Updated: Mar 30
Toes in the sand, watching the waves in 80+ degree weather, with a rum punch in my hand. This was the ambiance in the Grand Cayman Islands during the week that I spent there.
I've been to several tropical destinations, but the Cayman Islands were by far my one of favorites. The sand is absolutely gorgeous and the water is such a clear, crystal blue. Although it is a small island (approximately 22 miles (35 km) long with its widest point being 8 miles (13 km) wide. ), the Grand Cayman Island is packed with plenty of great sightseeing options and tourists attractions. It is a popular destination for retirees and solo travelers (no need to worry about too many spring breakers or families with children). The vibes are always peaceful and the local people are very friendly.
Travel tips: Do currency exchange (USD to Cayman Islands Dollar or CI), you will end up saving money in the long run. Also, no need to taxi or Uber...the local bus is only $2.50 USD and it runs often to and from both ends of the island. Taxis are readily available to transport you though, Uber is not available there.
Fun fact: You'll have to get used to seeing plenty of roosters and chickens walking around and "crossing the road." These feathered friends add a unique flair and character to the island, as they roam free, completely unbothered by the locals or the tourists.
Recommendations for things to do in the Caymans:
Stay on Seven Mile Beach: We stayed at a Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach, which is on the main strip with the public beach and restaurants/shops. There are several Airbnb options available as well. Everything is in walking distance and the public bus stops are conveniently located along the strip.
Eat at Coconut Joe’s and Peppers: two of the islands most popular restaurants with plenty of tasty food options
Try the rum punch and BBD (a well-known drink unique to the Grand Cayman, I'd recommend looking up the acronym and trying the drink.)
Salsa Night is every Tuesday night at The Wharf
Jazz Night is every Wednesday night at Havana Club (this place fills up fast so plan to arrive early)
Go to the Cayman Turtle Centre to snorkel with the turtles and fish: this is a must do on your trip to the Caymans; an experience like no other snorkeling (beginner-friendly) and swimming underwater (in a controlled environment) with sea turtles. This is a great attraction for a great value (about $45/person); it also includes a touch tank to pet the turtles, a bird sanctuary, water slide, and a restaurant with great food on site if you're hungry.
Be sure to visit Camana Bay for all of your shopping needs: a cute outdoor area with a cool ambiance. There is a Farmers Market every Wednesday from 12-7pm; there are also plenty of boutiques, shops, and restaurants. As soon as you walk in, you are surrounded by countless brightly colored flowers and plants.
Nothing says relaxation like walking through rows of beautiful flowers and trees. In the Caymans, the beaches are spectacular, but the vegetation and greenery is so rich and beautiful. Camana Bay is the perfect tourist spot to visit if you're in the mood for a nice, relaxing walk or if you just want to sit outside and enjoy a nice scenic view. It's great to really enjoy the outdoors while on vacation to avoid being stuck inside your hotel room all day.
The Cayman Turtle Centre is such a fun place to explore nature and sea life. There is so much more to see besides the turtles: there are also sharks and plenty of colorful fish swimming around the water as well. The turtle touch tank is pretty cool because you get a chance to pet the turtles on their shells and they're so used to people being around them. There is a water slide and swimming pool there too, providing fun for the whole family. You can make a day trip out this activity if you want, or just spend a few hours there and go across the street to the Dolphin Discovery Center.