What I Should Have Known Before Visiting the Cayman Islands

Preparing all your documentation is advisable if you consider a vacation to the Cayman Islands. It also helps to sketch your journey roughly, including the tourist spots you want to visit.

You don’t need a car to get around.

The Cayman Islands have a good bus system and readily available taxis. Renting a car or moped can be expensive, and it’s not always safe for visitors to take them on the narrow roads – especially as they have a distinctly British feel with center turning lanes, roundabouts and three- and four-way stops. The best way to save money is by visiting during the off-peak season – November to April – when prices are lower and it’s not nearly as hot. If you must travel during peak season, book accommodations well in advance.

Generally speaking, most restaurants and hotels in Cayman are inexpensive compared to the US, and credit cards are widely accepted. Be aware that a 13% “Tourist Accommodation Tax” is added to all room rates, and timeshares are subject to an additional fee. The official currency is the Cayman Island dollar (KYD) divided into 100 cents, but US dollars are easily accepted at most establishments. While Cayman is known for its beaches, there’s much more to explore, even in staying with the hotels in the Grand Cayman Islands

You can’t go wrong with Seven Mile Beach.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or a full day of fun in the sun, Seven Mile Beach is where it’s at. Often named the best beach in the world, it is a stunning stretch of white sand that offers something for everyone. Resorts and hotels surround this popular beach, so you’ll always be able to find a place to relax and enjoy the view.  The best way to get to Seven Mile Beach is by car, but taxis and shuttle buses are easily available if you don’t have one. There are multiple large parking lots, and you can also walk to the beach from most other parts of the island. If you’re looking for a change from the bustle of Seven Mile Beach, Spott Beach is a great alternative. This quieter beach is a little less touristy but still has all the amenities of the bigger beach, including a full beach, public restrooms and BBQ grills. You can even stay on the beach at Sunshine Suites Resort – across the street from the Westin Grand Cayman!

The beaches are just one of the things worth seeing.

The beaches are one of the main things that draw people to Grand Cayman, but the islands have plenty more to offer. For a great view of the entire island, head up to the Camana Bay Observation Tower. It’s a beautiful 75-foot tall structure built using nearly three million hand-cut Venetian glass tiles to create a beautiful underwater mosaic. Another must-see attraction is the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, which houses the island’s permanent art collection and various rotating exhibitions. Located in the breezy walking street of Camana Bay, it’s a great spot to stop for an hour or so between shopping and dining.

Stingray City is a unique and popular tourist destination where you can swim with stingrays in shallow water on a sandbar. It’s an easy and fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.

There are also a few heritage gardens that are worth visiting. One features a pretty old Cayman house with a few rooms that were furnished as they would have been when it was first built, along with a sand yard and the traditional domestic garden around a home. Other interesting gardens include the Luca del Mar Sculpture Garden, a human-sized clay sculpture depicting various members of the island’s wildlife and mythological figures. It’s an incredibly peaceful and artistic spot that is also the perfect place to relax before dinner at Ragazzi or one of the other restaurants in town.

You’ll have a great time!

The Cayman Islands are a truly unique culinary destination. Its cuisine draws on the region’s rich marine life, then blends in influences from its many different settlers and neighbors. Snapper, mahi-mahi and lobster seasoned with herbs, citrus and a generous chile helping are all very popular on the menus here. Conch stew is another must-try local dish. This tangy seafood stew is often eaten as an appetizer or a main course and is served in most restaurants and stalls. It is a must-try because of its delicate taste and texture.

Aside from its delicious food, the Cayman Islands are known for their warm and friendly people. The islands are inspired by British culture, so showing respect and civility towards one another is important. It is customary to say “please” and “thank you” and to address older people by their first name preceded by ‘Mrs’ or ‘Sir.’ It’s also a good idea to tip servers and service workers at bars, restaurants and hotels because they rely on tips for a portion of their wages. However, tipping is not mandatory in the Cayman Islands as in some other countries. The islands’ shoulder and low seasons are a great time to visit because you can enjoy the beaches without overpaying for accommodation. Plus, grocery stores are readily available, so you can save money by preparing some of your meals instead of always eating out!