Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands. George Town is the capital city of this British Overseas Territory in the Greater Antilles. You will enjoy exploring the town and the island coastline in this visual sightseeing tour.

Share this
View MAP

1 Tourist District on Harbour Drive in George Town, Grand Cayman

George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands and the tourist center. Most of the bars, restaurants and shops face the waterfront along Harbour Drive. The few historic government buildings are located a block or two away. It will not take long to cover the town on foot. So consider exploring more of what Grand Cayman has to offer. The island is only 22 miles long and four miles wide. It is easy to see and enjoy as part of an excursion package, private tour or taxi ride.

Cardinal Ave & Harbour Drive, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

2 Hog Sty Bay in George Town, Grand Cayman

When Sir Frances Drake landed on the island in 1586, he was delighted to discover an abundance of turtles. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island gained a reputation among ships as an excellent port to replenish supplies including meat. As the turtle population dwindled, the locals satisfied the growing demand by selling hogs. This led to the town’s nickname of the Hogsties and the waterfront became – and still is – the Hog Sty Bay. On the left is the South Terminal and on the right is a portion of the North Terminal.

Cardinal Ave & Harbour Drive, George Town,Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

3 Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in George Town, Grand Cayman

The first line of the chorus, “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville” was released in 1977. The song not only secured Jimmy Buffett’s status as a singer but it launched a successful career as an entrepreneur. His first Margaritaville Café opened in Key West, Florida, in 1985. Now there are over 30 of the restaurants and taverns, mostly in warm climates like this one on Harbour Drive in George Town. He is also involved in retailing, hotels, casinos and other restaurant chains like Cheeseburger in Paradise. I suspect he no longer is searching for his lost shaker of salt.

32 Harbour Drive, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

4 Spanish Attack Mural at Fort George Ruins in George Town, Grand Cayman

At the remnants of Fort George in George Town are three murals of historical events. This one portrays when the Spanish attacked in 1779. Apparently the siege was done against the British in sympathy for the American Revolution. In response, the Caymanians built a seaside, 57 by 38 foot fort in 1790 in order to defend against future attacks. The paintings were created by John Broad in 2012.

Harbour Drive & Fort Street, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

5 Watch Tower at Fort George Ruins in George Town, Grand Cayman

From 1942 until 1945, 42 local residents were recruited into the Jamaica Home Guard to sit in wooden lookout towers 24/7 to watch for German submarines. This replica at Fort George is similar to the 60 foot tower once positioned in a silk tree. Five similar posts were stationed around the island during World War II.

Harbour Drive & Fort Street, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

6 Legislative Assembly Building in George Town, Grand Cayman

In 1670, Spain signed the Treaty of Madrid with England giving the latter ownership of the Caribbean Islands. This gave Jamaica governmental control over the Cayman Islands. In 1962, when Jamaica declared its independence, the Cayman Islands became a British Crown Colony. 19 years later, their status changed to a British Dependent Territory and now they are the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The Queen of the United Kingdom maintains authority but appoints a governor who, along with a premier and 20 legislators, manages the local government. Since 1972, they have meet in this Legislative Assembly building.

33 Fort St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

7 Main Public Library in George Town, Grand Cayman

The public library system was established on the island in 1920. It would be another 20 years before they had this dedicated building. It was designed by a ship builder named Captain Rayal Bodden. This seems obvious when you see the inside ceiling resembles a ship’s wooden hull. This main building also houses the Cayman National Archive. The Grand Caymans are served by four branches.

68 Edward St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

8 Cayman Islands Post Office in George Town, Grand Cayman

Prior to establishing a post office on Grand Cayman in 1889, mail was sent to Jamaica and then delivered by ships. The first Cayman postage stamp was issued in 1901. Early in the 20th century, mail was delivered around the island by horseback carriers. This main post office, called the Government Office Building, was designed and constructed in 1939 by the same architect as the library: Rayal Bodden. The structure also contained a government bank and customs department.

14 Edward St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

9 Peace Memorial and Clock Tower in George Town, Grand Cayman

The third building in Grand Cayman designed by Captain Rayal Bodden is the Town Hall. It is also called the 1919 Peace Memorial, a tribute to Caymanians who lost their lives while serving in World War I. It opened on Armistice Day in 1926. The clock tower was constructed in 1937 in memory of George V, the King of the United Kingdom from 1910 until 1936. It stands near The Heroes Square.

