Things To Do In The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands truly are a hive of activity with something for everybody whether you are a thrill seeker or beach bum the islands will offer something for you!
Like any big cruise ship port-of-call, George Town hustles and bustles with duty-free shopping options. You’ll find the usual luxury culprits from Kosta Boda to Breitling and Cartier to Clarins at such elegant establishments as Kirk Freeport. Don’t overlook independent stores like Artifacts for stylish antiques like Spanish doubloons and maps, or Guy Harvey’s for the marine environmentalist’s artworks and signature logo merchandise. If you need a break, pop into the small but superlative Cayman Islands National Museum, set in the former gaol, which offers interactive natural history displays and cool animatronics bringing the islands’ rich history to life.
If you’re looking for a unique and thrilling experience while in Grand Cayman, then you can’t miss out on Stingray City. Located within the barrier reefs that surround the island, it is a large sandbar populated by different species of fish and, most famously, stingrays. What makes Stingray City the #1 activity on the island is the fact that the southern stingrays that inhabit the area are extremely friendly. These giant sea creatures are so used to human interactions, that they allow people to feed them, play with them, pet them, and take pictures with them. It is an experience unlike any other in the Caribbean!
The outdoor exhibits at the Cayman Turtle Centre tell the life story of the glorious green turtles, from hatchlings to lumbering leviathan senior citizens. A popular place to visit for families and you can easily spend the whole day here seeing the turtle enclosures, snorkelling in the lagoon and playing on the waterslides. Kids of all ages especially love the photo ops with the youngins at the touch tanks. But there’s more to the Turtle Centre than amphibians. Sharks glide menacingly through the Predator Reef, iguanas dart around their own enclosures, and colorful birds from around the Caribbean flit about the aviary. You can even sunbathe and snorkel at the artificial beach.
Spas in the Cayman Islands are world-renowned for their rejuvenating services, luxury atmospheres and array of relaxing treatments. Whatever spa you decide to visit in Cayman, you are bound to find a facial, body, or other treatment that suits your desires.
There are many wonderful spas in Grand Cayman that provide a great opportunity for you to treat yourself to some pampering or serenity. The Spa at the Kimpton Seafire boasts saunas, steam rooms and relaxation rooms, which can be used before and after your treatment. Tips ‘N’ Toes is one of Cayman’s luxury day spas offering one of the best mani-pedis available on-Island. The La Prairie Spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Seven Mile Beach offers facials with luxurious ingredients including gold, as well as a number of other featured treatments including a La Prairie Signature Caviar Massage. If you are looking for something a bit more affordable, Lux Spa & Salon offer amazing spa services at an affordable price, such as nail surfaces, massages, facials and waxing. In the Cayman Islands, there are a variety of different spa options suited to every income level and taste.
Birdwatchers will enjoy a literal field day on all three Cayman Islands. The multi-hued Cayman Brac parrot is the prize sighting; the Brac even set aside a Parrot Preserve amid an unspoiled tropical hardwood forest. But Grand Cayman features several areas such as the Mastic Reserve, Salina Reserve, and Colliers Pond in the less developed East End that attract over 120 migratory fowl species. And Little Cayman’s once-endangered red-footed booby population numbers 100 times that of its human residents. The Gladys B. Howard Little Cayman National Trust features viewing platforms replete with telescopes to admire the adjacent Booby Pond Nature Reserve, also home to majestic frigate birds, whose impressive wingspan enables their aerodynamic acrobatics.
Swimming bareback through Grand Caymans warm tranquil seas on our gentle well-trained horses is an experience unlike any other, virtually guaranteeing the adventure of a lifetime to be forever cherished. This is truly an experience unlike any other – for both you and the horse! After cantering along the seaside the highly experienced swimming horses absolutely love a dip in the ocean! The sensation of the gentle ocean across your back as you move as one with your horse through the sea is more therapeutic than any spa treatment. This will be the best tour you do during your entire Cayman Islands vacation!
Food & Drink
Food is an important part of the Cayman Islands experience, evident by the fact that the region holds the deserving title of ‘culinary capital of the Caribbean.’
Grand Cayman alone boasts in excess of two hundred restaurants serving local and international cuisine, so unwinding with a good meal can range from chic five-star dining to freshly caught fish prepared straight off the boat. Numerous restaurants can be found along the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, with the others dotted all over the island. For a truly authentic experience, try the freshly caught fish and seafood and dine outdoors under the stars.
The farm to table movement is important to Cayman and warmly embraced by restaurants and kitchens all across the three islands. Many of the establishments even have their own garden and fishing boat to ensure the food that they are preparing is not only fresh but features the best that Cayman agriculture has to offer. Cayman Cabana in George Town, for example, hosts a weekly ‘ocean to table’ dinner in collaboration with local farmers and fishermen. Le Soleil d’Or in Cayman Brac go one step further and, not only serve fresh farm-grown produce in their restaurant, but they use it in their spa products too. The edible facial is not to be missed!
As well as being served in restaurants, the produce of Cayman is also sold at farmers’ markets both in its original form and in the form of jams, jellies, ice cream and sauces. Red pepper jelly and guava jam are firm favourites.
Travel off the beaten track and take a tour of Cayman’s breathtaking Crystal Caves. Expert guides will accompany you through the Grand Cayman Crystal Caves as they share interesting facts about the remarkable formation process that is responsible for creating spectacular stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures, as well as otherworldly formations. The crystal caverns are situated within lush tropical vegetation overflowing with a wide variety of captivating plant and wildlife species, including strangler balsam trees, air plants, parrots, and bats. Hundreds of years ago, Pirates used these caves as hideouts, and also as shelters from the elements, including hurricanes. Legend has it that there are pirate treasures buried in some of these caves.
Among Cayman Brac’s many natural wonders are its plentiful caves. In fact, you could happily spelunk your way across the island. Start by crawling through the entrance of Nani’s Cave and shine your headlamp or flashlight around to see the incredible formations inside the cavern’s belly. Or enjoy the natural light that floods various openings at the Bat Cave, where vines drape through as if arranged by a genius cave stylist. If you’re feeling daring, wander into the darker corners of the Bat Cave to find the resident black fruit bats, who—chances are—will be calmly sleeping upside-down.
Diving & Snorkeling
Coral reefs and coral formations encircle each island and are filled with marine life, which scuba divers and snorkelers are forbidden by law to disturb (so enjoy the underwater views, but don’t touch the coral).
The full diving scene in the Cayman Islands could fill a book, or several. If you’re a serious diver, pick up one of the comprehensive divers’ guidebooks. It’s easy to dive close to shore, so boats aren’t necessary, although plenty of diving boats are available. For certain excursions, we recommend a trip with a qualified dive master. Many dive shops offer rentals, but they won’t rent you scuba gear or supply air unless you have a card from one of the international diving schools, such as NAUI or PADI. Hotels also rent diving equipment to their guests who are certified divers, and will arrange snorkeling and scuba-diving trips.