Head to the Caribbean's culinary capital for beautiful beaches and winter sun
The Cayman Islands offer three distinct experiences: bask-ready beaches, and shopping on Grand Cayman, windswept seaside cliffs on Cayman Brac and remote island vibes on nature-rich Little Cayman. Beyond the beloved sands, there are historic lighthouses, botanical gardens, otherworldly caves, and vibrant dive sites to explore. Mingle with friendly marine life at Stingray City—and meet the famed swimming horses. When it’s time to refuel, the Caymanian food scene favours everything from seafood shacks to fine dining.
If you've got a wanderlust appetite and a desire to visit somewhere further afield, striking a balance of stunning beaches and historical sites, we think the Cayman Islands are truly worth a visit and it's never been easier. British Airways runs up to five direct flights a week from London Heathrow.
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Welcome to Cayman
The Caribbean’s culinary capital
The Cayman Islands prides itself on its status as a foodie destination. Plates here pop with fresh-caught seafood, vibrant locally grown produce, and scintillating spice. Explore a mix of uber-casual seafood shacks and fine dining gems. You'll find authentic Caymanian favourites and creative fusion cuisine that will make you crave seconds.
There are over 200 restaurants which dot the tropical islands, inviting visitors to dine on fresh fare influenced by the region’s 140+ nationalities. Savoury fish fries share the shore with beachside cocktail bars, and farm- and sea-to-table eateries tempt epicures alongside restaurants led by Michelin-pedigree chefs and James Beard Award winners. There's also a great variety of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from.
the food scene
Arts & Culture
caves & trails
For some of the best Caymanian fare, try the Heritage Kitchen, a pastel-painted local joint across the road from West Bay Beach. Try the coconut grouper and the fresh-squeezed guava juice, then head to the beach and have a picnic.
Uncover farm-fresh fare at The Brasserie, a pioneer in using locally sourced produce. The menus change daily depending on the catch of the day and local ingredients fill the menu. The restaurant’s own deep-sea fishing boats catch yellowfin tuna and red snapper, the edible garden (which you can tour) grows fruits and nuts, and the on-site apiary houses 50 hives for farm-fresh honey.
Blue by Eric Ripert is helmed by the renowned French chef whose NYC restaurant, Le Bernandin, has three Michelin stars. His Cayman outpost, at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is the only CAA 5-Diamond restaurant in the entire Caribbean. It serves elegant dishes like striped bass with truffled tartare and swordfish adorned by sunchokes and green papaya.
In Cayman it’s easy to pair your just-caught seafood with a sparkling Champagne or buttery chardonnay. A single 16-kilometre stretch of Grand Cayman boasts eight restaurants with wine selections that earned them Wine Spectator awards.
For inventive cocktails, try Anchor & Den at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. This restaurant—ranked No. 1 in the Cayman Islands by TripAdvisor reviewers—stirs up unique drinks like the Elixir of the Gods, which marries smoky mezcal with charred grapefruit juice and ginger-agave syrup.
It’s impossible to have a conversation about the Cayman Islands without talking about Seven Mile Beach. Condé Nast Traveller readers ranked it one of the 25 best island beaches in the world in 2020.
This sugar-white shoreline on the sunset-facing side of Grand Cayman slopes gently into clear water, grazed only by mild tides, so beachgoers of all ages can wade into the balmy waters.
We recommend stopping off at the Coccoloba beach bar at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa for a cocktail or a light snack. The entire peaceful stretch is public, so you can wander all 9 kilometres if you’d like, no matter which hotel you’re staying at.
Rum Point is on Grand Cayman’s northern shore and this local favourite is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from most Cayman hotels, so you’ll have even more of the beach to yourself. After a leisurely swim, pick a spot for a light picnic under an almond tree or silver thatch palm and admire the views.
After your picnic, why not head west (approximately 10 minutes' drive) and head to Starfish Point, where you can see red starfish create mini underwater constellations in the shallow shoals.
Jet off to the Sister Islands for remote coastlines that feel like your own private beach. Go kayaking or sailing to tiny Owen Island off the southern shore of Little Cayman.
Seven Mile Beach
Sea stars lounging at Starfish Point and Owen Island
Taste the day's fresh catch at Heritage Kitchen
From paddleboard yoga to kitesurfing, Cayman’s watersports combine adventure and exercise. Vendors on Seven Mile Beach, the East End and the North Side make it easy to rent equipment if your hotel doesn’t already have its own.
Divers will relish Cayman’s expansive scuba scene. With enviable visibility and 365 different marked sites, you can explore a different seawall or coral-lined cave every day of the year.
Hit the water
One of the most popular dive sites is the U.S.S. Kittiwake, a five-deck ship famous for recovering the lost black box of the Challenger space shuttle. It was intentionally sunk off the coast of Seven Mile Beach in 2011 to become an artificial reef.
Divers of all skill levels can take their time exploring the ship’s mess hall, crew quarters and engine room, because the maximum depth of this wreck site is an easy 20 metres.
