Family holidays to the Cayman Islands

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Cayman Islands – Family holiday guide

Grand Cayman’s the largest in the archipelago of three, followed by far easterly Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in the middle. Whichever you choose, hopping over to explore the others is easy and just one of the adventures which make the Cayman Islands great fun for families.

Why go on holiday in the Cayman Islands

  • The islands are British Overseas Territory and the first language is English.

  • Sunny with temperatures of 27˚ year round, most rain in June, July and August.

  • A three islands archipelago made up of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

  • Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is described as the ‘ultimate Caribbean beach’ and its entire length is public and walkable from end-to-end.

  • The Bloody Bay Wall coral reef on Little Cayman drops for 2000m underwater, making it one of the most spectacular dive sites in the Caribbean.

  • Little Cayman is home to more iguanas than people (human pop: c. 100).

  • Family holiday accommodation on the Cayman Islands includes everything from Ritz Carlton and Wyndham resorts to Marriot and West beach hotels, private villas, self catering apartments and heritage island houses.

Where to go

Grand Cayman

The largest and busiest Cayman Island is still pretty paradise-like and peaceful compared to many in the Caribbean. It’s the most popular choice for families, with big beaches, outstanding coral reef diving, colourful festivals, charming local towns and just about every outdoor activity imaginable. The atmosphere’s lively but there’s a nice balance of warm, island character too, so it’s a good all-rounder for older kids, teenagers and mixed-age group families.

  • Seven Mile Beach stretches along the entire west coast of Grand Cayman. It’s a spectacular natural feature and overlooked by several of the island’s top resorts.
  • The island capital George Town is good for shopping and historic Bodden Town’s where to experience a more traditional side of Grand Cayman.
  • Spend time on West Bay for famous dive sites, incredible hiking, horse riding on the beach and extraordinary bird and wildlife encounters.
  • Grand Cayman’s secluded North Side is the coast for stunning tropical gardens, gorgeous heritage homes and fabulous Starfish Point Beach.
  • Spend time in the east for an impressively rugged coastline, wildlife-rich wetlands, friendly little hamlets and the nothing-else-quite-like-it delight of real Caymanian cooking.
  • Don’t miss: Stingray City; Grand Cayman Turtle Farm; Cayman Island National Trust guided hikes; Pedro St. James Castle; mangrove kayaking; Atlantis Submarines; Black Pearl Skate Park; snorkelling at Cemetery Beach.
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Little Cayman

The smallest Cayman Island has few human residents and an impressive wildlife population: more iguanas than people. There’s no arguing with its reputation for romance, idyllic honeymoons and weddings, but Little Cayman’s relaxed and beachy vibe works just as well for families and younger kids.

  • Understated opulence and hushed luxury is the tone on Little Cayman and it’s the island for exquisite beachfront bungalows and charming colonial-style family villas overlooking the sea – naturally.
  • Almost perfectly flat, cycling and walking are the way to get around here.
  • Don’t miss: Bloody Bay Wall diving; Booby Pond Nature Reserve; the annual Mardi Gras carnival; kayaking round Owen Island; Point of Sand Beach; island hopping to Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
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Cayman Brac

The far easterly Cayman Island is the most outdoorsy of all, saying a lot in this active area of the Caribbean. A favourite with divers (novice and experienced) there are over 70 pristine and accessible coral reef sites around the coast.

  • Cayman Brac is good for historic guesthouses, family villas, spa resorts and cute, traditional beach houses.
  • 30 minutes by air from Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac is an easy island-hop for diving, rock climbing, caving and deserted beaches.
  • Forty plus marked trails criss-cross the island, graded in order of difficulty from super-easy to serious hikes.
  • The formidable cliffs in the east of Cayman Brac are permanently fitted with titanium climbing bolts.

Don’t miss: free Nature Tours with local guides; Cayman Brac Museum and Heritage House; Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve; Velvety Free-Tailed Bats at dusk; over 200 species of birds.

