtle farm tours with full access around the breeding ponds; Caymanian Heritage Street with porch-side artisans and crafts and restaurants featuring classic and contemporary Caymanian cuisine;a large pool with a waterfall and a state of the art research and educational facility focusing on the conservation of sea turtles. $12.
Pedro St. James Castle, Savannah. Phone: 345-947-3329. This 1780 stone structure, surrounded by a preserve, has hourly multimedia shows.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, North Side. . Daily 9AM-6:60PM. Much to see here, with a visitor center, short walking trail, endemic blue iguanas, and a c. 1900 Cayman farmhouse and sand garden. Adults $6, age 6-12 $3.50.
Camana Bay. A small area near Georgetown featuring a mix of shopping, restaurants, outdoor art, and public space.
National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Local artwork by Caymanian artists.
Stingray City is Cayman's most popular attraction and really a unique experience where you can see, touch, and even hold a stingray! The "city" is a sandbar near a channel in Cayman's barrier reef. Historically, fisherman used to come to the sandbar to clean the fish they had caught throughout the day.
They threw the unwanted bits overboard, which started attracting stingrays. Eventually, this practice grew and became a tourist activity. The stingrays live in the ocean and are technically wild animals, but they have become quite accustomed to people and they flock to the area looking for squid handouts from guides and visitors.
In case you think stingrays sound dangerous, don't worry. They do have a scary-looking barb near the tail, but they aren't going to use it on you. Stingray injuries mainly occur when an unsuspecting beach-goer steps on a sleeping stingray hidden in the sand at the water's edge.
The standard advice is simply to shuffle your feet to avoid stepping on one by accident. Many tour operators run boat rides to Stingray City, sometimes in combination with other activities like snorkelling or sailing.
What is coral? Coral looks like underwater rocks or plants, but it is actually a collection of tiny animals!
Why does coral matter? Coral reefs are extremely biodiverse and they play an important part in the health of the oceans and the planet!
How are coral reefs doing? Sorry to say, but the coral reefs of the world are not doing so well. Global warming and interference from humans has caused measurable damage to reefs in Cayman and around the world.
How to protect the reefs? The number one rule is don't stand on the coral! Corals are extremely fragile and if every visitor broke off a little piece here and there, the whole reef would be demolished soon enough. Avoid wearing sunscreen when snorkelling or choose reef-safe products.
In terms of eco-friendliness, Cayman is quite behind other developed countries. Tourism dollars have a huge influence in Cayman, so show your support for environmentally-conscious products and tour groups!
All shoreline and beaches on Cayman are considered property. Even in areas with luxurious resort hotels, the beaches are for everyone's use. Many areas have marked "public beach access" paths leading from the road to the beach in between private properties or hotels.
Beaches are not supervised by lifeguards. They vary in terms of amenities. Some have docks, benches, bathrooms, picnic shelters, and fresh water showers and others are less maintained.
- Seven Mile Beach. The most popular beach in Cayman. A miles long section of white sand beach north of Georgetown.
Cemetary Beach. Technically a portion of Seven Mile Beach. North of the main tourist areas.
Governor's Beach. Another section of Seven Mile Beach, near the main hotels.
Smith's Barcadere. A small beach with fine sand, shady trees, and a bit of surf most days. Popular with locals and snorkellers.
Spotts Beach. A small beach area sheltered from the waves by the coral of the barrier reef.
Cayman's got a barrier reef too, and it's a scuba diver's dream! If you are already certified, there are plenty of options for offshore diving or a spot on a dive boat. There are also options for "try it out" fun dives for beginners that don't require any certification.
- Living the Dream Georgetown
- Deep Blue Divers George Town,.
- Sunset Divers at Sunset House, South Sound.
- Red Sail Sports, Seven Mile Beach.
- Don Foster's Dive Cayman Islands,
- Ocean Frontiers, East End,
- Liz's Awesome Fun Bay, North Side.
Want to take your first look at sea life? You'll need a mask, a snorkel tube, and a pair of fins. Many dive shops rent gear, or if you join an organized snorkel tour they will provide you with some. It takes a little getting used to, but you can see lots of neat fish without venturing far from the beach, so give it a go! Don't feed the fish! Some people think it's cute, but it's actually unhealthy food for them, plus it trains them to chase tourists looking for a handout. And watch out: the chubs bite!
- Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto - Some of the best snorkelling in Cayman, right from shore, right downtown. Enter behind Eden Rock Dive shop. (They also do rentals and tours.) Ladder entry off ironshore. You can see a few things in the water right near shore, but the best is 50-100 yards out, near the buoys.
- Smith's Barcadere - Here you can walk right in off the beach. Snorkel along the shore to the right or the left from the entrance.
- Spott's Beach - Not near Georgetown, but easy to get to if you have a car. Entry off the beach and snorkel along the barrier reef. Depending on the tides, it can be shallow. Watch out that you don't kick the coral! You can often see turtles grazing among the turtle grass here.
- Nautilus Undersea Tours, 2 state-of-art air-conditioned 80 ft. semi-submersible vessels take you on tour of shipwrecks and reefs offshore in Georgetown. Snorkling is also available. Launch from Rackmans Pub. Short walk from Cruise ship docks".
- Atlantis Adventures, South Church Street, George Town Harbor, Phone: 345-949-7700. See the reefs from a 48-person submarine.
- Batabano, the Grand Cayman carnival, occurs near the end of April or early May. Batabano is a weekend of live steel band music, revelers parading the streets in colorful costumes, and eating exotic foods. Cayman Brac holds a celebration called "Brachanal" the next Saturday after Grand Cayman's.
- Pirates Week Festival, George Town with events country-wide, Mid-November . Fireworks, "pirate landings", street dancing, heritage day events in Cayman towns, more.
- Gimistory: The Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival Country-wide,3456-949-4519. November.
- Cayfest: The Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts. Celebration of local arts, crafts, music, dance, drama etc. Contact CNCF: 345-949-5477 Fax: 345-949-4519. April
- Nicki's Beach Rides,
- Honey Suckle Trail Rides,
- Pampered Ponies Ltd,
Owing to generally flat terrain, there's not a lot of hiking to do. However, the island maintains one cross country path called the Mastic Trail. The trail is well signed, and guided tours are available.
Other Sites and Activities
- Dolphin Discovery Across from Boatswain's Beach, people are allowed to swim with dolphins
- Cayman Crystal Caves, 69 North Sound Road, Old Man Bay. $40 USD 90 minute tour of three cave sites on the North Shore of Cayman. Easy accessible and very interesting!.
Silver Thatch Excursions, Eco-tourism award winning biologist Geddes Hislop. Walking tours and eco-tours to the rainforest, or historical tours.
The Cayman Island's dollar (KYD) is the ninth highest valued currency unit on the globe and the highest-valued dollar unit; be careful and always know if you're paying in CI or US dollars!
Since 1972 the Cayman Islands has its own currency, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1 equals US$1.25. Or, the US dollar equals CI $.80.
In November 2014, KYD1 = USD1.22 (the inverse conversion was USD1 = KYD0.82).
The US dollar is ubiquitous and typically accepted by hotels, restaurants, and shops at the rate of one US Dollar for every 80 Cayman Islands cents, with change usually given in Cayman Island dollars.
Most shopping is in George Town and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.
- Caymanite is the Cayman Islands' own semi-precious stone.
- Black Coral is often used in jewellery here.
- Rum cake from Tortuga Rum Company is very popular with visitors to Grand Cayman.
- There are many tourist shops where you can buy t-shirts, hats, postcards, and much more. Don't buy any seashells though; beachcombing is much more fun, and cheaper.
- Cayman Sea Salt
- Cayman Logwood products
Almost everything must be imported and is subject to a 20% import tax (sometimes higher, depending on the product); food and other items are relatively expensive.
The culinary influences of many regions are reflected in Cayman cuisine. Local specialties such as fish, turtle, and conch are delicious and often less expensive as they don't need to be imported. With more than 150 restaurants, unwinding with a good meal in the Cayman Islands can include chic five-star dining as well as a more casual venue under the stars, or even a themed event.
