The Cayman Islands are often associated with offshore banking and diving. But this trio of idyllic islands in the Caribbean has much to offer as a holiday destination. Cayman resident, Christine Lister, reveals all
Name: Christine Lister
Occupation: Primary Teacher
Are you a local girl?
No. I’m originally from Edinburgh but moved to the Cayman Islands when my husband was transferred here for work.
What’s it like to live in the Cayman Islands?
Fantastic! What’s not to like about living in the sun so close to the beach? The lifestyle in the Cayman Islands is great – very relaxing.
What is your favourite thing about the Cayman Islands?
Walking along stunning Seven Mile Beach – truly one of the most beautiful beaches, not only in the Caribbean, but in the world.
Why should we visit the Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands offer an easy introduction to the Caribbean: postcard perfect beaches, world class restaurants, friendly locals and no language barriers – Cayman is a British Overseas Territory (although American in every other aspect).
How long do we, ideally, need?
You can come to Cayman for a week –but that would be just silly! There are no direct flights at present (BA fly to Cayman via Nassau and all other airlines go via the States), so ideally you want a fortnight. This gives you plenty of time to see the sights, meet the stingrays – the Cayman Islands’ most famous residents– and hit the sand.
How can tell you locals apart from tourists?
By the way they dress. Tourists tend to walk around Georgetown, the Cayman capital, in swimwear and sarongs while locals wouldn’t dream of doing so. Quite rightly – you are meant to cover up when not on the beach. Visitors wouldn’t walk around London or LA in beach wear – regardless of the weather – so why do it in Georgetown?
Eats, a quintessential American diner, is a popular spot for a casual meal with friends. The menu features all your American favourites – burgers, bagels and blueberry pancakes – and at purse pleasing prices.
For something more special head to Calypso Grill at Morgan’s Harbour. The restaurant overlooks the shimmering blue sea and is a great spot for Sunday lunch. Don’t pass up the puddings – the sticky toffee pudding is an island legend.
Finally, funds permitting have breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Guests can enjoy a bountiful buffet spread in the light filled dining room or on the terrace overlooking the oceanfront pool. It’s a great, if indulgent, way to start your holiday!
You don’t come to the Cayman Islands for retail therapy (although you can pick up that Rolex you’ve always wanted for a fraction of the price you’d pay back home). Still for all that, there are a few boutiques worth a browse. Try Fossil and Funky Monkey at Governor’s Square or Beach Boutique at Seven Mile Shops for super cool surf threads. Then head to the Haviana store for the most flip flops you have ever seen in such a small space!
Where should we stay?
Seven Mile Beach is where most tourists stay and The Westin, Beach Suites and Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman are all popular accommodation options.
Don’t fancy sharing the sand with tonnes of other tourists? Make for Rum Point or Kaibo in the North Shore where there are plenty of traditional Cayman cottages available to rent.
Any insider tips for our readers?
Ladies – splash the cash (you are on your hols after all) and pamper yourself at Silver Rain, a La Prairie Spa, at the Ritz-Carlton. The spa cost $10 million to build and while treatments aren’t cheap, trust me – you are treated like a princess!
Anything else we should know?
Don’t get stuck on Seven Mile Beach. Sure the sugar white sand is pure heaven but there’s plenty to see and do aside from this global icon. Visit the 65 acre Queen Elizabeth 11 Botanic Park, home to the endangered blue iguana. Another must is to take a boat trip to Stingray City. Here you can join hundreds of black, velvety stingrays feeding and frolicking in the waves. Lastly be sure to spend a day at Rum Point swinging in a hammock with a Cayman Mudslide (the creamy cocktail that Cayman is known for) in hand.
Thanks Christine! For more information on the Cayman Islands visit www.caymanislands.ky