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Travel Guide Caribbean Cayman Islands Grand Cayman

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Introduction

Grand Cayman is the main island of the Cayman Islands. It is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the location of the territory's capital, George Town. In relation to the other two Cayman Islands, it is approximately 120 kilometres southwest of Little Cayman and 145 kilometrs southwest of Cayman Brac.

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Geography

Grand Cayman encompasses 76% of the territory's entire land mass. The island is approximately 35 kilometres long with its widest point being 13 kilometres wide. The elevation ranges from sea level at the beaches to 18 metres above sea level on the North Side's Mastic Trail.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach Sunrise

Seven Mile Beach Sunrise

© All Rights Reserved johnnyphis

Seven Mile Beach is a coral-sand beach on the western shore of the island. In fact, it is not 7 miles long, but 'only' 5.5 miles (almost 9 kilometres). It's a public beach just north of George Town, the capital. Although beauty is always in the eyy of the beholder, this beach has won a few prizes, including one for the best beach in the Caribbean. It is also the most popular one on the Cayman Islands, and during peak holiday periods, it can feel a little busy. Also, loads of resorts and hotels mean it rarely is deserted. Your best bet might be to visit here during the off season months of August and September and hope there is no hurricane spoiling your beach break! Several good shallow reefs mean that snorkelling is a popular activity as well, next to swimming and sunbathing of course.

Wreck of the Ten Sails Park

The Wreck of the Ten Sails Park is part of the coastline at in the east of the island. The park commemorates the islands most legendary shipwreck, the Cordelia. One night in February 1794, the Cordelia was leading a convoy of merchant ships bound from Jamaica to Britain when it ran aground on the reef at East End. Another nine more followed, so that's where the name comes from. Try to find the wrecks if you dare, but be aware that it is a legend.

Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is the biggest and most beautiful botanic park of the Cayman Islands. Actually, it is one of the best in the total Caribbean. It is a good place to experience the islands indigenous flora and fauna. There are trails winding through lush and flat terrain, featuring about 300 native species. These include buttonwood swamps, mahogany forests and native palms, orchids and many other tropical flowers. You will also witness the presence of see turtles, lizards, parrots and the charactaristic Cayman blue iguana which is highly endangered.

Pedro St. James Castle

Pedro St. James Castle is an impressive great house dating back to 1780, making it the oldest building in the Caymans. Since then, it has been functioning as a jail, a courthouse and a parliament before it was turned into a museum recently. The Castle is advertised as being the islands' 'birthplace of democracy': in 1831 the decision was made here to vote for elected representatives. It is also the place where the Slavery Abolition Act was read in 1835 and nowadays it also houses a museum featuring a multimedia presentation about 18th century Cayman.

Other sights and activities

  • National Gallery of the Cayman Islands - George Town
  • Cayman Turtle Farm - Boatswain's Beach

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Events and Festivals

Cayman Islands Orchid Show

The wild banana orchid, the national flower of the Cayman Islands, is just one of a dozen orchid species on display during the early March orchid show at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Visitors can purchase these beauties, learn how to grow them, or simply admire the floral arrangements during this two-day festival whose proceeds go towards establishing a permanent garden in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

Cayfest

A traditional boat launch reenactment at Seven Mile Beach kicks off this two week long showcase of Cayman Islands’ arts and culture each April. The international storytelling festival called Gimistory attracts performers from across the Caribbean. Other Cayfest highlights include live folk singers, fashion shows, and a historical treasure hunt. Short film and photography competitions are also important parts of the event.

Cayman Carnival Batabano

One of George Town’s liveliest events is this annual early May festival filled with live calypso and soca bands. Named after the tracks in the sand left by the sea turtles crawling towards their nesting place, the main Batabano parade sees more than 100 nationalities represented in colorful costumes and music. There is also a separate, but no less joyous, Junior Batabano parade for children.

Queen’s Birthday

In the middle of June, the Cayman Islands celebrates Her Majesty’s birthday with a 21-gun salute and full military dress parade in front of George Town’s Legislative Assembly. There is also a Government House open house and garden reception. Refreshments and steel band music accompany the formal event.

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Weather

Grand Cayman has a perfect climate with warm and humid weather with almost constant sea breezes. Temperatures hoover around 28 °C to 30 °C during the day and 24 °C at night. The months of June to September are slightly warmer. During these months, extending into November is the rainy season on the other hand, with a small chance of a hurricane passing by now and then. December to April is the dry and slightly cooler period which is a good but popular time to visit. May and November are good months to visit if you want to avoid crowds, high prices and very bad weather.

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Getting There

By Plane

Cayman Airways is the national airline of the Cayman Islands. It is based on Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) on Grand Cayman. They fly to Havana, Kingston, La Ceiba, Miami, Montego Bay, New York and Tampa and seasonal to Chicago and Washington, D.C.. Continental Airlines flies to Newark and Houston, British Airways to London and Nassau, while several other airlines serve cities like Toronto, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Boston and Philadelphia.

Cayman Airways also flies to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

By Boat

Cruise ships anchor offshore and tender passengers to the harbor dock by downtown George Town. George Town is a very popular port of call and is included by many cruise lines in "Western Caribbean" itineraries. There are no berthing facilities at this location, but ships can anchor at one of four points.