Take the 30-minute flight to Cayman Brac to scuba down to a 330-foot-long frigate, M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts—a rare Soviet ship sunk in the Western Hemisphere. Both Sister Islands have dramatic wall dives, like the Brac’s Wilderness Wall or Bloody Bay Wall on Little Cayman, which is home to glowing underwater cliffs and tunnels that attracts marine life and divers in equal measure.
Diving at the wreck site of the U.S.S. Kittiwake
To say hello to more underwater friends, head to Stingray City, voted the No. 1 thing to do in all of Grand Cayman (TripAdvisor). A tour operator will take you to this series of shoals within the North Sound, where you can swim alongside the billowing southern rays that call these shallow sandbars home. You can even gently pet them or feed them slivers of squid from your hand. Go early in the morning for a more private encounter with the docile rays.
Nature puts on a different kind of show in the evening. On the darkest nights in Cayman’s Bioluminescent Bay, you can kayak peacefully under the night sky while gentle bursts of light appear below you with every stroke of your paddle. These bright splashes of green and blue are tiny plankton called dinoflagellates that light up when moved; they’re only visible in a handful of locations around the world.
We recommend experiencing this phenomenon with Cayman Kayaks. This eco-friendly company operates out of Rum Point, very close to the illuminating organisms. They offer guided tours via sit-on-top kayaks or a custom-built electric boat and only go out during the darkest times of the moon cycle to ensure you’ll see a gorgeous glow.
Kayaking in Bioluminescent Bay
Beauty beyond the beach
Take a break from Cayman's pristine shores and explore their museums, parks, and historic sites to learn more about the islands' culture.
One standout spot is Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, established by the British monarch herself during a visit in 1994. About 2,000 species of rainbow-hued flowers, swaying palms, spiky agave, and 10-foot-tall ferns blanket its 65 acres. Visitors can even walk into a circa-1900 Caymanian home that's now on park grounds to experience a traditional cottage with separated kitchen, or "caboose".
Arts and culture
See about 2,000 species of flora at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Cayman’s iconic turtles, aquatic birds, and up to 60 species of colourful butterflies crisscross the gardens, but the most famous denizens are the approximately 100 blue iguanas that live in the on-site breeding facility. In the early 2000s, an estimated 30 of these mythical-looking teal reptiles lived in the wild, making it the most endangered lizard in the world at the time. Due to this conservation centre’s recovery efforts, now about 1,000 roam free. Parkgoers can take a tour to meet these five-foot-long creatures in person.
These blue iguanas can only be found in Grand Cayman
On the south side of Grand Cayman, step into the islands’ oldest standing stone structure. When the three-story Pedro St. James building rose in 1780, it stood out from the island’s thatched cottages. Locals dubbed it an honorary castle, and in 1831 it was the site of a public meeting when the attendees decided to create the first democratically elected parliament.
You can see the islands’ history through another lens at the National Gallery. Paintings from Caymanian artists portraying local life hang on every wall: catboats bob on rippled paintstrokes, breadfruit trees dance in modernist swirls, and mangrove forests splatter across pages in watercolour. Local artists also showcase the Caymanian desire to remember one’s roots while balancing the islands’ rapid development. This can be seen with mixed-media pieces that layer images of the past over the present.
The Pedro St. James building is the oldest standing stone structure in Cayman
Caves, trails, and more
Adventures in Cayman don’t stop at the water’s edge. In Grand Cayman’s Northside, you can follow an expert guide and walk through the otherworldly Crystal Caves, a series of three caverns draped in dramatic stalagmites and stalactites where pirates once took shelter. After the tour, you’ll step out into the surrounding tropical rainforest and walk amid its balsam trees and blue-winged parrots.
Discover crystal caves
Hikers can't miss the 3.7-kilometre Mastic Trail that winds through a 2-million-year-old forest of mangrove wetlands, mahogany, cedar and silver thatch palm. Bananaquits and butterflies flutter overhead, while hermit crabs and little lizards amble along the trails. Go in June to see the path sprinkled with yellow banana orchids, the official Cayman flower.
Grand Cayman's East End provides optimal grounds for exploring the beauty of the islands by bike. Hop on a rental and adventure on your own, or opt for a tour to learn as you go. ECO Rides takes cyclists to off-the-beaten-path sites like the memorial for the 1794 Wreck of the Ten Sails, coastal fishing villages, Lighthouse Point or Colliers Beach, where you can catch the sunrise on a morning ride.
Biking around the islands is one of the best ways to see local spots
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Walk through the Mastic Trail
Seafood shacks and dining gems
Chefs plate up during a Cayman Cookout and innovative cocktails at Anchor & Den
Michelin stars and wine awards
Kayak in Bioluminescent Bay
Spot rare blue iguanas
Swim along the billowing southern rays
Cayman Crystal Caves are a spectacular natural attraction
Grab your snorkel and slip into the warm Caribbean sea
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