A dazzling selection of luxury beachside resorts has made the Cayman Islands a dream destination for the world’s wealthiest people. But underneath the glitz and glamour is an island-nation blessed with first-rate diving sites, thriving wildlife and stunning natural rock formations.
The Cayman Islands consists of three islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The commercialised Grand Cayman is best known for its gourmet restaurants, shopping and resorts. The majority of the exclusive resorts are dotted along Seven Mile Beach - a long crescent of coral-sand beach.
Little Cayman - Grand Cayman’s charming little sister- tempts visitors to her silky shores with superb diving sites along Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson Wall. Cayman Brac has the most varied landscape in the region with ancient coral limestone cliff and caves to the east and excellent bird watching and hiking opportunities.
With clear visibility, warm sea temperatures, a selection of deep and shallow dives and great wall diving, it makes sense to spend as much time as possible drifting above the Cayman’s colourful coral reefs.
The peak season falls between mid-December and mid-April. The shoulder season from late November to mid-December and late April to early May enjoys good weather and is less crowded. Rainfall is highest from mid-May through to October, with frequent afternoon showers that clear as quickly as they arrive.
The best way to explore the islands is by hiring a car. There are car rental outlets in George Town on Grand Cayman and dotted around the airports. Cabs are widely available on Grand Cayman Island and from the airport at Cayman Brac. Bicycle or scooter is a great way to get around Little Cayman Island. Boats will take you to the best diving sites.
Accommodation ranges from modest dive lodges to five-star resorts. If you don’t want top-flight luxury (of which there is plenty on offer) then the best accommodation is in small independent hotels. These often have brightly coloured rooms with superb gardens and very friendly staff. Lodgings on Little Cayman range from cosy island hideaways to larger resorts. Most accommodation options will take care of your diving needs.
The resorts on Little Cayman Island are so well known for their exceptional chefs many guests visit solely for the food. Make sure you try traditional Cayman fare in the form of turtle and conch – if you like the idea of your food coming out of a shell. Plantain (a starchy relative of the banana) is popular in the Caymans and delicious in the form of a crisp. If a meal is described as ‘Cayman Style’ this traditionally means with peppers, onions and tomato.
The Cayman Islands are generally safe and friendly – why else would the rich call it home? No inoculations are needed and desalination plants provide the islands with excellent drinking water.
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