Answers from Our Experts (2)
It’s easy to see the best of the Cayman Islands in one day. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest starting the morning at Seven Mile Beach, where you can take on water sports like jet skiing. Or, if you’re into snorkeling, rent some goggles and fins and explore the ocean. After the beach, head to George Town for some shopping, and then take a lunch or cocktail break at one of the many restaurants lining the streets there. In the evening, have a fine-dinning meal at Blue by Eric Ripert in The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman and then head to the trendy Tiki Beach for some seaside cocktails.
Discovering the Cayman Islands in their entirety can be tough in just 24 hours, but it’s enough time to explore some of the best Grand Cayman (the largest of the three sister islands) has to offer. There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing to tackle the island in just one day: It’s going to be a lot of eating, plenty of beach time and the majority of the day will be in the sun. The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a half-day boat tour to Stingray City through Cayman Private Charters — I suggest doing this as soon as you know you’ll be visiting.
Now, to begin your jam-packed day, wake up early and head to The Waterfront for breakfast. It’s one of the newer restaurants on the island and it filled Grand Cayman’s diner void. Make sure you order one of the gigantic cinnamon buns — it’s literally the size of a bread plate. After breakfast, you won’t have to walk far because the boat will pick you up at Camana Bay’s marina, which is about 100 yards from The Waterfront.
Your half-day tour (request Steven Stewart as your captain — more on him in a minute) will show you the best of what the turquoise Caribbean Sea has to offer. The first stop is Stingray City, a sandbar protected by a coral reef that’s home to tons of (very tame) stingrays. They will actually swarm arriving boats, knowing that tourists are about to feed them. These giant rays swim up to you and rub against you as if they’re cats — it’s a rather odd feeling at first, but you get used to it. Depending on what you want to do next, you could either head to Starfish Beach (yes, there are plenty of starfish there), snorkel at Coral Garden or grab a Mudslide at Rum Point. But if you’re lucky (and a good planner), captain Steven will dive for some conch and whip up fresh ceviche on board; but only during conch season, which is between November and April.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of aquatics and stingrays, head back to Camana Bay. If you weren’t treated to ceviche on board, make your way to Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink on Camana Bay’s “restaurant row.” Chef Thomas Tennant is a big supporter of the lionfish crusade. These tiny fish (according to the chef, a big one is only about a foot) invaded the Caribbean and Atlantic, and eat baby fish such as grouper. They’re covered with poisonous spikes, so it’s really dangerous to catch (you need a spear gun), but they’re delicious. If Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has anything with lionfish on the menu, order it.
After lunch, it’s time to lounge on the beach — Seven Mile Beach, that is. No matter where you’re staying (though I highly suggest The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, if only for its beach setup), you’ll enjoy plush lounge chairs and tons of sun. The white sand is absolutely irresistible.
Head back to your hotel room and freshen up before dinner. You’re finishing of your busy day with a very rewarding dinner. Blue by Eric Ripert, located at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is one of the finest restaurants on the island. You’ll indulge in several courses of decadent seafood. And if you really want to celebrate, tack on the wine pairings.