From traditional Caymanian seafood to Caribbean to Thai to Italian and New World cuisine, discerning diners are sure to find something to fit their taste. Other exciting options include dinner cruises on luxury catamarans and even an authentic tall ship. Meal prices range from $10 to well over $30 per person at high-end restaurants.
While in Cayman ask your taxi driver for their favorite local Jerk Stand (a MUST try), and also ask them the tourist spot they suggest. A decent amount of Gluten Free, Organic, and Kosher Foods are available at local supermarkets, contact the Jewish community of Cayman for Shabbat Dinners.
Finding budget food on the Cayman islands can sometimes be a challenge as the cost of living is higher than most other countries including the united states. Most restaurants are expensive. However, there are still a few options for charming casual places to eat. Rackams is a local favourite for the scuba divers on the island thanks to its free chicken wings on a Friday night.
Food can be expensive on Grand Caymen, even for fast-food.
Rackams waterfront Restaurant & Bar, 93, N. Church Street, Georgetown, Grand Cayman., Phone: 345-945-3860,www.rackams.com, . Beautiful restaurant with very friendly staff right on the water front only 5 minutes walk from George town ferry terminal. best bar on the island to catch the sun set. great value for money
SeaHarvest (at Sunset House), South Church St.. Spectacular Seafood and East and West Indian dishes Great value, menus on website. $10-$28.
Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fort Street, George Town, (across from Senor Frogs) Contemporary International, Menu changes daily. Great dishes- Lobster bisque in cognac cream and lobster quesadillas. Excellent Service. $10-29
Breezes By the Bay!, Downtown George Town, Phone: 345-943-VIEW (943-8439). Two decks, right on the waterfront, Casual, fun Caribbean food & "Umbrella Drinks"!
Casanova's by the Sea, Georgetown, Awesome Italian food, right on the water. Romantic.
Chicken! Chicken!, West Shore Centre, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Slow roasted and inexpensive.
CIMBOCO - a Caribbean Cafe, Seven Mile Beach (next to the Marquee Cinema). Ecclectic, Caribbean Cafe with Exhibition Kitchen; reasonably priced, local spot, all from scratch.
Corita's Copper Kettle 1 & 2, Edward St or 32 Town Hall Rd West Bay, Reasonably priced, tasty Caymanese food by the friendly Corita Mendoza. Recommend the turtle stew.
Cracked Conch by the Sea, N. West Point Rd.,next to Turtle Farm, West Bay Good family restaurant with a nautical theme. $10-$28.
Hemingway's, Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Outdoor fine dining. $20-$30.
Lone Star Bar & Grill, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Tex-Mex, burgers and steaks. $17-$28.
Portofino's, East End by the ocean,Beautiful site, view of the famous "Wreck of the Ten Ships", casual, friendly family atmosphere. Cayman style cuisine: jerk chicken, excellent fish, mixed drinks. $4.50-$28.
Neptune's, Trafalgar Place, West Bay Rd., West Bay, Great food and not overly fancy. $10-$30.
Reef Grill at Royal Palms, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach. Indoor and outdoor dining. Great views of Seven Mile Beach and great seafood dishes. $20-$30.
Tukka, 898 Queens Highway, East End, Oceanside gem in the east end. Vegetarian friendly. 10-40.
Ye Old English Bakery, Harbour Dr., George Town, Breakfast and lunch. Cash only. Try the scones. Internet available.
The Sunshine Grill, 1465 Esterly Tibbetts Highway, Seven Mile Beach. Great food, reasonably priced, great staff. Hidden behind the Sunshine Suites Resort $10-$20.
Alcohol is expensive on the islands, even from the liquor stores.
Typical drink prices in bars and clubs range from KYD4-7 (USD5-8.75).
Liquor stores close at 22:00, and are mostly closed on Sundays.
Visitors flying into the Cayman Islands are able to bring either 1 bottle of duty free spirits, 4 bottles of wine or champagne, or one 12 pack of beer per person 18 years of age or older. Exceeding this duty allowance will result in substantial taxation to the excess items.
A variety of local drinking establishments range in price and consumer base yet all preserve a sense of Island flair. Rackams Waterfront Has the cheapest beer on the island each night during happy hour. And they have a reputation for the coldest beers too.
