I had never been to the Cayman Islands, and to be honest, it really was never on my list of “must-go” places. However, when direct flights from my hometown Denver became available, the four-hour flight direct to the Caribbean put the destination on my radar with blaring sirens. The first direct access flight to the Caribbean in the history of Denver International Airport, Coloradans can drive more than four hours from Denver and in some cases still not be out of the state. The lure of sun, sand and surf was just the start to this Grand Cayman adventure.

The Beach

There are direct flights from several destinations to Grand Cayman, and one of the most enticing aspects for many is the beach scene. Seven Mile Beach in particular boasts soft, white sands and swimmable shores affording water activities aplenty and sunbathing opportunities galore.

For those seeking a full-day excursion, Rum Point via Red Sail Sports catamaran cruise is just the ticket. With a private portion of the beach, free non-motorized water activities (think snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding) as well as buffet lunch on the beach, an entire day can be enjoyed at Rum Point whether walking the pier, enjoying the beach bars, swimming off the shore or simply enjoying a nap on the reclining lounges.

The Culinary Scene

The culinary scene on Grand Cayman is impressive – offering everything from fine dining to casual island fare. Though I was not adventurous enough to try the sea turtle burger, the Cayman Lemonade cocktails were delicious, as well as the multitude of restaurants and fine dining establishments that I was able to experience.

Blue Cilantro is located near Seven Mile Beach and Chef Shetty’s Indian-inspired cuisine is excellent. White linen service and mouth-watering bites of specialty naan breads warm up the guests for a gastronomic show to follow. Caribbean cuisine touches and eastern spices intertwine for a unique and scrumptious meal.

Located off Camana Bay, Agua Restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner. The chic space is complimented with a refreshing menu. Ceviche, locally caught fish and terra firma entrees can be enjoyed both inside the stunning space or outside via bayside dining deck under bistro lighting and island breezes. An extensive bar menu is a must whether accompanying dinner or enjoying a robust happy hour.

I was not expecting to find contemporary dining with its own kitchen garden and farm-to-fork concept on Grand Cayman, but The Brasserie is the place to go for just that. Utilizing seasonal ingredients and their own deep sea fishing boat, the George Town restaurant is abuzz with locals and visitors alike enjoying the concepts and menus of Chef Dean Max. Don’t miss your opportunity to visit this favorite spot.

Activities For Everyone

For those seeking golf, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman offers a 9-hole course (which can be played through twice if seeking an 18-hole course—from separate tees) right on the water. Open to hotel guests, golf club members, cruise visitors and the public, whether enjoying the indoor Trackman 4 digital driving range or the challenging course adjacent to local mangrove lagoons, golfers from all over the world enjoy this course.

Water activities are in abundance on Grand Cayman, and most of those adventures are accessible through the Red Sail Sports outfitter. Of note: the Swimmin’, Chillin’ and Grillin’ three-hour excursion off Seven Mile Beach where guests sail the coast and enjoy a BBQ grilled lunch from the vantage point of the water is very highly recommended.

Where to stay

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa is a large property located on the pristine white sands of Seven Mile Beach. The large pool and poolside bar, 4-diamond Beach House Restaurant and large lobby hangout are suitable for family travelers, business trips and spring breakers alike.

For a more luxurious stay, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is a large resort boasting both opulent seaside opportunities and a private canal dock, complete with six bars and restaurant dining opportunities, as well as pools overlooking both bodies of water. The spa is an absolute must-experience, and the hotel spans two towers at Seven Mile Beach.

Insider Tips

A popular destination in Grand Cayman is Stingray City, where guests are taken to a sandbar where stingrays gracefully glide in expecting to be fed. An extremely trendy spot when cruise ships are in port, check the ship schedule before booking this activity as when there are several boats crowding the spot, the stingrays actually become skittish and avoid the area. For animal lovers, this may be one to steer clear of, as the wildlife has clearly been domesticated for photo opportunities, human handling, and a diet that is not natural to the rays.

Grand Cayman is an autonomous British Overseas Territory, which means driving is on the left side of the street. In a surprise twist, all electronics are American outlets, however. Be careful if renting a car; taxi and shuttle services are a great alternative for skittish drivers.

Sunday Brunch is its own religion on Grand Cayman; locals attend church and then spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the numerous brunch buffets at the hotels and resorts, complete with bottomless mimosas and Prosecco. Make reservations as these spots fill up quickly, and as with any Oceanside opportunity, a table with a view makes the meal that much better.