43 Fort St George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

10 Aspiration Monument in George Town, Grand Cayman

This bronze statue of a woman grasping the world in her palm is part of a tribute called Aspiration. It was dedicated in 2009 to Caymanian women who have accomplished great things through their strength and determination. It also lists the names of over 350 women who signed a petition in 1957 for equality in voting. Hopefully, the monument also serves as an inspiration for younger women.

Edward St & Fort St George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

11 Emancipation of Slavery Panel from Wall of History in George Town, Grand Cayman

Beginning in the mid-18th century, many people were imported for slavery from Africa to George Town. By the turn of the century, about half of the island’s residents were slaves until it was abolished in 1833. This painting by artist John Broad is called the Emancipation of Slavery. It is one panel of the Wall of History along the Courthouse wall celebrating Cayman Islands’ events from 1503 until 2003.

61 Edward St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

12 Sailors Panel from Wall of History in George Town, Grand Cayman

This painting by John Broad is a detail of a fascinating memorial called the Wall of History. It consists of 500 tiles stretching parallel to the Courthouse. The first date is 1503 when Christopher Columbus saw the islands and called them Las Tortugas meaning The Turtles. The history lesson continues through 2003, the quincentenary of the islands.

61 Edward St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

13 Cayman Islands National Museum in George Town, Grand Cayman

Now named the Cayman Islands National Museum, prisoners once called this building the Old Gaol when it served as a jail and courthouse. The local phrase “walking the 12 steps” meant you were about to have an unpleasant appointment with the judge. Constructed in 1833, the Cayman’s oldest building has also been a schoolhouse, bank, church and dance hall. In 1990, this waterfront structure reopened as a museum. The exhibits include natural and cultural island history including fauna, flora and over 8,000 artifacts.

3 Harbour Dr George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

14 Duty-free Shopping in George Town, Grand Cayman

Shoppers love George Town because it is duty free. You will find plenty of stores offering art, jewelry, clothes and souvenirs plus a few specializing in china, crystal and leather. Of course there are also liquor stores. A complex of fifteen tax-free retailers is the Island Plaza on the waterfront. Grand Cayman’s official currency is the Caymanian Dollar. They gladly accept almost any credit card. If you use US dollars, however, you may get change back in their money.

32 Harbour Drive, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

15 Harbour Place in George Town, Grand Cayman

On South Church Street is a shopping mall called Harbour Place. Built in 2001, it features brand-name stores plus restaurants. The upper levels of the five story building are commercial office space. If shopping centers are not your style, there are many locals around town selling their crafts, art and produce. A very popular item is Caymanite jewelry, a semiprecious stone mined on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

103 S Church St, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

16 West Indian Marine Building in George Town, Grand Cayman

This building houses a group of companies called West Indian Marine. You will see the words West Indian and West Indies a lot in the Caribbean. But what do they mean? The Spanish created the moniker during the 16th century to differentiate the new world from Asia. The name covered most of the islands in the Caribbean and North Atlantic. In the 17th and 18th centuries, European countries had maritime companies called Dutch, Spanish, British, French or Swedish West India. From 1958 through 1962, the United Kingdom consolidated several islands into the West Indies Federation. Today, Caribbean islands are classified as either the Lesser or Greater Antilles. Grand Cayman is in the latter category.

West Indian Marine, Warwick Dr, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

17 Two Anchored Cruise Ships in Savannah, Grand Cayman

Over 1.6 million cruise passengers a year visit Grand Cayman, ranking it fifth among Caribbean destinations. It is the only island without a pier. Ships anchor offshore and then provide tender transportation. Most passengers disembark at the terminals along Hog Sty Bay in downtown George Town. Other ships are directed to the berthing positions shown here in Savannah.

Pedro Castle Road, Savannah, Savannah KY1-1501, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

18 Great House at Pedro St. James Castle in Savannah, Grand Cayman

One of Grand Cayman’s earliest settlers was an Englishman named William Eden. In 1780, he built a three-story mansion on his cotton and mahogany plantation. It was so magnificent compared to surrounding cottages the locals called it a castle. On December 5, 1831, a group of citizens met here to form the first parliament with elected representatives from five districts. Therefore, Pedro St. James is considered the birthplace of Cayman democracy. The proclamation for the abolition of slavery was also read from this historic location in 1835.

