Grand Cayman, shaped like a giant claw "pinching" the North Sound, is the largest of the three islands in the Cayman Islands, a rich territory of the U.K. George Town, at the southwest "knuckle" of Grand Cayman, is the capital of the Cayman Islands and its largest city. Grand Cayman's Seven Mile beach, on the west coast north of George Town, is one of the finest beaches in the world.
Since 1972 the Cayman Islands has its own currency, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1.00 equals US$1.25. Or, the US dollar equals CI $.80.
Owen Roberts International Airport (IATA : GCM) (ICAO : MWCR), Airport information: 345-949-5252 or +1 345 949-7811, Flight information: 345-949-7811. Located 2.5 km (1.5 mi) east of George Town. The airport has one runway and one terminal. Taxis are easily available with fixed rates to all island areas. Hotels are not allowed courtesy shuttles. They are planning to expand the airport. So far all they have improved is the parking lot. Note that it can take an hour to get through security and Immigration even though the part of the line you see from outside looks short. Taxis to the Seven Mile Beach hotels are $19.75. To save money you could take the taxis to the George Town bus depot and ride Bus 1 or 2 (they will guide you to the correct bus) for $2.50 per person. They are the same Toyota vans.
Cruise ships anchor offshore and tender passengers to the harbor dock by downtown George Town. George Town is a very popular port of call and is included by many cruise lines in "Western Caribbean" itineraries.
There is a small walkable area of shops around the George Town harbor. Seven Mile beach is not within walking distance of the harbor cruise docks.
Taxis are available at the cruise ship docks in downtown George Town, and at all resorts.
Grand Cayman Public Bus Transport, Edward St. next to the library, Georgetown, Phone: 945-5100. Licensed buses are identified by blue licence plates. Daily service starts at 6AM from the depot and the schedule is as follows from George Town to:
West Bay - every 15 minutes, Su-Th 6AM-11PM; F,Sa 6AM-12AM. CI$1.50 each way.
Bodden Town - Every 30 minutes, Su-Th 6AM-11PM; F,Sa 6AM-12AM. CI$1.50 each way.
East End and North Side - Every hour, Daily 6AM-9PM, (F until after 12AM). CI$2 each way.
The system uses color-coded logos on the front and rear of buses (white mini0-vans) to identify routes:
Route 1 (yellow) George Town to West Bay.
Route 2 (lime green) George Town to West Bay.
Route 3 (blue) provides service between the depot in George Town and Bodden Town.
Route 4 (purple) operates between the depot and East End.
Route 5 (red) goes from the depot to East End and North Side.
Route 6 (dark green) operates from North Side to West Bay.
Route 7 (dark green with white numbers) is an inter-district service for George Town.
Route 8 (orange) runs from the depot to Hutland in North Side.
Car rentals are readily available. You must be 21 years old to rent a car. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and seatbelt use is mandatory. Visitors must get a temporary driver's license from the police station or car rental agency. This is obtained by showing a valid drivers license from their home state, county or parish and paying a US$7.50 fee.
Mopeds and scooter rentals are available on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Helmet use is required. Usual daily rate is US$25 for helmet and permit.
The first three below are within walking distance in George Town.
Cayman Maritime Treasure Museum, North Church St., George Town. Boat building, turtling and pirates. $5/$3.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, North Side. Phone: 345-947-3558, Fax: 345-947-7873, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, . Daily 9AM-6:60PM. Much to see here with a visitor center, short walking trail, endemic blue iguanas, a 1900 era Cayman farmhouse and sand garden. Adults $6, age 6-12 $3.50.
Boatswain's Beach, 825 Northwest Point Road, West Bay. Phone: 345-949-3894, Fax: 345-949-1387, . Over fourteen thousand turtles from the tiniest to over 600 pounds. Visitors are allowed to pick up turtles from some of the hexagonal pools. Turtle Farm Tour: Adults US$18, age 4-12 US$9.
Pedro St. James Castle, Savannah. Phone: 345-947-3329. This 1780 stone structure, surrounded by a preserve has hourly multimedia shows.
Hell, West Bay. This is a common tour stop, often shrugged at by those who go there. It consists of black volcanic rock formations that are thought to resemble what Hell might be like. You can get postcards postmarked there, and there are a couple of gift shops selling all the Hell themed souvenirs imaginable.
Cemetery Beach, Seven Mile Beach. This is the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, beautiful spot with snorkeling right off shore. Access is off the road through a small path. Next to a small island cemetery, hence the name.
The island's most famous excursion is to Stingray City where boatloads of tourists debark at nearby Stingray Sandbar and squeal nervously while adjusting to the presence of large rays which they can feed and "pet" while snorkeling in waist-deep water. Once fed, the rays will placidly let you do just about anything to them, including being lifted up to pose for photos while jetting water out of their mouths.
Nautilus Undersea Tours, 2 state-of-art air-conditioned 80 ft semi-submersible vessels take you on tour of shipwrecks and reefs offshore in Georgetown. Snorkling is also available. Launch from Rackmans Pub. Short walk from Cruise ship docks. http://www.nautilus.ky .
'"Boatswain’s Beach", formerly the Cayman Turtle Farm, is a 24-acre marine park. The world’s only commercial Green Sea Turtle farm, it is home to over 16,000 sea turtles, ranging in size from six ounces to six hundred pounds and now even houses an alligator. Boatswain’s Beach features a 1.3 Million Gallon Saltwater Snorkel Lagoon where visitors can swim with turtles and other marine life; a Predator Tank (viewable by snorkelers); an Aviary and Iguana sanctuary; a Nature Trail and “Blue Hole” Sunken Cave, turtle farm tours with full access around the breeding ponds; Caymanian Heritage Street with porch-side artisans and crafts and restaurants featuring classic and contemporary Caymanian cuisine; and a state of the art research and educational facility focusing on the conservation of sea turtles. $12.00
Silver Thatch Excursions, Phone: 345-945-6588. Eco-tourism award winning biologist Geddes Hislop. Walking tours, either eco tours to the rainforest or historical tours.
