How much is there to see and do in the Cayman Islands? Here’s a clue: The islands’ tourism slogan is “Three islands. Endless possibilities.” Here’s an overview of what’s in store:
Perhaps the Cayman Islands’ most famous attraction, Stingray City, and the nearby shallows known as “the Sandbar” in the North Sound offer the only opportunity in the world to swim with more than two dozen Atlantic Southern Stingrays in the wild. North Sound fishermen first noticed the site more than a decade ago, as they anchored in the calm shallow waters over the reef to clean their fish. Divers began to feed them and the stingrays became used to humans. Today, you can swim alongside the rays at Stingray City. At the Sandbar, use a mask and snorkel in the waist-deep water to watch the rays swarm around you, brushing their velvety bellies against your hands and feet.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
A must for nature photographers, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park features 40-acres of flora and fauna from around the world, including a two-acre Heritage Park replicating the gardens of the original settlers, a 2.5-acre Floral Colour Garden, and a large lake housing many interesting and colourful aquatic creatures. Also on site is the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, which works to protect the endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. You can see Blue Iguanas roaming free on the trails, and even take a tour behind the scenes at the internationally acclaimed breeding facility. The Park is Green Globe Certified, the first attraction in the Caribbean to be awarded this symbol of environmental responsibility.
The National Museum
Learn the fascinating cultural and natural history of the Cayman Islands and the resourceful, independent nature of the islands’ sea-faring past. Exhibits and displays spanning 400 years will reveal a Cayman very different from the sophisticated vacation paradise it is today.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery showcases the energy and growth of the visual arts scene in the Cayman Islands. Located minutes away from Camana Bay on Esterley Tibbetts Highway, it offers local and international exhibitions, numerous artist programmes, workshops, lectures, and many other annual events.
Step into the 18th century at Pedro St. James, an astonishing 3-storey building set on dramatic Pedro Bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Built in 1780, when most residents lived in thatch-covered houses, this stone structure was so impressive it was given the honorary title of “castle.” Buffeted by hurricanes, struck by lightening and engulfed by fire, it has survived as a public building, family home, social venue, plantation house and even a jail. Today, it symbolizes the birthplace of Cayman democracy. With its period furniture and authentic artifacts, Pedro Castle provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the past.
For underwater thrills, the Cayman Islands has it all. Considered the birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean, it is one of the premier dive destinations in the world. More than 250 dive sites with moorings, calm waters, 100-foot-plus visibility and a magnificent variety of marine life lure divers of all levels. Snorkellers can enjoy the beauty below with a host of shallow sites. Watersports centres are located around the island, most at major hotels. Rental options include ocean kayaks, windsurfing boards, hobie cats, waverunners, aqua trikes, view boards, sun searcher floats, banana boat rides, paddle cats, paddleboats, parasailing, water-skiing, kiteboards, and small sailboats.
With over 150 restaurants, the dining scene reflects the diverse tastes of the approximately 140 nationalities that call the Cayman Islands home. Come prepared to indulge in culinary creations ranging from five-star gourmet dining to authentic Caymanian dishes served seaside and simple street fare. Included among the best are the restaurants of Camana Bay:
- Café del Sol
- Frosted Robin Cupcakes
- Ginger Lily Frozen Yogurt
- Haagen Dazs
- Jessie’s Juice
- Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
- Upper Crust
- Waterfront Diner
Get a birds’ eye view of the Cayman Islands with a tour from Cayman Islands Helicopters, which will pick up and drop off from the Camana Bay Heliport. Guests can also rent the helicopter for private charters. Contact Cayman Islands Helicopters here for more information.