I’m Jacqueline but you can call me Jackie! Welcome to my guide on the best things to do in the Cayman Islands. I work full time in pharmaceuticals and part time as an adventure travel blogger and Instagram influencer. I also lead occasional small-group adventures through my travel blog.
I grew up in a town about an hour south of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. I spent a good part of my life (and still do) hiking, camping and exploring the mountains. I’ve always loved the outdoors but I’ve also had a travel bug for as long as I can remember.
I used to daydream of far away places, exotic cuisines and immersing myself in different cultures. I have no idea where my travel bug came from because I didn’t grow up traveling. In fact, when I was young, I was taught that travel is only for “older people” who “could afford it”.
Aside from a few spontaneous road trips with my friends to neighboring states – I felt as though travel was out of my reach. Fast forward to grad school. I was invited to a conference in Hawaii with my colleagues.
With no money and no experience on a plane – I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even know how to book the flight! But I knew I had to go. So, I saved every single penny, sold some of my old clothes and worked a few extra hours at my minimum wage job in the local hospital. And I went.
We spent 10 days in Hawaii. We walked the beach at sunrise, ate at the local food trucks, went free diving with sharks and went skydiving over the north shore of Oahu. I’ll never forget the feeling of waking up in Hawaii, so far from home, immersed in a different way of life and feeling free.
Since then, I’ve road tripped Iceland (3 times!), lived in a van for a month in New Zealand, backpacked in Newfoundland, swam with humpback whales in Tonga, fell in love with the country of Belize and spent 10 days exploring the Cayman Islands – just to name a few things.
Inspiration to Visit the Cayman Islands
I was inspired to visit the Cayman Islands to go scuba diving. I was told that the coral reef was in great shape and that the islands had a lot to offer.
The Cayman Islands weren’t actually on my bucket list at all before visiting. I tend to gravitate toward places with less of a “touristy” vibe and the Caymans always stood out to me as a major resort/cruise ship destination.
In fact – and I’m super embarrassed to admit this – I always thought that Grand Cayman was the Cayman Islands. Spoiler alert: it’s not!
I knew nothing else about the rest of the islands. But having worked on the coral reef in the US Virgin Islands in grad school, I was curious to see the state of the coral reef in other parts of the Caribbean. So, I went.
10 Beautiful Days in the Cayman Islands
We spent 10 days in the Caymans and visited all three islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac). Although, I would have loved to have had more time there. You have to fly to Grand Cayman to access the rest of the islands, so we quickly checked it out while we were there.
Parts of Grand Cayman are known as the “Vegas Strip of the Caribbean” and my mission is always to get more off the beaten path. So we stayed only briefly and then hopped on a domestic flight to the sister islands.
We spent the majority of our time on Cayman Brac – away from the hustle and bustle of the resorts and cruise ships. Many of our days were filled with scuba diving and taking day trips to Little Cayman, followed by a local cooked dinner and a bit of island exploring.
Favourite Place in the Caymans – Little Cayman
My partner and I had a wonderful time in the Cayman Islands. Home to stretches of white sand, crystal clear water and endless scuba diving – the Cayman Islands are a real slice of Caribbean paradise. They have so much beauty and diversity to offer, so it’s hard to think of one favorite place.
If I had to choose I would say that I really loved everything about Little Cayman. Little Cayman is a small, quaint and super quiet part of the Cayman Islands that doesn’t attract a lot of visitors. It’s about as close to a serene postcard paradise as you can find in the Caribbean.
With its dreamy palm trees, virgin white sand, coral pink beaches and crystal-clear turquoise water – it’s literally paradise on earth. Little Cayman is also a bucket-list scuba diving spot. So, it was a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. It’s places like this that are the most special to me.
