A few years ago, my family stopped exchanging gifts for Christmas and, instead, we go on a family vacation. Since we now live in different parts of the world, Christmas is one of the few times of the year that we’re all together. For our 2018 family vacation, we decided to travel to Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman is considered an off-the grid retreat for vacationers, offering a perfect representation of the laid-back island lifestyle. The island boasts pristine beaches, luxury shopping and delightful cuisine which is why it should earn a spot on your bucket list. Grand Cayman is part of the Cayman Islands - a group of 3 islands that are also a British Overseas Territory. Grand Cayman is the largest island while Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are the smaller islands.
George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands and its largest city. In addition to having the international airport and cruise ports, George Town also has a variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. Due to its major attractions, George Town is usually packed with crowds so plan accordingly.
What to Do
Grand Cayman has some of the most gorgeous white sand beaches such as Seven Mile Beach and Rum Point Beach. In fact, Seven Mile Beach has been named one of the “best beaches in the world” by MSN and Trip Advisor. All beaches in Grand Cayman are public so you don’t have to worry about trespassing on private property. One of my favorite memories from the Cayman trip, was talking and walking along the seashore with my sisters. Grand Cayman’s numerous beaches greatly contribute to the island’s charm and appeal.
Cave exploring is an adventurous activity to consider trying while in Grand Cayman. Cayman Crystal Caves charges $40 USD per person for a guided tour through 3 different caves where you can observe underground stalactite and stalagmite limestone formations. A bonus perk is the resourceful guides also double as photographers to capture your moments exploring the cave.
If you’re traveling to Grand Cayman, you might as well include a day trip to the other isles in the Cayman Islands. You can reach Little Cayman or Cayman Brac in a brief 30-40-minute flight from Grand Cayman. In addition to flights, ferries are another mode of transportation to get to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. Both islands offer distinctive attractions - Cayman Brac appeals to deep-sea divers while Little Cayman is known for scuba diving.
Where to Stay
Housing in Grand Cayman can be expensive considering that the Cayman Islands is a popular destination for affluent vacationers and is notoriously known as a haven for storing offshore bank accounts. Even though Grand Cayman is known as an expensive destination, there is still affordable lodging available on the island. You can search for reasonably priced rentals on AirBnB or VRBO. These accommodations are usually cheaper than hotels and a major perk is the ability to use the kitchen to cook which will save you from eating out for every meal while on vacation.
Getting Around the Island
Everything on the island is so spread out so you will need to get a rental car. Most of the rental car companies are right across from the international airport in Georgetown which makes accessing them quite convenient. While the rental car rate is rather expensive at around $150 - $250 per day, it is still a cheaper mode of transportation compared to taking a taxi to every destination on the island. Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are not available on Grand Cayman which is why the rental car companies can charge a premium as there is no other transportation alternative for travelers.
Things to Remember
Americans usually enjoy a favorable currency exchange rate while abroad due to the relative strength of the American dollar. However, in the Cayman Islands, the American dollar is the only national currency that is weaker than the Caymanian dollar. So, if you’re an American traveler and don’t exchange your currency before your trip, be prepared to lose some money due to the conversion rate.
Check out more pics from my Cayman Islands trip below (click on the photos to view in full size):
Lola is a multimedia journalist. This blog is a space for her to share budget travel tips and her travel experiences.