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What to do

  • Stingray City, Grand Cayman
    One of the island’s best loved attractions and the most rewarding place in the Caribbean to swim with intriguing stingray. Encounters are up close and kids can even feed the curious creatures.
  • Grand Cayman Turtle Farm
    Part highly respected conservation centre and part enormous, interactive aquarium, Grand Cayman Turtle Farm is full-on family adventure – don’t forget to pack swim stuff.
  • Pedro St. James Castle, Grand Cayman
    In the 18th century most Caymanian houses were modest thatched affairs, apart from extravagant Pedro St. James Castle. Take a tour of this grand colonial mansion, it’s packed with eye-watering grandeur and good old-fashioned island legends.
  • Blue Iguana Safari, Grand Cayman
    Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park has been instrumental in re-establishing the Cayman Island’s indigenous Blue Iguana population over the past 25 years. Join one of the thrilling National Trust Safaris, hear the full story and meet the iguanas themselves.
  • Kitesurfing, Grand Cayman
    Romantically named Compass Point on the east end of Grand Cayman has excellent conditions for kitesurfing and the Kitesurf Centre is where to start with lessons for kids and adults, short courses and kitesurfing holidays.
  • L & M Adventure Tours, Cayman Brac
    Take a night tour of Cayman Brac exploring the island’s eerie network of caves, hearing tales of daring and dastardly deeds and finishing up by a bonfire on the beach with traditional Caymanian feasting and more local storytelling.
  • The Flowers Sea Swim, Grand Cayman
    Every year in June, 100s of swimmers aged from eight to eighty take to the warm, Caribbean waters off Seven Mile Beach for the 2km Flowers Sea Swim. It’s fantastic fun for kids, a brilliantly friendly local event and everyone’s welcome to sign up.
  • Booby Pond Nature Reserve, Little Cayman
    Plenty of giggling over the name’s to be expected but protecting this legendary bird is no joke. Booby Pond Nature Reserve is an engaging eco-adventure and a fascinating insight into Little Cayman’s conservation work.
  • Cayman Island Submarines, Grand CaymanCayman Island dive sites are world famous, but scuba isn’t for everyone. Take a submarine cruise and see what lies beneath without getting wet. Wonderful for younger kids and night cruises are a huge hit with teenagers.
  • Cayman Turtle Divers, Grand Cayman
    The Cayman Islands’ dive sites are some of the world’s most thrilling and, naturally, the islands attract highly experienced divers. If kids are keen to learn, there’s no better place to start.

Educational value for kids

  • Take a Paradise Discovered Tour with the National Trust and explore Grand Cayman’s history and natural wonders in the company of a friendly local guide.
  • Spend an afternoon in Bodden Town, the former capital of Grand Cayman and home to several interesting museums including the 18th century Mission House, one of the oldest buildings on the island.
  • Keen snorkelling kids can explore the wreck of The Cali, a four-mast schooner which sank off the west coast of Grand Cayman in 1944 – Rackham’s Restaurant just north of George Town is the best access point.
  • The Mastic Reserve is mysterious, dense and wildlife-rich forest to the east of Grand Cayman, take one of the ranger-guided tours.
  • Visit the lively waterfront town of Camana Bay for farmers’ markets, craft markets, shopping malls and the excellent Starfish Club: a fun and creative kid’s club for under 12s.
  • The Cayman Island’s National Museum is one of the prettiest public buildings on Grand Cayman, the permanent collection’s good fun and there’s a year-round activity programme for kids.
  • The Ritz Carlton on Seven Mile Beach has an innovative kids programme, developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau, which actively engages kids with the Cayman Islands’ unique marine environment.

Getting around with kids in the Cayman Islands

Driving’s the easiest way to explore Grand Cayman and quieter areas like the East End and North Side. There are daily inter-island flights to the Sister Islands, flying time to Cayman Brac is about 30 minutes. Scooters, bikes and boats are best on Little Cayman, the island’s roads are quiet and almost totally flat.

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