Capital City: George Town
Official Language: English but Caymanian, a colourful native slang, is often spoken by the locals
Currency: Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD)
Welcome to the amazing Cayman Islands!
This country is known for its rich heritage, vibrant culture and some of the best scuba diving in the world. Surrounded by coral reefs and azure water the Caymans are a marine paradise. The Cayman Islands are great for families, with a wealth of fun pirate related activities, child friendly beaches, food that adults and children will enjoy and friendly locals. Couples looking for romance will find long stretches of beach ideal for sunset walks, some of the finest cuisine in the Caribbean, beautiful nature trails and luxurious hotels. The pace of life on the Cayman Islands is much quieter than the rest of the Caribbean. The best places are away from the crowded commercial centre of George Town and towards the more rural areas. The amazing natural delights such as hiking, diving, bird-watching and snorkelling are never very far away on these small islands. It is easy to really get away from your busy life on the Caymans.
Must see places in the Cayman Islands
Seven Mile Beach
It may be called seven mile beach but this gorgeous stretch of white sand is really only 5 and a half miles long. The beach recently received the honour of being named the best beach in the Caribbean by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. This is the most popular and developed area of the Cayman Islands and is where you will find most of the luxury hotels and resorts. The beach is directly North of George Town. The best part of the size of seven mile beach is that you will always find your own perfect spot on the beach.
Pedro St James
The locals know this building as Pedro Castle. It is an imposing waterfront Caribbean great house dating from 1780. In its history this building has served as everything from plantation home, to a jail, to a courthouse, to parliament and a restaurant before making its final transition to a museum. A detailed history of the house is shown in a 3D movie presentation that runs at regular intervals between 10 am and 4pm. The seven acre site that surrounds the house contains the Hurricane Ivan memorial to remind locals and visitors of the destructive path cut by this Category 5 storm through the Cayman Islands in 2004.
Queen Elizabeth 2 Botanic Park
The botanic garden is named for its most famous visitor and the Islands Head of State. This lovely garden features over forty species of flora and fauna that are indigenous to the Cayman Islands. In May through to late June the parks famous orchids are in bloom. You can walk along extensive and informative nature trails. The real highlight of the park is the very successful Blue Iguana Recovery Program.
Hell does exist on earth and it’s a small town on Grand Cayman. The town of Hell is not the different to the rest of the small towns on the island but thanks to its name, millions of visitors delight every year in sending postcards from Hell to their family back home. The town gets its name from the creepy looking million year old limestone formations on the edge of town.
National Trust Visitors Centre
This is the first place that most people will go to on arriving in the Caymans. It houses a small museum, gift shop, information centre and a cafe (that sells the most delicious homemade ice-cream). The centre backs onto the Booby Pond Nature Reserve which is home to one of the world’s largest breeding populations of the red- footed booby and a colony of swooping frigate birds.
In the centre of Bodden Town are the naturally formed Pirate Caves. Kids will love searching through the caves where pirates apparently hid their treasure. Next to the caves you will find a min-zoo, displays of various pirate memorabilia and a petting pool for freshwater stingrays. The caves have an eerie quality and some are truly beautiful.
This rather gaudy and dated building houses one of the more interesting stories of this group of islands. Over 18,000 corporate entities have registered Ugland House as their company address. This lead the United States President Barack Obama to say in 2009: “Either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world.” As the Cayman Islands are a tax haven this building has brought lots of intrigue and scandal over the years.
Cayman Brac Museum
This museum is situated in a blue and white painted colonial house on the main costal road to Stake Bay on the island of Cayman Brac. The museum tells the story of life for the early settlers, at a time when the island was very isolated from the rest of the world. The collection is charming and thought provoking.
Treat your inner child to a day pretending to be a pirate on your own uninhabited island, an unspoiled beach and thick vegetation just waiting to be explored. Kids and adults alike will love spending a day in this small paradise. The island is just a short swim or kayak ride across from the Southern Cross Club. The club will rent a kayak to you for $45 per day if you are not staying there otherwise it’s free.
This was started more than forty years ago as The Cayman Islands Turtle Farm. The marine park covers an area of 23 acres and offers a wide variety of attractions concerning the Caymans’ marine and terrestrial wildlife. The park in West Bay includes turtle exhibits from the old park and a new cultural area called Cayman Street which has arts and craft demonstrations, a Predator Reef, swimming lagoons, an aviary, a nature trail, touch tanks and a restaurant and bar. This is the islands most popular attraction so try to plan your visit when the cruise ships are still out at sea.
Things to do in the Cayman Islands
If you don’t dive then go snorkelling but whatever you do get out there and explore the magnificent reefs.
Take a romantic sunset champagne and dinner cruise around the islands.
Atlantis Submarine Expedition
If you don’t like getting your feet wet or have very small children than seeing the amazing underwater life from a submarine may be the answer for you.
Stingray City gives tourists the amazing opportunity to pet stingrays while standing on a sand bank in the Caribbean. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. Divers can also dive among the stingrays that congregate here.
Best time to visit
Tourists visit the Cayman Islands from December to April
The best time to visit the islands would be in the winter months from early December to late April. June to November is Hurricane season so it’s best to stay away. However visibility for divers is at its best in September and the hotel rates are generally at their lowest.
Did you know?
The Cayman Islands are famous as a foodie destination with a number of world class chefs owning restaurant.
The 5 top dishes to try are:
- Cayman Style Fish
- Conch Ceviche
- Lionfish fish cakes
- Land Crab fritters
- Curried goat and breadfruit
- Cayman cookout (January) A foodie’s dream weekend filled with food and wine demonstrations by chefs from all over the world.
- Taste of Cayman Food and Wine Festival (February) This food and wine festival showcases more than forty of the best restaurants in the Caymans.
- Mardi Gra (March) The event is held on the Waterfront in George Town. The party starts at midday and can go on all night.
- Million Dollar Run (April) Come and see the best in motor boat racing.
- Batabano Adult Parade (May) An explosion of dancing, music and costumes in true Caribbean style.
- Pirates Week (November) The most famous of the Cayman Island festivals, a week filled with swashbuckling good fun including a full-on mock pirate invasion of the island.
- The Cayman Islands follow the rules of Britain so this means that you drive on the left hand side of the road.
- Book your hotel early as rooms fill quickly and prices rise as the date gets closer.
- Head for the more rural areas or to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac if more than two cruise ships are booked to be in port. Grand Cayman can get very crowded, very quickly.
- Carry USD or a credit card as some hotels and restaurants charge in USD rather than the local KYD.