Standard for its world-class diving, this Caribbean island affords simply as a lot enjoyable on land
The Cayman Islands have lengthy been a well-liked vacation spot for vacationers, with its tropical local weather and laid-back vibe. Getting there may be pretty straightforward for these on the U.S. East Coast. With a nonstop Cayman Airways flight from LAX, the islands are gaining traction with the West Coast set too. However what are you to do when you arrive? For those who’re heading to Grand Cayman, the most important of the Cayman Islands (the opposite two being Little Cayman and Cayman Brac), there’s no lack of choices.
Seven Mile Seaside
So many water sports activities might be discovered alongside Seven Mile Seaside — Photograph courtesy of Wendy O’Dea
The Cayman Islands supply among the world’s finest scuba and snorkeling excursions for all talent ranges, from steep dives and shipwrecks to synthetic reefs, teeming with wildlife. Guests can get PADI licensed at numerous dive websites. Believed by many to be probably the greatest seashores on the planet, Seven Mile Seaside is understood for its calm, crystal-clear waters and silky, mushy sand. Many lodges alongside its shores (and close to the general public seashore) supply a large number of above-water adventures, from swimming, browsing and jet snowboarding to paddleboarding, kiteboarding, windsurfing and kayaking.
Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter
Swim with sea turtles on the Cayman Turtle Centre — Photograph courtesy of The Cayman Islands Division of Tourism
Claiming to be Grand Cayman’s largest land-based vacationer attraction, at Turtle Centre, friends can encounter and work together with sea turtles, together with swimming alongside them within the Turtle Lagoon. The middle additionally conducts animal-friendly research on sea turtles, marine science and eco-tourism. In keeping with officers quoting a number of research, the middle’s turtle launch applications have resulted within the progress of the wild inexperienced sea turtle inhabitants.
Stingray Metropolis and Starfish Level
Making eye contact at Stingray Metropolis — Photograph courtesy of 5 Star Charters
Few individuals have the urge to cuddle a wild stingray, however in Grand Cayman this typically strikes to the highest of the to-do checklist. Quite a few native operators, together with upscale 5 Star Charters, will shuttle friends throughout the Caribbean Sea to a bunch of shallow sandbars within the North Sound, dubbed Stingray Metropolis. Right here, friends can swim with, feed, maintain and even kiss stingrays. Guides present route on the best way to work together with these mushy, swish beauties of the ocean who’ve been acclimated to human interplay. After a cease right here, most excursions and charters motor to Starfish Level, a shallow seashore close to the middle of the island, the place a large number of starfish might be discovered within the sand.
A resident cigar curler on the Grand Previous Home — Photograph courtesy of Wendy O’Dea
There’s no lack of restaurant choices on the island, and among the finest are positioned alongside Seven Mile Seaside. Modern sushi and ceviche are served up contemporary at woto within the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Seaside Resort and Spa, whereas Coccoloba, inside Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, makes a speciality of tacos and inventive Mexican delicacies which you can take pleasure in beachside. Additional afield on the island, the Grand Previous Home — a favourite of many locals — is among the oldest eating places on Grand Cayman and options conventional Caymanian delicacies, in addition to a formidable wine choice and a talented resident torcedor, rolling cigars on-site.
The Cayman Cookout, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
The Cayman Cookout on the Ritz Carlton attracts superstar cooks — Photograph courtesy of Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman
Few places all over the world supply a meals and wine competition the place the variety of attendees is stored to a minimal and mentioned attendees have the possibility to work together pretty freely with superstar cooks. That’s why the Cayman Cookout, which returned in January 2023 post-COVID, is a favourite amongst each cooks and friends. Led by chef Eric Ripert and hosted at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, the 2023 lineup featured cooks José Andrés, Emeril Lagasse, Dominique Crenn, Daniel Boulud and plenty of others.
Cayman Crystal Caves
Faucet your internal spelunker at Cayman Crystal Caves — Photograph courtesy of Wendy O’Dea
Located in a tropical forest in Previous Could Bay, Cayman Crystal Caves are crammed with gorgeous stalactites, stalagmites and black diamonds. Some areas are additionally dwelling to colonies of bats (adults and infants), however they have an inclination to maintain to themselves. Guests can e-book excursions that final about an hour and a half. Educated guides level out notable natural world and share the historical past of how pirates as soon as used the caves as hideouts.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Discover natural world at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park — Photograph courtesy of Cayman Islands Division of Tourism
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park affords quite a lot of gardens, a boardwalk and a path. A two-acre lake serves as a breeding floor for uncommon aquatic birds and animals, such because the West Indian Whistling Duck. The park sits on 65 acres owned by the Nationwide Belief for the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands authorities.
Blue Iguana Conservation Programme
The endangered Cayman blue iguana as soon as numbered within the tens of 1000’s — Photograph courtesy of Cayman Islands Division of Tourism
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park can also be dwelling to the Blue Iguana Conservation Programme, the place guests can try the endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. The habitat is a captive breeding floor for these iguanas that, solely 20 years in the past, had been dealing with extinction. The tour shares the story of this system’s beginnings in 1990, with solely 30 blue iguanas. In keeping with the web site, right now the power is dwelling to about 100 blue iguanas of various ages, many greater than 5 ft lengthy and in extra of 25 kilos.
Nationwide Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Respect artwork on the Nationwide Gallery of the Cayman Islands — Photograph courtesy of Wendy O’Dea
Not removed from Seven Mile Seaside, the Nationwide Gallery of the Cayman Islands options native Caymanian artists who share their interpretations of the island’s historical past and tradition by means of their artwork. The museum rotates items from the Nationwide Artwork Assortment on the second flooring with particular exhibitions on the primary flooring. There’s additionally a sculpture backyard and an exhibit devoted to the late “Miss Lassie” (actual identify Gladwyn Bush), who began portray in her 60s after a visionary expertise. Her dwelling, whose partitions and furnishings are coated in her artwork, is open for guests with reservations.
Cayman Spirits Firm Distillery
Pattern contemporary batches of rum and vodka at Cayman Spirits Firm Distillery — Photograph courtesy of Cayman Islands Division of Tourism
For individuals who imbibe, a visit to Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery is value a go to. A tour offers an inside take a look at the distilling course of for his or her manufacturers: Seven Fathoms Rum, Gun Bay Vodka, Governor’s Reserve Rum and H.H. Hutchings Liqueurs. Deal with your self to one among their signature drinks: a Cayman bitter or a Catamaran with a sugar rim.
For extra info and issues to do in Grand Cayman, go to www.visitcaymanislands.com