“Cayman Kind” is the way of life in the Cayman Islands, a small group of islands in the Caribbean. The spirit of the culture starts with a smile, and you’ll find a welcoming attitude when you arrive.
Where Are the Cayman Islands?
Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands, a group of three small islands nestled in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba and west of Jamaica. They are located in a protected area that usually misses being hit by hurricanes. The Cayman Islands are an autonomous British Overseas Territory, and are second to Bermuda in population within the British territories.
Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
While there are many top resorts in the Cayman Islands, one of the best is the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world are known for their service, their beautiful accommodations and properties, and prime locations. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman is no exception. On the dazzling white sands of Seven Mile Beach, the hotel inhabits two towers and affords visitors both beach-side and canal access.
A 9-hole golf course (which can be played through twice from different tees to make for an 18-hole experience if desired) has a lush island backdrop and nearby mangrove forests can be visited via glass-bottomed kayak through the Ambassadors of the Environment program on property.
Whether luxuriating in the spa or sunbathing by the pool or on the beach, Ritz-Carlton’s excellent service and grounds make for a fantastic stay on Grand Cayman.
What to Do in Grand Cayman
Not far from the Ritz-Carlton golf course is Red Sail Sports headquarters, where a wide variety of activities await. Sailing on a catamaran to Rum Point is an excellent way to spend the day. A private section of the beach, lunch buffet, free non-motorized water sports and relaxed beach vibe are just the ticket.
For those looking for something unique to do after the sun goes down, one of the globes most vibrant bioluminescent bays is found at Grand Cayman. Running your fingers through the water, the blue lights ignite in an other-worldly experience.
Cayman Kayaks offers both kayak tours and the islands’ only electric boat, making for an eco-friendly opportunity to view the bio-luminescent animals. Best seen when the moon is not out, this on-the-water opportunity is one that won’t soon be forgotten.
The Crystal Caves are a bit of a drive from Seven Mile Beach, but the icy rum smoothies found in the tree house lounge and jovial tour guides make the expedition worthwhile as you marvel at the sparkling stalagmites and stalactites formed in the three underground caverns. A pool of crystal-clear water has formed at the bottom of one of the caves, while adorable bats roost in another, awaiting the night.
Where to Eat in Grand Cayman
I’m well-versed in cuisine, so when I have a meal that really impresses me, I am delighted and want to tell everyone about it. Blue Cilantro had me hooked as soon as the warm, cheese-filled naan hit the table.
Chef Shetty’s 28+ years of experience is not underutilized at this restaurant, offering diners eastern-inspired dishes with island flair. The 4- and 6-course menus are extensive and highly suggested, as well as a la carte dining. I especially enjoyed the fresh Market Fish, which was snapper that evening, with corn puree and truffle corn sauce.
Beach House is another fantastic dining opportunity. Located within the Westin Seven Mile Beach resort, the 4-diamond restaurant has ocean views on the beach terrace and a beautiful private dining gazebo for special occasions.
Island flavors and fresh catches are a specialty, with the island breeze a perfect accentuation to outdoor dining in Grand Cayman.
The farm-to-fork concept at The Brasserie is unique on Grand Cayman, where agriculture does not play a large role in economy (tourism and financial services are the main gross domestic product).
The chef’s farm is adjacent to the dining room, with seasonal ingredients influencing both the dining menu and bar offerings. An extensive wine list and excellent service make for a memorable dining destination.
If looking for a bay-side dining experience, look no further than Agua. I enjoyed the indoor bar and outdoor dining area under bistro lights in the pleasant atmosphere and temperature. Fresh local fish and ceviche are best enjoyed with a glass of champagne or one of Cory Scrugg’s specialty cocktails.
Hot tropical temperatures are the norm on Grand Cayman. Typical weather is in the 80s, but temperatures can soar to the 100s in Summer. March and April are ideal, when temperatures are comfortable, occasional rain showers pass quickly, and the nights are cool and lightly breezy. Hurricane season for the area is June through November, but they often miss this particular set of islands.
Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, so cars drive on the left side of the road. When crossing streets, be aware of oncoming traffic and look both ways.
Skittish drivers can take advantage of taxi and shuttle services which are readily available. American outlets for electronics are used. The United States Dollar is a widely accepted currency alongside the Cayman Islands dollar.
The correct pronunciation is “Kay-Mahn” for Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands.
While Stingray City is a staple of the tourism industry of Grand Cayman, visitors are well-advised to check the cruise port schedule for the day before booking this excursion. The “puppies of the sea” have been domesticated on this popular sandbar, as they are fed by tourists.
When too many commercial vessels congregate, the stingrays become skittish of large crowds. I was on the fence for this tourist spot; I enjoy the natural grace and beauty of the rays, which can be seen clearly through the azure waters, but felt the commercial aspect of the stop unsettling, as well as the handling of the rays. Others choose to visit Stingray City and do enjoy it.
No matter what you choose to do on your vacation, chances are, you’ll experience Cayman Kind.
Author: Chad Chisholm is a freelance commercial photographer and travel writer. Whether shooting architecture, lifestyle or food & beverage, his assignments take him around the globe. www.creationize.com