The Caribbean region is so well endowed with natural beauty that its territories are special tourism destinations in their own rights. Among the more popular tourist hubs are the Grand Cayman Islands. The natives float stories about the name being derived from the local connotations of the word ‘caiman’ being alligator. The Cayman Islands are undoubtedly as unpredictable, laid back and fascinating as the creatures they are named after. All year long, visitors fly to the Cayman Islands to enjoy unrestricted and unadulterated weather conditions. The cool and calm skies provide the perfect backdrop to the pristine landscapes of the place. Travelers have something new and fresh to look up to every day on their tours to the Grand Cayman Islands, right from water based activities like swimming and deep sea diving to exciting visits to hot and happening tourist points like the Cayman Turtle Farm. And of course, the adventure seekers have the irresistible proposition of hitting the Mastic Trail through the dense forests of the island.
Tourism is the life and soul of the Grand Cayman Islands, accounting for as much as 70 percent of the GDP. Most of the working population of the islands is employed and associated with the tourism industry. The Grand Cayman Islands actually is a group of three tourism hotspots, and these are Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac with Grand Cayman being the hub of all tourism activity. The Cayman Islands enjoys appreciable proximity to North America, and this results in the influx of hundreds and thousands of travellers every year. Over the past years, the Grand Cayman Islands has made rapid leaps on the popularity charts of tourism. Although the Cayman Turtle Farm and the Mastic Trail make for staple diet of tourists here, there are several other hangouts and getaways as well. These islands are abundantly loaded with some special beaches. Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach takes the cake as the most beautiful and popular beach around here and is buzzing with tourism activity for a major part of the year. The beach is dotted by scores of small and large hotels that provide exciting accommodation packages to visitors. Most hotels also pack in water sports activities to attract customers and top it all with the provisions of fine dining at in house restaurants. And of course, there are opportunities for divers and sailors to test themselves out in the inviting waters all around.
Several cruise ships have the Cayman Islands as its port of call. Boats ferry the vacationers to and from the port. For those looking for a prolonged stay, there are some nice airlines offering comfortable flying options. All main routes on the islands are served by rented cars and minibuses for the convenience of tourists. There are ample medical facilities available to ensure a hassle free and comfortable stay for all the guests of these islands. And to go with these, the locals are always willing to extend a cheerful word and hand to you.
Cayman Islands Hotels
Being a tourism hub in its own rights, Grand Cayman is home to some of the region’s most luxurious and beautiful resorts and hotels. It is almost inconsiderate to leave out some of these from the Toppers lists. This article introduces you to some such propositions in Grand Cayman.
For uncompromising and luxury seeking visitors, the Caribbean Club comes up with exclusive facilities and super comfort rich living. With thirty seven large bedrooms and three-bath villas windowing the breathtaking views of the Seven Mile Beach, complemented with pampering services from the dedicated hotel staff provide for wholesome and fulfilling stays at the Caribbean Club. In house pool, diving area, golf course and tennis court; all add value to your stay at this amazing club.
- Convenient underground parking with valet service
- 24-hour front desk and concierge service
- Room Service
- World-class dining on-site
- Daily housekeeping and laundry service
- Beachfront swimming pool
- Ocean front cabanas
- Fully equipped fitness center, with personal trainer available at additional charge
- Grocery service
- Nanny service available at additional charge
- Personal assistants available at additional charge
- Personal chef or catering available at additional charge
- Limo service/driver
Enlisting the features and offerings of the Ritz-Carlton is nothing short of lighting up the sun. If ever the world’s lexicons had to shed off the word ‘luxury,’ it might be replaced by ‘Ritz-Carlton’ without losing on the meaning. The style setting decor of the spacious suites housing world’s best facilities and furniture and the outstandingly mesmerizing sights of the ocean leave you overwhelmed. If you plan to go about enjoying the wonders of the Seven Miles Beach in style, there is hardly any second thought that needs entertaining other than that of getting inside the Ritz-Carlton, provided you can back the desire by the cash!
