The Cayman Islands are well known for its famed white sand beaches, and Travel & Leisure editors named it one of the top destinations to visit in 2023. Beaches are only the beginning in Grand Cayman, however; the island is becoming more well-known for everything from its burgeoning art scene to its culinary credentials that go beyond the Caribbean.
The island is known as the gastronomic center of the Caribbean and is home to the yearly Cayman Cookout at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. “It merits the moniker. Since Grand Cayman is a tiny island, all of the cooks are acquainted and able to work together. Sandy Tuason, executive chef of The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, thinks it creates wonderful harmony.
Beyond food, Grand Cayman’s tastemakers continue to dordle innovate. The island is being transformed into a full-fledged mixology destination by a number of new, upgraded cocktail bars, with Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s Library by the Sea at the forefront.
The island gains a fair dose of elegance from new, fashionable boutique hotels like Palm Heights and renovated beachfront lodgings. Grand Cayman has one of the largest flight lifts in the Caribbean, making it seem more approachable and alluring than ever.
Best Hotels & Resorts
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa is one of the island’s most spectacular properties, with the biggest pool in Grand Cayman and the longest expanse of white sand on Seven Mile Beach. Highlights include a kids center, the Hibiscus Spa, and cutting-edge culinary alternatives like Woto, as well as extensive health, wellness, and activity opportunities.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa
The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is located in the center of Seven Mile Beach and was chosen by T+L readers as one of the top resort hotels in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas in 2020. Additionally, this 264-room establishment has the spectacular Library by the Sea cocktail bar and the beach restaurant Coccoloba, both of which are worth seeing even by those who are staying elsewhere.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which has the biggest luxury room in the Caribbean, sparkles after a thorough renovation in 2021. For foodies, the resort’s Cayman Cookout celebrations in January are a must, but the tasting menus at Blue by Eric Ripert make the resort a year-round culinary attraction.
Palm Heights is a chic boutique hotel that debuted in October 2019 and is one of Grand Cayman’s newest resorts. According to a recent T+L article by Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Palm Heights is “a haven for creative types — and those who want to be near them — who crave a bit of visual stimulation with their relaxing resort vibes.” In contrast to the adjacent mega-resorts, it provides a refreshing boutique experience with just 52 rooms and suites.
Best Things To Do
In Stingray City, guests may swim with enormous yet friendly stingrays by taking a short cruise to a beach bar surrounded by crystal-clear seas. These excursions, one of the most well-liked things to do in Grand Cayman, also come with an optional snorkeling trip to the vibrant Coral Gardens.
Jim Wrigley of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa asserts, “Put on a snorkel anywhere in Grand Cayman, and it’s like National Geographic out there.” The wreckage of the USS Kittiwake, which sank in 2011, is one of the island’s most distinctive diving destinations, however. The wreck, which is renowned for being readily accessible even for less-experienced divers, is now home to turtles and tropical fish.
National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
“The best place to discover Caymanian art and to understand its evolution,” claims Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon for T+L. For tourists wishing to learn more about the island’s developing art scene, this is only the beginning of a plethora of galleries and exhibitions.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Visit the magnificent botanical gardens on Grand Cayman to see the full diversity of the island’s flora, including orchid species that are unique to our planet. Visitors are also welcome at the park’s facility for conserving the blue iguanas, which are unique to the island.
Library by the Sea
Jim Wrigley, the beverage manager at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, describes the menu at Library by the Sea as “a curated collection of literary-inspired cocktails that offer a slice of time and history with each sip.” A luminous blue Dune-inspired beverage and a Hemingway-inspired daiquiri prepared with 1932 Bacard rum, much how the author would have enjoyed one at El Floridita in Havana, are among the highlights. First-edition and antique copies of the books that served as their inspiration are “served” with drinks.
Next Door is a brand-new cocktail bar that serves some of the most creative drink concoctions on the island, and it is situated in Camana Bay, the island’s center for shopping and entertainment. It has become one of the island’s top happy hour destinations because to a dedication to utilizing sustainable food and many live music events.
Blue by Eric Ripert
The Ritz-Carlton’s Blue by Eric Ripert, the only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in the Caribbean, provides tasting menus that showcase local fish and is unquestionably Grand Cayman’s top destination for exquisite dining. Reservations are necessary.
Ms. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden
Ms. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden, which is designed to resemble a bohemian garden haven, may be the hippest restaurant in Grand Cayman. The food is influenced by foreign cuisine, and every aspect has a throwback 1970s feel to it.
The Westin’s Woto, the island’s only exclusively devoted poke, sushi, and ceviche restaurant, has swiftly gained popularity. Japanese-trained chefs create genuine cuisine, while elements from the surrounding area give them a Caribbean flavor.
Peppers Bar & Grill
One of the top neighborhood restaurants in Grand Cayman, oceanfront Peppers Bar & Grill is recommended by chefs, foodies, and tastemakers from all around the island. The greatest food on the island, according to Wrigley, is jerk chicken, rice, and peas.
The upgraded beach bar experience on Seven Mile Beach is called Coccoloba at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. The cuisine, which is influenced by Mexican street food, has everything from churros and a fantastic pia colada to fresh-catch tostadas.
Best Time To Visit
Grand Cayman has consistently warm, tropical weather with highs in the 80s. In the months of June through November, the Atlantic hurricane season, there is a chance of rain and tropical storms.
The busiest travel months are December through April. Although costs are higher and beaches are busiest during these months, the island is at its most pleasant and sunny during these months. The late spring months of April, May, and June are another fantastic time to visit Grand Cayman if you’re looking for a sweet spot that combines cheaper costs, less visitors, and excellent weather.
Every year in the middle of January, the Cayman Cookout is a worthwhile event to schedule your vacation around. Visit during the Cayman Carnival Batabano in early May. Although Batabano isn’t as extravagant as some of its Caribbean neighbors’ carnival festivities, it’s still a great opportunity to sample Caymanian cuisine, music, and dancing.
How To Get There
For visitors from North America, Grand Cayman is one of the Caribbean islands that is easiest to reach. From places like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and others, several airlines operate regular direct flights to Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport. With up to four daily direct flights to Grand Cayman during the busy tourist season, Miami, which is just a little over two hours away, serves as a gateway city to the Cayman Islands.
Little daily inter-island flights are provided by Cayman Airways between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Travelers may pick private boat charters, which are reasonably priced, as an alternative to the lack of a public ferry service between the islands that you would find in other Caribbean locations.
Additionally, a large number of travelers come in Grand Cayman at the port in the city of George Town on cruise ships. Up to four ships may anchor simultaneously at the cruise port; any more ships stay in the bay. After being tendered to shore, passengers land at one of three terminals.