Boasting a rich and colourful heritage, the Cayman Islands have been an autonomous British Overseas Territory since 1658, when the first colonisers Bodden and Walter (deserters from Jamaica’s British Army) came across the islands and settled there.
You’ll find a vibrant island culture interlaced with world-class sandy beaches, endless outdoor leisure pursuits and a zest for life that is truly 5* So switch on or Switch off, in your very own Caribbean paradise.
Where are the Cayman Islands?
The area consists of a cluster of 3 islands located in the balmy western Caribbean Sea, approximately 180 miles northwest of Jamaica.
This idyllic island family comprise of Grand Cayman and its smaller sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman (both situated 89 miles east-northeast of Grand Cayman).
Each Cayman island offers something truly unique and different. The largest, Grand Cayman is home to exclusive holiday accommodation and gated resorts which exude pure indulgence – making this island ideal for those seeking a 5* tropical vacation.
Soak up a lavish beachside vacation in one of our superb luxury Grand Cayman villas.
The second largest island is Cayman Brac. This tranquil, sparsely populated island offers the perfect spot from which to embark on a scuba diving expedition, a deep-sea fishing charter or explore the numerous caves.
You may also feel tempted to take in the scenic island beauty spots, with a laid-back bike rental.
Just 7 miles from Cayman Brac, the smallest, easternmost Island of Little Cayman is home to spectacular coral reefs and an impressive array of endangered wildlife.
Local island ‘residents’ include the rare birds at the Brac Parrot Reserve and a menagerie of native island inhabitants – from the iconic Iguana lizard, to the ravishing spectacle of the red-footed Booby bird.
The perfect vacation destination
Fishermen, sailors, slaves, and refugees driven from the Spanish Inquisition followed soon after. It was then that the diverse colonisation of Grand Cayman began.
On Grand Cayman, you will find the nation’s capital, George Town. The ruins of the colonial-era Fort set an alluring backdrop to a place steeped in maritime history, where different districts still speak a varied dialect of Caymanian British – a distinct form of English.
As one would expect, the customs here are deep-rooted in the Cayman Islands own exuberant energy and a strong cultural identity.
Braided souvenirs of Silver Thatch Palm (the Cayman Islands’ national tree) are still in production today, whilst the annual Cayman Catboat Regatta and an enlivening array of cultural events continue to provide the warm hospitality these Islands are famous for.
So your luggage is packed and you’ve arrived in Grand Cayman. Where to begin?
Read our helpful travel guide for the ultimate vacation!
For luxurious Grand Cayman vacation rentals, look no further than Top Villas.
Things to do in Grand Cayman
Wondering what to do in Grand Cayman?
At 196 km², this is certainly the largest of the three. Famed for its beautiful beaches, cosmopolitan flavour and cultural sights and attractions, you’ll find your perfect Caribbean vacation here.
Our 5* vacation homes provide the perfect luxury lodging for your family and friends.
The best beaches in Grand Cayman
First and foremost, no trip would be complete without some time on the beach!
Be it dosing in a hammock, snorkeling in the aqua-clear water, or enjoying the feel of the sand between your toes, the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world.
With crystal-clear waters, captivating coral reefs, and pristine sandy beaches that stretch off into the sunset, it’s easy to see why this is the go-to destination for a classic Caribbean vacation.
One of the best beaches is Seven Mile Beach. Despite its name, this highly photogenic beach stretches along the western end of the island for 6.3 miles. The endless curve of coral sand stretches out before your eyes, dotted with tropical palm trees and lapped by some of the clearest water you’ll have ever seen!
If the aqua blue water isn’t enough to entice you in, why not enjoy a spot of scuba diving and snorkeling by the rocky areas, or a moment swimming, jet skiing and paddle boarding off the expansive sandy spots?
Indeed, watersport fans are well-catered for at Seven Mile Beach. You’ll find a host of watersport equipment rental shops here, including Cayman Watersports, Salt Watersports Cayman Ltd, and Captain Marvin’s Watersports.
Those looking to snorkel along the stretch of Seven Mile’s beach will find the best snorkeling area at Governor’s Beach. The proximity of the coral reefs to the beach makes it ideal for kids to snorkel there too.
If you’re feeling peckish then Governor’s Beach also offers a shady picnic area. Kids can look out for the resident chickens and token giant lizard statue! Swimmers and paddle boarders also love this stretch of beach and it’s a popular choice for the annual Turtle Release program, which is held each November, at the end of Pirate Week.
