A trip to the Cayman Islands is just a 770 kilometre hop over the sea from Miami. Located in the western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands is a British territory. The Caymans are composed of three separate islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The Caribbean island of Grand Cayman is stunningly beautiful and offers visitors many attractions. Around the capital of George Town, with its wonderful cuisine and great shopping, you can explore a beached shipwreck and enjoy the rhythms of the evenings. Walk to the top of Cayman Brac and dive into turquoise waters. At Little Cayman, let yourself be intoxicated by the luxuriant natural beauty of the place and enter the Bloody Bay diving site to cool off and have fun.
In the midst of the famously calm turquoise waters that bathe the western Caribbean lies the peaceful British Overseas Territory known as the Cayman Islands. Just 770 km south of Miami, this archipelago consisting of three islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) remains our favourite little corner of paradise.
A stunning natural setting, a multitude of activities and attractions, and all the modern amenities to make your stay as pleasant as possible ... you will find all these ingredients on the largest and most developed island of the archipelago. Grand Cayman is home to the capital George Town, a city that can boast not only of having one of the best cuisines in the Caribbean, but also being particularly popular with shopping aficionados.
Whether you want to go diving around a sunken shipwreck, dance until the early hours of the morning, or just go on an excursion, Grand Cayman is a good starting point to explore the riches of the archipelago.
A Host of Attractions
The list of attractions that Grand Cayman offers is long ... here are a few: Seven Mile Beach – a wide stretch of white sand with a reputation as one of the jewels of the Caribbean; the 26-hectare Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Mastic Trail National Trust (a traditional 3.2 km circuit through the forests of the north face, preserved in their original state); Cayman Islands National Museum in George Town; the historic site of Pedro St. James Castle in Savannah; and Boatswains Beach, a unique 9.3-hectare aquatic adventure park that promises to become one of the most exciting parks in the region; the limestone formations called Hell; guided tours organized by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands through the centre of George Town and West Bay, including the Blow Holes, as well as historical monuments currently being restored under the aegis of the National Trust and the National Historic Sites Committee, including the Old Savannah School House. Let's not forget Rum Point – you must not miss it under any circumstances! Imagine sipping a cocktail in a hammock on a beach shaded by majestic Casuarina pine trees. Enjoy a light snack on the beach, treat yourself to à la carte meals, or, if you prefer, just float around in crystal clear waters.
The 36 square kilometres of Cayman Brac retain the charm and warm atmosphere of a traditional maritime community while offering the most spectacular landscape of the archipelago.
The most spectacular landscapes of the archipelago:
The island takes its name from its natural feature, The Bluff ('Brac' in Gaelic). This imposing limestone plateau rises gradually from the west to the eastern tip, where it attains a height of 43 metres, forming an absolutely spectacular cliff which then drops off precipitously into the indigo Caribbean Sea below. The Bluff sculpts the landscape that is covered with a fascinating diverse fauna and flora, creating unexpected views punctuated with caves carved into the rock.
Climb your way to the top to discover the breathtaking view that awaits you on The Bluff. Let yourself be seduced by the sinkholes and caves that overlook the water. Stroll through the forests where flowers and exotic plants abound. Watch the birds as they fly over The Bluff ... have fun identifying the frigate birds, brown boobies, peregrine falcons, and even try to spot the Cayman Brac parrot in the wild!
A Typical Marine Community
The 1,800 Brackers who live on the island are a friendly and independent people, rural and fascinating. They are proud of their island and love to share it with visitors. The names they have given to their small villages speak for themselves: West End, Watering Place, Cotton Tree Bay, Creek, and Spot Bay. Throughout the year you will find tropical plants blooming in the well-kept courtyards of the charming houses typical of the country. If you find the unique peacefulness of Brac soothing, this land of amazing contrasts will nevertheless awaken your spirit of adventure!
A Diver's Paradise
Most visitors to the small island of Cayman Brac are diving enthusiasts. The latest attraction is the hundred-metre long wreck renamed the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts. The ship had been a Cuban frigate of Russian construction that was scuttled off the northwest coast of the island in September 1996. It is now an artificial reef that is already home to fauna and an impressive aquatic flora. There are two other small wrecks that went down off the coast of Brac.
The Most Popular Sites and Activities
Among the favourite attractions on land are the Cayman Brac Museum at Stake Bay and a series of spectacular caves: Rebecca's Cave, Peter's Cave, and Halfway Ground Cave; nature trails; exploring the coral formation at the tip of the island as well as The Bluff above; the charming little houses restored in the local architectural tradition, not to mention the lovely people of this unusual community who live in them.
To their great delight, fishing enthusiasts will discover shallow waters teeming with bonefish, while big fish swim in the deeper offshore waters. Those of you who just want to relax will appreciate the island's quiet beaches.
The schedule of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands is filled from the beginning of the year to the end. A hiking trail winds for 1.6 km around The Bluff; it runs along the 114-hectare Brac Parrot Reserve that opened in July 1996. Although this feature of the island is underplayed, Cayman Brac is a perfect little island for bird watching, with 200 species of birds making their home in the surrounding islands.
Little Cayman is the wildest island of the archipelago. With fewer than 170 residents, the vast majority of its territory remains uninhabited. Although small (16 km long and 1.6 km wide), Little Cayman brings together some rare and significant features: an oasis of sunny tranquility and sparkling beaches, all abounding with lush vegetation. Here, shy iguanas and tropical birds are more numerous than humans.
A Stay Dedicated to Relaxation
Little Cayman is a refuge where you can assure yourself of a moment of relaxation. Bask in the sun on deserted beaches. Head down to South Hole Sound Lagoon for a private swim. If you prefer, row over to the tiny uninhabited island of Owen where you can admire untouched nature. In this natural haven, you will find the serenity to bring body and soul together.
Without any doubt, the star attraction of Little Cayman is diving. The legendary diving spots of Bloody Bay and Jackson Point are the most obvious examples. One of the most famous dive sites in the world, Bloody Bay Aquatic Park is a coral descent that begins at six metres, but that divers follow to depths of more than 1,800 metres. Coral gardens resplendent with colours, sea fans undulating with the waves, and exotic tropical fish ... Fifty diving spots take advantage of the aquatic flora and fauna thrive everywhere in this incomparable haven of splendour and richness.
Little Cayman has no equal in terms of fishing. Indeed, particularly in South Hole Sound Lagoon, bonefish, small silvery tarpon, and pompanos challenge anglers looking for small coastal prey. The six-hectare Tarpon Pond is always teeming with small but spirited freshwater fish.
Little Cayman is also home to the largest nesting colony of red-footed boobies (5,000 couples) in the Caribbean, a nesting colony of beautiful frigates, a large heron rookery, and the eighty-hectare Booby Pond Nature Reserve, the first RAMSAR site in the country, under the supervision of the National Trust. On 22 July 1995, work began on the Trust House of Little Cayman, a typical island building overlooking the rookery. Opened in late 1996, this house serves as local headquarters for the National Trust. On the adjoining observation deck, high-performance telescopes allow you to follow the slightest movement of birds in the Reserve all year round. Little Cayman now has has its own museum, opposite the Booby Pond.
Little Cayman is also home to a native population of land iguanas estimated at 2,000! So important are they that signs were erected along the main coastal road in 1995, painted by local artists, to warn motorists of their presence.
The local section of the National Trust regularly organizes excursions and activities. The 1.6 kilometre-long Salt Rock Nature Trail will give you a good overview of the natural habitat of Little Cayman.