The Top 15 Things to Do in the Cayman Islands

Aerial View Cruise Ships at Anchor
Stephen Frink / Getty Images

Home to some of the Caribbean's most incredible blue waters and an abundance of culture, it's no wonder this chain of islands is a tourist hotspot. While Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands, is perhaps the best-known, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the smaller two, offer a more laid-back experience. It's easy to travel between the three, but regardless of where you end up, there are a great number of unique experiences to be had on each island. Here are 15 of the best things to do in the Cayman Islands.

01 of 15

Swim with Stingrays in Stingray City

Woman snorkeling with a stingray at Stingray City Grand Cayman
Justin Lewis / Getty Images

Stingray City is a famous group of sandbars located 25 miles out to sea from Grand Cayman. It is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can interact and swim with stingrays in shallow waters. Tours to Stingray City usually range between three to five hours. Stingray City offers a free shuttle service from the George Town Cruise Ship Port Terminal and Resorts on Seven Mile Beach.

02 of 15

Go Scuba Diving

Diver hovers over Cayman reef
Coral Edge Photography - Ellen Rierson / Getty Images

The Cayman Islands is one of the top dive destinations in the Caribbean. It has shipwrecks, healthy coral reefs, diverse marine life, and great underwater visibility. There are 240 dive sites located around Grand Cayman, 65 located around Cayman Brac, and 60 located around Little Cayman. Weather conditions for diving are optimal year-round. However, the hurricane season is from June to November which can cause an increase in rainfall and turbid waters.

Popular dive sites on Grand Cayman include Kittiwake Shipwreck, Devil’s Grotto, Eden Rock, and Sunset Reef. MV Captain Keith Tibbetts in Cayman Brac and Bloody Bar Marine Park in Little Cayman are also regularly visited dive sites. The Cayman Islands is a great destination for all types of divers, including beginners as there are many training courses available.

03 of 15

Tour the Crystal Caves

View of stalactites in the Crystal Caves of Cayman Islands
Karol Kozlowski/robertharding / Getty Images
69 North Side Rd, Old Man Bay, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-949-2283

The Crystal Caves are situated in a tropical forest in North Side, Grand Cayman. Visitors can explore these caves on guided tours that last approximately one and a half hours. During the tour, visitors venture through the forest to experience the abundance of tropical plant and animal life. Visitors then make their way underground into the caves, containing stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures and other cave formations.

04 of 15

Snorkel at Starfish Point

Starfish Point

Acquarius Sea Tours / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / flickr

Water Cay Rd, Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 774-578-7902

Starfish Point, located in North Side, Grand Cayman, is a stretch of coral-sand beach known for having red cushion sea stars, a species of starfish, on its shores. The beach is located on a spit, an extended stretch of beach that projects out to sea and is joined to the mainland on one side. This makes it an ideal place to snorkel as the waters have great visibility. Visitors can reach Starfish Point by land or sea, and there is a multitude of luxury charters that bring visitors to Starfish Point daily.

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05 of 15

Experience a Sunset at Macabuca

Sunset on the coast from Macabuca tiki bar

Courtesy of Macabuca

857 N W Point Rd, West Bay, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-945-5217

Located on West Bay on the northwest point of Grand Cayman, Macabuca is a waterfront tiki bar that specializes in fresh seafood and local ingredients. The sun sets on this side of the island, so it makes it the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea while enjoying a meal.

06 of 15

Hire a Car for the Day

SUV on a dirt road in Grand Cayman, Cayman Island
Ruth Peterkin / Getty Images

There is so much of Grand Cayman that visitors can explore on their own. The best way to do this is to hire a car as it allows for complete freedom to wander about the island. It gives visitors the chance to see the island from a local perspective as they can visit local hotspots that tours wouldn’t go to.

 A driving permit is required when renting a car, and these permits are issued at the George Town Police Station on Elgin Avenue. Rates are generally higher in the winter (from mid-December) as this is a peak season and lower in the summer (mid-April). Grand Cayman has several car rental companies with kiosks at the Grand Cayman Airport and various resorts along West Bay Road in George Town.

07 of 15

Visit the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

Palm tree and flowers at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Grand Cayman
Flavio Vallenari / Getty Images
8R8J+9RQ, North Side, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-947-9462

This botanic park was first opened in 1994 to preserve the natural environment, including many rare plants and animals. The park contains a Woodland Trail, a Floral Colour Garden, a Cayman Heritage Garden, a Blue Iguana Habitat, a lake, and an orchid boardwalk exhibit. Many visitors flock to this park specifically to see the butterflies and the blue iguanas, as these species can only be found on the Cayman Islands.

