What's the first thing you do when you start thinking about going on a vacation, let alone when you actually book it? You Google things to do there, right? Everyone wants a little taste of the fun that's about to come and what's better than getting suggestions from someone who actually lives there?
Grand Cayman is loaded with fun activities and amazing places to see. Here are some of my favorite things that should definitely be on your hit list:
1. Stingray City
You cannot visit Grand Cayman without taking a Stingray City boat tour. You simply can't. It is one of the most popular activities on the island for residents, locals and tourists alike. Hop on a Red Sail or Captain Marvin's boat tour, or join a friend for a private trip to the sunny sandbar. Swimming with the stingrays is such an incredible experience, and it is not as scary as some may think! The stingrays have gotten so used to the boats and visitors over the years that they actually come swimming when crowds arrive because they know that most boats come with a snack.
Make sure you get a kiss and back massage! They're said to be good luck.
2. Heritage Kitchen
Support local eats! You want a REAL taste of Cayman? Heritage Kitchen is a walk-up fish joint in West Bay, and it is easily one of the best local restaurants on the island. Serving fresh seafood and traditional Caymanian sides, it is known for its reasonable prices, generous portions and DELICIOUS fried fish. Place your order, grab a picnic table and enjoy the pleasant service.
3. Scuba & Snorkel
Cayman is one of the top scuba and snorkel spots in the world! The island is surrounded by reefs, making it a hot-spot for Caribbean divers. The beautiful coral formations, wrecks, caverns and steep walls are quite the site to see. You may also be interested in diving wrecks such as the one near Gun Bay or the Kittiwake Shipwreck and Artificial Reef off the coast of 7 Mile Beach. The Kittiwake as a former US Navy Submarine which was intentionally sunk in order for divers and snorkelers to have more options. Another deliberate wreck is that of Captain Keith Tibbetts, which is a Russian frigate off the coast of sister-island Cayman Brac.
4. Sunset Sail
The Sunset Sail is 2 hours of pure bliss. Red Sail Sports picks guests up on the beach and brings them on a serene ride up the coast of 7 Mile Beach while the sun makes its way down the horizon. The 65-foot catamarans have plenty of room for big groups, including a trampoline net at the front. Light hors d'oeuvres are served and there is a cash bar.
5. Rum Point
Locals call Rum Point “the country” because it takes about 50 minutes to get there from the 7 Mile Beach area. Not much of a drive for the average beach-goer, but here in Cayman the saying goes that nothing is more than 10 minutes away. Rum Point is the perfect amount of shade and sun, with loads of beach chairs lined up beneath the pine trees, and plenty of sun for those that want to catch a tan. The crystal clear water is so shallow that you can walk out a good distance before the water even gets beyond your hips. The bar is known for being the home of the mudslide, and for the copious rum drink options that are sure to keep you content while you swim in the sea or relax with a good book.
Sundays are the most popular among residents and locals. People go in droves by boat, anchor down and party it up with their friends in the shallow waters for the day. Definitely worth the trip!
6. Bioluminescence Kayak Tour
This is easily one of the coolest activities I have done on the island. The bioluminescence bay at Cayman Kai is an amazing natural phenomena. As you kayak into the bay, your paddle and boat disrupts the bacteria in the water. Their natural defense mechanism is to glow in response to a potential danger, so as you move, the water lights up in a glowing swirl of greenish-blue light. The deeper you get into the bay, the brighter the glow. Book a guided night tour with Cayman Kayaks and they will teach you all about this unique ecosystem. Ask for the guide that uses the laser pointer to show where the major constellations and planets are, because that was especially cool.
7. Starfish Point
Starfish Point is right down the street from Rum Point and is a popular detour for folks spending the day up on the North Side of the island. It is also a good spot to boat to; you'll often find residents and locals spending their day on the water there.
You don't have to wade too far before you'll stumble upon a starfish or two! Some are the size of your hand, others are the size of your head! Pictured above is a six-legged find! Just note that if you are going to pick one up for a photo, you need to quickly re-submerge them in the water as they really should not be out for very long.
8. Royal Palms Beach Club
You may be wondering why there is a restaurant on this list. Well, that's because Royal Palms is so much more than a place to eat. It is easily one of the most popular eats and bars on the island, and one of the best places to grab a lounge chair or cabana and catch some sun. If you're into partying, head to Palms on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon and you're sure to have a good time! Large wrap-around bar, swim-up bar, cabanas, and more. Plus, it's one of the best happy hour spots on the island. It doesn't hurt that it is in an extremely convenient location, sitting central to all of the major hotels and condos on West Bay Road/7 Mile Beach.
9. Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter
If you're looking for a fun activity for the family, the Cayman Turtle Centre is a great spot to hit in West Bay. There are touch tanks, a breeding pond, wading touch pools, a saltwater lagoon featuring a jumping crocodile, swimming pools and more!
10. Camana Bay
Camana Bay is a constantly growing hub of restaurants, shops and businesses. Boasting some of the greatest eats on the island, this little island nook is always bustling with families, couples, and friends out for a good time. From a wine dispensary to a book store, a hibachi grill to a movie theater, Camana Bay is a must! One of the greatest things about it is that it is SO family-friendly. Kids play in the sprinkler park by the water's edge and parents watch from a cozy rocking chair or one of the ocean-front restaurants.
These are just some of the awesome places Grand Cayman. Stay tuned for more!