Things to do in Grand Cayman: Best excursions, attractions, beaches, museum, shopping
An extremely popular Caribbean island for spring breakers, Grand Cayman is the most well known and largest of the three islands that make up the Cayman islands. The other two are Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Even though the spring break months may bring a large crowd of college kids to the island, the entire year serves as a tropical escape. This is due to the large amount of outdoor activities and generally good weather. Most people who visit don't intend to enjoy a calm, relaxing vacation but instead partake in hours and hours of ocean fun through activities, tours, and excursions. With that said, there are a few great things to do on land as well, including duty free shopping and sightseeing.
If you're stopping at Grand Cayman as part of your cruise, you'll want to explore Georgetown (the island's capital) and an activity or two in the ocean if time allows. If you're flying onto the island, then you'll have a lot of time to explore a few different aspects of the island. Generally speaking, a week will give you plenty of time to go on a few adventures, along with a day to just sit back and people watch on one of the beautiful white sand beaches.
Best excursions on Grand Cayman
Because Grand Cayman is largely thought of as an adventure island, you'll find lots of great excursions to partake in. As you're on an island, you'll find that most of the available excursions are ocean based, mostly concerned with scuba diving, which is most likely one of the main reasons you're visiting anyway. Some of them do take a bit longer than others, so you'll want to make sure to take that into consideration if you're planning on venturing out on an excursion the same day as your shopping trip or museum visit. For the most popular, and highest rated, excursions, keep reading below.
Catamaran Dinner Cruise
Taking off from the very famous and busy Seven Mile Beach, the Catamaran Dinner Cruise is a great way to end a fun day at the beach, or elsewhere on the island. During this cruise you'll not only enjoy a well prepared dinner, but a sunset followed by a starry night viewing. If you're visiting the island with your loved one, then you'll find this cruise to be even more desirable as your dinner is enjoyed by candlelight. With that said, children are allowed as well.
- Adult: US$85.00
- Child: US$85.00
Atlantis Submarine Expedition
If you're interested in viewing the underwater world but rather not get wet by snorkeling or scuba diving, then this is a great activity choice. During this excursion, you'll find yourself sitting with other like minded travelers as you look through a submarine's windows out into the sea. You'll want to bring your camera along with you so that you can take a few pictures of the sea creatures during your trip. The key here is to put your camera up to the window and focus on the swimming creatures. This way your picture will be in focus.
- Adult: US$44.00
- Child: US$24.00
Best attractions on Grand Cayman
Both on land and in the ocean, you'll find that Grand Cayman offers lots of great things to do and see. Because of all the attraction opportunities, you may find yourself perplexed as to which ones to visit and which ones to leave out and save for your next trip. To help you, here are two of the top attractions currently on the island.
Cayman Turtle Farm
A 23 acre adventure marine park, the Cayman Turtle Farm is fun for the whole family, as well as romantic couples visiting on their honeymoon. Here you'll find a fresh water tidal lagoon, a world class research and educational center, a predator tank, a bird aviary, and the Breaker's Snack Shack. At this center you'll find 11,000 green sea turtles, ranging from small little babies weighing in at around 6 ounces or so to large adults coming in at hundreds of pounds. The farm is truly a great experience and will keep you busy most of the day, so plan accordingly. An added bonus? The Cayman Turtle Farm is open 7 days a week, making it easy to fit into your schedule.
- Adult: US$18.00
- Child: US$9.00
If you view stingrays as scary sea creatures out to get you, then you might change your mind after a trip to the famed Stingray City. Located right off the beach in the Caribbean Sea are dozens of tame southern stingrays just waiting to show you their friendly side. On these shallow sandbars located in the North Sound of the island you, and many other visitors, will get to experience a once in a lifetime interaction with these rays as they swim around you, and up onto you. Generally speaking, tours here last a few hours and are in combination with a snorkeling tour somewhere else. Most of them are very kid friendly as well, making it so that the entire family can enjoy this experience.
- Adult: US$49.00
- Child: US$43.00
Best beaches on Grand Cayman
In all, there are 10 beautiful beaches to choose from. If you're staying on the island for at least a week, you'll have plenty of time to visit each and every one, especially considering that not all of them are very long. Even though they are all very inviting, there are a few that stand out compared to the rest. To find out more about the top two beaches on the island, continue reading below.
Seven Mile Beach
Easily the most popular beach on the island (and one of the most known beaches in all of the Caribbean), Seven Mile Beach is a lovely stretch of white sand beach backed by palm trees and resorts, dotted with beach chairs, umbrellas, and vendors all while offering great swimming and snorkeling. Because the entire beach is public, you can easily walk along the beach right in front of a luxury hotel or two without worry of them claiming the beach as private property. If you don't mind sharing the sand with tons of other visitors, then you'll have a great time here. You'll also want to note that this beach is perfect for outdoor activities outside of swimming. Here you can easily rent a jet ski or go parasailing. This beach is also extremely family friendly.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
East End Beach
Perfect for a romantic couple, this beach is a lot less crowded than Seven Mile Beach. It's also a great local beach, meaning that if you decide to lounge during the weekend, you'll stand a good chance of meeting at least a few local families enjoying a birthday party or special event. You'll also find that the water near shore is both teeming with turtle grass and very calm, making it ideal to those looking to creature watch without having to go scuba diving or snorkeling off shore. Just remember, even though there are palm trees that offer a good amount of shade, the sun can still do some damage. It's also recommended that you grab some food nearby to enjoy as well.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
Best museum on Grand Cayman
Even though the island is small, there are a few notable museums on island, meaning that you can enjoy a few cultural experiences alongside the many adventure ones. With that said, you'll want to note that these aren't like the museums that you'll find in big cities around the world. Instead, these are relatively small. But they do house a lot of great viewings, so don't be surprised if you end up spending more time at each one than you thought you would. If you're going to visit just one, however, you'll want to visit the museum listed below.
The National Museum
Conveniently located in George Town, The National Museum showcases both natural history and cultural history, making it more appealing to a larger group of visitors. If you're visiting with young ones, this museum acts as a great learning experience for them, as well as you. Here you'll find displays of birds, native animals and more alongside exhibits that demonstrate the heritage of the island and its people.
- Adult: US$8.00
- Child: US$3.00
Best shopping on Grand Cayman
Known for its duty free shopping, visitors to the island will find lots of reasons to fill their luggage up to the brim before heading back home. From jewelry to art, you'll find it all here. But because of the high amount of stands, shops, and stores, you'll find that not all of them are worth your time. Continue reading below for two great places to shop before you head off island.
A little bit different from your standard shopping mall, Kirk Freeport is rather a collection of different stores around the entire island. These particular stores focus on jewelry, perfume, crystal, china, and watches. The three locations you'll find the 22 stores are the Bayshore Mall, The Stand Shopping Centre and the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Seven Mile Beach. If you're looking for a new rolex, you'll find a few great options, along with 40 other brands.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
The Island Plaza
A very clean, organized shopping center with lots of indoor shops to enjoy, The Island Plaza is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. Another plus is that this plaza is home to over 50 famous brands, meaning that if you're brand loyal, you may just find your favorite here. All prices are tax and duty free, which is important to many shoppers. You'll just want to note that each person (including a child) is allowed to take up to US$800 worth of duty free items.
- Adult: free
- Child: free