Blackbeard's Nancy, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 349-949-8988. This replica schooner offers a variety of options including a dinner cruise.
Liz's Awesome Fun Bay, North Side, Toll Free: 1-800-945-7884, fax: 345-945-6875
Batabano, the Grand Cayman carnival occurs near the end of April or early May. Batabano is a weekend of live steelband music, revelers parading the streets in colorful costumes, and eating exotic foods. Cayman Brac holds a celebration called "Brachanal" the next Saturday after Grand Cayman's.
Pirates Week Festival, George Town with events country-wide, Tel: 345-949-5859, Fax: 345-949-5449, . Mid-November (2008: November 6 - 16). Fireworks, "pirate landings", street dancing, heritage day events in Cayman towns, more.
Any restaurant food can be expensive on Grand Caymen, even for fast-food.
Bacchus Restaurant & Wine Bar, Fort Street, George Town, (across from Senor Frogs), Phone: 345-949-5747. Contemporary International, Menu changes daily. Great dishes- Lobster bisque in cognac cream and lobster quesadillas. Excellent Service. $10-29
Chicken! Chicken!, West Shore Centre, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-2290. Slow roasted and inexpensive.
CIMBOCO - a Caribbean Cafe, Seven Mile Beach (next to the Marquee Cinema), Phone: 345-94-PASTA (947-2782), . Ecclectic, Caribbean Cafe with Exhibition Kitchen; reasonably priced, local spot, all from scratch.
Corita's Copper Kettle 1 & 2, 949-2696 or 945-8552, Edward St or 32 Town Hall Rd West Bay, Reasonably priced, tasty Caymanese food by the friendly Corita Mendoza. Recommend the turtle stew.
Hemingway's, Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-5700. Outdoor fine dining. $20-$30.
Lone Star Bar & Grill, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-5175. Tex-Mex, burgers and steaks. $17-$28.
Portofino's, East End by the ocean, Phone: 345-947-2700. Beautiful site, view of the famous "Wreck of the Ten Ships", casual, friendly family atmosphere. Cayman style cuisine: jerk chicken, excellent fish, mixed drinks. $4.50-$28.
Neptune's, Trafalgar Place, West Bay Rd., West Bay, Phone: 345-946-8709. Great food and not overly fancy. $10-$30.
Reef Grill at Royal Palms, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-6358. Indoor and outdoor dining. Great views of Seven Mile Beach and great seafood dishes. $20-$30.
Pirates Den Pub & Restaurant, Galleria Plaza, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-7144. English pub type. Good place to kick back and watch sports.
Billy Bones, West Bay Rd, Treasure Island Resort, Phone: 345-943-BONE (2663). Cayman's most exciting and relaxing outdoor bars. Dine surrounded by palm trees with the sound of a cascading waterfall in the background.
Legendz, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-945-1950. Extremely popular, busy sportsbar with a variety of entertainment.
Fidel Murphy's Irish Pub, Queens Court, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-949-5189. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the only traditional Irish pub in the Cayman Islands.
Sapphire Lounge Seven Mile Shops, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-946-3496. The only true martini lounge on the Island. Try any one of the 130 unique creations of martinis or any one of the 225 cocktails.
O Bar, Queens Court, 2nd floor, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-943-6227. Open earlier than many other clubs, the O attracts a young, trendy crowd.
Next Level, West Bay Rd, Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 345-946-6398. Very popular nightclub on the island.
Corner Pocket, Allista Towers, 2nd floor, George Town, Phone: 345-946-8080. One of the few billiard halls.
Lodging is expensive on Grand Cayman.
Aqua Bay Club Ocean Front Condos on Seven Mile Beach , Toll Free: 1 800 825-8703, Toll Free: 1 800 825-8703, West Bay Rd., Seven Mile Beach, A Grand Cayman condo destination located alongside world famous Seven Mile Beach. The perfect Cayman Islands vacation getaway that offers 21 luxurious oceanfront apartments, all surrounded by unspoiled Cayman beauty and tranquility. Enjoy diving, snorkelling, golf, and shopping, all just minutes away in George Town, Grand Cayman. Enjoy the best the Caribbean has to offer at Aqua Bay Club.
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, 389 West Bay RD., Seven Mile Beach, Phone: 800-223-6388 Centrally located on the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, Marriott's Grand Cayman Resort invites you to experience the ultimate Caribbean escape, your home away from home. The Cayman Islands is known for its luxurious lifestyle and Caribbean charm and this Marriott Grand Cayman Hotel is renowned for its superior service.
Reef Resort, Toll Free: 1 (888) 232.0541, Toll Free: 1 (888) 232.0541, 1 Queens Highway, East End, Colliers Bay, Grand Cayman, A Grand Cayman all beachfront luxury resort located on an exquisite quiet side of the island. This boutique resort is perfect for its watersports, diving, world class snorkelling, pool facilities and its private patio views. http://www.thereef.com
Caymanite is the Cayman Islands' own semi-precious stone. It is a very hard stone which varies across the earth colors. Available at most jewelers. Black coral is also a Cayman jewelry staple.
Farmer's Market Cooperative, Thomas Russell Way. Local produce, jams, sauces.
Seven Mile Beach (not a district)
West End (also called West Bay)
Day trips to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac are possible.
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