Famous as a tax haven, this Caribbean paradise is surprisingly diverse. George Town is the capital and main destination for cruise ship passengers, crowded with tourist attractions and duty-free shopping. The quiet East End has more natural beaches (try Colliers Public Beach) and tranquil resorts that stay away from the crowds. It’s the best island for a go-at-your-own-pace getaway.
Known for its spectacular marine ecosystem, Little Cayman shines as a flourishing example of what stewardship can accomplish in the Caribbean. This secluded island is a favorite for those seeking a quiet, peaceful beach vacation away from crowds. Ten miles long and just over a mile wide at its broadest point, Little Cayman is a true postcard paradise. The smallest of the Cayman Islands, Little Cayman, is home to a permanent population of about 150 people. Despite this low number of residents, Little Cayman has plenty to entertain visitors. It is a snorkeler’s and diver’s dream, with pristine coral reefs in every bay and tidal pool. It also boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including the awe-inspiring Point of Sand. You may unwind on a pristine stretch of fluffy white sand at this lovely beach while admiring the turquoise water. The beach is so secluded that you can often enjoy it—Experience Little Cayman diving, which divers created to provide visitors with the most fun possible.
Little Cayman’s landscape is also dotted with stunning geological oddities. These include the incredible Crystal Caves and Hell, a visual attraction composed of short, black limestone formations that resemble what we all think of when we imagine Hell. Other popular interests include a turtle farm, a historical museum and sculptor Ronald ‘Foots’ Kynes’ brightly colored oceanfront house and art gallery. While it is possible to do just about anything on Little Cayman, renting a scooter is the best way to explore this lovely island. It allows visitors to explore the entire island at their own pace and stop for some wildlife viewing. The largest Red-Footed Boobies in the western hemisphere, majestic frigate birds, parrots, and wild, endemic rock iguanas that can grow to 4 feet in length can all be found on Little Cayman.
Grand Cayman provides various housing options to suit any budget, including five-star resorts, hotels under well-known brand names, individually owned motels, and vacation rentals. Its main draw is Seven Mile Beach, a gorgeous stretch of white sand whose reputation as one of the Caribbean’s best beaches precedes it. You’ll have no trouble finding areas to pause for a swim and a drink because the water is so clear. There’s plenty more to do and see on the island, including exploring deep underwater at Cayman Crystal Caves and exploring the Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef. And if you’re looking to dine out, the island has serious culinary credentials with 200+ restaurants and cafes. It’s not hard to find Michelin-starred fine dining, hearty Italian cuisine, sensational seafood, and Caribbean staples like jerk chicken and conch fritters.
If you’re traveling with children, the island has several family-friendly attractions, including the Cayman Turtle Center and the Butterfly Garden. Kids will also love visiting Breaker’s Lagoon, a massive pool with waterfalls and a shark tank. For a change of scenery, the Mastic Trail on Grand Cayman’s east side is a great way to explore the local flora and fauna in its most natural state. If you’re willing to slap on some insect repellent and get a little dirty, this is a stunning experience.
Cayman Brac, or “the Brac” as locals call it, differs slightly from its sister islands. It’s not a destination for glitz and glamor but rather a quaint Caribbean outpost that is all about outdoor adventure and natural beauty. The Brac is dominated by a steep bluff that stretches the island’s length and rises to over 40 meters (131 feet) at its eastern end. This rugged terrain creates a beautiful backdrop for the islands’ best scuba diving and snorkeling, especially on the island’s north side, where the waters are calm, and the coral formations are spectacular. There are over 50 dive sites on the Brac, many within a short boat ride from shore. Divers love the kaleidoscope of colors on Bloody Bay Wall, and the more adventurous will enjoy exploring one of the island’s caves, like Great Cave, also called Slaughter House, because of the skeletal remains found here.
On land, the National Trust Parrot Reserve on the island’s south side is home to the last few hundred endemic Cayman Brac parrots. Visitors can trek along the mile-long nature trail to witness this remarkable bird in its natural habitat of brush, mango trees, cactus, and orchids. Another popular attraction is Stingray City, a sand bar where tourists can enter the sea to feed stingrays that swim in the shallow waters and hang out on the floor of the water body. The experience is incredibly fun, and the stingrays are completely harmless if they’re not agitated. The braver of the group can then go on a scuba diving trip to the Brac’s western tip and visit the wreck of MV Captain Keith Tibbetts. This 330-foot Russian-built frigate was scuttled here in 1996 and is now the only diveable Soviet warship in the entire Western hemisphere.