With most guest rooms featuring private balconies for the guests to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Seven Mile Beach, the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort qualifies among the top 10 combinations of comfort and luxury in the Grand Cayman region. The furnishing in the rooms is world class and with a dash of Cayman’s idiosyncrasies. High tech gizmos like HD Flat Screen TVs are there to make your stay all the more exciting and comfortable. There are as many as 273 luxury guest rooms and 22 suites in this castle of a resort. And of course, there is wireless Internet connectivity as well.
The East End in Grand Cayman hosts this amazing resort. With a 1,600 feet beach and snorkelling activities to crave for just steps away from wherever you are in the resort, this place is the ideal one for those thrilled by water sports. A couple of pool complexes with spa tubs, and a scuba diving facility add to the indulgences that await you at The Reef Resort. Living in the studios and sleeping on the four poster king beds is an experience in itself. There are one bedroom suites and two bedroom condos available as well. Most have beachfront balconies.
Combining great comfort with earthly prices, Comfort Suites do not leave much desired for as far as the contentment of their guests is concerned. A short walk away from the mesmerizing beauty of the Seven Mile Beach, the hotel offers fine accommodation in studios and 1, 2 bedroom suites with many amenities to make your stay comfortable and luxurious. The organized tours from the hotel also make for good excursions. The Stingers Restaurant in the hotel offers delicious food, just in case you wish to stay in for the evening. And there is free Internet in the hotel.
Cayman Islands Attractions
7 Mile Beach
In 2006, there were over 2.19 million tourist arrivals, but out of that impressive figure, 93 million guests came by cruise ship, and spent only one day! The upscale, luxury market in the US, is the target of the Cayman Islands marketing campaigns. Visiting Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman is a “must do” activity if you want to capture the essence of this country’s tourism product. The beach and many hotel restaurants are open to the public. Your pets are allowed to roam the beach without a leash and visitors are permitted to grill food on the beach. This array of hospitality facilities means that visitors will be able to, not just go “hotel hopping”, but also “bar and restaurant hopping” as well.
Snorkelling & Diving
All three of the islands of Grand Cayman, Little Brac and Little Cayman offer tourists the opportunity to dive and snorkel. Scuba Divers and snorkellers can even swim with sting rays at various locations in the islands, but the most popular place for this particular activity is Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman. Snorkelling is very popular here and the commitment is such that the country has even created artificial dive sites for the tourists to enjoy. This includes securing the US naval ship, Kittiwake, to create a new reef. It was sunk, just off the coast of Seven Mile Beach, in January 2011.
Marine Park & Museums
Families have not been left out of the fun adventures. They can visit the marine park at Boatswim’s Beach, where eco-tourists can view the Cayman Turtle Farm. There is also a weekly hiking trail and tour through the forests, along the Mastic Trail, that is located in the centre of the island, managed by the National Trust. A great place to visit would be the lighthouse, called the East End Light. Other great attractions include: the Cayman Islands National Museum, Fort George, the remains of a 1790 protection facility, the Cayman Maritime Museum, The Cayman Maritime Treasure Museum, Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park and the 1780 Pedro St. James Castle.
Local Food & Restaurants to Sample
Since more than 140 nationalities live in the Cayman Islands, their diverse culinary cultures have all contributed to creating a unique mix of culinary delights for you to experiment with and discover your new favourite dishes! Now you can understand why this country is described as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Conch Stew, Turtle and Cayman Beef are popular local dishes in the Cayman Islands. You can sample some of them by visiting Over the Edge, Seymour’s Jerk Chicken, Top Taste Restaurant and Welly’s Cool Spot. The citizens of the Cayman Islands like to eat. cooking competitions are very popular in Cayman – just check the Cayman Island Tourist Board Website (http://www.caymanislands.ky/) to view the next one whenever you are planning your vacation.
