Vacationing on the Cayman Islands

Looking for a combination of relaxation, a tropical feel, a day or two of diving or snorkeling and some interesting sightseeing? Perhaps the Cayman Islands is a good destination for your next vacation. The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory but you’ll find them in the western part of the Caribbean Sea, and they are most famous for the excellent scuba diving you can do there.

Getting underwater. So let’s start with the diving idea: there are countless dive shop operators to train and license you or to take you out to interesting dives of varying difficulty levels. Caves, reefs and wrecks are all there around the three main islands of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. If diving’s not your thing, there are also numerous sites suitable for snorkeling and simply swimming, too.

George Town. But when you’re not in the water, what can you do on the Cayman Islands? Plenty. Try a stroll through the capital, George Town, which is a mix of modern day businessmen, American malls and Caribbean relaxedness. George Town is home to not only shops and cafes, but also sightseeing spots like the Cayman Islands National Museum, and the remains of Fort George.

Natural attractions. When you are more in the mood for some nature-oriented sightseeing, the Cayman Islands have plenty to offer. As well as having a made-for-great-puns name, the rock formations known as Hell are worth seeing, with their dark rock, confronting appearance. Near Hell is the Cayman Turtle Farm, run by the government and the only such farm of its kind in the world. I have mixed feelings about this one: one purpose is to increase the population of green turtles in general, but they also breed some for meat and to sell their shells – you decide.

Seven Mile Beach. Still on the natural attractions, you can spend plenty of time wandering or sunbaking on the Seven Mile Beach. You might even choose to stay here, as many hotels and resorts have (sensibly) made their base on this part of Grand Cayman’s coast. Many consider that the beaches here are some of the best in the world, with clear water and clean sand.

When to go. The peak season for tourism on the Cayman Islands is from mid-December to mid-April, so things are busier and more expensive, but the weather will almost certainly be perfect. The summer season brings with it the risk of hurricanes, but otherwise good weather and considerably lower prices. If you’re a festival chaser, try to land on Grand Cayman in time for Batabano, around Easter, and on Cayman Brac for Brachanal, a week later. These are the Cayman Islands’ version of Carnival, although they also celebrate Pirates’ Week at the end of October, with fireworks and plenty of costumed pirates.

Creative Commons License Photo credit: .The One.

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