THE WANDERLUST CARIBBEAN GUIDE: The Cayman Islands
Although summer may not be the time of year you think about a jaunt to the Caribbean, there is never a bad time to visit the crystal clear waters and luxurious easy living of the Cayman Islands! With a quick non-stop, 3 hour flight from NYC (and many other non-stop options from airports all over the USA) you will be immersed in the barefoot elegance of the Cayman Islands in no time!
Grand Cayman – the largest and most populous island of the 3 which make up the Cayman Islands; Grand Cayman has everything you need for an incredible getaway. Although not a huge island, there are many different feelings in the areas around the island. On Grand Cayman you will find endless water sports, world class shopping, high end luxury and phenomenally eclectic cuisine all topped off with an unassuming, easy-going vibe. A pairing this good can only be found in the Cayman Islands!
With an extremely high quality of life, and some of the best luxury properties in the Caribbean, the locals easy-going way of life quickly puts you on track for the most relaxing vacation.
On the more crowded 7-mile beach (but with a the biggest gorgeous white sand beach on the island) there is a Ritz-Carlton and the newly opened Kimpton Seafire. For either of these resorts, it’s important to book a room with the right view, as many room categories are without.
Our favorite accommodations on the island are a collection of high end luxury Villas, all with hotel-like amenities and services. With an attention to detail you would expect to find in a boutique 5-star hotel and beach front villas all over the island, these unique properties offer an incredible stay. The feeling in each neighborhood and villa varies widely, so we have explored all over the island, staying in the different villas and neighborhoods in order to match each client with the perfect experience! These villas offer levels of luxury + privacy that you just can’t quite match in a hotel.
Grand Cayman has a storied culture and there is lots to see and do off the beach. As a British Overseas Territory the island has all the services you are used to at home (and may find lacking in other parts of the Caribbean), including first rate medical care, reliable electricity, internet + phone service, safe food + water, no mosquito borne diseases etc. Also, English is spoken by all on the island, making navigation easy. The residents of Cayman are a wide mix of cultures from all over the world, making it an eclectic destination. In Georgetown, you will find luxury stores with the hottest Caribbean fashions, high end shopping is popular here as you won’t pay any sales tax!
Crystal Caves: Cayman’s newest attraction – the recently opened Crystal Caves are quite a unique attraction! Although the caves are thousands of years old, they were recently opened after many years of extensive excavation and safety measures. These caves are said to have been the start of the Cayman’s rich banking traditions, providing ample security to hide the vast sums of foreign money kept on the island.
Scuba Diving + Snorkeling: with some of the clearest water you will find anywhere in the world there are many options for diving. Reefs, shipwrecks and abundant marine life are some of the attractions you can find under the ocean here.
Rum Point – On the North side of the island with family fun beaches and activities under shady palm trees. Fun bars and restaurants dot the town a little further from the main tourist areas.
Take a sailing Catamaran to “Stingray City” at Sunset: Cruise on the crystal clear turquoise waters for about an hour before reaching an outer reef and shallow spot called “Stingray City” for the ever present and enormous Stingrays that hang out here. Although it may sound cliche, swimming with the stingrays is a very unique experience. Before you say it – yes Steve Irwin was killed by one of these gentle creatures, but many thousands of tourists have swam with these giant stingrays without a single incident. The locals say if you kiss one on the nose, it will grant you 7 years of good luck!
The evening cruise ensures you will be the only boat out there – and watching the colors of the setting sun while eating dinner on the boat will be a highlight of your trip!
Explore off the beaten path with a helicopter or boat to the outer islands. Cayman Brac + Little Cayman are rarely visited and offer up lots of adventure. Little Cayman has many water activities away from the crowds and Cayman Brac is named for an imposing bluff, and is filled with forests + many unique native species of plants & birds. Cayman Brac has several famous dive sites as well. Accommodations on the smaller islands are less developed, but day trips or 1-night excursions can be planned.