Governor’s Beach is easily accessible by public bus and there’s free ample parking by the Governor’s House.
Another great reef snorkelling spot can be found at Cemetery Beach, which despite its morbid name is a beautiful sight to behold!
This pristine West Bay beach is easily reached by parking next to the cemetery and then walking a short distance along the path.
In the clear waters off Spotts Beach, you’ll have the chance to swim with turtles. Spotts Beach is also home to pretty palm trees, another comical community of chickens and a useful jetty (ideal for those hiring a power boat). You’ll also find free public parking nearby.
A laid-back beach day awaits you at Rum Point, located on the northern central tip of Grand Cayman. With its long jetty serving as the stop for daily boat tours, including the popular Red Sails Excursions, Rum Point is a well-known, tourist-friendly pitt stop.
You’ll also find a colorful array of daytime restaurants and bars. The shallow waters make it ideal for beginner swimmers, kayakers and snorkellers too, so sit back and soak up those worry-free vibes!
Seeking out some serenity?
Those hoping to glimpse starfish in their natural habitat will relish an outing to Starfish Point. This informal stretch of beach offers a relaxing spot from which to read a book, enjoy some snorkeling and spot a starfish or two.
If you’re staying in the island capital of George Town you won’t want to miss out on a beach trip to Smith’s Cove, otherwise known as Smith Barcadere.
Situated less than 10 minute drive from central George Town, this secluded cove offers a welcome spot of escapism, away from the city buzz. Enjoy an alfresco lunch at one of the picnic tables and catch a glimpse of the varied sea life in the clear waters.
The short distance from the beach to the rocks makes it ideal for families looking to soak up some snorkeling. This quaint and peaceful cove will leave you feeling fully rested and energized, ready for a fun evening out in town!
Get ready for the Grand Cayman Regattas
From the sleek Catman Regatta (known as Easter Regatta) to the imaginative cardboard boat regatta, the Cayman Islands provides the ideal distraction for all born skippers, captains and stowaways.
Indeed, Easter in the Cayman Islands isn’t all about chocolate eggs, it’s also about boats! Staged each year since 1965, the Easter Regatta is a popular regatta for sail boats, dinghies, Catboats and cruisers.
Sponsored by the Cayman Islands Sailing club and held just before Easter, the regatta sees a host of races unfold just off Grand Cayman. Particular highlights include a sail around the Island to North Sand, a race to the Banks and a dinghy regatta.
Catamarans come in all sizes (from 6 to 24 metres), and for those without sea legs, the after party on Seven Miles Beach is always awash with fun!Book your Grand Cayman vacation home
Mid term Sailing camps and adult lessons are also hosted by the Sailing Club, so if you’re here on a long vacation and have a desire to improve your sailing skills, they’ll help to put the wind in your sails.
For self-confessed speed junkies, the annual Million Dollar Run is the place to race and be seen! Attracting sleek international race boats and thrill seekers since 2003, this annual race (and fun party weekend) takes place off North Sand and Seven Miles Beach in the 3rd week of April.
Captains (in a breath taking range of super boats) race across the finish line, drawn by their need for speed – many boats reach more than 100 miles per hour. The $10,000 worth of prize bounty in the 6 competitive races may be a valid secondary reason!
The annual regatta also now hosts the Simply Circuit race off Kaibo, North Side, so pleasure boat owners can also join in on the fun and experience a tight-circuit style race. One thing’s for sure, the Cayman Islands Million Dollor Run is power-boat race like no other, so it’s certainly worth checking out!
Discover the best things to do in George Town
As a major cruise-ship Port, George Town is a hive of cosmopolitan activity; with tax-free shopping opportunities and city diversions to dip into, whatever the season!
Alongside the high-end designer shops, you can seek out a more down-to-earth ‘Caymanian’ pace, at one of the many wonderful local cafes, bars, restaurants and heritage attractions.
For an authentic island experience, the city and surrounding area boast a host of heritage attractions for you to explore. From Fort George and Watlers Cemetery to Old Homestead, Bodden town, Lassie’s House and Mission House (which hosts twice monthly culinary and craft courses), there is a cultural site to tempt all ages!
The best excursions
You’ll also find a superb selection of tours to satisfy all interests!
