Best Things To Do in Cayman Islands
If you're an avid scuba diver, you've come to the right place. Considered one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands offer ample opportunities to get up close to the region's colorful sea life. You'll find plenty of sites off of Grand Cayman, including the popular Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef and Eden Rock & Devil's Grotto, but if you're willing to plan a daytrip to Little Cayman, visitors say the Bloody Bay Marine Park is worth your while. Prefer to sightsee on land? Lace up your hiking shoes and explore the Mastic Trail, or simply don your swimsuit and relax along the postcard-worthy Seven Mile Beach.
Updated September 19, 2018
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For several years now, Seven Mile Beach has been lauded as one of the Caribbean's best beaches. Take one glance at this crescent-shaped shore and one sniff of the soft, coral sand and you'll easily understand why. Many of Grand Cayman's best resorts are situated on Seven Mile, and there are a number of casual beach bars and restaurants, a playground, restrooms and showers to boot. What's more, it's also a great spot to try snorkeling for the first time – the clear water allows snorkelers to see the vibrant fish and beautiful coral.
Recent visitors enjoyed the calm waves and soft sand even though there were heavy crowds. Reviewers say Seven Mile Beach is one of the most beautiful places in the world, affording ample opportunities to snorkel and stand-up paddleboard, as well as build sand castles and take long walks.
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Located in the North Sound area of Grand Cayman, Stingray City is the most popular attraction on any of the three Cayman Islands. Travelers insist it's a tourist trap – but perhaps a tourist trap that's worth it.
The "city" is actually a shallow sandbar where you can interact with and feed the wild Atlantic stingrays that live freely in those waters (there are no penned enclosures). Previous visitors reveled in the opportunity to get so close to the creatures and insist that it's not dangerous, as long as you follow the guidelines of the instructors.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Cayman IslandsSightseeing, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
The USS Kittiwake was an ex-U.S. Navy submarine that served for more than 50 years before it was sunk off the coast of popular Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman in 2011. The submerged submarine and artificial reef now delights scuba divers with its swim throughs and sea life, including shrimp, eels, barracuda, turtles and grouper.
Because Kittiwake is a popular dive site, recent travelers highly recommend booking your reservation in advance. Others say it's a great wreck dive for beginners (thanks to the high visibility and shallow placement on the reef – around 60 feet), but it's equally fun for advanced divers. Even snorkelers enjoy the dive site: Since the water is so clear, they can see the submerged submarine from near the surface.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Cayman IslandsNatural Wonders, SportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, SportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Just south of Seven Mile Beach and approximately 46 feet below the surface are Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto, two of the most popular diving spots on Grand Cayman. Both are wonderful underwater mazes filled with tarpon, silversides, parrotfish and barracuda, and they should be enjoyable swims for both beginner and intermediate snorkelers.
The Eden Rock Diving Center, located on South Church Street in George Town on Grand Cayman, offers sponsored shore and boat dives as well as rental equipment to the side-by-side sites. Recent cruisers appreciated the proximity of the diving center to the cruise ship terminal, making for a quick and easy shore excursion.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Cayman IslandsHiking, Natural Wonders, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're a nature lover, you should definitely add the Mastic Trail to your list of Grand Cayman must-dos. The trail is a 200-year-old gravel path that winds through a native mangrove swamp and a 2 million-year-old woodland area, surrounded by some of the island's most colorful and rare plant life. The 2.3-mile trail (one-way) is preserved as a flat, beginners hike by the Cayman Islands National Trust, though some recent travelers said there is a section where scrambling is required and as such you'll want to wear the appropriate footwear. Others recommend wearing bug repellant as the mosquitoes can be relentless. Because it's sheltered from the sea breeze, the trail can get quite hot and humid. If you're planning a trip, you'll have a more pleasant experience if you visit in the morning.
You'll need at least two or three hours to enjoy the Mastic Trail on a guided tour (held on weekday mornings); each tour costs 25 Cayman Island dollars (or about $30) for adults and 12 Cayman Island dollars (around $18) for kids 12 and younger. Contact the Cayman Islands National Trust to arrange your visit. You can also choose to hike the trail on your own for free, just make sure to pick up a map. You'll find the trail about 15 miles east of George Town in central Grand Cayman. Parking is free. The trail is accessible every day.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Cayman IslandsNatural WondersTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDNatural WondersTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
This marine park is the top diving spot on Little Cayman, and it's a favorite of both skilled and beginning scuba divers. The park's top sight is the Bloody Bay Wall, an incredible reef and drop down that starts about 20 feet below sea level before plummeting more than 1,000 feet. Visibility of the water's native stingrays, turtles and sharks averages around 100 feet.
Exploring the Bloody Bay Marine Park will be expensive, but the specific cost depends on the dive company you choose. Still, habitual visitors and first-time travelers to Little Cayman insist the expense is worth it thanks to the variety of marine life and high visibility. Some of the top dive companies that visit the Bloody Bay Marine Park include Conch Club Divers (located inside the Paradise Villas resort) and Reef Divers (in the Little Cayman Beach Resort).
- #7View all Photos#7 in Cayman IslandsSightseeing, Tours, Wineries/BreweriesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, Tours, Wineries/BreweriesTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
What started in 2008 as a small distillery producing ocean-aged rum has become the 5,000-square-foot Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery. What's unique about this distillery is the way they age their rum: on the ocean floor. In fact, it was the first distillery to do so. These days, in addition to producing rum, the distillery also produces flavored rums, vodka and liqueurs.
Recent visitors highly recommend taking a tour of the facility, and some even recommend leaving by taxi since there are so many spirits to try. Others travelers say the funny tour guide was a great host.
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Captain Keith Tibbetts Wreck is a 330-foot-long Russian frigate that was deliberately sunk off Cayman Brac to create an artificial reef. It's now the coral-crusted, sponge-coated home to thousands of groupers, amber-colored scorpionfish and even a handful of green moray eels. The ship is largely intact; its remains range from 30 to 100 feet below the surface. This intermediate dive is approximately 200 yards from shore, so most people take a boat to the site.
Travelers say the dive is easily doable for beginners (thanks to the high visibility and low currents) but could also act as a challenge for experienced divers who are willing to penetrate the wreck. Many visitors reported a good experience with Brac Scuba Shack, which offers various wreck and wall dives around Cayman Brac. Rates vary, but you can expect to pay $75 for one tank.
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