The Cayman Islands are one of the Caribbean’s crown jewels. These three picturesque atolls jut up out of the western Caribbean Sea to form a beach tourist’s dream.
While financial services will always be the big player in our island’s economy, the real “bread and butter” lies with the nation’s burgeoning tourism industry.
Cayman’s most precious tourist attraction, and the place where the majority of our visitors spend most of their time here, is the pristine 7 Mile Beach. This is where the majority of our resorts and mega-hotels call home, and many people vacation in Cayman for decades without ever leaving the 7 Mile Corridor. Included in the list of “Ultimate Beaches” by Caribbean Travel and Life, Seven Mile Beach offers pristine white sand and azure water that is largely unrivaled the world over. Unlike many beaches in other locales, the beach up to the high-tide mark is public and can be traversed end to end by anyone that wants to walk it. Also unique is the fact that accommodations can be had at most budgets – as there exists an array of lodging options (and more on the way!).
Perhaps our second biggest tourist draw here in Cayman is the world-famous Stingray City. Both mature and juvenile stingrays alike (along with a multitude of other exotic undersea creatures) pass idly by this sandbar near to a robust coral reef. Cruise ship passengers, locals and overnight guests alike take charters and private vessels out to feed the docile animals squid (and sometime some cheese from a can as a special treat).
Another fun thing to do in Cayman is to take a dive on one of the many renowned dive sites that dot our shores. There are two shipwrecks off of Cayman Brac, including the Captain Tibbetts shipwreck. Grand Cayman also has several shipwrecks, perhaps the most famous being the USS Kittiwake. The Kittiwake was purchased by the CI government and sunk to form an artificial reef. Each of the five decks the Kittiwake has is teeming with wildlife and the wreck is recommended as fun for divers of all ages and skill levels.
The islands also boast many other tourist attractions and day trips. One can explore the moonlike barren landscape of Hell (send your friends a postcard), the Cayman Turtle Farm, or explore the vintage car museum. The outlook viewing the wreck of the Ten Sail is also very cool and offers visitors a charming tale of how the Cayman Islands became a tax-free jurisdiction. Of course, we won’t divulge the secret here, as we will leave that to the placard enshrined at the start of the attraction’s entrance. There are also the pirate caves of Bodden Town, the Tortuga Rum factory (grab a fresh patty when you are there- our unofficial national fast food favorite) and the new sprawling Camana Bay complex to visit.
Cayman has something for everyone. Financial services will, at least monetarily, be a huge plus for our tiny nation’s economy and continue to dominate the headlines. But one only has to step foot on our shimmering shores to see that tourism is truly Cayman’s “bread and butter”.