10 things I wish I knew before going to Cayman Islands
Every year about 2.5 million visitors visit the Cayman Islands. Most of them are cruise ship passengers who spend a few hours shopping, sunbathing, or stingrays swimming before leaving shore. Being one of the emerging tourist destinations, these islands are surely becoming tourist’s favourite. And in this article, we will be talking about 10 things that every visitor to this magnificent place should know before actually visiting it:
1. Where are the Cayman Islands?
First of all, before we get too deep about this breathtaking destination, let’s answer the question that is inside of the majority of readers right now: Where are the Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands of the West Indies is an autonomous overseas territory that belongs to Great Britain and is located in the south of Cuba and the northwest parts of Jamaica. There are three islands in the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, with George Town as the capital of the Cayman Islands on the Grand Cayman). The population of all the islands is pretty small, around 66 000 inhabitants. Also, worth mentioning that almost half of the population come from Latin America, the majority working in the tourism industry.
2. Is it safe to travel to the Cayman Islands?
“Is it safe to travel to the Cayman Islands?” is one of the most commonly asked questions before the actual visit by tourists happen. The numbers show that the Cayman Islands have very small rates of violent crime relative to other Caribbean Islands. And even when they do happen, it is not aimed at visitors at all. When you are a tourist visiting on vacation, it's almost impossible you'd face some criminal-related problems. Interestingly enough, Cayman Islands has never seen a terrorist incident.
3. Weather in the Cayman Islands
Weather in the Cayman Islands is one of the favourite features of the islands. But what is the best time to travel to the Cayman Islands? The rainy season in islands starts from May and continues until October, and the dry season is November through April. However, it does not necessarily mean that at those separate periods, it rains regularly or occasionally. Throughout summer, it is normal to experience intermittent afternoon rains and sometimes morning storms, so be prepared for rain is always a big plus. It is also worth mentioning that for western areas of the island’s rainfall rate appears to be higher. For the Cayman Islands weather, an annual winter temperature of 75-85 ° F and a summer temperature of 80-95 ° F is something to expect. As our research shows us, it is a bit hard to tell what is the best time to travel to the Cayman Islands as some people might prefer sunbathing over tropical rains, whilst others want to dive into a different type of adventure.
4. Different types of water sports
Yes, no one can deny the beauty of the surface of the calm and turquoise waters of the Cayman Islands; however, it is not all that the crystal-clear seas are offering to its visitors. There is snorkelling, swimming, paddling, kayaking, and kitesurfing opportunities alongside the beaches of the island. Caymans also hosts some of the most amazing dive sites in the world.
Kitesurfing is the best option for adventure hunters searching for a new way of seeing the islands. Grand Cayman and Little Cayman have some of the most beautiful scenery when it comes to kitesurfing. The sport uses wind to drag riders on a small surfboard, and there are operators across the islands providing courses if you need help.
5. What to eat in the Cayman Islands?
When it comes to the food scene of the Cayman Islands, it surely outperforms the rest of the Caribbean countries. Mixing herbs, fish, and fresh abundance to make special and flavourful recipes. Basically, even if you won’t enjoy anything here (which is very unlikely to happen), the food will make you want to come back. Turtle stew, fish rundown and coconut shrimp are the most loved dishes of the Cayman Islands among both visitors and local people.
For the dessert, do not miss the chance to try some Heavy Cake during your trip. This is made from cassava, a vegetable from the roots of the cassava shrub. The cassava is polished, boiled, and baked into a very moist, sweet cake which is called the Cayman Islands' national dessert. Each family has its recipe, but typically Heavy Cake is flavoured with spice such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
6. Golden Beaches of the Islands
The Cayman Islands are known for white sandy beaches, perfect for relaxing and sunbathing. One of the most stunning beaches is located on Little Cayman Island. Through motorcycle, scooter, or hiring a car, you can get to the Point of Sand – the easiest place to visit in Little Cayman – and you'll have the beach all to yourself and enjoy potentially one of the most beautiful beaches that you have ever seen. At Little Cayman, plan to see queen conch, stingray, bonefish and hundreds of colourful coral fish of all forms.