Entertainment – Jazz & Storytelling Festivals
The Cayman National Cultural Foundation was created in 1984 to preserve their heritage in folk music. It also organizes the Cayman Islands JazzFest, the Seafarers Festival, Cayfest and the International Storytelling Festival.
Cayman Islands Restaurants
Eating out is an essential part of any trip, and when you are to Grand Cayman, dining becomes pleasure reloaded due to the superb restaurants you have access to. This article presents five of the better known restaurants and eating places in Grand Cayman that are bound to add more than a spice or two to your vacation.
Tim-Buc-Tuu Diner, West Bay
A quick web query about Tim-Buc-Tuu Diner yields several cheery reviews from visitors who have been lucky enough to have bitten into the delicacies of this superb eating place in West Bay. Sweet and charming attendants welcome you with endearing smiles as you step into the precincts of this cute little eater’s heaven. Great service and great food are guaranteed on your visit to Tim-Buc-Tuu Diner. You are bound to erupt in joy as the delicacies like homemade gnocchi send your taste buds into a state of ecstasy. It is sinful not going to Tim-Buc-Tuu Diner while in West Bay.
Sunshine Grill, Seven Mile Beach
If awards and accolades are indicative of a restaurant’s worth, the Sunshine Grill is pretty much the top of the ladder in Grand Cayman with a kitty full of official praises. The poolside restaurant with all its lively colours is a sheer delight for foodies. Sunshine Grill’s hamburger enjoys widespread respect and desire! And even otherwise, the food served is different, delicious and great value for money. Sunshine Grill excels at providing a world class dining experience without making it look pretentious, a virtue not easily associated with most restaurants.
Tukka’s, East End
For a unique Aussie-Caribbean dining experience (we are sure you’d like to find out what that looks and tastes like) head off to Tukka’s in East End. Island dining becomes all the more delectable when taken to Tukka’s. Head Chef Ron Hargrave’s Aussie flavours add a great taste to the menu, without compromising on a generous helping of local spices and recipes. Do not forget to treat your family to arguably the best fusion dining experience they can have in Grand Cayman, and that is exclusively for you at Tukka’s.
Ristorante Pappagallo, West Bay
If you happen to be an unforgiving and uncompromising foodie, you might just find your heaven at Ristorante Pappagallo. The restaurant lies on a vast bird sanctuary, and this certainly adds to the natural beauty quotient of the place. The decoration is a delight for those informed enough to appreciate it. And of course, the menu is a massive collection of delicacies that can lead to salivation in the mouth right away! Lobster-and-scallop bisque in coconut cream and peppered Caribbean pork tenderloin in an apple-bourbon sauce are some examples of the absolutely stunning dishes up for grabs at Ristorante Pappagallo.
Paperman’s Coffee House, Seven Mile Beach
Depend on Paul Storey, the proprietor of Paperman’s CoffeeHouse to go out of his way to ensure that you get the perfect cup of coffee. Of course, you are easy to please if coffee isn’t a subject you excel at, but Paperman’s CoffeeHouse is particularly suggested for coffee connoisseurs. And beginners have ample incentive to start knowing their coffee, as there are not many places in the Caribbean that make such brilliant coffee. The atmosphere here is warm and welcoming, and the food has a charming influence on you. Enjoy soups, salads, and coffee like you never did at Paperman’s CoffeeHouse.
Cayman Islands Night Spots
Sunsets are pretty beautiful to watch anyways, but the sights become all the more attractive when one knows that the onset of the dark will be the harbinger of a night of enjoyment, partying, drinking and dining. Here are five great nightspots to be at while in the Grand Cayman.
