There Are So Many Things To Do In Grand Cayman
Whether we stayed on the island or visited by cruise ship, we found so many things to do in Grand Cayman. On a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman for 16 days, we enjoyed a great luxury resort vacation. And the chance to explore the island above and below the water. On cruise ship visits, we spent time in the main port in Georgetown and took in some of the water fun.
There was always so much to see and do in Grand Cayman. We found water sports, underwater sights, great food or just relaxing days in the sun. There is something here for everyone!
Here are 10 things to do in Grand Cayman when you visit by cruise ship or stay on the island …
1) Be Pampered In A First Class Resort
If you want to stay in Grand Cayman, there are options at all price ranges. As a diver, we were surprised to find so many great dive resorts where you could just walk into the water and dive. For our 16 days in Grand Cayman, we wanted a luxury retreat. And we knew we could count on Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman to deliver.
There was so much to keep us entertained and well fed on the resort. And we spent many days enjoying all the resort had to offer. A luxury stay is one of the pampering things to do in Grand Cayman if you want to relax and splurge. And it was a great base to explore the island from.
2) Rent A Car On Grand Cayman
When we needed to just go short distances, we got a taxi. The taxi charges are all fixed rates. And we found the rates pretty high. So we saved up a bunch of things to do and rented a car for two days to explore the island.
Our hotel had a car rental kiosk on-site. The rates were a bit higher than using the local Andy’s Rent-A-Car. But it was easy to pick up the car on-site. And drop keys with the valet if the rental shop was closed at the end of the day.
We debated which optional services to pay for (e.g. insurance). But could not get out of paying the $20 fee for a local drivers license. Even though we have an International Drivers License. But it was still much less expensive than exploring the island by taxi or private driver.
The other thing to consider is that they drive on the “wrong” side of the road in Grand Cayman. That is, wrong if you come from North America. We have driven in many foreign countries and felt we were up to the task. We just had to be vigilant and make sure we were always on the left. David sang his ditty of “left is right” at every corner and when we entered a new road. Occasionally there was even a sign that helped!
Grand Cayman is only 22 miles (35 km) long and is 8 miles (13 km) wide at the widest point. We thought it would not take long to drive around the island. But we were wrong!
There were only a few major roads on the island which slowed down traffic. And the speed limit was strictly enforced (in most places at 30mph). But there was so much to see as we drove around the island. So we stopped. A lot!
You can see many of the things to do in Grand Cayman if you rent a car for the day.
Stop Regularly As You Drive Around The Island
We pulled over regularly as we drove around Grand Cayman. Interesting houses drew us in for a look. Many had eye-catching views. A mini-sub on the lawn at Ocean Frontiers meant we stopped to check it out.
Beaches in Grand Cayman are all public. So we often pulled over at the signs marking “Beach Access”. Many of them required us to walk along a path to get to the water. But some actually had good parking lots. If there was not a parking lot, we just pulled over on the side of the road. Stops at the public beaches were always a great idea.
When we headed to the east end of the island, we watched carefully for the Lovers Wall. And for the Blow Holes. It was fascinating to watch as the waves came in and splashed high up through the opening in the rock.
We drove all around the beach road on the east end and over to the north side of the island. We stopped at Rum Point to check out the expensive houses, restaurants and water access. You can snorkel at Starfish Point to see starfish. We headed back to this point from the water when we went out for our night bioluminescence experience.
If you want to visit without a car, there is a ferry that travels between Camana Bay and Rum Point. A great option of you want to head out to Rum Point for dinner and a sunset one night.
It was easy to get a car and drive around Grand Cayman. It was one of our favourite things to do in Grand Cayman.
3) Go To Hell
When you head out on West Bay, you can visit Hell. The small town of Hell is a big tourist attraction. Large signs welcome you to Hell. And you can even mail something from the Hell Post Office.
When we wondered why this might be called Hell, a short walk in Hell showed us. There was a large field of sharp rocks in Hell. That made it look like you are either on the moon or in Hell. While we thought these were volcanic rocks, we read the sign that said these are actually limestone rocks that were eaten away by algae and further ravaged by the elements. And they are millions of years old!
While found Hell on the west side of the island, we found a sign for Eden when we drove to the east side of the island. But it was not anywhere near as fun as Hell!
A visit to Hell is definitely one of the things to do in Grand Cayman.
4) Marvel At The Bioluminescence Light Show
Our first excursion under the water was to experience the bioluminescence in “Bio Bay”. It was the top of my list of things to do in Grand Cayman. Luckily we visited at the right time.
