There can be as many as 16,000 cruise passengers a day in Grand Cayman. The only drawback to the port is that the ships can not dock and passengers much take tenders to the port. If you are taking a cruise to Grand Cayman and looking for something to do while in port, here are a few suggestions for you to consider.
The Stingray City Sandbar is the most popular attraction in the Caymans. This unique experience begins with a short boat ride out to a shallow sandbar.
As you disembark the boat and stand in 3-4 feet of water, you will soon be surrounded by as many as two dozen wild, yet friendly stingrays. You will have the chance to hand feed the stingrays and have you photo taken with them. A trip to Stingray City is really a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget.
7 Mile Beach
If you are looking for a beautiful beach to swim, relax, or lay out and work on your tan, 7 Mile Beach is the perfect place. The beach is only a 10 minute, $5 cab ride (per person each way) from the port.
7 Mile Beach has been rated as one of the top white sand beaches in the world and offers something for everyone. There are water sports, bars and restaurants, bathroom/changing facilities, and umbrella/chair rentals. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing day at 7 Mile, just take a short 10 minute walk away from the main beach.
It is worth noting that this beach can get crowded when there are 4-5 cruise ships in port.
The turtle farm is a family favorite stop when in Grand Cayman. The farm has hundreds of sea turtles in various sizes, some up to 500 pounds. One of the most popular attractions at the turtle farm is the touch tanks. These tanks contain yearling turtles that you can touch and pick up for great photo opportunities. You can even step into the touch pools for a close up encounter with the turtles.
There is also a lagoon for snorkeling with the turtles, a Caribbean aviary, the largest swimming pool in the Cayman Islands, and a nature trail.
Grand Cayman offers world class shopping with a good variety of stores to choose from. Most of the stores are a short walk from the port.
Del Sol, Cariloha, Tortuga, Tanzanite International, Diamonds International, and other common cruise port stores can be found here.
One really nice thing about shopping in Grand Cayman is that the store owners are not pushy at all. You can walk around and by stores and not be pressured into buying something. It is nothing like Cozumel or Ocho Rios where you get hounded every 5 feet. I found that the locals are very kind and courteous.
One of the most popular places in the shopping area is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. There is also a great little coffee shop that offers free wifi (with a beverage purchase). The picture above was taken at one of the tables outside the shop. There are a number of restaurants with great views of the cruise ships in port all within a 10 minute walk. Just take a left after exiting the port area and follow the road along the water.
Things You Can Skip
On virtually every island tour, they will take you to a “Rum Factory” and a place called Hell. Both are pretty much pointless and are tourist traps. The “Rum Factory” isn’t a factory at all, it is just a gift shop. I’m assuming they don’t change the name because otherwise no one would want to go there. If you have the opportunity to skip this, definitely skip it.
Hell is a small area of lava rocks, with a couple of gift shops. There is also a post office there where you can send a postcard to someone back home. Don’t go out of your way to stop here. If it is part of an island tour, then it is worth about a 2 minute stop.