Grand Cayman, Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman Paradise above and below the sea
By Linda McClain, CTA
Are you in search of the perfect beach? Do you long for the warmth of sunshine on your back instead of a cold winter chill on your face? Discover why endless stretches of sugary white sand beaches and crystal turquoise waters are just a part of this Caribbean allure.
Planning your trip
• Location: 480 miles south of Miami, just south of Cuba and roughly 180-miles north-west of Jamaica. From Miami, Grand Cayman Island is just 70 minutes by air.
• US citizens need a valid passport.
• Non-stop air service is available from JFK or Newark. Connecting flights from Albany to the Caymans arrive by mid-afternoon. There is also scheduled air service to Grand Cayman’s sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
• Originally called Las Tortugas (the turtles) by Christopher Columbus, The Caymans are still brimming with remarkable marine life.
• Capital City: Georgetown, Grand Cayman.
• Weather conditions average 82 degrees, year-round. Water temperatures are pleasingly temperate.
Cruise ship port
The Caymans are vulnerable to hurricane weather conditions May through November. However, Grand Cayman is a leading cruise ship destination in the Western Caribbean, year round.
In 1665, the Caymans went from a Spanish to British Territory. Slavery was once legal, but the British banned it when they took possession of the country.
The island’s National Trust Foundation is dedicated to protecting the country’s historic significance and natural environment. For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.ky.
Where to stay
Grand Cayman’s beautiful Seven Mile Beach is fringed by silky white sand with a variety of hotels ranging from budget to luxury spa accommodations. Condominiums are plentiful and can be found island wide. However, all-inclusive resorts are scarce in the Cayman Islands. Instead, people arrive seeking its peaceful lifestyle and Cayman diversity.
Car rental? Remember to drive on the left. If you prefer, select from a wide range of tours and activities and have transportation provided.
What can I do there?
Want a destination wedding? You can be married the same day you arrive, with proper preparation and documentation. Have a happy honeymoon in paradise.
Love to golf? Participate in the Lions Club’s annual golf tournament. Players of all skill levels can compete for a variety of prizes and free gifts each March.
Need family chaos prevention? Let the Caymans help you with their discounted rates and sea school for the little ones from June to September.
Planning ahead? If you love music, you won’t want to miss the annual Jazz Festival. This annual event is sponsored by the Cayman Turtle Farm and allows visitors to sponsor a turtle and assist in the release of hundreds of sea turtles from Seven Mile Beach. Both take place each November.
PADI certified? Experience spectacular world-class scuba diving, with up to 200% visibility. The Caymans exotic underwater world is vibrant with color, offering some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean.
Boatswain’s Beach – This attraction includes the famous Cayman Turtle Farm, a predator tank, nature trail, bird aviary, two snorkel lagoons and a freshwater pool. In addition, an authentic Caymanian street offers activities for everyone.
Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park – A skate and surf park for kids and adults.
Stingray City – This is your opportunity to pet tame stingrays while swimming among them at this Cayman’s famous attraction.
Stingray Brewery – Home of Stingray beer, not found anywhere else in the world.
Butterfly Farm – Stroll through a tropical garden filled with colorful butterflies, collected from around the world.
Hell – If you choose to visit this West Bay village, you can send postcards from here to friends back home.
Horseback Riding – Guided riding tours are available for families, couples and individuals. You can ride your horse to secluded beaches or over scenic trails. Looking for the unusual? Ride at sunset or during a full moon.
Purchase the Heritage Passport and receive a 25% discount with admission to four island attractions: The Cayman Islands National Museum, Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, Pedro St. James historic site, the oldest building on Grand Cayman and Boatswain Beach, the Cayman’s premier attraction.
With over 150 restaurants on the main island, it can be fun to explore your dining choices.
Little Cayman is beautifully tranquil. It is a fabulous spot for couples and families, while Cayman Brac is a perfect fit for the nature lover. Hiking and bird watching enthusiasts will love it, here. Find out why Cayman Brac is called the Caribbean’s “underground Grand Canyon”.
• The Caymans were featured in John Grisham’s book, The Firm, The motion picture was shot on location in The Cayman Islands and starred Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. However, the Caymanians did not like the negative message it sent out to movie viewers about their country.
• Celebrities from Sheryl Crow to tennis superstar Serena Williams to musician Chris Isaak have enjoyed vacationing in the Cayman Islands.
• Mark Cuban, owner of the NBC Dallas Mavericks owns a second home in Grand Cayman.
• R&B legends Chaka Khan and Brian McKnight were recently on-island for Cayman jazz fest 2007 and have said they can't wait to come back.
• Victoria Secret model Selita Ebanks hails from the Cayman Islands.
• This is the only island to have an operational turtle farm.
• The famous cartoon logo of “Sir Turtle” was purchased to represent the Cayman Islands for just $1.
• There are 226 species of birds within the three Cayman islands.
Whether you are planning to do all or nothing at all, The Cayman Islands are waiting for you! For more information visit www.caymanislands.ky. l
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.com.