Another beach that definitely should be on your list is Smith Cove. Situated just south of George Town (the capital city) and officially known as Smith's Barcadere, this lovely beach has vibrant turquoise water surrounded by calcareous cliffs and offers public toilets, showers and even picnic benches. Basically, everything you need for a good time!
7. Travel to George Town
Once you are in the Cayman Islands, don’t forget to travel to George Town, as well. George Town is an international finance centre, and this glamorous capital of the Cayman Islands comes alive, especially as cruise liners pass in.
Yet this adorable tourist town also offers a handful of other tourist attractions worth visiting. The newly opened Farmers' Market is open Monday through Saturday, beginning at 7:30 am. Among the several vendors selling new fruit, jewellery, baked goods, natural juices, coconuts and more, you can pick among. Also, while your travel to George Town, do not forget to check out Cayman Islands National Museum, which is also located here. Cayman Islands National Museum exhibits historical and ecological exhibits, and art lovers will appreciate the fine collection of local art and temporary themed exhibitions at the Cayman Islands National Gallery, with its beautiful Sculpture Gardens and Art Cafe.
8. East End
Far from a cruise ship carrying tourists travelling to George Town, the East End provides a slower-paced alternative to the island's famous attractions located on the west coast of the island. For example, you can begin with Pedro St James, the place in the Cayman Islands, which is usually regarded as the cradle of democracy. This beautiful house and gardens are a perfect way to experience the special history and traditions of the Cayman Islands, about a 15-minute drive from George Town. Cayman Crystal Caves is another spot that locals are proud to show to the tourists. These beautiful caves are certainly worth a visit: however, it is a lot easier to get around with a local guide who can show you around the site to illustrate the cave's past and tell you fascinating stories that accompany the site. Tours last one and a half hours, also don’t forget that tours must be booked beforehand.
9. Accommodation in the Cayman Islands
If you're dreaming of a bungalow off the beaten track or a penthouse suite with spectacular views of the sea, all you've wished for will be the spot where you put your feet up during the day and lie your head down in the evening. One of the best Grand Cayman resorts is strip is Seven Mile Beach, famed for its 5.5 miles smooth, white sand, sometimes fringed by the shadow of a few palms, and just north of George Town's small town. You can also see several condos and golf courses along this stretch, as well as courses and villas. Meanwhile, it also worth mentioning that with just a few hotels and a relatively peaceful, laid-back way of life, Little Cayman is much less developed. It is the place to come and truly relax.
10. Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a non-profit garden and wildlife reserve situated in Grand Cayman Island's North Side District. The botanic park of Grand Cayman, Queen Elizabeth II, protects flora and fauna of the island. Only the Woodland Trail was complete when Queen Elizabeth II opened Grand Cayman's Botanic Park in 1994. Over the years that followed, the gardens have expanded and matured into the full-fledged world-class park that is running today. You will get the chance to walk through lily-topped ponds, palm trees, forest forests, orchids, and beautiful flowers on the quiet paths of the garden. If you have very good luck, you might even have an opportunity to see an endangered blue iguana. The easiest way to see the blue iguanas is to book a ticket for the 11 am guided tour at the entrance to the park.
Tural Abbasov is a 19 years old Azerbaijani studying in the heart of Europe, in Hungary. When he was 16, he travelled to the USA for one month without spending even a dollar. Tural is proud to be known as "the discount person" around his friends as he is always aware of the best travel deals around Europe, except one time when he spent all of his fortunes in Oslo on New Year celebration. Besides tourism, gender equality, and human rights are the topics that he is extremely passionate about. Tural loves putting his best travel pictures on his Instagram, but when he travels, he never forgets to dive into the country's diverse culture, cuisine and history. Maybe that's why he always finds himself in extreme situations, like one time when he spent the night in Vienna Metro with strangers. Motto in life? "Life is amazing, but have ever got a flight ticket to Milano for 20 euros?".