Lone Star Bar and Grill, Seven Mile Beach
It is pleasure unlimited at Lone Star Bar as you step in and find people from all walks of life making merry at this wonderful place. The walls adorn souvenirs and other interesting stuff sent by people from all quarters of the world map to be a part of the bar. Divers and dive masters have had a long history of association with the bar, and this contributes a lot to the never ending spirit that is to be seen in and around the bar. The generous helpings served at very reasonable prices in the bar yield value for your money. The bar area is buzzing with activity till very late in the night.
Royal Palms Beach Club, Seven Mile Beach
If live music sets the senses alive for you, the Royal Palms Beach Club is the place for you. The trade winds are just one the instruments that create magic after sunset in this amazing club. Caribbean music lovers and enthusiasts can ill afford missing out on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night live performances by artists excelling in calypso, light reggae, salsa, and merengue. And of course, there are several other styles of music that get catered to at this club. Friday nights are particularly enjoyable at the Royal Palms Beach Club, with the celebrations heading to well after midnight.
Sharkey’s Niteclub, Seven Mile Beach
Shirkey’s symbolizes nightlife in the Seven Mile Beach region. Rock and roll remembrances from as late as 1950s decorate the club. The music generally played is karaoke and 70s hits. Happy hours ensure that your hours at the club are really very happy! DJs are pretty cool and friendly here, and do not mind flipping through their collections to find that elusive favourite number of yours. Different musical genres are on show for different days of the week, and you might want to call in there to get the musical menu before planning the evening with your family and friends.
Coconuts Comedy Club, Seven Mile Beach
Nightlife isn’t all about drinking and dancing always, and the Coconut Comedy Club proves this with the loyal audiences that turn up all the time to witness some pretty hilarious and intelligent acts performed by renowned artists and comedians from all parts of the globe. It is a wonderful experience to chuckle away the night in this club after spending a day in water and water sports activities. Coconuts Comedy Club adds a different dimension to the nightlife in Seven Mile Beach region.
Loggia Lounge, Seven Mile Beach
If the sounds of a piano tickle your heart and charm you like no other, do not waste time in thinking, and head off to Loggia Lounge where a piano specialist awaits you with some breathtaking performances to beautify the night. As you soak in the vibes and vibrations of the piano, you’ll be lured into accompanying the ecstasy with some Cuban cigar. Cocktails are pretty good too, and so are the snacks on the menu. You will really find it hard to say goodbye to the elegance of the atmosphere at Loggia Lounge as this is right in the top league when it comes to complementing drinks with music.
Cayman Islands Shopping Locations
So you’ve been playing smart, and saved every possible buck here and there, using all discount coupons under the skies and cashing upon all offers good enough to qualify. It is time now to spend all that on some exciting shopping experiences. And of course, if you were going for that shopping spree anyways, this article still helps you as we list out some of the best places to be at for shoppers in Grand Cayman.
Beach Bubbles, Grand Cayman
Offering hand made products such as fine handcrafted soaps, Beach Bubbles has grown into a reputed Cayman Islands based company in the past few years. The product range is pretty good. There are body soaps, creams, lotions and shampoos up for grabs. The items are not expensive and the fact that you can make good use of them adds to the value you get for your money. And of course, there is that Caribbean feel to the products that shall really entice you into buying them, and it won’t be a decision you’d regret. As they like to say, there is a dedicated worker behind every bar of soap that lands in the shop for sale.
Island Glassblowing Studio, George Town
In all likelihood, you’d like to visit an art gallery or two on your tour of Grand Cayman. Hold that plan until you land in Georgetown. The Island Glassblowing Studio, run by a family of designers, is your one stop shop for beautiful articles that double up as souvenirs for your friends back home. The best part, however, is the chance to see the demonstrators in action as they almost effortlessly pull off the herculean task of rolling molten glass into eye candy patterns. The shapes and styles they make out of liquid glass are simply mesmerizing to the senses.
