The Cayman Islands are renowned as an offshore, financial center, a playground for the rich and famous to indulge in luxury on an idyllic Caribbean island, while cruise ships dock in the ports and visitors fill the duty-free shopping malls.
The Cayman Islands are all of those things, but Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands that make up this overseas, British Territory, is much more than that too.
There is beautiful, island scenery to explore, hiking trails in the jungle, incredible natural sights to see and one of the most diverse marine environments in the Caribbean to enjoy.
Grand Cayman truly is a grand island to visit, and whether you are just exploring for a few days before cruising on or if you are spending a few weeks relaxing on vacation, there’s a lot do here, and in this guide, we’ve put together the best of those things to do in Grand Cayman.
Don’t forget: Fodor’s In Focus Cayman Islands (Full-color Travel Guide)
8 Things to do in Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is a beautiful spot to visit for a relaxing holiday in the sun. The beaches are beautiful, the sands are white and the palm trees are always swaying slightly in the wind.
It’s perfectly Caribbean and many visitors will find that the best thing to do on the island is very little at all, except sitting back on the beach and enjoying a cocktail.
For those that are looking for more adventurous activities, then Grand Cayman is one of the world’s premier Scuba and snorkeling destinations, with beautiful reefs lying just offshore, and hiking trails cutting their way through the jungle in the interior of the island.
There are plenty of things to do in Grand Cayman, and here is the best the island has to offer.
1. Explore Georgetown
Georgetown is the capital of the Cayman Islands and the financial haven that has made the territory so famous internationally. This is the first port of call for visitors to the island, and the point where cruise ships call into and disembark their passengers.
The shopping district is known for its duty-free opportunities and lavish, luxury shops catering to wealthy visitors and locals. Historically too, Georgetown has a lot to offer, with the ruins of colonial forts to be seen and the fascinating National Museum waiting to be explored.
Take a rum distillery tour, then relax on the legendary Seven Mile Beach during this half-day tour in the Cayman Islands.
With a friendly local guide, visit a rum cake factory and the island’s only rum distillery to learn how rum is distilled and taste a few different varieties.
The last stop is the Seven Mile Beach Club on Seven Mile Beach, where you’ll enjoy access to the beach facilities, free Wifi, showers, changing room, bar, restaurant, and pool.
2. Visit Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach is the most famous and iconic beach on Grand Cayman island. Found close to the capital of Georgetown, the beach is busy and bustling, but it’s famous for a reason, because of its seven miles of pure tropical sunshine and white sands.
The entire beach can be walked, and along its length are ample opportunities to eat, drink, relax and take on water sports.
Looking for a faster way to explore Seven Mile beach besides on foot? Pilot your own Segway instead! Follow an expert Segway guide on this 90-minute tour from Georgetown aboard a 2-wheeled, self-balancing electric segway.
Cruise over to Camana Bay and climb the observation tower for dazzling panoramic views of the island. Follow the shoreline of soft yellow sand and turquoise waters to the Royal Palms Beach Club to relax on the beach and sip a cool drink.
3. Try out a visit to Stingray City
Stingray City is one of the most beautiful and exciting locations to visit Grand Cayman.
It’s a pristine, white sandbar found on the northern edge of the island and it’s popular not just because of its natural, scenic look, but because of the large population of resident, friendly stingrays that are found in the shallow waters.
Stingray City is the place to visit to see these wonderful marine creatures in the ocean and to get closer than you can to them compared to anywhere else in the world.
Visit Stingray City and go snorkeling in the early morning on a tour to beat the crowds during this fun outing from George Town.
Have the playful, friendly stingrays to yourself when you’re the first boat on-site at this popular tourist attraction. Snorkel on a nearby reef in calm waters, then enjoy the gorgeous Caribbean scenery on your sail back to the marina.
4. Look around at Starfish Point
Near to the famous Rum Point on the island’s North Side, Starfish Point is a beautiful area of white sands and clear waters, where it’s natural to find starfish in the sand wherever you walk in the shallow water.
Visit three Grand Cayman attractions on this tour to Starfish Point, Stingray City, the Coral Garden, and a location where you can snorkel with starfish.
You’ll have the chance to swim near stingrays in their natural environment and enjoy the clear Caribbean waters of the Cayman Islands.
