On a world map, it would be easy to overlook the 3 tiny dots in the Caribbean Sea, floating somewhere between Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico, however these are not spits of land without any consequence. This tiny archipelago makes up the Cayman Islands, the furthest most point of British Overseas territory in the West Indies.
These paradise islands are famous for their powdery white sands, impeccably clear waters, and warm hospitality, and of course not forgetting the year-round sunshine! A favourite destination among honeymooners and scuba diving enthusiasts alike, the Cayman Islands can be both thrill-inducing and completely relaxing at the same time.
With the choice of 3, very different islands to explore (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman), a holiday to the Cayman Islands is whatever you want to make of it. If you want cosmopolitan cities combined with superb beaches, Grand Cayman is for you. If you’re looking for dramatic scenery and adventure, Cayman Brac is the go-to spot, or for unspoilt tranquillity and peaceful bliss, Little Cayman is your perfect retreat!
The largest of the 3 islands, Grand Cayman is the main hub of life in the archipelago. Encompassing Caribbean vibes with western values and luxuries, Grand Cayman is home to the island group’s capital city, George Town: a chic metropolis, bustling with excellent shopping centres, lively bars and top-notch restaurants.
Top attractions on Grand Cayman include the Ten Sails shipwreck dive site, and the famous ‘Stingray City’ sand bar. Standing in only 3ft of water in the middle of the sea, suddenly you find yourself surrounded by dozens of friendly southern stingrays. This unique experience allows you to get up close and personal with these graceful creatures, feeding and petting them in their natural environment.
The smaller island of Cayman Brac is an adventure seekers paradise. The dramatic landscape boasts towering cliffs which stand high above the sea, pock-marked with caves and sink holes which in turn play host to incredible colonies of bats. The flora and fauna of the island, which lies 30 minutes away from Grand Cayman, is best explored via hiking trails which criss-cross the terrain through the lush green forests. Almost 200 different species of bird make their home on Cayman Brac alongside many other creatures.
Like the rest of the Cayman Islands, the opportunity for scuba diving on Cayman Brac is fantastic, as the island is seemingly surrounded by coral ‘walls’ which are home to a wide variety of underwater creatures, including sea turtles and even sharks!
The smallest and least developed of the Cayman Islands, Little Cayman has been continually voted as one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. It’s easy-going nature and sublime beaches make for a peaceful getaway, perfect for those looking to simply relax and enjoy each-others company.
Of course, in a place so beautiful, there are sites to explore! Although diving again is top of the agenda for tourists to the island, many visitors to Little Cayman like to take a kayak over to miniscule Owen Island which lies just off its coast. Completely uninhabited, Owen Island is a tiny drop of paradise, in paradise, where you can enjoy complete seclusion.
Culturally diverse and completely delicious, Cayman cuisine is largely regarded as some of the best in the Caribbean. Whether it is being prepared in a luxury fine-dining restaurant or in a cook-out on a beach somewhere, Cayman cuisine is always rich in flavour and spices.
Drawing influences from Jamaican culture and combining them with traditional, locally sourced ingredients, authentic Cayman dishes are largely based on seafood and the unusual fresh fruit and vegetables which grow in the island’s tropical climate.
The local delicacy is Conch. This species of giant sea snail has been a staple part of the island diet for generations and is used in recipes for chowders, salads and stews. Snapper and sea turtle are also popular ingredients and are usually served up with a spicy sauce made of chillies, tomatoes, vinegar and peppers.
As far as alcohol goes, like anywhere in the Caribbean, Rum is widely consumed across the islands, however, the national drink and general tipple of choice in the Caymans is called a “Frozen Mudslide”. The cocktail is an odd choice, as it actually contains no Rum, instead it combines crushed ice with: Vodka, coffee-flavoured liqueur Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream and chocolate syrup! More akin to an extremely alcoholic milkshake than a cocktail, it is nevertheless a recipe to remember to bring home with you!
Grand Cayman is glamour and luxury mixed with a hospitable and friendly nation. The beaches, wildlife and crystal clear seas will make you fall in love with this Caribbean destination.