Cruising to Georgetown, Grand Cayman
One of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean, by all cruise lines, would be the world-famous Grand Cayman Island. The Cayman Islands consist of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. They are a colony belonging to Great Britain. Tourism and banking are the primary economic sources which contribute to the Cayman Islands being a hub for international banking and finance.
It should come as no surprise that shopping in Georgetown, Grand Cayman, is divine; spilling over with jewelry, antiques, and fine art. It is often referred to as the “jewelry capital of the Caribbean”. Even the cruise pier entices guests with the quality of shopping quality and deep-pocket deals.
Due to the shallow waters near the shoreline, cruisers must be tendered over from the cruise ship, most likely to the Royal Watler Pier at Georgetown Harbour.
Grand Cayman’s Stunning Beaches
When you first lay eyes on Seven Mile Beach or feel the powdery coral sand beneath your feet, you will be under Grand Cayman’s spell. No wonder it is a mecca for scuba divers and marine ecologists and a favorite for snorkelers. The beach has miles of coral reefs and vivid underwater colors.
Rather than pay for a cruise excursion to take you to the Seven Mile Beach, consider hailing a taxi, which will be located in front of the pier. Once there, you can rent jet-skis, kayaks, umbrellas, have drinks, eat lunch, or book other water sports. Make sure to bring plenty of money, Grand Cayman is pricey.
If you do not like crowds, Grand Cayman may not be an enjoyable port for you. Often there can be up to five ships docked on any given day. The tiny sidewalks in Georgetown can get highly congested, making it very difficult for walking. At the very least, opt for getting off the boat, tendering over, and strolling the cruise terminal.
Enjoy the steel drum musicians as they play island tunes to welcome you to their beautiful country. Explore the Elmslie Memorial Church or visit the Cayman Islands National Museum, which is only a short walk away. Paradise Restaurant, on the waterfront, is a great place to eat overpriced food and suck up the free WIFI. If you wish to snorkel, beach access is $5 from that location where they also rent masks, fins, and other necessities. I recommend wearing or bringing water shoes.
Star Appeal in Grand Cayman
Special things to shop for in the Cayman Islands are black corals, diamonds, and luxury watches. Often the jewelry stores will have a discount on specialized brands, such as David Yurman and John Hardy. Perfumes are notably discounted as well. Guy Harvey, a marine wildlife artist, and conservationist has a shop near the pier and at times, he is in his store. We got lucky and were able to meet him on one visit to Grand Cayman.
A great souvenir to take home is the Cayman’s moist and tasty rum cake; my favorite being the original golden cake flavor.
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Resort is one of the most popular places to visit on the island. The resort offers a swim-up bar, and no matter the time of day, there will always be some kind of dance or drinking contest taking place. Guests can win t-shirts and free drinks just for participating. Unless you are on a land trip in the Cayman Islands, I would say skip the average-tasting, expensive food.
A Random Visit To Hell
Have you ever wanted to go to hell? Probably not, but just for the fun of it, how about a visit to the town of its namesake. Hell, a cheesy little town in Grand Cayman is where sending quintessential postcards and pictures of being in “Hell” are all the rage. Jagged limestone formations resembling flames jut up from the ground. Hell is located a short drive from Georgetown. This is a must for the first time visitor.
The Natural Side of Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman has an exuberant number of iguanas and is famous for the endangered blue iguanas. Birdwatching is a big draw on the island where colorful parrots are plentiful. Many excursions bring guests to the Cayman Turtle Farm, home to 16,000 turtles that is used as a breeding ground and for research. Petting and taking pictures with the turtles come along with the fun.
“Swim with a dolphin” is another great crowd pleaser and though I have not done it, we were able to visit the facility and see it action. This is an expensive activity and from what I saw, it seems you get to swim back and forth, maybe twice, holding on to the dolphin, and pet them. Everyone seems to love it though, so maybe sometime I will add to my list. The vibrant flowers and succulents on Grand Cayman Islands must be photographed.
Grand Cayman Island Fun Facts:
FYI: I was at Grand Cayman with some friends who had all been there before. We ended up hiring a tour guide at the taxi stand, Frenchy, who took us to all the sites. We got a behind the scenes, so to speak, tasting tour at the Rum Factory and Rum Cake Factory, and to watch the Swim with a Dolphin, and other tourist places. We had our guide drop us off at Seven Mile Beach, then paid for a taxi back to the pier at the end of the day. This was a huge saving and we could write our own itinerary; plus Frenchy was a blast!
FYI: The Cayman Island flag pairs British Union Jack with the Cayman Islands crest against a dark blue flag.
TIP: Cuban cigars are popular here so treat yourself and take one back to enjoy on the cruise ship.
Grand Cayman Island Photo Gallery
Check out our other tropical destination posts:
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos