With some planning, you can enjoy the Cayman Islands’ thriving international culture while experiencing well-preserved local traditions. Read on for a few activities to help you get started. Stroll along the Mastic Trail, a scenic hike on Grand Cayman’s dry forest. It’s a true—though muddy—walk on the island’s wild side.
For visitors looking for a more relaxed adventure, the Cayman Islands tours offer many opportunities to explore their vibrant, undersea world. Pearly talcum-powder beaches and aquamarine shore waters are backed by skinny palm trees and packed with sunbeds and cabanas.
However, plenty of unspoiled spots remain to enjoy the coral reefs, exotic schools of fish, and red cushion sea stars. Snorkelers should visit Turtle Reef, a snorkel site within easy reach of the Eden Rock dive center. Its shallow depth, clear water, and lack of large waves make it an excellent spot for snorkelers of all experience levels.
Or you can head to Stingray City Sandbar (entrance fee required) for a close encounter with Grand Cayman’s most famous wildlife: the docile Atlantic southern stingrays.
Many Caribbean cruise passengers visit the Cayman Islands to soak up the sunshine and snorkel its turquoise waters. Seven Mile Beach is the first sighting for many, and a visit here includes a stroll along its white sand and a dip into gin-clear waters teeming with exotic fish.
Stingray City is another must-visit, a sandbar where Atlantic stingrays are swarming under the guidance of a marine biologist. Alternatively, join a boat trip after dark to encounter the luminescent wonders of Bioluminescent Bay.
Scuba divers in the Cayman Islands are spoiled for choice, with sites to suit all levels. Bloody Bay Wall is a highlight, with triggerfish, Nassau groupers, and electric yellow sponges lining the drop.
A popular pitstop on Caribbean cruises, George Town offers a dazzling array of things to do. Explore wooden buildings painted jewel colors along the waterfront, where you’ll find a mishmash of venues, from duty-free stores to cool cafes serving Buddha bowls and almond milk lattes.
Pearly talcum-powder beaches and aquamarine seas offer the perfect setting for snorkeling, beachcombing, and watersports. Visitors also flock to Stingray City, a sandbank that has become a gathering point for dozens of stingrays.
For a truly unforgettable experience, join a dolphin program like the Dolphin Encounter or the Swim Adventure. An adult must accompany children over 4.6 ft on the Swim Adventure program.
Known for its incredible plant and animal species diversity, the Mastic Reserve is the largest contiguous area of untouched old-growth dry forest in the Cayman Islands. The National Trust offers tours to explore this natural wonder. Pedal down a rocky, tropical path on the Mastic Trail, and you’ll feel like entering a different world.
Named for the mastic trees that dot this expansive natural playground, this 2.3-mile walk traverses the islands’ various habitats, from a mangrove wetland to ancient woodlands. The trail is also home to flora and fauna unique to the island, including wild banana orchids and the native Cayman parrot.
Dive deeper into the island’s culture at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. From breathtaking landscapes on oil and canvas to ceramics and jewelry, this art center is dedicated to promoting homegrown artists.
Surrounded by cerulean sea and reefs teeming with marine life, the Cayman Islands are a watersport paradise. Go on a bioluminescence tour, one of only a few such adventures worldwide, to see millions of bright sparkles dance at night. Or, take a boat tour to Stingray City, a shallow area where travelers wade among stingrays along a sandbar.
The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is a great starting point for an art-themed day. Here, you’ll discover the abundant variety of styles and media homegrown artists use. Then, check out Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden, where you’ll find giant sculptures of land and sea animals.
As a culinary capital of the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands has plenty of restaurants to explore. From roadside fish fry staples like snapper, mahi mahi, and swai to fine dining gems such as Morgan’s Seafood Restaurant in West Bay, the island pushes the ocean-to-table movement to impressive new heights.
To experience the sleepy side of Grand Cayman, ride with Eco Rides to pedal past colorful cottages and waving locals along a picturesque coastal roadway.
A visit to Bodden Town—the Cayman capital before George Town rose to prominence in the 1800s—is necessary. Renowned for its exquisite verandas, historic architecture from the 18th century, and the location of the abolition of slavery decree, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is well-known. You can also explore craggy limestone rock formations, photogenic blowholes, and the Cayman Turtle Farm.
There’s no shortage of opportunities to fill your suitcase with Caribbean mementos, from upscale stores in Camana Bay to the Hamlin Stephenson Farmers Market in George Town. Find jewelry crafted from the islands’ unique black coral to funky T-shirts and hats made of Caymanite, a marble-like stone harvested on the island’s cliffs. Unlike some Caribbean destinations, there’s no heckling from people trying to sell you souvenirs here, and the quality of locally made items is high.
Enjoy browsing; you’ll find everything from breathtaking landscapes on oil and canvas to playful slice-of-life artwork and ceramics. Dining is a treat across the Cayman Islands, from roadside fish fry at the Grape Tree Cafe in Bodden Town to cosmopolitan and upscale restaurants like Morgan’s.