Just south of Miami in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands offers luxury and escapism in a tranquil island paradise. But the islands are best enjoyed like a local, where you can go off the beaten track to enjoy regional dishes, quiet coves and community festivals. Here’s how to get started.
The Cayman Islands has a long-standing tradition of Sunday brunch, where locals become social butterflies. Seven, at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, delivers an elegant buffet of fresh sushi, grilled steak and upscale twists on breakfast favorites with bottomless glasses of Veuve Cliquot. Or head to Cayman Brac, where the casual-chic Lemon Bar & Restaurant serves farm-to-table fresh dishes. In Little Cayman, folks gather at Pirates Point Resort for local scratch kitchen favorites – and Camana Bay’s Jessie’s Juice Bar in Grand Cayman is popular with the health-conscious crowd for its delicious and inventive vegan recipes.
Small but mighty, Little Cayman puts on an impressive Mardi Gras float parade and masquerade after-party with dinner and dancing. Traditionally held the last Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the parade sees the community band together to make colorful and humorous floats and costumes to win the coveted first place for the year’s unique theme. Locals come from all over the Cayman Islands to join the fun and celebrate with the Mardi Gras King and Queen. Dance along with the lighthearted float parade while talented musicians play Caymanian calypso tunes.
The highlight of the Caribbean’s culinary calendar, Cayman Cookout, hosted by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, celebrates five epic days of mouthwatering pleasure; guests will find themselves elbow-to-elbow with the world’s most illustrious chefs and master mixologists. Barefoot elegance is the vibe at unforgettable epicurean experiences, interactive demonstrations and the famous Barefoot BBQ where José Andrés and Emeril Lagasse are your grill masters. Another annual culinary treasure is Taste of Cayman at Camana Bay. Thirty years strong, it celebrates the local culinary cultural scene, focusing on diversity and Caymanian flavor.
Discovering a stunning beach that you can enjoy all by yourself is the ultimate island escape. On Grand Cayman, head to Cayman Kai, one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches. Feel the white coral sand squish between your toes, and wade out into clear shallow water, which is perfect for snorkeling. For total seclusion, Owen Island is your best bet. A short 20-minute kayak or paddle from Little Cayman, it’s a place where you can just enjoy the pristine water and blue sky for company. Picnic and relax on its soft sandy shore as you bask in nature and sweet solitude.
This multiple-award-winning beach delights visitors all year long with azure water, soft sand and spectacular sunsets. Stroll barefoot along the shoreline as the glowing red sun lights up the sky. Relax at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s beachside Bar Jack for the perfect view and the bar’s famously creamy piña colada. Or join the hotel’s sunset paddle for epic sunset views over calm turquoise water. After sundown, linger a moment longer as the stars pop in the night sky and the moon rises over the horizon.
Walking distance from Rum Point, the Kaibo Yacht Club delights guests with chic dining. At the beach bar you can indulge in an extensive rare-rum menu or soak in the sun on a lounger as lively tunes provide the perfect background music. For fine dining, head to the club’s restaurant upstairs for unique Caribbean flavors including a six-course surf-and-turf menu created by Michelin-star chef Kyle Jenkins.
Visit the Cayman Islands to relax and enjoy all that this unexpected gem has to offer. Find out more.
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