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Cayman Islands Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated May 2024 ⋅ Written by Laura Schulthies ⋅ Edited by Daniel Mode

Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands
Antigua Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In Antigua

Welcome to the Cayman Islands

The three Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac) are a beautiful cluster of paradises nestled in the Caribbean Sea. These islands have a little something for everyone. Excellent beaches and turquoise waters, world-famous shopping, snorkeling, diving, hiking, and more. So throw on some sunglasses, grab a pina colada and discover all the Cayman Islands have to offer. Here is our guide to help make your visit to the Cayman Islands the best it can be.

The three Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac) are a beautiful cluster of paradises nestled in the Caribbean Sea. These islands have a little something for everyone. Excellent beaches and turquoise waters, world-famous shopping, snorkeling, diving, hiking, and more. So throw on some sunglasses, grab a pina colada and discover all the Cayman Islands have to offer. Here is our guide to help make your visit to the Cayman Islands the best it can be.

Cayman Islands Map

Cayman Islands Map

Contents

Cayman Islands Visitors Guide: Little Cayman
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

A Bit Of History

Christopher Columbus was the first to explore the islands in 1503 and originally named it “Las Tortugas” after the many sea turtles he found on the beaches. The islands remained uninhabited untilthe 18th-century, when pirates began to use the islands as a base from which to attack passing European ships.

In the 1730s the first settlers came from Jamaica with over half being of British descent, and the others were slaves. In 1835 slaves were emancipated and many local Caymanians worked as fishermen, shipbuilders, or sailors, while some locals left for jobs in neighboring islands.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the island really took off as a vacation destination, with the building of the first airport and hotels. In 1962, the islands became a self-governing British territory following the independence of Jamaica. 

Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands Today

Today the Cayman Islands are a hugely popular tourist destination and a tax haven for the wealthy. The country’s tourism development has increased annual visitors from just 400 a year in the 1970s to over 2 million visitors per year today.

Cruise ships regularly stop at Grand Cayman and the two smaller islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have slowly been developing tourism infrastructure as well. As a tax free destination, duty-free shopping is an extremely popular activity for visitors.

Are The Cayman Islands Safe?

Are The Cayman Islands Safe?

The Cayman Islands are well known for having a high level of safety, making it one of the biggest draws to the islands. There is little to no criminal activity or dangerous incidents that affect tourists, and the crime and violence rates are extremely low.

While petty theft can still occur, it is usually safe to walk around alone, even at night, as long as you keep your belongings close and be aware of your surroundings.

Where Are the Cayman Islands?

Caymans Caribbean Map

click map to enlarge

The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory in the western Caribbean Sea. There are three islands that make up the Cayman Islands: the popular Grand Cayman, and the two smaller islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. These islands lie south of Cuba, west of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, and east of Cancun, Mexico.

Cayman Islands Visitors Guide: Grand Cayman
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

The Best Time to Visit the Cayman Islands

Looking for the best time to go to the Cayman Islands? The average temperature in the Cayman Islands holds steady in the 80s, making them the perfect islands to vacation in year-round. However, there are some months that will be more enjoyable with fewer crowds and less rain.

Looking for the best time to go to the Cayman Islands? The average temperature in the Cayman Islands holds steady in the 80s, making them the perfect islands to vacation in year-round. However, there are some months that will be more enjoyable with fewer crowds and less rain.

December to February

December to February is the peak tourist season, which means more crowds and more expensive flights, tours, and hotels. The weather during January and February is the coolest, usually staying in the 70s.

March to June

March to June is often considered the best time to visit the Cayman Islands. The weather is warm and hotels can be more affordable with the winter tourist season over.

July to November

July to November can get a bit of rain, but the showers only last a few hours. While you can get some great deals on flights and hotels during these months, you do risk having your trip canceled or cut short as this is also the region’s hurricane season.

December to February

December to February is the peak tourist season, which means more crowds and more expensive flights, tours, and hotels. The weather during January and February is the coolest, usually staying in the 60s.

March to June

March to June is often considered the best time to visit the Cayman Islands. The weather is warm and hotels can be more affordable with the winter tourist season over.

July to November

July to November can get a bit of rain, but the showers only last a few hours. While you can get some great deals on flights and hotels during these months, you do risk having your trip canceled or cut short as this is also the region’s hurricane season.

  When Is The Cayman Islands Hurricane Season?

The Cayman Islands hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with peak season happening from August to October. The Cayman Islands seldom get strong hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit the island was in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit Grand Cayman. Typically, the islands get several days of advanced notice before hurricanes hit, so be sure to check weather reports before your trip, and we always recommend getting travel insurance during these months just in case of inclement weather.

Cayman Islands Visitors Guide: Blue Iguana
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

How to Get to the Cayman Islands & Around

There are a few ways to get to and around the Cayman Islands.

Arrival by Air

The main airport is Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) in the capital city of George Town on the island of Grand Cayman. Flights arrive daily from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. 