Being right on the waterfront its a great place to catch a sunset.
My Bar at Sunset House, South Church St, George Town, Infamous open aired, thatch roof bar. Rated Best in the Caribbean by Caribbean Travel & Life.
Coconut Joes, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach. Phone: Grand Cayman's liveliest outdoor restaurants and bars.
Pirates Den Pub & Restaurant, Galleria Plaza, Seven Mile Beach, English pub type. Good place to kick back and watch sports.
Billy Bones, West Bay Rd, Treasure Island Resort,. Cayman's most exciting and relaxing outdoor bars. Dine surrounded by palm trees with the sound of a cascading waterfall in the background.
Legendz, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Extremely popular, busy sportsbar with a variety of entertainment.
Fidel Murphy's Irish Pub, Queens Court, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the only traditional Irish pub in the Cayman Islands.
Sapphire Lounge, Seven Mile Shops, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, The only true martini lounge on the Island. Try any one of the 130 unique creations of martinis or any one of the 225 cocktails.
O Bar, Queens Court, 2nd floor, Seven Mile Beach,Open earlier than many other clubs, the O attracts a young, trendy crowd.
Next Level, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Very popular nightclub on the island.
The Attic, Queens Court, 2nd floor, Seven Mile Beach
Corner Pocket, Allista Towers, 2nd floor, George Town, One of the few billiard halls.
Accommodations are ample but tend to be relatively expensive, even on the two smaller islands. There are several luxury resorts with all amenities, as well as other less expensive options. In addition, the cost of food and drink is high in Cayman, but many visitors stay in condominiums with kitchen facilities and take advantage of the first class supermarkets and cook and barbecue on the beach.
Cayman is not known for all inclusive resorts, but there are two smaller Caribbean style properties that do offer this option.
The majority of hotels and resorts are in Grand Cayman, where the main hotel "strip" is Seven Mile Beach, home to several major chain hotels and numerous condominiums. Seven Mile Beach is a public beach, so you are able to walk the entire length of the beach.
Off Seven Mile Beach are several dive resorts and, in the Eastern Districts, numerous private homes and villas, as well as several resorts and attractions for those preferring a more tranquil vacation.
Little Cayman focuses on dive vacations and has a unique charm, as well as some of the best diving anywhere.
Camping is illegal on all three islands at all times. There are no campsites on any of the islands.
Lodging is expensive on Grand Cayman, but Vacation Rentals are a cheaper option.
Jeff's Resorts, 27 Elizabeth St., West Bay, 3 seperate 2 bedroom units.
Eldemire's B&B Guest House, 18 Pebbles Way, off S. Church St., George Town,Six rooms.
Rocky Shore Guest House, 30 Grass Piece La., West Bay, Four rooms, with two of them sharing baths.
Aqua Bay Club Ocean Front Condos on Seven Mile Beach West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Offers 21 oceanfront apartments. $275-$625.
Sunshine Suites Resort, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach,
Compass Point Dive Resort, Austin Conolly Drive, East End/
The Retreat at Lookout, 521 Lookout Road, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman. Rates starting at $90/night including full Caribbean breakfast.
Cayman Calypso Villa East End, John McLean Drive, East End, Sleeps 8, 3.5 bathrooms $285-$650.
Grand Cayman Beach Suites (formerly Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman), West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach
Sun Cloud Grand Cayman, Rum Point Drive, Grand Cayman, Luxury oceanfront vacation rental villa. 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 12, Private Pool.
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, 389 West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Centrally located on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach.
Reef Resort, 1 Queens Highway, East End, Colliers Bay. An all-beachfront luxury resort located on a quiet side of the island. Watersports, diving, world class snorkelling, pool facilities and its private patio views.
Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach
The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman, Seven Mile Beach.
Grand Cayman has growing offshore banking and tourism sectors. Tourism represents about 60% of the economy. About 30% of residents are expatriates working on "work permits" and unemployment is very low.
Cayman has a very low crime rate, especially involving tourists. Walking at night (even alone) is quite safe, and even petty theft is quite rare. Something like a wallet or an iPhone might be a temptation, but leaving items like a beach bag, towel, shoes, etc, on the beach should be no problem. The local police are reliable. Dial 911 for emergencies.
