Where the coral atop the Cayman Ridge peeks above the waters of the Western Caribbean, it forms the Cayman Islands, known for spectacular diving and other tropical pastimes. Of the three Cayman Islands – Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac – Grand Cayman is by far the largest, at about 76 square miles.
Grand Cayman is a popular port on many Caribbean cruise itineraries, and many visitors head straight for the island’s famed Seven-Mile Beach (it’s actually about 6 miles long, but that’s plenty). The entire beach is public property, meaning you can stroll the full length without having to avoid any private resort beaches. There are lots of lounge chairs shaded by umbrellas, beachfront bars and restaurants, and water sports vendors – everything you need for a great beach day.
Of course, if you prefer a quieter and more secluded beach, there are several on the western end of the island. If windsurfing is your passion, head the east end for some windsurfing.
Serious SCUBA divers flock to the Cayman Wall, a world-famous dive site. There are lots of opportunities to snorkel, too, including the wreck of a 1940’s schooner, the Cali. You can even try “snuba,” a combination of snorkeling and SCUBA (it uses long hoses attached to air tanks at the surface, rather than strapped to your back).
Lots of visiting families take an excursion to Stingray City, where you can swim with the playful, peaceful stingrays. It’s fascinating to watch stingrays glide through the water; those at Stingray City are accustomed to interacting with humans, and enjoy being hand-fed and petted.
If you like turtles better than stingrays, the Cayman Turtle Farm is a research and breeding center for five types of green sea turtles. If you’re there at the right time, you might see some new hatchlings.
Your day on Grand Cayman can also be a time to go straight to the town of Hell, at the edge of a collection of low, jagged black limestone karst formations. There’s even a red-painted post office where you can send a postcard from Hell.
There’s also some fine shopping in Grand Cayman, including hand-crafted jewelry and salvaged coins.
To find out about more attractions, museums and gardens that you can enjoy on a port call in Grand Cayman – as well as the variety of cruise lines and itineraries that can take you there – talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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