Additionally, many visitors come specifically for the Annual Orchid Show, an exhibition of locally grown orchids at the end of March. Admission to the park is 10 Cayman Island dollars for self-guided tours and 15 Cayman Island dollars for guided tours.

08 of 15

Shop and Dine in Camana Bay

Evening along waterfront of Camana Bay on Grand Cayman
JodiJacobson / Getty Images
10 Market St, KY1-9006, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-640-4000

Located in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, Camana Bay is a waterfront town with many places to shop and numerous restaurants, bars, and cafés to dine in. More than 2,500 people visit this town daily, and it hosts more than 600 events annually. Visitors also venture to Camana Bay’s weekly farmers market to pick up fresh, local produce.

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09 of 15

Spend Some Time in Hell

Black limestone formations in located in Hell, Grand Cayman
Yesenia Cancel / Getty Images
Hell Road, West Bay Grand Cayman KY1, West Bay 1501, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-949-6999

Hell Geological Site is a group of black limestone formations located in West Bay on Grand Cayman. This geological formation was formed by algae boring into the limestone to produce jagged pinnacles coated in a black substance. “Hell” got its name as locals believed this is what hell must look like. Tourists have visited Hell for decades to view the unique geology.

10 of 15

Hang Out on Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach aerial shot at Grand Cayman
Westend61 / Getty Images
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

Seven Mile Beach is a long coral-sand beach located on the western side of Grand Cayman. The waters are known for their brilliant blue color and their clarity, making them world-renowned. It has an expansive waterfront home to many resorts, restaurants, beach bars, and luxurious properties.

The beach is completely open to the public, allowing visitors staying at other locations on the island to spend the entire day there if they wish. There are many different activities at Seven Mile Beach, such as parasailing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

11 of 15

Shop at the Cayman Craft Market

Jewelry being sold at the Cayman Craft Market

Courtesy of the Cayman Craft Market

S Church St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-949-0049

The Cayman Craft Market is a market that showcases local artisans' work, including art, crafts, jewelry, and clothing. Many of the items sold are made with local materials such as conch, coconuts, and caymanite. Local foods such as jams, spices, jellies, and snacks can also be purchased at the market. It is situated in downtown George Town, a five-minute walk from the cruise ship dock.

12 of 15

Make a Stop at the Blow Holes

Backlit Grand Cayman Blow Hole
lightphoto / Getty Images
Sea View Rd, Cayman Islands

Located on the eastern side of the islands, the Blow Holes are a great place to stop to see the seawater crash into openings in the rock, creating a blow hole effect. When the waves are large, the water can spray high out of the water, making for a great photo.

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13 of 15

Boat to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac

Tropical beach with boats in Caribbean - Grand Cayman Island
LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

Cayman has an abundance of boat operators that offer both private and group boat tours. Visitors can also charter a boat of their own for either one day or their entire stay. Boating is a great way to see the Cayman Islands, including the smaller Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, as they are only a short boat ride away from the mainland. The waters are known for being exceptionally calm, warm, and crystal clear.

14 of 15

Take the Bioluminescent Kayaking Tour

Kayaks docked at sunset before a bioluminescent tour

Courtesy of Cayman Kayak

Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Phone +1 345-926-4467

Cayman Kayaks operate eco-friendly tours to the Bioluminescent Bay, where visitors can experience bioluminescence, a natural phenomenon in which the living organisms in the ocean emit light. It is truly a magical experience, as the water under the kayak comes to life like the night sky. The journey to the bay is short and suitable for all skill levels as the water is very calm. Cayman Kayaks has operated for over 10 years and ensures that tours do not disturb the natural environment.

15 of 15

Swim with Turtles at Spotts Beach

Palm tree on the beach at Spotts Beach, Grand Cayman
lightphoto / Getty Images
Spotts Public Beach, Savannah, Cayman Islands

Spotts Beach is known for the turtles, specifically green sea turtles, that frequent its waters.

The beach is a great place to swim with turtles in their natural habitat, and it is also home to amazing coral reefs and sea life. Visitors that do not want to swim can see the turtles from a pier on the beach. Spotts Beach is loved by the locals as it is generally less crowded than other beaches on Grand Cayman.

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The Top 15 Things to Do in the Cayman Islands