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  • Cayman-Islands-coral reef-Ghost-Mountain - The coral reef at Ghost Mountain off Grand Cayman Island.
  • Rum-Point-Grand-Cayman - Rum Point on Grand Cayman Island,
  • Blue-fish-scuba-cayman-islands - A tropical fish spotted in the coral reefs of the Caymans.
  • Grand-Cayman-Turtle-Farm-sea-turtle - A green sea turtle swimming at Grand Cayman Turtle Farm.
  • Cayman-Islands-Barkers-Beach-ponyrides - Horseback riding on Barkers Beach on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Stingray-City - Stingrays come out in full force at Stingray City near Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Lighthouse-Point-sponges - Sponges on the reef near Lighthouse Point on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Thatch-Weaving - Thatch weaving is passed through the generations on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Butterfly-Farm-Grand-Cayman - The Butterfly Farm on Grand Cayman.
  • Cayman-Islands-Smith-Cove-Grand-Cayman - A woman reads while sunbathing along the azure shoreline of Smith Cove on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Queen-Angel-Cobalt-Coast - A Queen Angelfish off the Cobalt Coast of Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Water-Lilies-Botanic-Park - Water lilies at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park on Grand Cayman Island.
  • blue-iguana-grand-cayman - A blue iguana at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens on Grand Cayman Island.
  • 7mile-beach-grand-cayman - 7 Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island.
  • beach-smith-cove-grand-cayman - Wedding photos on Smith Cove Beach on Grand Cayman.
  • Cayman-Islands-Agouti - An agouti at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-George-Town - A scenic stretch of George Town, capital of the Caymans, on Grand Cayman Island.
  • lobster-cayman-islands - A lobster at rest near the Cayman Islands.
  • Iguana-Grand-Cayman - An iguana spotted on Grand Cayman.
  • Cayman-Octopus-Cobalt-Coast - The Caribbean octopus off the Cobalt Coast of Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-Pease-Bay - Pease Bay on Grand Cayman Island.
  • Cayman-Islands-USS Kittiwake - The USS Kittiwake off Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island.
  • turtle-pool-Grand-Cayman-turtle-farm - The turtle pool at the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm.
  • hammock-beach-little-cayman - Pull up a hammock on the beach on Little Cayman.

Grand Cayman Island: An island with everything

The vibe

Just 90 miles south of Cuba, Grand Cayman remains the largest and main island of the three Cayman Islands. From the moment you arrive you'll be caught up by the idyllic weather, sun-kissed beaches, colorful rhythms, tantalizing cuisine, restless nightlife and a shopping frenzy unlike any other destination. Get ready to feast your eyes on a Caribbean beauty, where barefoot luxury is not only needed but a must.  

 
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Populated with more than 50,000 people, Grand Cayman's 76 square miles are draped in opulence, where sugary shores, attractions and Caribbean architecture complement the profound culture of the island. George Town, the capital, offers the most tourist facilities. 

Besides its robust economic activities, Grand Cayman offers a superb climate and plenty to do. Two popular choices include Stingray City and the Cayman Turtle Farm. So explore, or just relax.

Cruise ships that call on Grand Cayman

  • Silversea: Silver Whisper, Silver Wind
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Seven Seas Navigator
  • Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette
  • Crystal Cruises: Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity
  • Princess Cruises: Caribbean Princess, Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Regal Princess, Ruby Princess
  • Holland America: Eurodam, Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Ryndam, Veendam, Zuiderdam
  • Royal Caribbean: Anthem of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Vision of the Seas
  • Disney Cruise Line: Disney Fantasy
  • Costa Cruises: Costa Deliziosa, Costa Luminosa
  • Star Clippers: Star Flyer
  • Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Glory, Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Pride, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Victory

Top reasons to go

  • The beautiful coral reefs and outstandingly clear waters have made this island group a favorite destination of divers.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park off of Frank Sound Road on the North Side of Grand Cayman.
  • Boatswain's Beach is the home of the Cayman Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman.
Horseback riding on Barkers Beach on Grand Cayman Island.
Patrick Gorham / Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of TourismHorseback riding on Barkers Beach on Grand Cayman Island.

Things to see & do on Grand Cayman 

Museums & beaches

The tropical ambiance of Grand Cayman exudes everything Caribbean from the exuberant Batabano celebration to the Cayman Islands National Museum, which is filled with exhibitions. Grand Cayman Sting Ray City and Turtle Farm are an absolute aquatic adventure for vacationers wanting to cozy up to alluring sea creatures. 

Breathe in the salty air of Seven Mile Beach, which beckons travelers to its sandy shores, dubbed the “Ultimate Beach” by Caribbean Travel + Life. The beach not only offers great aquatic thrills but the perfect scenery to go horseback riding or discover memorable sunsets.

