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Grand Cayman - Reasons why this little island is the Ultimate Family Vacation!!

To say my heart resides in the Caribbean- would not be a lie! I am completely enamoured by the Caribbean Islands ... for me, it's the clear-turquoise waters, soft sand and warmth of the sun to bask the day away. When I think of the Caribbean there are so many amazing islands to choose from and all for different reasons! Each tropical island offers unique experiences. Some are known for their rainforests, coral reefs, extreme adventures, festive carnivals, delicious food, friendly locals and some simply have undeniably amazing beaches- all reasons which may be hard when deciding which island to visit?! But, in my opinion there is only one island that checks all the boxes for the ultimate family vacation....

And that is Grand Cayman baby!! It truly is a tropical paradise and I will tell you why it needs to be on your bucket list. I promise you will fall in love with this island as my family and I have!

Seven Mile Beach

So, where is this island?? If you were to look on a map - you would most likely miss this gem of an Island. Honestly, it looks like a speck of dust on the map. Go look for yourself- you'll see its hard to find! The island is located in the Western Caribbean, west of Jamaica and south of Cuba. Grand Cayman is one of 3 islands- Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and Grand Cayman. It's a British Oversees Territory and is considered one of the wealthier islands in the Caribbean. The official language is English and the U.S. dollar is widely accepted, making it easy to visit!

Why do I love spending time on this gem of an island?! Well, besides it being a tropical paradise, I love the vibe of this island- it's surrounded by charm and beauty and offers great balance between the sun, sea, and land that is simply irresistible! Plus, it's totally up to you to be as relaxed or active as you want.

If opting for lazy beach days and soaking up some sunshine is your thing- this island has it. If you prefer spending time on the water and love boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and jet skiing - you will not be disappointed. Perhaps, you like going off the beaten path and enjoy venturing out and exploring what the island has to offer! Whatever you decide- you'll create a memorable vacation that's just right for you!

I can guarantee you will experience beautiful breath-taking beaches, one of the clearest and calmest oceans to swim in, gourmet food, friendly people, an abundance of activities from snorkeling and diving to visiting a turtle farm and swimming with Stingrays or maybe just a day of shopping will due. Anyone and everyone in the family will be happy because there is a wide range of activities to choose from. Grand Cayman truly is the ultimate family vacation!

Now the good stuff... Top Reasons why Grand Cayman is the Ultimate Family Vacation:

  1. Beach-

Grand Cayman is known for one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is most famous for its pristine Seven mile stretch of beach located on the west side of the island. Seven mile beach has been ranked #6 beach in the world by Tripadivsor's Annual Travelers Choice Awards. This 7 mile beach consists mostly of hotels and condos making it a beautiful place to vacation. The stunning turquoise water is always warm (ranging from a consistent 81-84 degrees) and is so crystal clear, it's truly spectacular. The sand is super soft and powdery, making it easy to walk in (and yes, the sand does get hot) so be careful!

2. Ocean-

The ocean waters are very calm and gentle making it perfect to swim or float in- and when I say float, I mean grab a pool float (or bring some from home) and just relax in the azure-crystal water - I promise you won't go too far. The ocean is super calm and has almost no waves (except during a storm) which makes it great for little kids to be near. Parents, put some sunscreen and floaties on your kids and enjoy your beach day. Of course, being at the beach with little ones can be stressful...but, with the ocean being as calm as it is - I promise you will worry less!

(The beach and ocean should really be in one category - but I tried to break it down between the two. Honestly, I was just trying to give you more reasons on why this Caribbean Island should be on your bucker list- lol!!)

Grand Cayman is a very safe island for both tourists and residents alike. The crime threat is considered very low and the Camanians have strict gun laws. Ultimately, making this a very safe island to vacation with your family.

4. Food-

Did you know that Grand Cayman is known for their culinary experience?! Your tastebuds will be delighted from quaint-like cottage restaurants to sophisticated and upscale dining. Whether your being served from land-to-table or sea-to-table, you will encounter quality and authentic dishes. Cuisine ranges from gourmet and traditional, to Italian, Steak, Asian and Seafood. In addition, your dining experiences will be hosted by both local and celebrity chefs alike. Regardless if your a foodie or not, you will definitely be impressed on your vacation!

Tillies Restaurant

The Wharf Restaurant

5. Accommodations-

There's some flexibility here. Your options will range from high end luxury resorts like the Ritz Carlton, The Westin and Kimpton Seafire, to posh boutiques like the Palm Heights- these are just to name a few. There's also beach condo rentals ranging from budget-friendly to luxury as well. Whether your looking for low-key and laid back to posh and luxurious accommodations - Grand Cayman offers choices that encompass all wallets!

Kimpton Seafire Resort

Westin Resort

6. Locals-

Caymanians are friendly and warm people making you feel welcomed on their island. And being that english is the official language it makes it easy for communication.

