Grand Cayman Island is the largest and most developed, and its best-known spot is Seven Mile Beach, where the main sources of entertainment are the sun, surf, and one's own companion.
Whereas many countries in the Caribbean suffer from terrible poverty, with the Caymans' hundreds of banks and more than 31,000 registered companies, this nation enjoys the highest standard of living in the region. Caymanians are also ecologically aware; their National Trust's Land Reserves Fund is dedicated to purchasing and protecting specific areas.
And if you want to visit the world's only sea turtle farm, this is where you'll find it. Cayman Turtle Farm is a tourist attraction that also breeds and releases green sea turtles into the wild.
Watersports and Outdoor Fun
Widely known for diving, the three islands are actually the visible limestone peaks of a submerged mountain range more than four miles deep at its deepest point.
The main attraction is the magical underwater kingdom of coral reefs that ring these islands like a necklace.
Extremely popular with both snorkelers and scuba divers, the warm waters around Grand Cayman are home to some 200 underwater sites where exotic and colorful tropical creatures dart out from behind rocks and sunken ships.
Visibility extends to 150 feet in some spots. Scuba instruction and certification is available at all levels, from a basic resort course through Master Scuba Instructor level. And when you're ready to head out, Captain Crosby can take you on a full or half day snorkeling or diving trip, which includes a seafood lunch on the boat or on the beach.
At Sting Ray City, tourists swim with the otherworldly creatures. Windsurfing, wave running, water-skiing, and parasailing challenge one's balance and skill. Deep-sea fishing and sailing expeditions can be arranged.
Some prefer to submerge to a depth of 100-150' feet without getting their feet wet in the Atlantis Submarine; the sub trips above the reefs and visitors view tropical fish in their habitat.
On land, tennis and golfing on Scottish-style links engage visitors. Birdwatching and hiking are popular pastimes at locations including Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park , the Booby Pond Nature Reserve, and the two-century-old Mastic Trail, which traverses the island's mangrove swamp, palm-filled savannah, and rocky outcroppings.
On Cayman Brac visitors can take a self-guided tour through ancient caves: Legend has it that treasures belonging to Blackbeard and fellow buccaneers are buried here.
Spend a day taking a walking tour of George Town, the capital, to view historic sites and browse duty-free merchandise.At the National Museum, a multimedia presentation, "Founded Upon the Seas" runs every thirty minutes, presenting a brief overview of the Caymans' history and culture. Pedro St. James is the birthplace of the country's democracy and has recently reopened after an extensive restoration.
Make a Picture Perfect
Thanks to their calm waters, healthy coral reefs, and extensive visibility, the Cayman Islands have become a prime destination for underwater photographers. To hone your picture-taking skills, you can take a short beginner or advanced class at Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Centre (345-949-7415) at the Sunset House Hotel. It's the Caribbean's oldest photography school, and the place to learn how to best capture underwater wrecks, flora, the limestone peaks of a submerged mountain range, and the otherworldly creatures at Stingray City. Divers and snorkelers can rent underwater cameras and video equipment there.