Grand Cayman is mainly know for the offshore banking and diving. According to local guidebooks, it is a fourth largest banking center in the world. The money has very positive side effect - Cayman has some of the best accomodations, restaurants and shopping to be found in the Carribean. Of course it does not hurt that it has one of the most beatiful beaches and the best diving either. It all comes with the price - Cayman is a british overseas territory, and as such comes with high taxes and "nickel and diming" so common to any british tourist destination. However, overall it is one of the most beatiful, safest and most convenient destinations to be found in Carribean.
Traveling to Cayman
By air: Grand Cayman airport (code:GCM) is large enough to accept all major jets, with flight time under 3 hours from two major US gateways: Houston and Miami. Grand Cayman is served mostly by American Airlines, Continental and Cayman Airways
The best mode of transport within Grand Cayman is rental car, with possibility of getting by without one if staying within hotel zone of Seven Mile Beach. You also have to buy Grand Cayman driving permit, or get AAA international driving permit.
Car rental pointers:
- Note closely any scratches and dents BEFORE leaving the rental lot. Even better, take a picture.
- Drive on the left - it is surprisingly easy to get used to it. However, beware of the traffic in 7 Mile beach area during usual commute times.
- Credit cards are accepted at most establishments
- English is a spoken language.
- Expect to pay $20-$30/plate during lunch at any of the island restaurants, and $60-80/plate for dinner.
Most of the dive sites are just off 7 Mile Beach. The visibility is outstanding, with 100 feet + being the norm. Most of the dive companies on the island will pick you up on the ebach by your hotel, and drop you off at your door step afterwards. Look for dive shops such Divers Down or Neptune Divers which limit group sizes to less than 10 to truly experience diving the way it was meant to be. Another great option is shore diving, found in northern part of 7 MIle Beach by the Turtle Farm.
Best time to visit is the end of March through middle of May, once the wave action on 7 Mile Beach has subsided. Grand Cayman Island gets constant trade winds from the east, Which translates into anything from breeze to stiff wind on any of the east facing beaches most of the time. The north-west facing beaches get a breeze coming over the island as well. Of course there is a possibility of hurricane, so keep your eyes open before traveling.