Myths debunked- Grand Cayman is too expensive to visit-

So, yes the island does tend to be a bit more on the pricey side. Reasons why... well the fact that it is considered a British territory means the exchange rate is higher and not in favor of the U. S. Also, it's a bit more pricey in comparison to other islands because, there are no all-inclusive options available- which means you will most likely dine out for your meals or pay whatever the hotel restaurant is charging. Plus, many of the hotels located on seven mile beach are luxury resorts rated 4 and 5 stars, which ultimately drives the cost of the stay way up.

However, that doesn't mean it's not affordable!! I promise you there are ways to spend less!

5 Ways you can still experience Grand Cayman on a budget...

1 Off the Beach Accommodations:

There are many hotels and condo rentals that are across the street from the famous seven mile beach. If you don't mind a short walk - this will save you a lot of money! In my opinion, the Sunshine Suites offer the best of everything. The hotel is in an amazing location and is definitely budget-friendly :) It offers both a pool and restaurant and is with in walking distance to other great eateries. Plus, this is an all suites property, so accommodations will be more spacious and they offer kitchens as well. The sunshine suites is actually across the street from the Westin Resort, (which in my opinion is located on the best strip of seven mile beach). And besides being in a great location - this hotel offers guests use of amenities from their sister property (Shhhh...its the Westin Resort)!

2. On the beach Accommodations:

If you prefer to stay on the beach- Seven mile beach offers many condo options ranging in affordability! Condos are wonderful options because they offer guests more flexibility. Usually, they offer more spacious accommodations in comparison to hotels and especially when it comes to preparing your meals. Now, I'm sure not everyone wants to cook 3 meals a day on vacation (I know I don't) but, every little bit helps. And if you can save on breakfast or lunch for a family of 4 or 5 everyday, then that just leaves you with more money in your pocket : )

3. Flights:

Many major airlines fly into Grand Cayman. We always fly on Cayman Airways. They tend to be less expensive than all the other airlines and offer non-stop flights out of New York. Plus, in comparison to other destinations these flights to Grand Cayman cost way less than traveling to MANY other Caribbean Islands.  

4. Dining

Grand Cayman's cuisine is known for it's local and fresh ingredients. Whether your looking for casual and laid back dining to experiencing a 5 star gourmet restaurant there's enough choices to accommodate everyones palette and budget. Looking for ways to not break the bank- try these suggestions: ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Dine in for Italian or order a pizza pie from the Ragazzi Italian Restaurant or XQ'S Pizza Bar and Grill. Take a New York style slice or some sandwiches to go from Gino's Pizzeria. Check out a game or 2 and dine at the Legendz Sports Bar. For casual, you can't go wrong with a burger and fries from Seven mile Burger or the Burger Shack. A lighter suggestion would be the Island Naturals Cafe serving soups, salads, acai bowls and sandwiches (they deliver too). My personal favorite though, is Seven Mile Greens offering bagels, soups, sandwiches and make your own salads!

Want beautiful waterfront views- check out The Cracked Conch and Macabuca Bar and Grill for relaxed island vibes, serving local and Caribbean food.

*This spot is unique because you can snorkel right off the restaurant- there's steps leading down into the water where you can swim with sealife and then head to lunch or dinner afterwards! At times the water can be choppy, so be careful if you choose to snorkel!

Trust me.... you will be happy with the food options in Grand Cayman : )

5. Last but not least....Definitely make a stop at CostULess and stock up on essentials for your stay.

Things to do on the Island: Top 10!

1. Explore Seven mile beach -

Enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Spend your day relaxing, swimming or floating in the calm, turquoise waters. You will be captivated with how crystal clear and warm these waters are. You may even choose to spend the entire day floating on a tube in the water and (I am not kidding about this)! Or, maybe venture out and try some of the fun water sports this island has to offer.

2. Visit Sting Ray City-

This is a MUST do activity when visiting Grand Cayman! Take one of the many boat tours available to swim with these friendly and graceful sea animals in the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean. Sting Ray City is located in the North Sound of Grand Cayman and is set on a series of shallow sandbars where Stingrays come to mingle and interact with tourists. Expect to pet, feed and take photos with these amazing sea animals- some will even send you off with a kiss!

*My kids love seeing the Stingrays every time we visit- This magical experience is something you wont forget!!

3. Kittiwake Shipwreck And Artificial Reef-

Spend a day diving or snorkeling and explore the Kittiwake shipwreck and an artificial reef. This former submarine rescue vessel was purposely sunk (at 62 feet) into the ocean so divers can swim in and through it, witnessing the abundant sea life. Plus, you'll get the chance to explore tropical fish along with other sea life at this man-made reef right next door. This site is located in a protected area to help preserve and maintain the coral and marine life. I highly recommend booking this excursion with Redsail Sports, they are amazing!

4. Starfish Point-

Experience the warm and shallow waters and visit these beautiful starfish in their natural habitat. This is a great spot for families with small children because the water is super gentle and calm without any waves. Plus, it makes a wonderful photo op! This stop is about a 10-minute boat ride from Sting Ray City. Some people think this activity is over rated, but my kids and I love being able to find the starfish in the water and actually hold them for a bit.

