This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.
Grand Cayman’s most popular tourist attractions rank among the best-known in the Caribbean. Stingray City, a shallow swimming and snorkeling area in the middle of the large sound that forms the north coast of the island, is populated with stingrays that have been tamed after decades of close contact with humans. Visitors can pet, hold and even kiss the animals for photos and long-lasting memories. Boatswain’s Beach is a working turtle farm, raising the animals as attractions and, yes, as food. Travelers here can also interact closely with the turtles. And the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is home to a wealth of exotic flora and fauna, as well as the endangered blue iguana. A sanctuary for the animals operates on site, and occasionally allows visitors to help feed the animals and tour the facility. Even its lesser-known attractions show off the beauty of its land. Rum Point, for example—a laid-back beach on the north coast—is a beach-lover’s fantasy with a casual beach bar, a picturesque pier and plenty of shore to go around. Even its sister islands—Little Cayman and Cayman Brac—are defined by their natural assets, such as Little Cayman’s thriving bird population, and the tall, stately cliffs of “the Brac.”
But what most people don’t know about Grand Cayman is that it’s one of the best-developed islands in the Caribbean. It still feels like the tropics, with pristine beaches and palm trees and brilliant blue waters. But its infrastructure supports a thriving and cultured society, particularly in the realms of shopping and food. In its capital of George Town, the streets are lined with boutiques selling jewelry, clothing, souvenirs and more. And its Camana Bay complex has become a cultural center for fine dining, attracting several chefs from the U.S., and special events like farmers’ markets.
- Best time to go:
November to May
- Fun fact:
The Cayman Islands are the world’s only source of Caymanite, a semi-precious stone used in jewelry
- Getting there:
Delta flies from Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis to George Town
- Entry documents:
Cayman Islands dollar (U.S. currency is widely accepted)
- Must-try local food:
- Best buys:
Duty-free jewelry, rum cakes, local handicrafts
- Information please:
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism— caymanislands.ky