Grand Cayman is connected to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman by internal/domestic flights that are run by Cayman Airways Express and Island Air. If you are interested in traveling to the Sister Islands the easiest way to get there is by flying with Cayman Airways. 

You will need a passport to enter the Cayman Islands from another country. Make sure to review entry requirements, passport exemptions, and refusal reasons from the Department of Immigration.

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Arrival by Cruise

The main cruise port in the Cayman Islands is in George Town on Grand Cayman. The Port George Town Harbor can accommodate a total of 4 cruise ships can anchor at a time.  Passengers are ferried after docking to one of 3 terminals, all of which are about five minutes away from the downtown area.

There are many popular cruise lines that stop at the Cayman Islands including Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Holland America Line.

  Search for great deals on Cayman Islands cruises here.

Shuttles on Cayman Islands

Shuttles or private transport can be pre-arranged to pick you up and take you from the airport to your accommodation.

  You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Rental Cars on Cayman Islands

The best way to get around the Cayman Islands is by rental car. It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to explore the islands.  There are multiple car rental offices located at the airport, in fact, they are within a 1 minute walk. You can also easily find car rentals in the Seven Mile Beach area.

Rental cars cost around $60 per day for an intermediate car and $90 per day for an SUV. To rent a car in the Cayman Islands all drivers must have a credit card, be over the age of 21 years and have a valid driver’s license.

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Getting Around by Taxi

Taxis may not be the best way to get around the island but they are easily accessible. You’ll find taxis outside of all resorts, cruise docks at George Town, along Seven Mile Beach, and the international airport.

Taxis offer fixed rates per vehicle and per person to all points of interest on Grand Cayman. However, taxis on Cayman Brac are very limited and are best pre-booked. If you are staying at any of the major hotels and resorts you can ask that they book a reliable taxi in advance and agree on a price before your ride.

Cayman Islands Visitors Guide: Cayman Brac
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Things To Do in the Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands' Top Highlights

The Cayman Islands have much to offer, from relaxing by the water to hiking in nature, exploring museums to enjoying the local spirits. No matter what you are into on your vacation, the Cayman Islands has something for everyone.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Enjoy Diving
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Enjoy Diving, Diving and More Diving

The Cayman Islands are famed for their incredible diving spots. Experienced divers can explore Grand Cayman’s North Wall, which drops deeper than 6,000 feet, and has divers enjoying eagle rays and turtles. For beginner divers, there is a ton of shore diving.

A great spot for all levels is at Cayman Brac, which offers everything from shipwrecks to coral reefs. If you aren’t certified, no worries, there are plenty of places on the island to get certified.

Some of the best places to dive in the Cayman Islands are USS Kittiwake on Grand Cayman, Bloody Bay Wall on Little Cayman, and Bert Brothers Boulder on Cayman Brac.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Visit Seven Mile Beach
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Visit Seven Mile Beach

Praised as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, you don’t want to miss Seven Mile Beach. This beach not only offers amazing blue water and soft sand to relax on, but it also has many bars, restaurants, and watersports to enjoy. The clear calm water is perfect for snorkeling or even stand-up paddle boarding.

Seven Mile Beach is free to access, but if you would like a tour of the surrounding areas, you can check out West Bay Sightseeing Tour Plus Seven Mile Beach Visit.

  Take a look at this great West Bay Sightseeing + 7 Mile Beach Tour.

 For more great beaches, check out our Cayman Islands Best Beaches Guide.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Standard health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country so travel insurance will cover any emergency medical needs as well as trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), flight delays, missed connections and more. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Hiking Mastic Trail
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Go Hiking in the Mastic Reserve and on the Mastic Trail

Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Mastic Reserve, the 200-year-old Mastic trail that goes through mangrove swamps and a woodland area that is 2 million-years-old. The trail is 2.3 miles one way, and the flat area is great for beginner hikers. Make sure to have the right shoes, and pack water and bug repellant.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Visit Cayman Brac
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Visit Cayman Brac

Cayman Brac is a smaller island, only 12 miles long, that is a part of the Cayman Islands. There is so much to explore on this small island. Visitors can hike one of the twelve marked trails that take you through wetlands, forests, and over the Bluff.

There are also many caves that can be explored on the island. Some are even said to have been used by pirates to stash their treasure. You definitely don’t want to miss the Great Cave, the Nani Cave, or the Skull Cave.

Bird watching is also huge on the island with over 200 species like the rare Cayman Brac Parrot. If you want more of an adventure you can even try out some rock climbing. Experienced climbers can choose one of the 128 climbing routes. Watersports such as fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling are also popular on this island.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Taste Some Local Spirits & Beers
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Taste Some Local Spirits and Beers

There are some great places around the island for those wanting to relax with a cocktail or beer. Cayman Spirts Company is a distillery that visitors can tour and partake in tastings. No reservations are needed, but if you would like to skip the lines, you can get the Skip-the-Line Cayman Spirts Co. Distillery Tour Pass Ticket.

