The Cayman Islands are well known for two things: their extensive network of banks and a preponderance of iguanas. Often times you can see them together, accountants and financial executives at a Cayman Island restaurant in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, feeding grapes to passing iguanas. The reputation of the Cayman islands as an ultra-modern eden is duly earned. The largest offshore financial center, prosperity has spread throughout the island, which at times seem like a giant resort, never ending. A Cayman Islands vacation, then, is the ultimate in luxury, and a welcome spot for those looking for rest and relaxation.
The Caymans are named after the caiman crocodiles that were once the land's main inhabitants and consist of three separate islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Though the Cayman Islands are technically a British colony, it seems more like America south. Every Cayman Island restaurant specializes in the type of food you might find in any American location – major food and hotel chains dot the island, at once a symbol of familiar comforts but also of corporate encroachment. But the easy-going lifestyle of the Caribbean has certainly infiltrated the Caymans and keeps it from free falling into simple commercialism – especially on the two smaller islands.
Grand Cayman island, by far the most popular of the islands in terms of vacation destination, has a stretch of sand called Seven Mile Beach – here you can find anything you ever dreamed of. For those who want to explore the Caribbean sans motor vehicle, a Cayman Islands vacation is for you. Bike rentals are also popular if you can pull yourself away from the bustle of the main beaches. But the greater percentage of Cayman Islands vacations are centered here, and it's no mystery why – all the main trappings of convenience are here, in a wondrous setting of warm sand and halcyon waves.
The real beauty of these islands, however, is underwater. Diving and snorkeling in Stingray City or Eden's Rock are popular past times, while rock climbers will enjoy the limestone cliffs of Cayman Brac. Spelunkers will also find exploring the caves here to be a welcome addition to the day. Little Cayman's finest attraction is the Bloody Bay Wall, though the entirety is considered by locals and repeat visitors to be the real find of the Caymans. Removed from the swelling crowds of Grand Cayman, the 12 square miles that make up this tiny island are a display of wild vegetation and secluded beaches. Though accommodations are sparsely found, its romantic views and sequestered sands make this a top location for a luxuriant Cayman Island honeymoon.
Top image: j.clark (flickr)