Thought you knew everything you needed to know about the Cayman Islands? We’ve put together a list of 10 things we think everyone should know. Some of which might surprise you.
The Cayman Islands aren’t islands
The Cayman Islands aren’t islands at all, they’re part of a mountain called the Cayman Ridge, which rises more than 7,500m – or the size of a very large mountain in the Himalayas – from the ocean floor. But all three islands are extremely flat. The highest point above sea level is actually the east end of Cayman Brac – and that’s just 46.6m.
Driving is on the left
As the Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Hiring a car is the best way to see the islands as it allows total flexibility and the option to stop off at one of the many secluded beaches. Grand Cayman has one main road looping around the entire island and sign posts are clear and frequent.
You can walk the entire length of Seven Mile Beach
Two metres back from the waterline on Seven Mile Beach is public land so anyone is free to stroll along the pristine white sands. It is also illegal for hawkers to sell their wares, so you can relax in peace. But did you know that this world-famous and award-winning beach isn’t actually seven miles long? Measurements of the stunning stretch of sand put the beach at around five and three-quarter miles in length. The name has stuck nonetheless!
Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean
There are over 200 restaurants on Grand Cayman and eating out is a daily activity. Choose from a local Caymanian café serving cuisine such as conch fritters and fresh seafood or sophisticated French, Italian, Japanese and even Australian cuisine. There are also a number of vegan and gluten-free cafés and restaurants popping up across the islands.
The mudslide cocktail was invented in the Cayman Islands
The Wreck Bar and Grill at Rum Point is reported to be the place where the delicious mudslide cocktail was invented back in the 70s. The story goes that a customer at the bar asked for a White Russian. The barman asked what was in a White Russian, so the customer told him: vodka, Kahlua and cream. The barman didn’t have any real cream but he did have Irish cream, which he used instead and so, the mudslide was born. Click here for the recipe to make it yourself!
You can interact with wild stingrays
Stingray City, a short boat ride from Grand Cayman, is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to swim with hundreds of friendly southern Atlantic stingrays in open water. A fisherman called Captain Marvin Ebanks founded the site (which is in fact a shallow, waist-deep sand bar about a mile out to sea), when he decided to jump in with the rays that came to collect scraps from the fishing nets.
You can experience underwater fairy dust
A secret lagoon on Grand Cayman is one of a handful of places in the world where the phenomenon of ‘bioluminescence’ can be found. Best described as underwater fairy dust, it is caused by a single cell organism reacting with the water which results in a green or blue light, and can be experienced on nights when there is a new moon by kayaking into the lagoon. For more information on the Bio Bay tour, visit www.caymankayaks.com
There is a dive site for every day of the year
The Cayman Islands are widely recognised as the birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean, and a top choice for diving holidays. With more than 40 dive operations and 365 dive sites, people from all over the world choose to dive in the Cayman Islands for the warm, calm waters, 30m+ visibility, stunning reefs and incredible variety of marine life.
Some of the rarest species in the world are found in the Cayman Islands
The varied flora and fauna in the Cayman Islands make the destination a haven for nature-lovers, but Cayman is home to some incredibly rare species; the blue iguana which was saved from almost total extinction by an extensive breeding programme, and the rarest orchid in the world, the endemic Ghost Orchid. The red-footed booby colony on Little Cayman is the largest breeding colony of these birds in the western hemisphere. You might also be interested to know that the only native land mammals of the Cayman Islands are bats. There’s also the buffy flower bat, which is only found in the Caribbean and drinks nectar from flowers like a hummingbird.
Only 197 people live on Little Cayman
At only 10 miles long and one-mile wide, Little Cayman is one of the least developed islands left in the Caribbean. It has just 197 residents but around 2,000 iguanas, all of whom have right of way. Choose from one of just three tiny resorts or a handful of private cottages on the island and get ready for total relaxation.