When I told people, I would be visiting the island in April, responses included, “Never heard of the place, is that’s where tax dodgers go? is it near Jamaica?”
Like a lot of people, I did not know much about Grand Cayman and I was very, very excited to spend twelve days immersing myself into island life.
Grand Cayman is not your typical Caribbean island and it is not a little Jamaica, even though the islands are close in location. I would sum up the vibe on the island as laid-back luxury. Think of Miami and Ibiza with a Caribbean twist. The island has the most stunning white sand beaches, million-dollar mansions, beach clubs, and so many restaurants. The island is the not the cheapest in the Caribbean, so be prepared to spend if you want to have a good time. However, do not let money put you off as the island also has so much natural beauty that does not cost anything to experience.
I have put together a list of my favourite things to do in Grand Cayman to help my fellow travellers to plan their trip.
Visiting Stingray City is a must when vacationing in Grand Cayman. Even if you are not a nature lover you will be blown away by the experience. Stingray City is located in the middle of the ocean on a sandbar. This allows you to stand up in the middle of the ocean waist deep in still waters.
The sight of these beautiful creatures dancing in the water was breath-taking. To also be able to interact with the stingrays, to touch and hold them was unbelievable. Once I started to relax in the water with so many stingray swimming around me, I truly enjoyed the experience and I did not want to leave. Now I know what you are thinking. Firstly, is this activity safe and secondly, you must be crazy for swimming with Stingrays. On this trip I wanted to be more adventurous and do activities I never would have dreamt of doing or never had the guts to do. There are guides in the water assisting and instructing you on how to handle the stingrays safely, at all times. If being up close and personal does not suit you, then for the less brave adventurers you can stay on the boat and admire the stingrays from on deck.
After swimming with the stingrays the next stop was snorkelling. I have been snorkelling many times before, but this was on another level. The water was so clear, the fish had such vibrant colours and the coral life was stunning.
Stingray city is definitely ‘one for the bucket list’ and was the highlight of my entire trip. If you don’t book any other island attractions, you must go to Stingray City as it is magical.
Seven Mile Beach
Obviously, the beach had to be included on my list of things to do. I will forever be a beach lover as being by the sea is home to me. Seven Mile beach is the most stunning beach I have experienced on my travels. It gives you what a beach is supposed to be and much more. The water is like glass that sparkles in the rays of the sun and there is miles of pure white sand.
One of my favourite things to do was to sit on the beach as the sun was setting. The sunset was so gorgeous it looked unreal. No Instagram filter was needed here.
If you prefer a more hyped beach environment when travelling, then you need to head to Royal Palms Beach Club. This beach resort is also located on Seven Mile Beach. The beach club has an Ibiza type of vibe. Picture a DJ booth, people dancing in the pool with inflatables, and yummy food choices served to you whilst chilling in a cabana. It’s also a nice place to chat to other tourists as well as the local residents. During my visit I went to the Royal Palm several times. I never paid an entrance fee and the cabanas and beach loungers were free every time I visited. This is possibly due to me visiting during low season as there is normally a charge to use the facilities.
A big attraction of the island is the natural beauty of the place. I would not say that I am big nature lover or outdoorsy person, but I still had an amazing time at Starfish Point. The name says it all really, a small stretch of the beach that contains star fish. Crystal Cave was another highlight of the trip. These caves are underground caverns in a tropical rain forest that are fun to explore. Also, the Botanical Gardens is beautiful and worth spending an afternoon just chilling in. Plus, you might get to see an iguana or two. If you really want to get away from it all then head to Westbay mangrove and Barkers national park. These locations are so tranquil and deserted, making it ideal for reflection and relaxation.
This is another island experience that was so fun and enjoyable. You leave from an area called Rum Point during the night by a canoe and you paddle to a lake to view illuminated water organisms. As you touch the water it begins to glow and glisten. There are only a few places in the world where you can experience this, and Grand Cayman is one of them. One thing to keep in mind with the bioluminescence tour is you cannot photograph the glowing organisms on your phone, go pro or digital camera as cameras are not able to capture the illumination. So pictures you see online have been photo-shopped.
Having Caribbean heritage I was keen to experience a Caymanian fete. A fete is basically a party or rave where soca music is played. It’s a fun time and good vibe. Caymanians are slightly more reserved in comparison to other Caribbean islands, so the fete was not as wild as I am used to. However, it was still an enjoyable night out and something worth experiencing. Also, it’s nice to be amongst locals when you travel so you really get to know the culture.
Restaurants and Food
At present I am mainly on a plant based diet and I was a bit worried if I was still going to be able to maintain this on holiday. There was no need to worry about food choices on the island, there are so many restaurants on the island with a huge variety of cuisines. This ranged from road side local food to upscale restaurants.
My favourite vegan restaurant was Bread and Chocolate. This small cafe in the capital George Town was food heaven. The breakfast in particular was amazing. Vivo is another vegan restaurant that has simple but tasty dishes, I would recommend this restaurant for a lunch time fix. If you like the finer things in life and you have coins to spend then dining at the Kimpton Sea Fire resort is a lovely place to eat and to be bougie.
Brunch at the Marriott
I know I am mentioning food again, what can I say I love to eat. If buffets are your cup of tea you will be spoilt for choice on the island, as Sunday brunch seems to be a national pastime.
Brunch in particular at the Marriott on Sundays has to be experienced. Four hours of unlimited drinks, alcoholic included and a huge variety of food. The ‘food baby’ was on another level by the time I left. Other than the amazing food there was also activities during brunch, such as candle making and afterwards you were able to walk around the hotel grounds and just relax.
If you want a beach holiday but still have the luxuries of home then Grand Cayman is the place to visit.
Lucky for me I have a friend who lives on the island so I did not have to make any travel arrangements. There is a public mini-bus system on the island and the fare is $2-5 CI dollars depending on the length of the trip.
Let me know in the comments where you are looking to travel to next.