Whenever we visit a new place, I scour social media and the web to try and find the best things to do to maximize our trips. Since Ben and I have travelled together, we’ve never really done a ‘fly and flop’ holiday, always opting to explore and see as much of a place as we can over simply lying on the beach the whole trip.
Visiting the Cayman Islands, we were lucky enough to have the Department of Tourism helping with our itinerary, so knew we would see the best of what the island had to offer while we were there. I thought I would pop it all into one handy blog post for you – let me know when you plan your trip!
Swim with Stingrays at Stingray City
One of the most incredible experiences of my life. These Stingrays are completely wild and haven’t had their barbs removed. Fishermen used to come to the sand bank to gut their fish and the stingray would swim over to mop up the leftovers. Over time, the stingray and fisherman formed a mutual respect, the fishermen turned into entrepreneurs and started taking boats of tourists to the sandbank to feed the stingray. Now the stingray love rubbing their wings against your legs and will let you hold them on your arms. We went with Red Sail, who were fabulous and drove us out on a gorgeous Catamaran. They also opened a bar halfway through the trip to arm you with a rum punch for the boat ride back to the shore.
Visit Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
The Botanic Park has been open since 1994, it’s a haven for Cayman’s native Blue Iguana (the only place in the world that the Blue Iguana naturally inhabits). It’s a haven of beauty and nature. While we were there, we spotted the native green parrot and even an Agouti which is a little like a rat crossed with a rabbit crossed with a guinea pig. There’s a beautiful lake with palm trees draping across the water from which you can watch the turtles paddling around in the blue. Rankine House was (obviously) my favourite spot – a traditional Caymanian House with a sand garden. It really is not to be missed.
See the Crystal Caves
Addmittedly, I haven’t been in that many caves, but of the caves I have been in to, Grand Cayman has the best. When you book a tour in the Crystal Caves you see three of the caves. What makes these so spectacular are the stalactites and stalagmites that fill the caves. The third has an even bigger surprise; the most beautiful blue lagoon with crystal clear water. While you’re walking around, the guides even tell you about local flora, fauna and the local animals, including the bats!
Visit Starfish Point
We actually visited Starfish point on our trip to Stingray City, but we also popped back there on our own when we were driving around the island. A simple beach, but (like all beaches in The Cayman Islands) filled with beautiful white sand and the clearest turquoise water. It’s not really known why the starfish seem to congregate in this area, but they really are gorgeous little creatures. If you do visit, please do make sure you keep the starfish in the water, if you take them out, even for a few minutes it can kill them and sadly this population has started to decline.
Kayak in the Bioluminescence Bay
The best thing I did in the Cayman Islands and one of the most incredible and romantic things I’ve done in my life full stop. You meet in early evening when the sun has set but it’s still too early for the moon to rise. You follow your guide by kayak around the edge of the coast and into a bay. One of only six in the world that is filled with bioluminescence which is caused by single-celled plankton called dinoflagellates that give off light when disturbed in the water. When you run your hand through the water and lift it up to your face, it’s literally like millions of stars in your hands. Photographing the bioluminescence is practically impossible, but this is one experience you won’t need to photograph – you’ll never forget it. When the bioluminescence was in the distance, it was just as spectacular to lie back in the kayak and stargaze. Our guide even pointed out constellations to us and showed us an upside down jellyfish. A creature that loves the calm waters of the bay.
Ride horses along the beach
This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I have always been in love with the image of a horse galloping down a perfectly white sandy beach and riding amongst the waves. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and with the picture postcard image of Grand Cayman – is there a better place to do it? You can book a private tour with Spirit of The West, although ours was just four people so super intimate. Just imagine the wind blowing through your hair as the sea gently laps the shoreline, not a sound but yours and your partners’ horses trotting gently next to each other.
See the famous Blow Holes
The East side of the island is rarely visited by tourists. It’s an area covered mostly by private homes and mangroves, but if you’ve hired a car (highly recommended) you should drive the long loop, if not to see the incredible homes, but to visit the blow holes. A complete work of art by Mother Nature, the blow holes are formed by the waves continuously crashing into the rocks and forcing water under and up through them. Over time, this has created huge holes in the rocky outcrop that the water shoots up every time a wave comes in. Just make sure you don’t get too close or you’ll get soaked!
Take a trip to Little Cayman
Just a 40 minute flight from Grand Cayman in the cutest plane is the island of Little Cayman – one of the three islands that make up The Cayman Islands. A tiny island with just a few inhabitants that’s been left to thrive in nature. It’s home to some incredible wildlife, including the Rock Iguana and Red-Footed Boobies! While there, be sure to take a kayak across to Owen Island – a privately owned island that welcomes visitors. It’s completely deserted but has a beautiful white sand spit jutting out into the turquoise waters and feels like your own private island for the day. A little spot of paradise. The other spot you must go to is Point Of Sand. A white sand beach with a pink hue and beautiful crystal waters perfect for snorkeling in.
Dive to the Deep Blue in a Submarine
The Ocean is one of my favourite things on this planet. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been far more interested in the Ocean than the Universe and it seems crazy to me that we’ve been all the way to the moon, yet it wasn’t until just a few years ago that we even had a clue what was at the bottom of our oceans. Ben and I don’t dive, so to be able to see the incredible corals and aquatic life (including two beautiful huge turtles) from the comfort of the submarine was such a treat and something I really would recommend. We even saw a mermaid!
Have you been to the Cayman Islands before? What would you do given the chance?