Auto Draft

A luxury Caribbean destination, the Cayman Islands attracts 2.5 million tourists each year. Many visitors huddle at all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach or the nearby Stingray City, while others explore rocky coastal caves, mysterious shipwrecks, and lush forests. A cosmopolitan place, Cayman’s rich local culture is apparent in places like Bodden Town, East End, and the Sister Islands. Make sure to attend Pedro St. James National Historic Site, an attractive old house on the ocean whose gardens showcase plants arranged by color.

Beaches

Known for its crystalline waters and white-sand beaches, the Cayman Islands offer something for every beach lover. Seven Mile Beach—often ranked among the world’s best—is a postcard-perfect stretch where you can swim, stroll, and get sunbaked. You may consider renting a jet ski or catamaran for a unique view of the island and its beautiful marine life.

The calmer, shallower waters of tranquil, palm-tree-studded Spotts Beach—about an hour’s drive from George Town on Grand Cayman—are a prime spot to spot sea turtles. And on the 15-square-mile island of Cayman Brac, the aptly named Brac Reef Beach is a launching point for snorkeling and diving. If you love scuba diving, the Cayman Islands are an absolute paradise. Explore underwater shipwrecks, including the renowned Kittewake, or swim with the brightly colored tropical fish at Smith’s Reef. For the best experience, visit between June and November when temperatures are more relaxed, and the risk of hurricanes is low. (However, check weather reports before your trip and consider travel insurance.) Even during the rainy season, short bursts of rain usually pass quickly and don’t spoil a day on the beach.

Weather

The weather in Grand Cayman is tropical, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The period between December and April is usually dry and relaxed, but it is also the peak tourist season, so prices are higher, and there are more crowds. On the other hand, July and August are hotter and more humid. The fall months, from October to November, coincide with the hurricane season.  The driest months are February, then April, but it’s possible to see rain at any time of the year. The best times to travel are spring or fall when you can avoid both the hurricane season and the high summer temperatures.

Nightlife

While the Cayman Islands are famous for their stunning beaches and transparent waters, there are also exciting activities to enjoy after sunset. You can find bars, clubs, and restaurants that offer a mix of music, food, and drinks, and some even have gorgeous beach views. Most of the nightlife in the Cayman Islands is centered around Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. You’ll find bars like O Bar, which has a DJ spinning the latest hits; Power Supply Bar, which offers cocktails from a retro jukebox; and All Stars Sports Bar, where you can play pool or beer pong. For a more intimate setting, check out Backroom Cigar Bar, which serves top-quality spirits in a Prohibition-style lounge. Enjoy a sunset cruise with a dinner cruise to catch an aerial view of the islands’ crystalline water and white beaches. Exploring the island from a different perspective and witnessing the arrival of cruise ships is a fantastic experience. Pack sunscreen and insect repellent if you plan to spend considerable time outdoors.

Attractions

Whether you’re visiting on a cruise ship or independently, the Cayman Islands is a tropical playground. In the capital of George Town, wooden buildings in jewel colors line the waterfront, housing a mishmash of venues from duty-free shops to cool cafes serving Buddha bowls and vegan brownies. The Pedro St. James National Historic Site is a restored 18th-century plantation house where local history buffs flock to hear about how the Cayman Islands became a democracy and where the abolition of slavery was first announced. Guided tours are available.

On Grand Cayman, Stingray City offers close encounters with stingrays. At the same time, snorkelers can spot turtles at Smith Cove or Spott’s Beach, and divers can visit Devil’s Grotto to explore a sea cave covered in contorted stalactites and stalagmites. The Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef and Bloody Bay Marine Park are popular dive sites. If you prefer to stay above ground, head for the East End Blow Holes, two craggy coastal blowholes that spray water up to 20 feet on a good day. For a natural wonder of a different kind, the Crystal Caves are another natural attraction that entices visitors to venture underground to explore rainforests and a series of caves.

Food

A tasty meal is an essential part of any travel experience, but it can be even more meaningful when a destination’s cuisine has its unique twist. That’s what you can expect in the Cayman Islands, where the local food is truly one-of-a-kind. Seafood is a staple in many brightly colored beach shacks and up-scale eateries. But the islands’ cosmopolitan ex-pat community also contributes to a rich blend of culinary influences. Try a Caribbean ceviche or a vegan coconut gelato, for example. Look out for the national dish of turtle stew or fried lionfish (which, sadly, is an invasive species threatening the reefs, but it’s delicious in its grilled form). And don’t forget dessert, with Vivine’s custard-laden Philippines-style cassava cake having a cult following on Grand Cayman. Local rum is also a must-try. You can usually buy it on tap at restaurants. But if you want to take yours home, you’ll need a customs permit, so ask a local before you head out.