Shopping

Grand Cayman is also known for its spectacular shopping ventures.  Fashionistas will enjoy world-class shopping on the streets of George Town. From duty-free designer wear to local handicrafts, there is something for every pocket and taste. As the sun fades behind the Caribbean Sea, the nights of Grand Cayman come alive with the sounds of local music and clinking glasses in the beach bars along Seven Mile Beach. 

7 Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island.
Chalky Lives / Creative Commons BY7 Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island.

Cuisine

Known as the “culinary capital of the Caribbean,” Grand Cayman offers a plethora of delectable cuisines infused by Jamaican in addition to other exotic flavors, drenched in spices like jerk seasoning and curry. From the delicacies of the sea to local dishes, its restaurants are expected to charm the taste buds of any food connoisseur. With many restaurants dotted along the beach, they consume the air with their aromas from foods like jerk chicken, conch, cassava, mahi and plantain.

Fun facts

  • Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world. The Cayman Islands are one of the richest islands not only in the Caribbean but in the world.
  • Locals pronounce Cayman as Kay-MAN, and not KAY-min.
  • Grand Cayman visitors can choose from more than 150 dive sites.
  • Pay attention! Many locals won’t eat barracuda because it is likely that it is poisonous. It is recommended to follow their example.
  • You can send a postcard to loved ones from the town of HELL, located near George Town.
  • The Pirates Week Festival, the island’s largest festival, held each fall is a reminder of Islands’ legendary pirate occupation in the 18th Century which the tales of treasure caches left behind by Edward Blackbeard, Neal Walker, and Henry Morgan. 
Flop into a hammock on the beach on Little Cayman.
SF Brit / Creative Commons BY-NDFlop into a hammock on the beach on Little Cayman.

When you arrive

Docking information

All cruise ships are required to anchor in the harbor of Grand Cayman and tender passengers to the island. Ships tender passengers to one of two George Town docks (North or South), both of which are right in downtown George Town. The tender ride can take 10 to 25 minutes each way.

Getting around

Taxis are typically available at the cruise dock. Rates are fixed and posted, but be sure to confirm the fare before the driver takes off. Most taxis are actually van-sized and part of a shared ride system, and drivers will require a four passenger minimum before they’ll take you anywhere.

Minibuses shuttle passengers along the main routes. Licensed buses are identified by blue licence plates. To hail a minibus, respond with a wave when the driver honks. Fares start at CI 1.50 (Cayman Islands dollar) per person per ride.  

Free wi-fi

  • Cafe Del Sol, Marquee Plaza, Seven Mile Beach and Fort Street at the cruise ship terminal
  • Perk Up Cafe, Fort Street, across from the cruise terminal, 2nd floor of the shopping center
Stingrays come out in full force at Stingray City near Grand Cayman Island.
Dave Rogers / Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of TourismStingrays come out in full force at Stingray City near Grand Cayman Island.

Need to know

Documents: U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. 

Language: British English is the most commonly spoken language in the Cayman Islands, albeit with a distinctive Caymanian dialect.

Currency: The official currency is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$), permanently fixed at an exchange rate of CI$0.80 to US$1 (CI$1 equals US$1.25). Cayman dollars and U.S. dollars are accepted throughout the islands, although you'll usually get changed in Cayman Islands dollars even if you pay with US dollars.

Store hours: Most stores keep regular business hours of 9 am to 5 or 6 pm Monday to Saturday, and are closed on Sunday.

Tipping: Most service establishments will add a 15% gratuity to your bill automatically so check carefully. Taxi drivers also expect a tip, typically 10% to 15% of the total fare.

Safety advice: The Cayman Islands are a relatively safe area, including the city of George Town. As always, keep your valuables locked up and be aware of your surroundings.

ShoreFox contributed to this guide.

Your take

Have you been to Grand Cayman? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight for you? Please share in the comments below.

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The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

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Overheard

“If you've never seen a blue iguana, go to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. They are so blue, it's comical. Depending on their mood, if they get fed a grape or banana, they can turn an even brighter blue. They're personable, if you can personify a reptile.”

Islands magazine

“On Seven-Mile Beach, the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman immerses kids in nature through its Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment program. Excursions might be a night snorkel or a visit to a breeding center for the endangered blue iguana.”

AFAR magazine

“The Kittiwake is like no other ship in the history of wreck diving.”

Islands magazine

“Cayman is blessed with so many great restaurants. For Italian, we go to Ragazzi for spaghetti and meatballs. It has that family-friendly atmosphere. Peppers is run by a Jamaican friend of mine. It's local, but Jamaican food. Great vibe and reasonable prices.”

Islands magazine

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