The small area known as Bio Bay was filled with living organisms that emitted light through a chemical reaction. For the best show, we needed to visit when it was very dark (a few days either side of a new moon). We booked a private boat with Shaggy’s Diving and headed out from Morgan’s Point.
It was a fun fast boat ride out to Rum Point. When we reached the land, we slowed down. This gave us a chance to see the expensive houses from the water. We got the greatest sunset at sea as the sun burned orange into the water and the sky glowed pink.
We anchored in Bio Bay and waited until it was pitch black. Two other larger boats pulled into other spots while we were there. I jumped in first so David could try to take pics. But from the boat, it was impossible to see the bioluminescence effect. And even when he brought the camera in the water, we could not really capture the effect. So we just gave up and enjoyed it.
We were careful to float on the surface. The boat was anchored in only in a couple of feet of water. Sea grass came almost to the surface. And on the bottom there were upside down jellyfish that we did not want to disturb.
When we moved really fast, the water all around us just glowed. But when we moved very slowly, we saw the light show dance. We just floated around and watched how different movements showed up the bioluminescence. At one point we floated perfectly still and saw small fish as they moved through the water under us. When we got back on the boat and started to move, we saw a very large school of fish glowing as they moved past.
In the pitch black, the night sky sparkled with stars. A great final image before we slowly moved out of the bay and into open water for a fast ride back. The bioluminescence experience was very cool. And so hard to describe. But it was definitely one of the things to do in Grand Cayman that we were happy not to miss. Plan to do this if you visit Grand Cayman at the right time.
5) Head Underwater In Grand Cayman
We had only to look at the blue waters of Grand Cayman to know that we wanted to head underwater. The blues and greens of the crystal clear water called to us from our balcony. There are a lot of options to scuba dive in Grand Cayman. We chose to go with Shaggy’s Diving for smaller boats and a more personalized approach. We saw so much when we headed underwater.
There are lots of dive sites to go by boat. But there are also so many great options for shore diving. Our first dive with Shaggy was a shore dive to shake out the cobwebs. But there is shore diving from a large number of spots around the island. And the shore dives get you coral reefs, wrecks and underwater statues.
If you do not scuba dive, there are lots of options for snorkelling as well. The coral reef is at a shallow depth before it drops down the wall. So there is a lot of see from the surface. There are many options for snorkelling trips.
6) Try All The Water Sports
Grand Cayman is an island and as such, there are so many water sports to enjoy. The water on the south and west side of the island is a little calmer for water sports.
We enjoyed heading out on the water in all manner of non-motorized water craft. We took the sailboat and kayaks out when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. It was a great way to enjoy the calm waters along 7 Mile Beach. You can also take kayaks and explore the mangroves in various places around the island.
But if you want more speed, there are many places where you can rent a wide range of motorized water gear (jet ski PWCs, flyboards, parasailing, a ride on a banana boat or waterskiing). Or you can take a boat trip for a tour.
Getting out on the water was one of the things to do in Grand Cayman.
7) Look For Blue Iguanas
We found a lot of iguanas everywhere we walked in Grand Cayman. Some were small. And others were larger and green. But some of the iguanas we saw on our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman caused us to stop and grab our camera.
But we never did find the elusive Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. Maybe because it is one of the most endangered iguanas in the world. It is believed there may only be 10-25 left in the wild. But if you can’t find a Blue Iguana in the wild in Grand Cayman, you can find lots of statues around the island. Or you can see them at the Iguana Nature Reserve on the east end of the island.
When we visited San Luis Obispo in California, we found the map for the painted cows that were located all around the county. We managed to see quite a variety of colourful cows. And in Grand Cayman, we found the map for the Blue Iguana statues around the island. We found one on the day we drove around the island. But there were far more to be found on a return visit.
At one point, iguanas were a real problem on the island. Significant efforts were made to trim down the population. They even became a local delicacy for some restaurants. But the numbers appear to be dropping. Maybe why David was never able to get it in a restaurant. But finding iguanas is still one of the things to do in Grand Cayman. Even if the blue ones are statues!
