Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands is a popular tourist destination. There are many options for active vacationers who want to hike, golf, dive, sail, and snorkel. There are also numerous beaches and opportunities for shopping. Here are just seven of the most popular activities on Grand Cayman.
1. Take the Mastic Trail
One of the best activities for nature lovers. The 200-year-old gravel path winds through a mangrove swamp and a two-million-year-old wooded area in the midst of some of the island’s rarest plant life. The Cayman Islands National Trust preserves the trail as a flat, beginners’ hike. Guided tours are available. The trail is located about 15 miles east of George Town. It takes two to three hours to hike the Mastic Trail on a guided tour, or you can go on your own at your own pace. Hikers are advised to get a map of the trail if they go it alone.
2. Enjoy Seven Mile Beach
This beach has been considered one of the finest in the Caribbean for several years. The crescent-shaped shoreline and soft coral sands make it a popular destination, and many of Grand Cayman’s top resorts are located here. The area features numerous casual beach bars and restaurants. There is also a playground and public restrooms and showers. The waters are clean and perfect for swimmers and first-time snorkelers. This is a public beach so it’s often crowded.
3. See Stingray City
This is probably the most popular attraction in the Cayman Islands. Located in Grand Cayman’s North Sound area, some travelers call it a tourist trap, but that is part of what makes it a must-see. While it is called a “city,” it is really a shallow sandbar where visitors can interact with and feed the Atlantic South Stingrays that live here. It offers a great opportunity to see these interesting creatures up close, and there is no danger as long as some basic rules are followed. Stingray City is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. It also features glass-bottom boats that provide great views of the marine life. Several companies provide dive tours to the area.
4. Dive at Eden Rock & Devil’s Grotto
A little way south of Seven Mile Beach is Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto, two of the most popular diving spots on Grand Cayman. These attractions are some 46 feet below the surface of the water and offer underwater mazes that offer close-up views of tarpon, silversides, parrotfish, and barracuda. Both beginners and intermediate snorkelers can enjoy this location. Sponsored shore and boat dives are available from tour operators.
5. Explore the Captain Keith Tibbetts Wreck
This 330-foot-long Russian frigate was sunk deliberately off Cayman Brac to create an artificial reef. The reef is now encrusted with coral and sponges and gives homes to thousands of fish, including groupers, scorpionfish, and green moray eels. The ship itself is mostly intact and is located some 200 yards from shore in depths from 30 to 100 feet below the water’s surface. The site is appropriate for divers at all experience levels.
6. Meet the Turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm
When Christopher Columbus visited Grand Cayman, he found so many turtles that he named the place Las Tortugas. Over the centuries, however, the population of green sea turtles has diminished to such a degree that they are an endangered species. The Cayman Turtle Farm works to change all that by providing island restaurants with the turtle meat they want without allowing them to hunt wild turtles to get it. The farm also educates the public about these creatures and offers close-up experiences with the turtles’ way of life. Visitors can choose either a dry or wet tour of the farm that includes snorkeling in its artificial lagoon. A highlight of the visit is being able to hold baby sea turtles in hand. There are over 7,000 green sea turtles in every stage of development, so there is plenty to see.
7. Take a Trip to Hell
This area looks exactly like its name, so what’s going on? Many cruise ship visitors visit here, and it’s very popular with tourists overall. The “hell” refers to a large open space with clusters of short, black limestone formations. While visitors can’t walk on the formations, there are two platforms available that give views over the space. The venue has a gift shop and a post office where mail can be sent with a “From Hell” postmark. Visitors are warned that the “Hell” attraction is always crowded.