Our Travels: Cayman Islands

When our World Words team aren’t putting pen to paper, you’ll likely catch them jetting off to colourful cities, lush rainforest landscapes or coastal idylls in search of new adventures. Quelle surprise – travel writers love to travel.

These globe-trotting habits are in part what makes our content as good as it is. Every perfectly-crafted sentence we write can be backed up by extraordinary personal experiences, whether that’s hiking in the craggy Patagonia peaks, marvelling at ancient statues on Easter Island or chowing down on mouthwatering street food in Bangkok.

As well as helping us craft inspiring copy for clients, we like to share these incredible memories through our blog series, Our Travels. This month, writer Jemima ventures to Grand Cayman – the largest of the Cayman Islands – for the sixth (!) time, and reveals what there is to see in this Caribbean paradise. It’s not only beautiful beaches…

Jemima soaking up some afternoon sunshine on Seven Mile Beach.

Why I went to the Cayman Islands
While I’ve always been a fan of balmy beach holidays, there’s more to my most recent visit to the Cayman Islands than simply a craving for sun and sea. The tiny Caribbean nation is actually the latest in a long list of destinations my family have lived in and a place I’m lucky enough to currently call my second home.

Experiencing Grand Cayman as a local has allowed me to delve beyond the well-trodden touristy hotspots and uncover countless other charming allures. My latest visit was during the summer off season, the best time to go for quieter beaches and to encounter fewer cruise ship passengers roaming the tiny capital, George Town.

My highlight of the trip
I’ve had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Grand Cayman, from swimming with stingrays to horse-riding along the sand. One of my standout things to do is embark on a road trip to the sleepier side of the island.

As you drive away from George Town towards East End, the traffic becomes non-existent and the scenery much wilder. There are loads of deserted coves along this stretch off the island, plus some great little places to stop off for a cocktail or a bite to eat. Also, if you turn down Frank Sound Road just after Bodden Town, you’ll discover the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Botanic Gardens which are worth dropping into to spot endangered blue iguanas and admire vibrant flora and fauna in the pretty Heritage Garden. 

What else I love about the Cayman Islands
As a food obsessive, my tastebuds always start tingling at the thought of another trip to the Cayman Islands. It’s nicknamed the ‘culinary capital of the Caribbean’ thanks to dozens of restaurants and cafes serving up every cuisine imaginable, including local favourites like spicy conch fritters and fresh coconut ceviche.

Three places I always return to are VIVO in West Bay (for decadent vegan breakfasts), Tukka in the East End (for tasty lionfish tacos) and Gelato & Co in Camana Bay (for the most delicious chocolate hazelnut ice cream).

Aside from food, there are still a couple of other things on my Cayman Islands bucket list. I would like to try scuba diving, would love to go kayaking in Bioluminescence Bay (only possible during a new moon), and have as-yet-unrealised plans for a side trip to one of the smaller sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

A deserted palm-fringed beach along Grand Cayman’s sleepy east coast.

Why you should go
Beyond the fact Grand Cayman is home to some truly spectacular beaches, it’s also full of cultural and natural treasures. What’s more, the Cayman Islands are collectively a world-class diving destination, whether you fancy exploring coral reefs teeming with marine wildlife or delving down to eerie shipwrecks like the USS Kittiwake. 

It’s pretty easy to get on board with the island’s laidback lifestyle too. There’s nothing I like better after a day’s writing than heading to a secluded stretch of beach for a sunset swim and a Dark and Stormy (with local rum).

How you can visit
Flights to Owen Roberts International Airport are direct from numerous North American cities – plus there are a few flights a week from London with British Airways (includes a brief stop in Nassau, but you stay on the plane).

Hiring a car is the best way to navigate Grand Cayman, as the local buses are unpredictable and taxis can be pricy. If you can handle the heat, cycling is a good option as the roads are mercifully flat. You’ll find that many of the hotels along popular Seven Mile Beach offer complimentary bike rental too.

You can read some of our very best travel content about North American and the Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands, on our projects page. And keep up with our latest travel news by following us on Twitter.

– Article and photography by Jemima Forbes.

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