8) Enjoy The Taste Of Cayman
We first started to drool when we heard about the Taste of Cayman weekend in the winter at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. The internet was filled with tasty looking food and drink. So we were not surprised that we ate well when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
We started our day with a full breakfast buffet. Lunch was served around the pool from either the Andiamo Italian Kitchen or Bar Jack. We enjoyed a delightful Afternoon Tea in the Silver Palm Lounge. For an early snack, we found Happy Hour snacks and cocktails at Andiamo or the Seven restaurant. And the on-site restaurants (Seven, Blue and Taipun) were destination restaurants for guests and visitors to the resort. There was no shortage of options for great food at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
But we ventured off the resort to enjoy the taste of local Cayman fare and seafood. On the night we did the bioluminescence experience, we started with appetizers at the Catch Restaurant at Morgans Point. The seafood was so great that we headed back to The Catch a second time one day for lunch. We loved the chance to do shore scuba diving in Grand Cayman. But it was that much better when we surfaced at the Macubuca Tiki Bar. After a great swimming type workout, it was wonderful to grab lunch and some cold beer.
There were many places a short walk from our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. We got several recommendations from locals to try the Sunshine Grill. While it is located on part of the Westin Grand Cayman property, this restaurant is a big hit with locals and tourists alike. We tried the famous burgers on two separate visits. If you like your burgers big and juicy, this is the spot. To balance the burgers, we had a salad.
We often don’t have enough vegetable when we eat out for weeks. So it was good to find that there were healthy salads at the Island Naturals Cafe vegan spot. It was just a short walk from the resort.
When we drove around the island, there were several spots on our list to stop for food. We had a snack at the GrapeTree. It seemed that only locals knew about this spot. For lunch we sought out Tukka Restaurant and Bar. David really wanted to eat the local “Tree Chickens” (aka the iguanas). But even though they were on the menu, they were not available when we visited. It was a good thing there was kangaroo on that menu. And a great view! But we sure wish we had tried Czech Inn Grill instead for lunch.
There were lots of places to eat and drink on our map of Grand Cayman. We didn’t make it to enough of them. But a getting a taste of Cayman may be one of your favourite things to do in Grand Cayman.
9) Try All The Standard Tourist Spots
When we visited Grand Cayman by cruise ship, we had the chance to walk the town centre in Georgetown. There are the typical cruise port shops. And a lot of restaurants with views out over the harbour.
The big tourist attraction in Grand Cayman is Stingray City. The rays are in shallow waters and you can walk right in and pet them. There was a second deeper stingray spot for scuba divers. But we did not get to visit on this trip. It was a good thing we saw a spotted eagle ray on our scuba diving trip.
If you want more wildlife adventures, you can visit the Cayman Turtle Centre or the Dolphin Discovery Centre. We passed on both of these busy tourist spots.
When we drove around the island we saw what was on our map as the “Pedro Castle”. David did some research and learned that this was really not a castle. But a historic house on the island. We drove up to see the house but did not go inside. But there are tours to visit the property and a gift shop.
There are so many touristic things to do in Grand Cayman whether you stay on the island or visit by cruise ship.
10) Catch The Sunrises And Sunsets
The island is very narrow in places. It means that there is a good chance that you can catch a great view of both sunrise and sunset.
Our great Ritz-Carlton penthouse room looked out over the ocean. And we got some of the best sunsets from the room or down on the beach. Whether we saw the sun glow over the resort. Or the sun made a glass of champagne sparkle. We were drawn to our patio every night to watch the sun set.
We could see the sun rise through the corridor windows outside our room. But the sunrise was so much better if we headed over to the harbour marina side at the Great Lawn of the resort.
If you are an early riser, you will get great sunrise views in Grand Cayman. If you are on the west side of the island, there are so many places for amazing sunset views. You might even take a sunset catamaran cruise. If you are out on deck, there is a chance that you may even catch sunrises and sunsets as you cruise in or out of port. Enjoying the beauty of sunrises and sunsets at sea are one of the perfect things to do in Grand Cayman.
We Enjoyed Discovering Things To Do On Grand Cayman
We found so many things to do in Grand Cayman. The fun started early in the day with sunrises. Water sports fun were found all round the island. And it was a wonderful spot to explore the underwater world. We rented a car to explore all the local spots on the island. And we did not miss the chance to enjoy a taste of Cayman.
Whether you stay at a luxury resort, rent a place, book a scuba resort or visit by cruise ship, Grand Cayman should definitely be on your travel wish list.
On our visits to the Cayman Islands, we have only explored Grand Cayman. We definitely got enough of a taste that we want to explore more. We would love to go back and spend time on both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They may not have all things to do in Grand Cayman. But we have heard the waters are delightful. A definite plus for us water babies!
What was your favourite of the things to do in Grand Cayman? Did we miss something that we should have done?
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