Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands, and packed with opportunities for fun as a port of call on your Caribbean cruise.
RELATED: Grand Cayman Tips and Things to Do in Port
One of the top reasons to step ashore on Grand Cayman is the snorkeling. There are multiple locations with gin-clear water to swim up-close-and-personal with marine life. The most popular spots are: Parrot’s Landing, Eden Rock Dive Center, and the shallow reefs close to Paradise Reef bar. Easy access is available at Lobster Pot Dive Centre and the beach at Treasure Island Resort.
For a more controlled experience, take the family to the Turtle Farm Snorkel Lagoon. There’s a 1.3 million gallon saltwater lagoon ‘free swim’ area inside the conservation park. There are 11,000 Green Sea Turtles; a predator tank (no swimming there!); dining opportunities; and educational programs about nature conservancy.
It is said that there are 175 distinct dive sights around Grand Cayman! That could fill a lifetime of tropical submersion lists. There are shallow and deep dive locations; “The World’s Best 12-Foot Dive” at Stingray City in the island’s North Sound; and the latest destination – Kittiwake. She was a Chanticleer Class Submarine Rescue Ship that served 49 years, and was triumphantly sunk to become an artificial reef. There are five decks for beginner and expert divers to share with marine life.
Sand and Sea
A stop at Grand Cayman would be incomplete without a stroll along the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. This horseshoe strip of luxurious sand and sea is public property even though many resorts and restaurants are nearby. George Town is at the southern end, and the Turtle Farm and Kittiwake are near the northern end, with lots of shopping and sights in-between. Stop and enjoy one of those colorful, tingly drinks at a beach bar; picnic under a tree; snorkel just off-shore; apply the sunscreen; and have a grand day on Grand Cayman.
While many of the tropical islands boast a large and colorful family of feathered friends, Grand Cayman has seven bird sanctuaries. This is birder heaven for those of us who take trips just to ‘noc on our life lists! (Bird nerd translation: Spot a new species that has never been seen through our binoculars.) Grab a tour or rent a car/bike and go to Colliers Pond, Salina Reserve, Majestic Reserve, and/or QE II Botanic Park. At the latter destination you will enjoy colonial and Caymanian architecture, a Heritage Garden rich in history, a 2.5-acre Floral Garden, a two-acre lake (great for water birds), and the indigenous Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. Yes, fellow nature lovers, this island is paradise!
Festivals and Celebrations
If your cruise schedule is aligned with the stars, or should we say the tides, you may be in port during one of the many cultural festivals and celebrations. In the Cayman Islands there are many throughout the year including Cocktail Week (Oct.), Pirates Week (Nov.), Cayman Cookout (Jan.), CayMAS Carnival and Batabano (May), Flowers Sea Swim (June), and many more. Check the current calendar and join the fun.
These are just a few highlights for your Caribbean cruise shore excursions on Grand Cayman.
Remember to book ahead when possible.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com