The Cayman Islands are a piece of paradise in the Caribbean. Warm sun, crystal clear water, white sands and every conceivable activity you can think of, hiking, golfing, snorkeling, diving, sailing, sunning, nightlife, jet skis, parasailing and so much more. Based on that, plus the overall beauty of the area, tourism has shot through the roof, and if there is anything negative about this pristine paradise, it’s the crowds. With that thought, we’ve created this page to talk about some of the quieter less populated tours. These are some of our favorites; hopefully, they’ll make your Cayman Island vacation even more memorable.
When most people think of the Caymans, they think of the beaches, no issues there they are some of the most beautiful in the world, but turn around and look inland toward the hills, there is so much more to see, for instance, Mastic Trail (Grand Cayman). You can take a guided tour or walk it for free, here’s a little of what you’ll see. The trail is a well-maintained gravel path that winds its way through a native mangrove swamp and ancient woodland which itself is surrounded by colorful native plant life. While the trails will likely leave you winded, visitors say it is well worth the trip, particularly when made with a guide. And the views are astounding. If you’re interested in the splendor of Mother Nature and what to take a step away from the cruiseship crowds, mark this high on your Cayman TODO list.
Seven Mile Beach (Grand Cayman
If you looked at any Cayman’s travel brochure, you’ve likely seen pictures of this crescent-shaped, world famous beach. Soft breezes, white coral sand, gently breaking waves, it seems to call out, “Come and visit.” If a cruise ship is in port, the crowds will be heavy, so try to plan your excursion there when all ships are at sea, the locals can tell you when. Most of the world-class resorts are located on this seven-mile stretch, along with a host of local conch bars and novelty shops. Whether or not you stay for an hour or a day, you’ll want to stop by, if only to say you’ve been there.
Stingray City (Grand Cayman), a tourist trap that is worth visiting. Ideally, if you have the time, inclination and budget, have a guide take you away on a private tour to experience stingrays and a host of other tropical sea creatures. That ideal, but Stingray city, while some think of it as a tourist trap, is an excellent way to get a taste of what these fascinating and enormous creatures are like. The reviews from visitors tell the story best.
“Simply amazing… This was our second trip, and when we come for the third time, we’re going to do it again. Watching these majestic creatures glide silently and elegantly through the water is transcendent. When they come close you can feel their power, yet we always felt safe, the handlers were friendly and quick to answer questions. 4 Stars.”
Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto are two rare treasures that can’t be seen by land but are perfect for a snorkeling adventure, either guided or on your own. Just 46′ below the surface, both are filled with the colors of a tropical paradise, complete with exotic marine life that includes brightly colored parrotfish, ominous looking barracuda as well as tarpon and silversides, it’s akin to swimming inside an aquarium.
CAUTION: Never dive alone
Bloody Bay Marine Park (Little Cayman)
The name conjures images of pirates fighting to the death-wielding swords and muskets, flying the skull and crossbones, but that was long ago. Today it is one of the best dive spots in the world, bringing scuba divers worldwide to dive the waters. The attraction is the Bloody Bay Wall, which begins about 25′ below the surface, then plunges into the dark depths 5,000′ below. You’ll find visibility excellent to about 100′ , perfect to see the an abundance of stingrays, turtles, and sharks.
Captain Keith Tibbetts Wreck (Cayman Brac)
This is a manmade coral reef, created when a 330′ Russian frigate was deliberately scuttled to become a home for marine life and coral. The ship is still mostly intact, and the colorful beauty of the marine life and coral is in stark contrast to the frigate’s rusting hull. Depths range from about 30′ to 100′ as the body of the ship stretches toward the deep.
Cayman Turtle Farm (Grand Cayman)
Not only can you hold baby sea turtles in your hand, a delight for young children, but you’ll also see and learn the history of the area, how the once massive number of sea turtles influenced Christopher Columbus to christen the islands, Las Tortugas. That was hundreds of years ago, today the turtle is an endangered species, and the farm is a way to help sustain the population and bring them back to a measure of strength. Both wet and dry tours can be arranged, though we’ll recommend the wet tour, situated in an artificial lagoon. Come swim with the green sea turtles.
Go to Hell (Grand Cayman)
Possibly because everyone wants to send a postcard from hell, or get a brimstone souvenir, this location attracts thousands of cruise ship visitors consistently. In actuality, this is geology at work, with countless eons of wind, rain, and erosion uncovering the black limestone, making it easily viewable. There are platforms to stand on and take pictures, as well as gift shops to send someone an “I’ve been through Hell,” T-shirt. It’s all in good fun and far different than the beautiful sandy beaches. Admission is free, but there are in-depth guided tours available for a fee.
Whether or not Hell is your proverbial “cup of tea,” will depend largely on your mood and the crowds. If you can come when the cruise ships are at sea, that is the ideal time.
For those wanting to find the quieter areas of the Caymans, take a day trip to the smaller islands and immerse yourself in the culture of the people who live here year around. It truly is a paradise of sun, sand, and sea. There is no shortage of things to do in the Caymans, ranging from the ship, to shore to Hell and back. The choice is yours to enjoy, and the memories you make will be filled with smiles and likely a bit of sand.