Black Coral Clinic, Grand Cayman
Though the stuff for sale at Black Coral Clinic ranges from bikinis to marbles, you might consider visiting the place just to see Doc Carey, the master story teller and the man in charge at the place. His stories are famous among most visitors that have had the opportunity to be at this place. Shopping almost becomes secondary as you get absorbed in the atmosphere. Of course, the items for sale are pretty good, both in quality and design. Carey is kind enough to even show you how he amazingly creates Tikis from Black Coral. It is sinful not going here if you happen to be near Georgetown.
Cayman Taffy Company, Seven Mile Beach
Your Caribbean vacation is bound to be an introduction to a whole menu of sauces. Some of them shall blow the daylights out of you, and still others would add different flavours to the dishes you eat. If taffy is something you like, and you are bored of the usual flavours, there is no way you can miss on a visit to the Cayman Taffy Company. Pina colada, coconut, passion fruit, rum and mango are just a few of the flavours you can pick from Cayman Taffy Company. If you see some chocolate candy walnuts, go for them as they might be the most delicious candies you ever get to eat!
Boddentown Art Shop, Bodden Town
Art is something you’d definitely like to take back with you from Grand Cayman Islands, and there aren’t many places as good as Boddentown Art Shop of Bodden Town. Affordable and authentic art works and crafts await you on the shelves of the Boddentown Art Shop. The shop connects the skills of the local designers and workers with global tourists. The variety of designs in handicrafts is pleasantly baffling. There is a whole range of products for purchase, for instance jams, jellies, paintings and show pieces.
Major Cities – Cayman Islands
Cayman Island wild life
The kitty of Grand Cayman Islands is filed with some breathtaking and other overwhelming tourism prospects. Natural beauty, adventure sports, and still more flora and fauna are just a few of the snacks that are served fresh and hot on the tourism menu of the Grand Cayman Islands.
Regarded the major township in Grand Cayman, Georgetown is known for being a major offshore banking hub, apart from being a feature on the itinerary of many cruise ships. The aura of a truly Caribbean getaway that surrounds Georgetown does quite a lot to add to its charms and power to magnetize tourists towards itself. And it certainly helps to have some breathtakingly beautiful beaches as well. The Seven Mile Beach hardly needs any introduction to travel enthusiasts. The range of resorts dotting the beach area is literally baffling, each serving a different definition of luxury. Divers, couples and families, all have loads to look up to when they visit Georgetown. The waters remain accommodative for pretty much the whole of the year, and the superb visibility helps divers enjoy their stay under water. The world famous Stingray City is another pearl in the crown of Georgetown. The most popular parts of the city can be travelled on foot pretty comfortably, and this is the best way to enjoy the cheerful vibes of Georgetown.
The second largest town of Grand Cayman is West Bay. Nature and wildlife observers have a whole menu of irresistible activities in West Bay, and a visit to the Cayman Turtle Farm is the perfect beginning to sightseeing here. A sight of the cute, slow and unique turtles is worth all the effort. The 23 acre marine park of West Bay is your date with water and all its marine life. There are several places claiming to have some sorts of heaven on earth, but West Bay literally turns the tables and gets noted for being host to Hell! It is actually a tourist spot known for its pitch black corals, and hence gets the metaphorical name. And then, the Dolphin Cove is a great place to take your kids to and see the adorable dolphins in a very natural environment
Grand Cayman’s trio of major cities gets completed with Bodden Town. Travellers have loads of sightseeing to indulge in on their tour to Bodden Town. The oldest building in Grand Cayman, i.e. the Pedro Castle (originally known as St. James) leaves you in a different era. Guard House Hill located on the foremost incline as you enter the city stands as a reminder of those days when the protectors of the city had to guard against invasion attempts. The dose of defence intensifies as you head to Gun Square with two cannons pointing towards the ground. The century old Queen Victoria Monument is another impressive building in Bodden Town. Then, there are Pirate Bays that are renowned for connecting straight to the sea and the hide outs of nefarious pirates. The back of Bodden Town hosts another memorial structure called Slave Wall or Drummonds Wall. It is said to have been built just by careful selection of stones fitting into a strong structure without any binding agent such as mortar. Bodden Town is not to be missed if you like your history.
