Beaches, Diving and Local Treasures: What to Do in Grand CaymanBy Yined Ramírez Hendrix
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands, alongside Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. It has a world of possibilities for visitors far beyond its crystal-clear waters, so read on to find out more about the island’s wide variety of cultural, gastronomic and adventure activities.
Did you know that the famous Seven Mile beach is actually only 6.3 miles long? This popular beach is located on the island’s west coast, and with its clean, crystal-clear waters, it is home to a lot of the hotels and resorts.
You can go snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing here, or simply lie back and relax on the white sand until evening, before taking in the sunset.
Another of the island’s beaches is Rum Point in the north, known for its tranquil waters and shady trees. This beach is a little further from the main tourist area, but easily accessible by ferry.
South of George Town is Smith Barcadere, a popular cove with limestone formations that protect it from the current, and a favorite on Instagram! All of the beaches on Grand Cayman are open to the public.
Grand Cayman is a haven for diving enthusiasts thanks to the quality of its waters, which are known for having the best visibility in the Caribbean.
The island is surrounded by sheer walls, which make exploring these waters particularly exciting, no matter what your level of diving ability. This British overseas territory also has several shipwrecks, along with the healthiest coral reefs in the area.
Located in the north, the famous Stingray City is great for snorkeling, but for a close encounter with a ray, you really need to dive. Located just off Seven Mile beach is the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, which was sunk in 2011. The ship itself dates back to 1944, so you can dive through it and take a trip through history at the same time.
Sunset House Reef to the southeast can be explored from the shore, or take a boat further out for a snorkel or dive trip. It’s a large, colorful reef that’s full of marine life, and features a Second World War shipwreck and the famous mermaid sculpture that sits on the ocean floor.
Luxury Goods and Local Treasures
On Grand Cayman you can buy jewelry, watches and luxury goods at tax-free prices, and you’ll find all the big brands in the port area of George Town.
Or, if you’re looking to take a little piece of the Cayman Islands back home with you, how about some local art? The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, located between Seven Mile Beach and Camana Bay, sells an incredible collection of prints and other artifacts in its gift shop.
The Kennedy Gallery in George Town is another favorite, known for its unusual sculptures. For something a little different, head over to Pure Art, a quaint wooden cottage between George Town and Smith Barcadere cove, which sells accessories, tropical-scented candles, traditional woven baskets and tasty souvenirs like hot sauces, jellies, jams and rum cake.
Look out for caymanite too, an earth-colored rock that can only be found in the Cayman Islands. Mostly used in jewelry, it’s a unique way to remember your stay.
Adventures on Dry Land
The Cayman Crystal Caves are a recently-opened natural attraction on Grand Cayman. Located among tropical forest in the north of the island, the caves used to be a hideout for pirates and provided shelter during hurricanes, but can now be explored with a guide.
These natural wonders are famous for their glass-like stalactites and stalagmites, and the surrounding forest can be explored on guided tours, too.
Grand Cayman is known for its fresh shellfish and incredible views, and you can take advantage of both at the island’s many food stalls and elegant restaurants.
Vivine’s Kitchen is located on the east side of the island in front of the beach, and is a must for its snail stew with coconut milk and cornmeal dumplings, served with white rice and jackfruit. The oxtail is also a very popular dish, and after lunch, kick back and relax in one of the hammocks provided by this favorite local restaurant.
In George Town’s Yacht Club you’ll find Morgan’s Seafood, a casual restaurant with an ocean-to-table concept and incredible views of the water. As well as the fish and shellfish, it serves original cocktails and a seriously popular burger.
For a more elegant island dining experience, try Catch Restaurant & Lounge in the west of the island, which serves up its fish of the day and a variety of pasta dishes, alongside one of the island’s best wine lists.