More of a beer person? Don’t miss a visit to one of the three micro-breweries around George Town. If you would rather sit at a restaurant, then head over to Tortuga Beach Grill & Bar right one Seven Mile Beach for a spectacular sunset view.

Finally, if you prefer wine, you can check out Vines To Ocean (V2O) where you can choose from a selection of 120 wines from around the globe. Pair your wine with a luxurious charcuterie board, nigiri platter, or mouth-watering sliders.

  Check out this fun Rum and Beer tour complete with lunch!

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Discover Owen Island
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Go Relax, Snorkel or Go Fishing at Owen Island

One great place to go if you want to be away from the crowd is Owen Island. This small island is just a short kayak ride from southwest coast of Little Cayman. It is the perfect island to relax on, snorkel, or go fishing.

  Whether you chose to snorkel on Owen Island or elsewhere, snorkeling options abound in the Cayman Islands. Check out the Cayman Islands’ fantastic snorkeling tours here.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Visit Cayman Turtle Centre
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Learn about Local Ecosystems and Wildlife at the Cayman Turtle Centre

Visit the Cayman Turtle Centre to learn more about the Cayman Islands ecosystem and the conservation of the turtles. This is the largest land-based tourist attraction on the island, and even offers guests an opportunity to swim with the turtles for an additional cost.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Visit Crystal Caves
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Wonder at the Beautiful Crystal Caves of Grand Cayman

Visit the Crystal Caves while on the northside of the Grand Cayman. Visitors can take a guided tour that is about an hour and half through the tropical forest and three caves. Tickets can be purchased on their website; however, if you’d like a suggestion there is Cayman Crystal Cave and Pedro St. James Castle Tour.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Explore George Town
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Explore and Shop Duty-Free in George Town

This popular cruise port offers visitors everything from the best restaurants, the tasty rum tours, the marvelous art galleries, and the best duty-free shopping. Put on your most comfortable shoes and just wander around the city, stopping at any and all the places that strike your fancy. From high-end stores to small boutique shops, there are plenty of places to keep your wallet warm all day.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Visit National Museum
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Get a Little History at the Cayman Islands National Museum

The Cayman Islands National Museum is a great place to learn about the island’s history and unique cultural heritage. Some of the galleries include the Natural History Gallery, the Cultural History Gallery, the Old Gaol or Jail, 60 Years of Coat of Arms, and the newest Miss Annie Huldah Bodden Gallery.

The Best Things To Do In Cayman Islands: Swimming In Stingray City
Cayman Islands Travel: Things To Do In Cayman Islands

Swim with the Fish at Stingray City

Stingray City is a wide sandbar that is surrounded by barrier reefs, which is home to a wide variety of fish and stingrays. Visitors can choose from an array of different tours to go swimming with stingrays, turtles, starfish, and other wild sea creatures. You can easily book an excursion on your own, but if you would like a suggestion there is the three and half hour Starfish and Stingray City Adventure with Snorkeling.

Where to Stay in the Cayman Islands

There are all types of accommodations in the Cayman Islands. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Cayman Islands Hotel Guide or our Cayman Islands All Inclusive Resort Guide.

Cayman Islands Hotels Guide: The best hotels in the cayman islands

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our Cayman Islands Hotel Guide

What to Eat in the Cayman Islands

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat in the Cayman Islands. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our Cayman Islands Restaurant Guide.

Cayman Islands Restaurants Guide: The Best Restaurants in Cayman Islands

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our Cayman Islands Restaurant Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Ariana Seever says:

    Thank you for all the great information. We plan on visiting the Caymans later this year once Covid is less of a concern. Hopefully that happens soon!

  2. Emily says:

    Incredible! I am so thankful that I found this site!!! Keep up the good work.

  3. Handel family says:

    I appreciate the helpful info. We will definitely use this guide next time we are in the Cayman Islands.

    1. Daniel says:

      Glad you enjoy the guide!

  4. Tracey L. says:

    I will definitely use your guide when planning my trip to the Cayman Islands this winter. Haven’t found a more detailed and informative guide better than this one, thanks.

    1. Daniel says:

      Wow, we’re so happy you love it. Be sure to check out other island guides when you can. Have a great trip!

  5. Charlotte says:

    How many days would you recommend for a trip to the Cayman Islands?

    1. Daniel says:

      My default answer is always 3 weeks. Pretty much anywhere 🙂

  6. Joy & Mike says:

    Seven Mile Beach is our favorite of all of the Cayman Island beaches! Highly recommended!

  7. Josie & Cody says:

    Thank you for recommending Cayman Crystal Cave and Pedro St. James Castle Tour! We plan on doing this on our trip next spring and are really looking forward to it!

  8. Alice Barac says:

    Cayman Brac is awesome! Highly recommended!

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