From sunrise bike tours and conservationist nature trails to night kayaking through glowing bioluminescent waters, here’s how you can make the most of your stay in the Cayman Islands without damaging the environment.
In recent years there has been a shift towards ecotourism on this ecological wonderland, where you can relax and feel the island vibe while reconnecting with nature. Here are the ten best eco-friendly activities on the Cayman Islands to enjoy the diverse wildlife and scenery.
Take a guided walking tour through a lush tropical forest leading you to the entrance of Cayman Crystal Caves. Taking over a million years to form, these stunning caves are filled with spectacular formations of stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures. Pirates once used them for hideouts, and now you can marvel at their incredible natural beauty. Make sure you wear good walking shoes as the cave floors can be slippery.
Perfect for first-timers, most dive sites are a short ride from shore. Popular dives on Cayman Brac include the USS Kittiwake, Jackson’s Bight, and East Shoot where you’ll see everything from wrecks to vibrant reefs teeming with colorful schools of fish. More thrill-seeking divers should opt for a wall dive in deeper water where the sharks are. But with more than fifty dive sites around the island, there’s a dive for every level.
You’ll get Grand Cayman all to yourself with a dawn patrol sunrise bike ride. For independent rides, rent a bike from your hotel or Cycle Cayman’s West Bay Loop, or you can opt for a guided tour with ECO Rides Cayman. Either way, you’ll discover pristine beaches, fishing villages, blowholes, and even a bird sanctuary. If you’re not an early riser, you can also explore the island at sunset when the sky lights up with gorgeous hues of orange and pink.
Some of the most beautiful places to visit in Grand Cayman are only reachable by boat. A stunning offshore sandbar where you swim with stingrays is one such place. Red Sail Sports offers a luxury sailing catamaran cruise where an eco-guide enters the water with you to make the experience safe for both you and the stingrays. After witnessing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, sail back to harbor on a tropical breeze and catch the sunset.
Perfect for families and foodies alike, this market gives you the opportunity to sample a selection of fresh island fruits and produce as well as specialty foods like pepper jam, homemade skincare, crafts, and flowers. Drink fresh coconut water straight from the shell as you dance to traditional live music. You can also join in with a crab race and buy some local art to take home as a souvenir. The Camana Bay Farmers and Artisans Market puts you in touch with the vibrant local scene on Grand Cayman.
If you’re looking for a magical evening under the stars, a guided Bioluminescent Tour with Cayman Kayaks takes you to the famous ‘Bio Bay’ where the show begins. Dip your paddle into the water and watch it light up in glowing streaks. Perfect for all ages and families, it’s a thrill to witness the phenomenon of bioluminescence. If the guide deems it safe (just watch out for jellyfish) you can even swim in the bay and watch the water glimmer all around you.
Get a warm welcome to Cayman Brac with a guided tour island. You’ll discover the best snorkel spots, explore ancient caves, visit Lighthouse Point, stop at the best fish joints and soak up the local vibe. Bird-watching enthusiasts will learn where to see more than two hundred resident species as you drive along the famous Brac bluff.
SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding) isn’t as hard as it may sound, and the calm water of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach is perfect for first-timers . If you fall off, no problem, simply cool off in the turquoise blue waters, get up, and try again. Most hotels offer SUP rentals at their sports hut and there are quite a few board rental shacks around the island. Once you’re feeling confident on the board, you can even test your balance on the water in activities such as a SUP yoga class.
Surrounding the Cayman Islands are colorful reefs alive with tropical fish. Cayman Brac has wonderful snorkel spots just offshore such as Radar Reef and Buccaneer Beach, and for a change of scenery throughout your stay visit Little Cayman’s beautiful Jackson’s point. Avid snorkelers should be sure to jump on board an afternoon diver boat, as the dives later in the day are generally shallower and you can enjoy views of the reef from the surface.
These recommendations were updated on August 16, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.