Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Grand Cayman is the largest of The Cayman Islands located in the Caribbean Sea. This British Crown Colony consists of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Crac, and Little Cayman. Life might be laid-back on Grand Cayman, but it is also a glitzy, affluent island with a cosmopolitan feel.
The Cayman Islands were founded by Christopher Columbus in 1503 when his ships were blown off-course by strong winds. On arrival, he found so many sea turtles and tortoises that he named the islands Las Tortugas. It was the Carib word Caimanas that stuck, though. Settlers on the islands were varied and included refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, pirates, slaves and shipwrecked sailors.
The first capital of Grand Cayman was the village of Bodden Town, founded in the 1700s. The name “Bodden” comes from one of the island’s original settlers whose grandson, Isaac Bodden, was the first recorded permanent inhabitant of the Cayman Islands. Isaac Bodden was born on Grand Cayman in around 1700. The harbor city of Georgetown, where cruises to Grand Cayman arrive, is now the island’s capital.
Grand Cayman’s most popular tourist attraction is Stingray City. This sandbar, a few minutes off the shore by boat, is an opportunity to pet and interact with hundreds of placid stingrays in waist-deep water. The experience can be nerve-wracking at first but this unique marine-life experience is a Grand Cayman cruise staple.
Do not take a cruise to Grand Cayman without visiting Cayman Turtle Farm in West Bay. Swim with green sea turtles and other colorful marine life, visit the conservation park’s 9 foot saltwater crocodile, and then relax in the largest swimming pool on the island.
Also located in West Bay is the unique black limestone formation known as Hell. There are platforms from which to view the limestone and a red hell-themed post office from which postcards can be sent ‘from Hell.’
Seven Mile Beach has soft white sand and tranquil, turquoise water. It is frequently rated one of the world’s best beaches. The calm water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling while restaurants and shops hit the spot for those who just want to relax. Take a walk along its coral-sand beach lined with resorts, then try a signature rum cocktail at one of several public beach bars.
Grand Cayman food highlights
Grand Cayman offers some of the best food in the Caribbean and dining options are varied. Beach front restaurants serve up freshly caught fish and stunning views while BBQ and rib shacks offer vibrant Caribbean flavors in casual settings. Fine dining from superstar chefs is also available.
One of the island’s best restaurants is Rum Point, known for its fantastic food and stunning scenery. Take a catamaran to the restaurant, which perches on a quiet area at the end of the island, for beach-side dining with a difference.