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Getting Around

By Car

There are a lot of rental agencies to choose from, in the airport and in George Town. You have to be 21 years old (some companies don't insure you when under 25!) and buy a special 7.50 USD permit. Remember that driving is on the left.

By Bus

Grand Cayman Public Bus Transport, Edward St. next to the library, Georgetown, Phone: 945-5100, has licensed buses,identified by blue licence plates. Daily service starts at 6:00am from the depot and the schedule is as follows from George Town to:

  • Route 1 George Town to West Bay.
  • Route 2 George Town to West Bay.
  • Route 3 service between the depot in George Town and Bodden Town
  • Route 4 service between the depot and East End.
  • Route 5 service between North Side and East End.
  • Route 6 service between North Side and West Bay.
  • Route 7 George Town inter district service.
  • Route 8 service between the depot to Hutland in North Side.
  • Route 9 service between George Town through Frank Sound North Side

By Boat

There is a ferry between North Sound and Rum Point on Grand Cayman which takes about 40 minutes each way.
The ferry departs from the Hyatt Regency Canal at 10:00am, noon and 4:00pm on Mondays - Thursdays, on Friday to Sunday the last one leaves at 6:00pm. The return times from Rum Point are 11:00am, 3:00pm and and 6:30pm Mondays - Thursdays, on Friday to Sunday the last one is at 9:15pm.

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Eat

  • SeaHarvest (at Sunset House), South Church St, ☎ +1 345 945-1383. Spectacular Seafood and East and West Indian dishes Great value, menus on website. $10-$28.
  • Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fort Street, George Town (across from Senor Frogs), ☎ +1 345 949-5747. Contemporary International, Menu changes daily. Great dishes- Lobster bisque in cognac cream and lobster quesadillas. Excellent Service. $10-29.
  • Breezes By the Bay!, Downtown George Town, ☎ +1 345 943-8439. Two decks, right on the waterfront, Casual, fun Caribbean food & "Umbrella Drinks"!
  • Casanova's by the Sea, Georgetown, Awesome Italian food, right on the water. Romantic.
  • Chicken! Chicken!, West Shore Centre, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 945-2290. Slow roasted and inexpensive.
  • CIMBOCO - a Caribbean Cafe, Seven Mile Beach (next to the Marquee Cinema), Phone: 345-94-PASTA (947-2782), Eclectic, Caribbean Cafe with Exhibition Kitchen; reasonably priced, local spot, all from scratch.
  • Corita's Copper Kettle 1 & 2, Edward St or 32 Town Hall Rd West Bay, ☎ +1 345 949-2696, +1 345 945-8552. Reasonably priced, tasty Caymanese food by the friendly Corita Mendoza. Recommend the turtle stew.
  • Cracked Conch by the Sea, N. West Point Rd (next to Turtle Farm, West Bay), ☎ +1 345 945-5217. Good family restaurant with a nautical theme. $10-$28.
  • Hemingway's, ☎ +1 345 945-5700. Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach. Outdoor fine dining. $20-$30.
  • Lone Star Bar & Grill, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 945-5175. Tex-Mex, burgers and steaks. $17-$28.
  • Portofino's, ☎ +1 345 947-2700. East End by the ocean. Beautiful site, view of the famous "Wreck of the Ten Ships", casual, friendly family atmosphere. Cayman style cuisine: jerk chicken, excellent fish, mixed drinks. $4.50-$28.
  • Neptune's, Trafalgar Place, West Bay Rd., West Bay, ☎ +1 345 946-8709. Great food and not overly fancy. $10-$30.
  • Reef Grill at Royal Palms, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 945-6358. Indoor and outdoor dining. Great views of Seven Mile Beach and great seafood dishes. $20-$30

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Drink

  • Coconut Joes, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 943-5637. Grand Cayman's liveliest outdoor restaurants and bars.
  • Pirates Den Pub & Restaurant, Galleria Plaza, Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 949-7144. English pub type. Good place to kick back and watch sports.
  • Billy Bones, West Bay Rd, Treasure Island Resort, Phone: 345-943-BONE (2663). Cayman's most exciting and relaxing outdoor bars. Dine surrounded by palm trees with the sound of a cascading waterfall in the background.
  • Legendz, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 945-1950. Extremely popular, busy sportsbar with a variety of entertainment.
  • Fidel Murphy's Irish Pub, Queens Court, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 949-5189. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the only traditional Irish pub in the Cayman Islands.
  • Sapphire Lounge, Seven Mile Shops, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, ☎ +1 345 946-3496. The only true martini lounge on the Island. Try any one of the 130 unique creations of martinis or any one of the 225 cocktails

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Sleep

Lodging is expensive on Grand Cayman. High season rates are from December 15 to April 30. You can find discounted rates by either searching on a hotel's website or by using a travel agent.

View our map of accommodation in Grand Cayman

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Accommodation in Grand Cayman

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Grand Cayman searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Grand Cayman and areas nearby.

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This is version 7. Last edited at 9:29 on Jul 28, 17 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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