*Some Stingray tours will include this as one of their stops on their tours- so make sure to double check!

5. Explore the Crystal Caves-

You'll find these Caves on the Northside of Grand Cayman- they are set in a lush tropical forest and offer guests a spectacular experience. You will be in awe exploring these crystal formations. Each cave is unique because it has its own stalactites and stalagmites. These are astounding crystal structures that have literally been formed by tiny drops of water over time. I love how friendly and knowledgeable the tour guides are - they truly provide an intimate and personal touch with their information and stories as well! Make sure you have some extra time after seeing the caves to explore the surrounding tropical forest- it's gorgeous.

*Also, Keep an eye out for bats- you might see some inside the caves!

6. Visit the Cayman Turtle Centre-

Spend a morning or afternoon on your own or with a guided tour admiring these amazing green sea turtles. If you want an up close and personal encounter, then definitely book an experience to feed or swim with these magnificent sea turtles in the lagoon. There's also a pool and a mini water park with a water slide, which is fun for the kiddies to use. Be sure to leave a little extra time to explore the Aviary and Predator Reef habitat before you go!

*Did you know this is one of the most successful green turtle breeding facilities in the world? This center has successfully breed turtles through 2 generations and has released over 34,000 sea turtles!

7. Experience Bioluminescent Bay -

Try this fun and unique experience- Be amazed at how the water glows at night with bioluminescence. Watch the bay come to life as you swim, snorkel or kayak through the water. Even if you choose not to participate and stay on the boat- Bioluminescence is amazing to see!

*Due to a higher count of jellyfish in the summer months, some tour operators will offer full body wetsuits to protect swimmers from getting stung, so they get the most out of their experience!

8. Shopping and lunch in down town George Town or upscale Camana Bay-

There is plenty of shopping on this island. Whether your looking to buy an expensive piece of jewelry, local art work, everyday t-shirts, or some souveniers to bring home for your family and friends, you will find Grand Cayman has it all!

- George Town is the capital of Grand Cayman and is closer to where the cruise ships tender. It's an adorable town with restaurants, souvenier shops, boutiques, as well as some designer and high-end shopping.

- Camana Bay- is a luxury waterfront town filled with high end shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars. There's even a movie theatre here! 

*I would say George Town offers more affordable shopping than the Camana Bay shopping area*

9. Spotts Beach-

If your looking to swim sea turtles in their natural habitat, definitely check out Spotts Beach. Take some snorkel gear with you and head out in the early morning to catch a swim with a sea turtle! We haven't tried it, but some have said another great time to spot these turtles is in the late afternoon!

10. Queen Elizabeth II Botantical Park-

Looking for something different- Explore the natural beauty of this 65 acre park with walking trails and beautifully landscaped gardens. You'll encounter birds, Parrots and Blue Iguanas and of course see all types of plants and flowers.

*Also, check out the guided Blue Iguana Conservation Tour that's offered where you'll learn all about these interesting reptiles!

Some Helpful Tips:

- If you rent a car- be prepared as they drive on the left side of the road.

- If you decide not to rent a car - taxis are super easy to arrange (there is no Uber or Lyft).

- Use the public bus- they're actually mini buses and costs $2.50 p.p. each way. Simply tell the driver where your going and its easy to get off. This is definitely cheaper than a taxi!

- Stay at a condo on or off the beach that has a kitchen - This will definitely cost way less than the price of a hotel stay.

- Everything is closed on Sundays, except for restaurants.

-In case your wondering if there's a Starbucks on the Island? Not that you need one- but, yes, there is one and it's located down town in GeorgeTown. It's probably a little too far if your staying on the beach, but a nice treat if your spending some time shopping in town!

-American money is accepted. However, when you pay for something in American bills, you can expect to receive Cayman money back. So, you might want to exchange some money before you go.

- Make sure to check out the cruise ship schedule to see when the ships will be visiting that way you can book your excursions and shopping days when there are no ships tendered and it will be way less crowded!

***Big Tip- They have a Costco, no not really- But they do have a store just like it called CostULess. So, definitely stock up on snacks, water, beer or whatever you might need for your stay. We always do this on the first day we arrive - even when we're staying in a hotel.

Summing this up-

This Caribbean Island ranks as my top family beach vacation for everything that is offers, combined with a stunning beach. This island literally checks all the boxes- It has the beach, the calm, crystal-clear water, great food, friendly locals, safety, water sports, snorkeling and diving, shopping, warm weather, unique shore excursions, beautiful sunsets, easy to get around and of course high end resorts to budget friendly options. How can this island not check all your boxes for your next family vacation?!

When planning a beach vacation what's on your list when your looking for a place to vacation?

Maybe Grand Cayman will make it on your list to visit and become a memorable family vacation like it has ours!

I already included my favorite off beach suggestion...Follow along for my next blog on where to stay on the beach in Grand Cayman!

Cheers, xoxo

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