Perfect beaches with powdered-sugar sand and turquoise water aren’t the only things luring travelers to the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman—the largest of the three islands—is filled with amenity-packed resorts, upscale restaurants, and laid-back bars. Cayman Brac is known as the “adventure island” with caves, bluffs, and trails to explore. Little Cayman—the smallest of the three—is sought after for its secluded beaches, privacy, and disconnection from the modern world. The three islands offer a complete balance of fine dining, extraordinary excursions, and beautiful beaches, all of which encourage total relaxation.
When’s the best time to go to Cayman Islands?
As with all Caribbean islands, the Cayman Islands have high and low seasons. Hurricane season starts around the beginning of June and goes until late November, though the island’s location in the western Caribbean means the occurrence of a major hit from a hurricane is relatively low. The high season for visiting is mid-December until mid-April, especially during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve stretch, so book well in advance. Travelers can find attractive hotel deals from April through June.
Weatherwise, travelers can look forward to warm, temperate days that hover around 80°F. Temperatures can drop below 70°F in January and February, so pack a couple of layers if you’re visiting then. The rainy season runs from May to October, but rain showers usually last for a few minutes to a few hours before the sun returns.
While most visitors are content to lay out on Seven Mile Beach, there are several exciting annual events to plan a trip around. The island comes alive in the spring during CayMAS Carnival, the annual Carnival celebration that culminates in a colorful street parade. Other island events include Pirate Fest with themed events from September to November, Cayman Restaurant Month and Cayman Cocktail Week in October, chef Eric Ripert’s Cookout Festival in January, and Cayman Art Week in June.
How to get around Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are easily accessible from many cities in the United States, with Grand Cayman being the main port of entry to both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The islands are a 70-minute flight from Miami, and travelers can choose direct flights from other major U.S. cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, and Atlanta.
Getting between the three islands is also easy; Cayman Airways, the island’s national carrier. offers multiple inter-island flights daily to and from Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Travelers can also hop between Little Cayman and Cayman Brac by an inexpensive boat charter. For about $25 per passenger, travelers can take an hour-long boat ride to explore Little Cayman or Cayman Brac for the day.
Many visitors to the islands won’t need a car; the hotels along Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach are often within walking distance or a quick cab ride away from restaurants and nightlife. To explore the rest of Cayman’s 22-mile-long island, cars can be rented from the airport from national rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise and local companies like Andy’s or Marshall’s Rent-A-Car. Drivers in the Cayman Islands drive on the left side of the road and roundabouts are common. Keep in mind that rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are not available on the islands.
If you come by cruise ship or just plan to settle into your resort, renting a car isn’t necessary. You can easily get around by bus or taxi and avoid the hassle of renting. If you want to explore the islands, though, renting a car is your best bet. Keep in mind the Cayman Islands are still a British Overseas Territory, so driving on the left side of the road is standard. Also, be sure to reserve a rental a day or two in advance—or more during high season—to ensure availability.
Food and drink to try in Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands have many appealing hotel restaurants as well as stand-alone restaurants and bars. Food in the Cayman Islands centers around fresh and local seafood, and the culinary offerings also reflect the island’s diverse population. Choose from Japanese sushi, Italian fine dining, Australian barbecue, and Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken.
Other specialties range from turtle stew—the national dish—to conch fritters and coconut shrimp. The liquor of choice on the island is spiced rum, with domestic brands like Tortuga and Seven Fathoms produced on Grand Cayman. Rum Point on Grand Cayman is also home to the mudslide, a frozen drink made from vodka, coffee-flavored liqueur, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Local travel tips for Cayman Islands
It’s good to understand the ways in which Great Britain still influences the Cayman Islands, which are a British overseas territory. The King of England is considered the head of state, though the country practices parliamentary democracy.
As for currency, the Caymanian dollar is fixed to the U.S. dollar. U.S. currency and credit cards are accepted everywhere. Tipping is encouraged and a gratuity is often added to the bill in restaurants. The legal drinking age is 18, and many restaurants encourage smart casual attire.
Caymanians are openly warm and will greet you with a “hello” or strike up a conversation. Most visitors are there to enjoy the beaches, along with deep sea fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving excursions.
The official language of the Cayman Islands is English, and some residents speak Cayman Creole or Spanish. American citizens need a passport to enter the islands—whether sailing or flying in. Cayman’s population hovers around 65,000 with most residents living on Grand Cayman; Cayman Brac and Little Cayman combined have just over 2,000 residents.
Grand Cayman, specifically George Town, is a popular cruise ship port, and from Seven Mile Beach, you can see the cruise ships come in. Up to four cruise ships can anchor at a time, and downtown George Town can get busy. As for nightlife, there are few true nightclubs, and most travelers head to local bars for late-night drinks and live music.
Jordyn Kraemer is a journalist who lives in New York City but after years of the hustle and bustle of the city, she has made the Cayman Islands her home away from home. She travels the world as a writer, model, brand ambassador, and adventurer. Her recent journeys can be viewed on her lifestyle blog LoveTravelStyle.com or on her Instagram @jordynkraemer. Mariette Williams also contributed information.