The best things to do on a Grand Cayman Island vacation aren’t limited to spots along Seven Mile Beach. Check out the Camana Bay Observation Tower for stunning views, or snorkel alongside the sunken Kittiwake shipwreck to see exotic fish and coral. Thrill to an after-dark kayak voyage through Bioluminescent Bay, where dinoflagellates illuminate the water with a dazzling glow. Then, chow down on spicy jerk chicken or fresh seafood.
Camana Bay is the most vibrant destination on Grand Cayman. A thriving New Urbanist town, this waterfront community offers various cultural experiences and world-class shopping. You’ll also find coastal residences, the island’s 75-foot Observation Tower and Grand Cayman’s only footpath connecting sea to sound. Plan your day at the bay to take advantage of everything it offers — then unwind with popcorn and a movie at the Camana Bay Cinema after dark.
Dining is another highlight of this top Cayman Islands tourist attraction. The city’s many restaurants feature local and international cuisine. Whether you want spicy jerk chicken, hearty Italian fare or sensational seafood, there’s something for everyone here. And don’t miss the chance to try a signature Caribbean cocktail or rum tasting at one of the area’s popular bars.
Of course, when in Rome, right? A trip to the Caribbean is complete with a little relaxation. Several serene and peaceful green spaces complement the islands’ pristine beaches. Indulge your inner zen in the tranquil courtyards of Camana Bay, which include the playful fountains of Jasmine Court, the shady oasis of Canella Court, and the serene Heliconia Court.
For more adventure, venture underground into the Crystal Caves on a guided tour to admire stalactite and stalagmite formations that are otherworldly in their beauty. After an incident, take your vacation to the next level and indulge in a spa. Grand Cayman Islands spas provide everything from massages to facials, ensuring you will leave each session completely revived.
Stingray City is one of the most famous attractions in the Cayman Islands, and it’s no wonder why. The shallow sandbar in the North Sound of Grand Cayman is home to a large population of wild Southern Stingrays. The stingrays are so accustomed to humans that they swim up to them and allow themselves to be petted and hand-fed. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
While some travelers think this is a tourist trap, the stingrays are not held in captivity and come to the sandbar naturally to feed off the debris left behind by returning fishermen. The docile ocean giants are so friendly that they love to rub against your legs like a puppy.
Several tours are available that will take you to Stingray City. Make careful comparisons because prices vary depending on what is supplied. Some include transportation to the dock, snorkel gear and even meals. When selecting a tour, also look for reviews, as these can help you decide what is the best fit for your vacation.
For the ultimate experience, consider booking a tour with Stingray City and a snorkel spot such as Coral Garden or the Barrier Reef. It will make your visit much more pleasurable and enable you to enjoy the stunning aquatic life.
Barkers National Park
The Cayman Islands’ first national park combines low scrub and dense mangroves with long, sandy beaches. This secluded, scenic area is often empty and is a great spot for cycling, horseback riding, walking and kiteboarding. A visit to the park also presents a good opportunity for bird watching. There is a wide range of birds, including herons, egrets and many other species.
The park’s two ponds, Sea Pond and Palmetto Pond, are important breeding, feeding, resting and migration sites for various waterfowl and birds. During the windy season (November through April), the beach at Barker’s is one of Cayman’s top spots for kitesurfing. Book a lesson or rent gear from Kitesurf Cayman on the shorefront to try this exhilarating sport.
Cobalt Coast Resort caters to snorkelers and divers and is located in West Bay near the Turtle Centre and Barker’s National Park. This resort is the most budget-friendly hotel in Grand Cayman and offers rooms with a view of Smith Cove Beach. Since you can spread a blanket and eat local delicacies in the sunshine, it’s also perfect for a romantic picnic. It’s a good alternative to the higher-priced resorts on Seven Mile Beach. You can stay at the renowned budget hotel Eldemire’s Tropical Island Inn in George Town for even more value.
A hike through the Mastic Trail is a journey through an expansive natural playground home to trees and plants unique to this part of the world. The 2.3-mile walk, named for the yellow and black mastic trees that grow in the reserve, takes you through various habitats, from a mangrove wetland to agricultural land and ancient woodlands. The trail showcases the Cayman Islands’ diverse flora and fauna, including the native Cayman parrot and wild banana orchids.
The Mastic Reserve is traversed by a historic footpath, the Mastic Trail, that allows visitors to see one of the last remaining true dry sub-tropical semi-deciduous forests in the Caribbean. This pristine forest is so special because it was left alone for many years after colonization and was not subject to the massive deforestation that wreaked havoc throughout the rest of the island.