From guided island drives and dives, to a walk around upbeat Camana Bay, guided heritage trips, food tasting experiences and even Distillery and Brewery tours, there’s plenty to take in, and sample in Grand Cayman.
Away from the city, the fantastic nature tours will tempt you to explore the tropical rainforests, world-class beaches and best snorkelling spots. You can also explore the captivating Cayman Crystal Caves, swim with the popular ‘locals’ of Stingray City and even take a Subamarine tour to discover the coral reefs and shipwrecks, without getting wet!
Whatever you want to discover here in Grand Cayman, you’ll find the perfect island tour for you!
Enjoy the lively culture
With its plethora of galleries, venues, restaurants and resident artists and musicians, the creative juices are definitely in free flow.
The annual art exhibitions, live music concerts and world-class restaurants will find you embracing the intoxicating Island culture, whatever the season.
The National Gallery hosts a wide and varied program of art and visual exhibitions to inspire, question and engage the public, so be sure to check out their current events!
If you’re looking to escape the crowds then head to the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park in North Side of Grand Cayman. The scenic setting and tranquil garden walks in the wildlife park offer the perfect setting for an unhurried picnic.
Whatever the season, you can taste the Caribbean, dance the night away and source a Caymanian piece of art as a unique souvenir.
For foodie fans, the Taste of Cayman is the ultimate island food and wine festival. Hosted on the last Saturday in January, this event in Grand Cayman will certainly get your appetite going.Cayman Arts Festival
With a showcase of wine and cuisine to sample from over 40 island restaurants, this popular food festival will tantalize the tasebuds. You’ll also find an exciting serving of cooking competitions, live entertainment and kid-friendly activities and games.
For 2 weeks in mid-April, live and breath the Arts.
Each year, the National Festival of the Arts hosts its much anticipated Cayfest. Showcasing the art and cultural talents of the Cayman Islands, the festival commences with a traditional boat launch off Seven Mile Beach.
Visitors are treated to a rich array of visual arts, live music, theatre performances, fashion and design shows and film screenings.
The life and soul of the region George Town, springs into action – with local bands heading up open-air events, arts and craft workshops, Caymanian cooking demonstrations and more just waiting to be enjoyed. Highlights of the festival include award ceremonies, a Dress for Culture Day and the Red Sky at Night event.
The rich heritage of Caymanian music is celebrated with full vigour, at the annual Island Music festivals. From Mardi Gras and Jazz to Calypso and Classical, the Cayman Islands will be music to your ears!
Kicking off the annual music program, is the Little Cayman Mardi Gras Festival.
On the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the entire population of 270 (yes 270) come out to celebrate! Starting the day off is a morning parade, attended by participants from the Caymanian Islands community. The colourful costumed procession head from Head O’Bay, with the sounds of Carnival music filling the air.
In Mid-February, the Cayman Islands Jazz Festival (hosted by the Cayman Arts Festival) bursts onto the scene. Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman come together to host a colourful program of events; from Jazz and classical concerts to art exhibitions and workshops.
Following up in early May is pure electricity, with the start of the Caymans only national Carnival!Soak up Carnival fever ~ Stay in our Grand Cayman vacation rentals
The annual Batabano Carnival sees George Town light up in Mardi Gras-esque magic. Carnival music plays at street parties, whilst the dancers and acrobats in the parades perform against the infectious sounds of live soca (a unique type of calypso).
The talented calypso bands will continue to perform throughout what is a fun, highly-energized week. Caymanian and Caribbean cuisine line the streets, for the perfect Island party.
An adult parade and the Junior Batabano parade provides an inclusive feel ~ so all you need do is bring those dancing feet!
Shiver me timbers! The Cayman Islands Pirates Week in early November is perfect for those looking to soak up a lighthearted tour into the Island’s fascinating past.
Celebrating the Islands’ rich maritime history, this popular national festival is celebrated across the Cayman Islands.
A colourful costumed parade of fierce looking pirates and sassy bar wenches storm on George Town, making their noisy procession through the streets, with a captured Governor in tow! The spectacle is sure to be a hit with the kids.
Stay in Grand Cayman ~ so you don’t miss out on these great Grand Cayman events!
The best restaurants
When you’re on vacation here you simply must dine out in Grand Cayman, and savour a culinary Caribbean adventure.
Looking for a restaurant with a view? Head to the exclusive ‘Bacaro‘ at the Governor’s Creek Cayman Islands Yacht club, for a waterside dining experience and mouth-watering, Venetian-inspired Italian tapas.
