Grand Cayman is a port that offers a huge array of things to do, so no matter with whom you’re traveling, what your interests are or your level of mobility, you’ll find plenty of entertainment options.
Here are 11 of the most popular things to do when you cruise to the island of Grand Cayman.
Seven Mile Beach — which is actually closer to five miles in length — is the main draw on Grand Cayman, and it actually consists of several different beaches, such as Governor’s Beach, Tiki Beach and Public Beach. All beaches on the island are public and free. What will differ are the amenities, like chairs and umbrellas for rent and bathroom/changing areas. Most cruise ships offer shore excursions to Seven Mile Beach, or you can take a taxi from the port. (It’s about a 10-minute taxi ride to the portion of Seven Mile Beach in front of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.)
Don’t miss Stingray City Sandbar. This is about a 30 minute boat ride offshore, where in three feet of water, two dozen southern stingrays gather daily to get some snacks (usually cut-up pieces of squid) and interact with tourists. Since this site isn’t accessible from the shore, you’ll need to purchase a shore excursion from your cruise line or book through any of the many tour companies on the island, such as Captain Marvin’s.
The experience is usually part of a catamaran sail and snorkel trip. This activity can be fun for all ages, and many children — even those as young as 7 years old —love it. But, know your child. The stingrays are graceful and silky soft, but they are also large. If you think the creatures will scare your kid, it’s best to save this excursion for when they are older.
It’s a 20-minute drive to the Cayman Turtle Farm (North West Point Road, West Bay) from the port at George Town. Go on your own via taxi or book a shore excursion. Kids especially love seeing the cute little yearling turtles, Kemp’s Ridley turtles, loggerheads and green sea turtles. You can also view crocodiles and sharks feeding, hike the Blue Hole Nature Trail, and even cool off at Breaker’s Lagoon, a huge pool complex complete with two waterfalls and a waterslide.
If you make your way up to West Bay (which you will if you visit the Cayman Turtle Farm), reserve a little time to visit nearby Hell. It’s actually a series of black limestone formations, but you’ll want to visit the accompanying gift shop from where you can literally send a postcard to your friends or family from “Hell.”
The place to purchase locally made crafts and gifts is the Cayman Craft Market. It’s less than a 10-minute walk from the dock at George Town. Take a right onto Harbour Drive (with the water on your right) and continue walking until the road turns into South Church Street (at the corner of Boilers Road).
For an easygoing day in port, simply walk off the cruise ship or tender and explore the nearby environs of George Town. Here, you’ll find stores from major brands, as well as art galleries and boutiques featuring local crafts, jewelry, perfume, apparel and Cayman Islands souvenirs.
Every cruise itinerary will offer a variety of water-sport excursions on Grand Cayman, including snorkeling, scuba and snuba. (Snuba is similar to scuba, but the underwater breathing system is kept on a raft to which you are tethered.)
If you have your own snorkel gear, grab a cab and head to Governor’s Beach (right past The Ritz-Carlton) or Spotts Public Beach on Shamrock Road, where you will have the best chance of seeing sea turtles and stingrays. The Kittiwake, a sunken ship off Seven Mile Beach, is a popular dive site, but you’ll need to book an excursion for that.
Check your cruise ship for excursions or book through one of the island’s many tour providers, such as Don Foster’s Dive Cayman, located a few blocks to the right of where you’ll dock.
If you love active adventures on the beach, a number of providers offer parasailing, Jet Ski outings, kayak trips and paddleboard rentals. These activities can often be booked as excursions from your ship or with a local tour provider. Many are staged off Seven Mile Beach.
Many beachside and roadside stands serve delicious local cuisine. If you have time, stop for a truly Caribbean lunch of fresh fish, conch fritters, jerk chicken, goat curry, oxtail or even turtle stew. Try Tony’s Jerk Foods at 193 School Road or Welly’s Cool Spot on 110 North Sound Road (both in George Town).
Located opposite the George Town Harbour, at the corner of Shedden Road and Harbour Drive, the Cayman Islands National Museum is worth a visit. It houses permanent and roving exhibits devoted to both the natural and cultural heritage of the islands. The gift shop is also an excellent place to pick up locally made crafts, including conch jewelry, and Cayman Islands flags.
If you just want to laze around on the beach or next to an adults-only pool all day. Some hotels, such as Royal Palms Beach Club, offer day passes ranging from $10 to $20. You can rent a chair, a private cabana or any of the water sport activities. There are a few other hotels that offer day passes along this strip of the beach, and it will only cost you about $4 to get there in a cab.