10 Best Things To Do in the Cayman Islands
The best things to do will depend on what kind of experiences you want to have. In my opinion, these are the top 10 experiences in the islands of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
- Go scuba diving in Bloody Bay Marine Park (Little Cayman)
- Explore the many different caves of Cayman Brac
- Book an island tour with locals and let them drive you around
- Rent a bike or scooter and explore the islands on your own
- Kayak to Owen Island just off Little Cayman
- Snorkel or scuba dive at the Kittiwake Shipwreck (Grand Cayman)
- Walk the Mastic Trail on Grand Cayman
- Relax on the beach at Point of Sand, Little Cayman
- Visit the Crystal Caves and Bioluminescent Bay in Grand Cayman
- Hike the National Trust Parrot Reserve on Cayman Brac
Diving the Bloody Bay Wall off Little Cayman
One of my favorite memories from my trip to the Caymans was diving the Bloody Bay Wall off Little Cayman. The Cayman Islands are well known for the beauty of their underwater world but Little Cayman, in particular, is consistently recognized as a bucket-list diving destination in the Caribbean.
I remember being absolutely mesmerized on this dive. The visibility was excellent and the coral reef was healthy and full of life. The wall was covered in neon sponges, caves and crevices to swim through, and huge coral.
We took our time admiring the fish swirling around the wall until they disappeared into the abyss. A giant grouper also decided to tag along for most of the dive. He was (by far) the cutest local I met on the trip!
I’ve done a lot of diving around the Caribbean and can honestly say that the Bloody Bay Wall was one of the most spectacular sites I’ve seen.
Meeting the Friendly and Laid-Back Locals
My goal when I travel is always to meet as many locals as I can in order to get a deeper understanding of the local culture. I usually do this by renting Airbnb’s, booking a homestay or visiting places where locals hang out.
However, during my time in the Cayman Islands, we stayed in a small resort on Cayman Brac because Airbnb and local homestays were few and far between. Because of this – plus the small size of the island – I didn’t interact with as many locals as I had hoped.
I’m sure the situation would have been much different had we stayed on Grand Cayman, since there are so many people there. But I did meet some locals during our time exploring the islands. The locals I met were warm and welcoming with a colorful culture and fun, laid-back Caribbean vibe.
Delicious Food of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
On Grand Cayman, you can pretty much find whatever food you like. Burgers, Italian food, tacos, fish or gluten free/vegan. Restaurants on Grand Cayman range from small local eateries and beachfront bars all the way to over-the-top-extravagant dining experiences.
The cuisine on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is much more local. I found it to be similar to other Caribbean Islands with lots of fish, rice, beans, jerk chicken and BBQ pork. Restaurants on these islands range from casual sit-down dining to roadside food shacks. I much prefer this type of food.
My favorite local dish was the catch of the day. Here were a few of my favorite local eateries on Cayman Brac: Barry’s Golden Jerk which made the best BBQ pork and jerk chicken on the island, and Caribbean Food Restaurant which is a little roadside shack serving local dishes.
Then on Little Cayman I enjoyed a place called “Cook Food”. This is one of the few locally owned and operated restaurants on the island. They serve traditional Cayman-style food and are open for take-out or delivery only.
Best Places to Stay in the Cayman Islands
Airbnb is normally my go-to but Airbnb’s on Cayman Brac usually run upwards of $150 per night. So we decided to stay at a small, quiet resort instead. It was my first time at a resort and I actually liked it a lot.
I would still recommend Airbnbs on Cayman Brac but only if you have a large budget or are able to split the price with a group. Otherwise, staying in a resort might make more sense for you. We stayed at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort which is also the best for scuba diving vacations.
I’ve heard that Brac Caribbean Beach Village is great too.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
There are a few things that I think everyone should know before they visit the Caymans. First of all, the Cayman Islands are so much more than just Grand Cayman. This place is fantastic but there is a lot more to discover.
Each island is unique and I recommend leaving enough time to visit all three islands. From the hustle and bustle of Grand Cayman, to the pristine beaches of Little Cayman and the intricate caves of Cayman Brac – each island offers a unique experience that you won’t want to miss.
If you only have time to visit one island then be sure to think about what kind of experience you want to have and research what each island has to offer before making your choice. It won’t be easy picking one place!
There is no inter-island ferry service. If you want to hop between islands, you’ll have to book a domestic flight or find someone with a boat. Don’t forget your reef safe sunscreen too! For more tips (and tons of information on all the islands), visit my blog for another Cayman Islands travel guide.