The romantic beachside views from the ‘Upstairs Restaurant‘ in North Side will inspire any avid diner to savour the scenery, as much as their meal.
For authentic Cayman Islands seafood, sample the signature lobster and shrimp dish at the timeless ‘Calypso Grill‘ in West Bay.
The ‘Brasserie‘ in George Town showcases beautiful Caribbean seafood, with a twist.
Presented alongside a strong sustainable ethos, which runs throughout its menu of locally-sourced, organic produce, each dish is of the best quality.
It’s worth noting the ‘Brasserie‘ also conjures up divine cocktails – perfect for a special aperitif, before some heavenly fusion food!
Grand Cayman Weather
Thanks to its tropical marine climate, the islands offer an invitingly warm year-round vacation destination. The average highs here are in the balmy 80s, whilst the average lows are in the high 60s.
Many prefer to vacation in the Cayman Islands in the dry winter season, which runs from November through April.
Those seeking out a great saving, typically look at staying in the warm, wet summer season, which runs from mid-May through October.
Grand Cayman Vacation rentals
Beautifully presented and located, there’s no denying our vacation villas put the grand in Grand Cayman!
Groups of 10 will feel right at home within the exclusive 5 star beachside Cayman Island villas
For groups of 16 seeking a super sleek beachside haven, the luxurious Point of View Grand Cayman villa (6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms) promises the perfect blend of style, drama and effortless relaxation.
Extended groups of 18 looking to soak up a sun-drenched stay can savour an exclusive Cayman Islands vacation in Sun Salutations (6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms).
For the ultimate scenic Cayman Islands getaway, choose Tatenda. Accommodating groups of 20, this 7 bedroom 7 bathroom villa offers a beautiful beachside paradise, which you can freely admire from the pool, upstairs veranda, roof terrace or beachside hammock!
Things to do in Cayman Brac
The middle Cayman boasts a staggering number of caves, 170 to be exact!
Cayman Brac is also a lush tropical haven, home to luminous green parrots, fruit bats and herons, to name just a few.
Some incredible canyoning and diving opportunities await at Peter’s Cave and Wilderness Wall. Cayman Brac also offers action-packed days on dry land too, with a spot of rock climbing or a nature hike, hosted by Rock Iguana Ltd.
Brac Scuba Shack are also on hand to offer a fantastic professional service for divers looking to take in the hidden gems of the sea, from haunting shipwrecks to luminous coral reefs.
You’ll also be able to soak up plenty of opportunities to get out on the water too, with fishing, kayaking and watersport activities taking place off the island’s pristine resort beaches.
Things to do in Little Cayman
When you hop off the boat onto this ten-mile-long island, one this is for certain. You are in for a treat.
Rich in pristine beaches and lush lagoons, with incredible diving opportunities to see coral reefs and ship wrecks, Little Cayman has it all.
Relax, enjoy a beach stroll or rent a bike and explore this gentle-paced island, adorned by spectacular underwater sights.
Declared one of the top 3 diving sites in the world (by the famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau), Little Cayman is home to arguably some of the Caribbean’s best dives. The most famous of which is a colossal coral-laden marvel, known as Bloody Bay Wall.
The coral wall plunges 2000 metres down into the depths and is alive with tube sponges, corals and wafting fans. The diving spot forms part of the Blood Bay Marine Park, where a host of sealife can be enjoyed, from turtles, lobsters and eagle rays to triggerfish and Nassau groupers.
Looking to stabilize? Point O’ Sand in particular is a pretty spot for doing nothing, other than enjoying a classic beach day! Its super fine pinky-tone sand and rolling surf epitomizes a carefree Caribbean vacation.
Whilst spending a day here on foot or on your rental bike, nature fans will love catching a glimpse of the roaming rock Iguanas and can head to South Hole Sound Lagoon, to spot the native bonefish. The Booby Pond Nature Reserve (as its name suggests) is home to red-footed boobies, as well as Frigatebirds and migratory birds, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Whichever season you choose to visit and enjoy the Cayman Islands, one thing is for certain.
You will definitely want to come back!View our luxury Grand Cayman vacation homes
Useful Information for your Grand Cayman vacation ~
Tailor-make your luxury vacation with our Travel Extras and Concierge services
Find out why the Cayman Islands are some of the Safest Caribbean Islands!