What to Expect When Visiting Grand Cayman Island

Grand Cayman, one of the best dive spots in the world, has many advantages over other islands in the Caribbean. English-speaking residents, fabulous scuba diving or snorkeling, and Rum Point are what I remember most about this unique island.

Visiting an island without the need for an interpreter is great. Everyone speaks English because the Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory. The grocery stores are like the ones at home with familiar imports from the U.S. They accept the U.S. dollar, although it is worth about 20% less than a few years ago.

Of course, the major reason for visiting Grand Cayman Island is to experience the reefs, some of the best in the world. Whether you do scuba or snorkeling, you will find it delightful. The treasures under the sea for either sport cannot be matched in this hemisphere. You can literally swim a short distance off most beaches to enjoy excellent snorkeling. I recommend booking your hotel on the beach like we did so you can do just that. Checking on times of minimal cruise ship activity will greatly enhance your trip, as well. It can get unbelievably crowded when the ships arrive.

Rather than renting a car that looked like one at home, my friend and I chose a jeep with holes in the floorboard and pull down curtains for windows. We wanted to feel like we were on an island and we were not disappointed, even when it rained. The islanders were friendly and pleasant in helping us navigate the English style driving on the left side of the road. We were the most confused at stop signs. When we needed it, a grinning guy in the car opposite us would patiently wave us to the right spot. Tourist trade is the biggest source of income, so they seem genuinely happy to help visitors.

Renting a vehicle opened up the opportunity to visit Rum Point, 1.5 hours around to the end of the island. The scenery along the way is spectacular. When you finally get there, you feel like time has stood still. There is the sense you are at the end of the earth, it is so peaceful. You can snorkel, enjoy the sun or surf and eat at the restaurant. We liked it so much we went back, only on a boat that lets you off for the day and picks you up later. What a wonderful place! Next time I would love to rent one of the cottages at Rum Point to spend more time there.

One of the requisite excursions at Grand Cayman is to visit Stingray City. The tours take you by boat, snorkel or dive gear in tow, to the North Harbor where generations of friendly sting rays congregate. History tells us that ships used to clean their catch into the waters where waiting rays came to expect the fare. Now, all you need is some bait to satisfy them. Actually, Stingray City is deeper water (12 feet) where divers can enjoy the experience.

We went nearby to the Stingray City Sandbar, which averages 3+ feet deep. We jumped into the shallow waters of the sand bar to enjoy a flurry of rays swimming about us looking for food. Occasionally, you would feel a tail grazing your leg. They are so tame that we even held a sting ray in our arms. We did hear shrieks from scared female snorkelers, although there was no need for fear. Be sure to book a catamaran, not some big tour boat. The individualized attention and smaller group in the water with the rays will make it a far more enjoyable experience for you.

There are two smaller islands making up the trio called the Cayman Islands. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman each boast unique treats for the tourist. There is spectacular diving off Little Cayman and above water caves and rock climbing on Cayman Brac, but there is a 30 or 40 minute plane trip, or longer boat ride to access them. For the most bang for your buck, enjoy Grand Cayman, with its many delights. You will not want to leave and for certain, after you leave you will be longing to return.

Previous post About Bamboo, A Renewable Resource
Next post How to Maintain the Company’s Culture While Working From Home