5. Pay a visit to the Cayman Turtle Farm
Cayman Turtle Farm is found in the far west of the island, and the remote location makes it the perfect place to help in the turtle conservation efforts that take place across the island.
The Turtle Farm is used as a rehabilitation center for Green Sea Turtles, as well as raising and breeding their own turtles onsite. It’s a popular place to visit to learn more about these animals and to see conservation in action.
6. Go Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
There are literally hundreds of excellent snorkeling and diving spots surrounding Grand Cayman. A large coral reef fringes much of the island’s coastline, and the coral provides a rich habitat for a diverse array of marine species, both small and large.
There are plenty of companies running excursions and dive trips, and around the island, there are plenty of secluded bays and beaches to walk into the water from too.
Sail to the Stingray City Sandbar aboard a luxury catamaran, then snorkel over coral beds on this fabulous aquatic adventure. Explore the underwater world of Grand Cayman where southern stingrays glide gracefully by in the shallows.
You can touch the gentle creatures before searching for more marine life at the barrier reef, a truly unforgettable experience.
7. Smell the flowers at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Garden
Grand Cayman’s best botanic gardens are a beautiful place to enjoy a plethora of unique outdoor plants and trees. There’s a spectacular lake to enjoy and a diverse selection of flora.
The real attraction though, might not be the plants, but the fact that the botanic garden provides the conditions and habitat to help the rare Blue Iguana to survive and thrive. You might just see one of these colorful and rare creatures on a stroll through the gardens.
8. Hike the Mastic Trail
If you can cope with the tropical humidity, then the Mastic Trail could be a welcome break from exploring coral reefs, coastline, and beaches. The Mastic Trail winds its way through the dense tropical forest that’s still found in the interior of the island.
It’s a sweaty but spectacular way to experience the wild nature of Grand Cayman at its finest.
Grand Cayman Travel Tips
Location and How to Travel to Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is the largest, most affluent and most visited of the three Caribbean islands that constitute the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman is found in the Western Caribbean region, south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.
The Cayman Islands were colonized by the British and today, they still remain an Overseas British Territory, in the middle of the Caribbean.
There’s one airport on Grand Cayman, but it’s a well-connected island, with regular international flights abroad and plenty of domestic flights between the three islands.
Being a British Territory, there are regular direct flights to London, and being located just an hour by plane from Miami, there are regular flights to the US.
A popular way to visit Grand Cayman is as part of a Caribbean cruise, and many cruise lines will call into the island’s capital and largest city, Georgetown.
Getting around Grand Cayman is easy and hassle-free thanks to the public transport system which connects the major beaches, towns and tourist sights.
It’s also easy to rent a vehicle or even to hire a taxi or driver to get around the island.
Don’t forget Lonely Planet Cruise Ports Caribbean (Travel Guide) when arriving by cruise ship.
Best Time to Visit Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman, like most Caribbean islands, is found within the region’s Hurricane Belt. The stormy hurricane season hits the island between June and November.
Although destructive hurricanes are very rare, this is when the weather is at its hottest and most unpredictable. This is not the best time to visit to make the most of all the things to do in Grand Cayman, although it will be the cheapest and quietest time of year.
The dry months of January and February offer visitors the best weather, with cool temperatures and clear skies. This of course, also coincides with the peak tourist season on Grand Cayman.
We visited during mid-March and did encounter a large amount of Spring break travelers, but not the typical party crowd.
Best Places to Stay on Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman, the playground of the rich, is not necessarily the cheapest destination to visit, and anyone looking for a budget holiday or cheap accommodation will find their options severely limited.
Standards though are great across the island and there is an excellent array of hotels and resorts available.
The most popular destination for vacationers is the Seven Mile Beach Area. This is where the best hotels are found, including most of the international chains.
Georgetown hosts a few budget options such as the Eldemire’s Tropical Island Inn, and further afield, less frequented places like West Bay may offer better value for money than the really touristy areas. Nicer hotels like the Caribbean Club Luxury Boutique Hotel and Compass Point Dive Resort offer great locations and amenities for the price.
Is Grand Cayman Safe to Visit?
Grand Cayman is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Tourists are rarely victims of petty crimes, anywhere on the island, while roads and infrastructure are all maintained to high standards, meaning travel is perfectly safe too.
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