Cayman Island wild life
The Cayman Islands are the only places in the world where the residents will welcome you with a smile, and then in the politest “Queen’s English”, tell you to “Go To Hell”! They are also the only places where when you get to Hell, you will find it to be a “Heavenly Experience”!
Heavenly Economy – Vacation or Migration?
The capital of the Cayman Islands is George Town. The island has a small population of approximately 56,000 residents. But they are also most likely the only country in the world to have more international companies registered there than people living in the country! There are several international banks located in Cayman under their attractive offshore banking laws and facilities.
What is the business attraction? Well firstly, the exchange rate is US$1.20:1 KYD (Cayman Dollar)! And secondly, each resident earns approximately US$ 57,000! And thirdly, Cayman Islands residents have the highest standard of living in the entire Caribbean! And fourthly, there is no direct taxation, which has proven to be a highly attractive feature for organizations which wish to incorporate their businesses as a Caymanian entity. And fifthly, the Cayman Islands are considered to be, not just one of the richest islands in the Caribbean, but also in the whole world! So, if you plan to become a tourist here, probably you should not just be packing up your bags! Probably you should also be packing up your job, your house, and be moving out to LIVE in the Cayman Islands!
Hell, High Finance & Hospitality
Clearly, the dominant industries here are tax revenue from corporate registrations, high finance, financial services and banking. The next most significant industrial sector is hospitality and tourism. One of the most popular tourist attractions is a small group of black limestone formations in West Bay, Grand Cayman, called Hell. Tourists have been known to have fun with this name, by ensuring that they visit the red-themed Post Office so that they can send “a postcard from Hell”! They are also delighted to have the opportunity to ask each other, “How the hell are you?” or “Where the hell are you from?” The place is so popular with land tourists that cruise ships could not resist the temptation to go there a “hell-of-a-lot” of times too! Probably bargain shoppers can “make a deal with the devil too”….
Geography – Very Small Islands
Grand Cayman is a British overseas territory and is situated in the Western Caribbean, south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, who also used to govern the Cayman Islands. This territory is made up of two (2) other small islands – Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. The latter is about 90 miles northeast of Grand Cayman, and is only 12 miles long and 1 mile wide. The Gaelic (Scottish-Irish) name for a bluff, a large, hilly, limestone formation, is “brac”. Cayman Brac got its name from a sizeable bluff that runs along the length of the island and rises 140 feet above sea level. Little Cayman has a population of only 170 residents and a size of 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, and is situated 75 miles northeast of Grand Cayman. Almost all of the island is at sea-level but the highest elevation is only 40 feet.
Demographics – Home to 100 Nationalities
Surveys of the population have revealed that there is a mix of over 100 nationalities living in the Cayman Islands. Only about half of these residents are of Caymanian descent. As is the case throughout the Caribbean, the majority of the population in Cayman are of mixed race, particularly from England and Europe. Most of the people live in Grand Cayman, with Little Brac coming in second.
All three islands offer a variety of accommodation facilities. Guests can choose from luxury and moderately price resorts and hotels, to villas, condominiums and guesthouses. There are bed and breakfast options too, particularly on Little Brac. One of the unique incentives to travel to the Cayman Islands is their Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee. This programmed promises refunds and no penalty payments when cancellation or changes are required because of the advent of a hurricane, that disrupts previously made vacation plans.
Being a British Overseas territory, there is no Prime Minister, but instead the islands are administered by a Governor appointed by the Britain. However the 15 member Legislative Assembly is elected by the people, with 5 of them functioning as government ministers. The current Governor is Duncan Taylor. The various opportunities for fun, food, and frolic in the Cayman Islands are the closest to heaven you will get on earth in the Caribbean – even if you have to “go to Hell ” to get to this heaven.