The Cayman Islands are located in the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea about 150 miles south of Cuba. The Cayman Islands are made up of three main islands. The largest and most developed, Grand Cayman, has a population of about 35,000 and is 76 square miles or 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point. Grand Cayman stands 90 miles away from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are separated by only 5 miles.
Cayman Brac is the next largest island, with 1600 inhabitants on 14 square miles or 12 miles long and 1 mile at its widest spot. Cayman Brac has the highest point in all of the Islands with the impressive “Bluff” that rises 140 feet out of the sea. The smallest island is appropriately named, Little Cayman. This islands’ 10 square miles of land is home to a population nearing 150.
Caymanians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the West Indies. Most residents are Protestants of British or African descent and many are of mixed racial ethnicity. The islands’ main industries are tourism and offshore banking, thanks to the absence of direct taxes.
The Cayman Islands are located about 20 degrees north of the Equator. This results in nice temperatures year-round. The coldest month in the Islands is February, with the warmest month being in July.
The Cayman Islands are known throughout the world for their famous white sand beaches. It is here where you will find the famous and popular 7 Mile Beach along with nearly a dozen other amazing beaches where you can swim, snorkel, scuba, or simply lay in the sun and soak up some rays.
One of the great things about the beaches in the Cayman Islands is that they are all public up to the high water mark, which means that you can experience and enjoy any one of them on your visit.
Cayman Islands Beaches
Here we have listed the beaches in the Cayman Islands, while the most popular and visited are on Grand Cayman, you will find them spread across the all three islands including Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
· Seven Mile Beach – Grand Cayman
· Public Beach
· Spotts Beach
· Smith Cove – Grand Cayman
· West Bay Public Beach
· Cemetery Beach
· Rum Point
· East End Public Beach
· Cayman Kai – Grand Cayman
· Heritage Beach
· Sandy Point – Little Cayman
· Owen Island – Little Cayman
For the most part Thongs are acceptable in theCayman Islands, Some resorts restrict them so check first, as for topless, the same rule applies topless is acceptable on the beaches as long as you don’t flaunt it, if it becomes offensive or bothersome, you will be asked to cover up.
Of interest to scuba divers is a 330-foot (100-m) Russian Frigate ship built in the Soviet Union in 1984 for the Cuban Navy. It was purchased and sunk by the Cayman Islands government in September 1996. Originally designated 356, the frigate was rechristened the M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts, after a well-known Cayman Brac politician. The wreck originally sat upright in approximately 90 feet (27 m) with the deck at 60 feet (18 m), until wave action generated by a winter Norwester storm (Dec 1998-Jan 1999) which nearly tore the ship in two. The result was that the fore section tipped to about a 45 degree angle in relation to the remainder of the still-upright aft portion, and the midships became a debris field. The wreck’s stern area was essentially unaffected. The frigate is located in a sandy area with generally good visibility, approximately 650 feet (200 m) offshore (a fairly long swim) from ‘Buccaneer’, on the island’s north side, near the western tip of the island. There are numerous openings in the upper portion of the ship for non-wreck certified divers. Many more openings are available since the ship broke in half and the site also serves as an artificial reef.
The Teignmouth Electron, the boat in which Donald Crowhurst attempted to sail round the world single-handed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, has been left to decay by the beach on Cayman Brac. The Electron has been beached since at least 1989, after Hurricane Gilbert.
Cayman Brac also appeals to adventurers of many persuasions besides diving. Caves are found around the island, offering even the fledgling spelunker a glimpse of delicate underground formations, steps and ladders, have also been constructed to allow visitor access to more remote caves. One cave, Rebecca’s Cave, contains the grave of a young girl lost in a struggle against the ravages of the great ’32 Hurricane and it is now a Cayman National Heritage Site.
Rock climbing was developed beginning in 1992 and the island is now known as a world-class climbing destination. One must be somewhat experienced to climb here as the terrain is steep, many times over-vertical.
Walking & Hiking
Walking and hiking trails have been opened by the Nature Tourism Program which allow exploration of the island’s dense Karst forestation. Unique flora and fauna thrive here and can be observed ‘in the wild’.
