Part of an underwater mountain range between Cuba and Belize, the Cayman Islands are three perfect little slices of the Caribbean just one hour's flight away from Miami. Famous for tropical weather, top beach resorts and superb diving as well as excellent sport fishing and fascinating wildlife, the Caymans make the perfect holiday destination.
Flights to Cayman Islands depart from London Heathrow airport, and typically take about 12 hours, flying into Grand Cayman via Nassau in the Bahamas. Which airport you arrive at depends on which island you are visiting. Owen Roberts International Airport is Grand Cayman’s airport, while Charles Kirkconnell International Airport serves Cayman Brac, and Edward Bodden Airfield is in Little Cayman.
The three islands
Of the three islands, Grand Cayman is the largest and busiest, with George Town as its capital. With its intriguing mix of traditional wooden buildings and upmarket shopping malls, in George Town you can relax on the seven-mile stretch of white sand beach and sip cocktails or head east and explore the quieter side of the island. Pirate Caves in Bodden Town is a great little spot, where the kids can explore old caves in which pirates hid their loot, or get up close with stingrays in the mini marine zoo. There are plenty of other attractions too, from boozy rum tours to fascinating museums, diving with rays to strolling around botanical gardens. Of the two smaller islands, Cayman Brac boasts the most unspoilt beaches and best deep-sea sport fishing. Little Cayman is known the world over for spectacular coral reefs and world-class dive spots including Bloody Bay Wall, a 6,000-foot deep underwater cliff, literally covered in coral. A sand bar off of the smaller islands is home to one of the world's largest stingray colonies. Little Cayman is also home to the largest red-footed booby population in the Caribbean, as well as the endangered hawksbill turtle and lesser Caymans iguana, both of which are now protected.
You cannot find better diving in the Caribbean than in the Cayman Islands. There are shoals and shoals of all manner of fish, from silent sharks and giant stingray, to colourful coral reef fish seemingly right out of Finding Nemo. There are night dives, reef dives, wall dives and wreck dives, and one of the best wrecks is the USS Kittiwake, which was sunk off the coast of Grand Cayman in 2011 with the express purpose of becoming a reef site and dive wreck.
Food and drink
There is a great selection of bars and restaurants throughout all three Cayman Islands, many of which feature live reggae music by local artists. Many establishments specialise in shrimp and lobster as well as delicious jerk chicken and pork. More traditional Cayman food includes dishes made with turtle meat, conch stew, Cayman-style beef and an old-fashioned fish fry. Those with a sweet tooth should try cassava cake, made with coconut and cassava, a root shrub found in South America.