Hurricanes are rare but do occur. Hurricane season is June through November. The main risk is property damage.
Gay visitors can expect the same levels of hospitality and service as any other visitor, but should expect some hesitation from older Caymanians. Young Caymanians are very liberal and for the most part, won't care either way. Public displays of affection are generally discouraged, even for straight couples.
Health care services (both standard and emergency) are very good and hospital standards are on-par with any other major health care facility in the USA or Europe.
Many locals won't eat barracuda because it is likely that it is poisonous. Be aware of that. Other reef fish (groupers, amberjack, red snappers, eel, sea bass, and Spanish mackerel) are not likely to cause ciguatera (fish poisoning).
No natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies are met by desalination plants and rainwater catchments.
Make sure you have sunscreen on if you plan on walking around town. It is sunny all year.
Caymanians are very respectful and well known for being a very welcoming people. Greetings and pleasantries are common and expected, even to shopkeepers when entering their stores. Most islanders use titles of respect, such as Mr. and Miss, followed with the given or first name, when addressing other islanders.
It is not uncommon on Grand Cayman island to hear the question "Who you fa?" (hoo – yoo – fah) It's part of the local dialect that means “Who you belongs ta?” Definition: 1. Who are you, and who are your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.
One of Grand Cayman's main attractions is Seven Mile Beach, site of a number of the island's hotels and resorts. Named one of the Ultimate Beaches by Caribbean Travel and Life, Seven Mile Beach is on the western shore of Grand Cayman Island. It is a public property and possible to walk the full length of the beach, past all the hotels, resorts, and public beach bars.
Historical sites in Grand Cayman, such as Pedro St James Castle in Savannah, also attract visitors.Tourists also visit the Sister Islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
Stingrays pass each other at Stingray City sandbar off Grand Cayman Island
All three islands offer scuba diving, and the Cayman Islands are home to several snorkelling locations where tourists can swim with stingrays. The most popular area to do this is Stingray City, Grand Cayman. Stingray City is a top attraction in Grand Cayman and originally started in the 1980s, when divers started feeding squid to stingrays. The stingrays started to associate the sound of the boat motors with food, and thus visit this area year round.
There are two shipwrecks off the shores of Cayman Brac, including the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts;Grand Cayman also has several shipwrecks off its shores, including one deliberate one. On 30 September 1994 the USS Kittiwake was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register.
In November 2008 her ownership was transferred for an undisclosed amount to the government of the Cayman Islands, which had decided to sink the Kittiwake in June 2009 to form a new artificial reef off Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Following several delays, the ship was finally scuttled according to plan on 5 January 2011.
The Kittiwake has become a dynamic environment for marine life. While visitors are not allowed to take anything, there are endless sights. Each of the five decks of the ship offers squirrelfish, rare sponges, Goliath groupers, urchins, and more. Experienced and beginner divers are invited to swim around the Kittiwake.
Pirates Week, an annual 11-day November festival, was started in 1977 by Jim Bodden, then Minister of Tourism, to boost tourism during the country's tourism slow season.
Other Grand Cayman tourist attractions include the Ironshore landscape of Hell, the 23-acre (93,000 m2) marine theme park Boatswain's Beach, also home of the Cayman Turtle Farm, the production of gourmet sea salt, and the Mastic Trail, a hiking trail through the forests in the centre of the island. The National Trust for the Cayman Islands provides guided tours weekly on the Mastic Trail and other locations.
Another attraction to visit on Grand Cayman is the Observation Tower, located in Camana Bay. The Observation Tower is 75 feet tall and provides 360-degree views across Seven Mile Beach, George Town, the North Sound, and beyond. It is free to the public and climbing the tower has become a popular thing to do in the Cayman Islands.
Points of interest include the East End Light (sometimes called Gorling Bluff Light), a lighthouse at the east end of Grand Cayman island. The lighthouse is the centrepiece of East End Lighthouse Park, managed by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands; the first navigational aid on the site was the first lighthouse in the Cayman Islands.