Because of Cayman Brac’s unique geographic location, the pristine waters around the island are especially coveted for both surf fishing and the pursuit of big game fish.
Economy & Tourism
The local economy tends to be concentrated in three areas which are probably typical for many Caribbean locales: tourism, municipal government, and local enterprises. The majority of the tourism sector is concentrated on scuba diving, although this is in recent decline in the hospitality sector, with one of the two local hotels closing operations in 2006.
A local enterprise that is nearly unique to Cayman Brac are its artists who work in a local stone known as Caymanite, typically making jewelry or small stone carvings. Two of these artists have been Eddie Scott and Tenson Scott, whose works have won National contests, as well as being the official gift to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew during the 1994 State Visit. Many of the families originating from Cayman Brac, including the Waltons, Scotts, Kirkconnells, and Fosters have become significantly wealthy in Grand Cayman through property and business ownership.
Grand Cayman, (pronounced K-mun) the largest of the Cayman islands, has become a premier tourist destination in recent years. With more than 500 banks, its capital, George Town, is the offshore banking center of the Caribbean. Retirees are drawn to the peace and tranquility of this British Crown Colony, site of a major condominium development.
The Caribbean climate is pleasantly constant. The average year round temperatures for the region are 78°F-88°F. Island life focuses on the sea. Snorkelers will find a paradise; beach lovers will marvel at the powdery sands of Seven Mile Beach Downtown shopping areas will of course be uncomfortably hot at midday at any time of the year, but air-conditioning provides welcome relief. Visitors travel to the Caymans to slow down and relax in a setting of comfort and beauty. The best strategy seems to be to stay near the beaches most of the day, where water and trade winds provide just the right temperature for enjoyment. Shopping is recommended for early or late in the day.
Even the rains cooperate in maintaining the atmosphere of perfectly designed weather. The rainy season consists mostly of brief showers interspersed with sunshine. You can watch the clouds come over, feel the rain, and have the sun to dry you off, all while remaining in your lounge chair.
The British colony consists of Grand Cayman, smaller Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, but almost all of the Cayman Islands’ population of 32,000 live on Grand Cayman. The Caymans are located 180 miles northwest of Jamaica and 480 miles due south of Miami. Cayman’s beaches are considered to be among the best in the world. The favorite is Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. The abundance of fish, marine life and spectacular coral reefs which can be found in the surrounding waters make the Cayman Islands ideal for diving enthusiasts.
The gingerbread-style buildings lining George Town’s harbor front are prime examples of traditional island architecture. Grand Cayman is only 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its widest point.
From any point in the resort area of Grand Cayman, it is easy to walk or bike to the shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment spots along West Bay Road. George Town is small enough to see on foot. If you are exploring Grand Cayman by car, there is a well-maintained road that circles the island. To get around Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, it is best to rent a car or a moped. Many resorts rent bicycles for local sightseeing.
Cayman Brac, northeast of Grand Cayman, is about 12 miles long and 1 mile wide. This area is dotted with fascinating caves and dozens of wrecks for divers to explore. It provided the basis for Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel Treasure Island.
Seven miles southeast of Cayman Brac, the tiny island of Little Cayman is best known as a sanctuary for wild birds and iguanas. It is also the primary site for bone fishing.
English is the official language of the islands, although it often sounds as though the speaker is combining an American southern drawl with a lilting Welsh accent.
The Cayman Turtle Farm, one of Grand Cayman’s main tourist attractions, sets an example for environmental conservation and preservation of the species. The 65-acre Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a national treasure. The National Trust’s Mastic Trail is a 2 mile footpath through unspoiled woodlands on the North Side.
The Cayman Islands have a number of nightclubs, which sometimes feature international entertainment. Succulent seafood specialties abound in the local restaurants.
Spectacular natural beauty, a wealth of activities and points of interest, and all the modern conveniences to make your stay as comfortable as possible can be found on Grand Cayman. For the best in Caribbean water sports, sightseeing, dancing and shopping, Grand Cayman is the place to start.