Pedro Castle Road, Savannah, Savannah KY1-1501, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

19 Gazebo at Pedro St. James Castle in Savannah, Grand Cayman

This gazebo overlooking the southern shore is on the meticulous grounds of Pedro St. James Castle, a National Historic Site. Grand Cayman’s oldest building stands near this waterfront on Pedro Point. The person who gave me access to photograph this living history museum in Savannah was Debbie Bodden. She shares the surname of the island’s first settler. Also spelled Bawden or Bowden, he was an English soldier with Oliver Cromwell’s army during the British attack of Jamaica in 1655. His grandson, Isaac Bodden, was born in 1661 and became the island’s first native resident.

Pedro Castle Road, Savannah, Savannah KY1-1501, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

20 Coe Wood Beach in Bodden Town, Grand Cayman

The islands most popular – and populated – tourist beaches are located on the North Side and West Bay areas. A lovely alternative in Bodden Town is Coe Wood Beach. It has basic facilities plus a small cafe serving fried fish, a playground and cabanas to escape the sun. Despite its beauty, it seemed deserted except for a few locals who all knew each other as neighbors and seemed to share the last name of Bodden.

Monument Road & Bodden Town Road, Bodden Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

21 Pirate’s Caves Sign in Bodden Town, Grand Cayman

Sir Frances Drake may have been the first pirate to visit in 1585-86 when the island was called Caimanas meaning crocodile. As Caribbean piracy reached its golden age from the 1660s until the 1730s, other buccaneers frequented the Cayman Islands. The Pirate’s Caves was a small property designed to leverage this history with limestone caves and a pirate cemetery plus artifacts and a petting zoo. The attraction closed in 2015. Yet each November since the late 1970s the island hosts Pirates Week. This huge festival includes plenty of partying plus a pirate invasion from the sea.

258 Bodden Town Rd, Bodden Town KY1-1102, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

22 Lighthouse Restaurant in Bodden Town, Grand Cayman

When a restaurant owner’s name is Giuseppe Gatta, you expect to find a menu with Italian food. When the eatery is housed inside a lighthouse, you expect a great seaside location. You get them both at the Lighthouse Restaurant. You can also order great Mediterranean and local seafood for lunch or dinner while enjoying the Caribbean view from their outdoor dock seating.

2114 Bodden Town Rd, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

23 Calcified Coral Shoreline in Bodden Town, Grand Cayman

Seeing calcified coral along the coastline like at Breakers Point makes a scuba diver’s fins flap with excitement. It means a beautiful reef is just offshore. This one extends to the Wreck of the Ten Sails in the East End. Other excellent shallow dive sites are along the South Sound and also parallel to the Seven Mile Beach in the West Bay. There are about 250 snorkeling and scuba diving sites encircling the island; most begin about 30 yards from shore. It is amazing to watch marine life like snapper, barracuda, angelfish and turtles swim amongst the 200 species of coral.

2114 Bodden Town Rd, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

24 Blow Hole and Rock Tower in East End, Grand Cayman

During your driving tour around Grand Cayman, take a few moments to stop at the Blow Holes in the East End district. It is free to walk down to the rocky shore and watch as wave after wave pounds into the rocks, enters submerged coral caverns and then blasts upwards of 15 or more feet. The retreating swish and gurgle are also fun to hear. If the eastern wind is not blowing strongly, then while you wait for the next show you can exhibit your creative side by building a rock tower called a carin.

The Blowholes, Sea View Rd, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

25 Cayman Castle in East End, Grand Cayman

This splendid mansion on 1.75 acres along 450 feet of shoreline is appropriately called the Cayman Castle. Together with the guest house, it has 7,750 square feet of luxury. The estate can be rented for a vacation or purchased. In addition to an awesome view, the island offers a tax haven for the wealthy. There is no property, income, capital gains or inheritance taxes. Legend has it this tax neutral status was earned when ten ships including the HMS Convert were wrecked on a reef in 1794 near this shoreline. One of the rescued passengers was a member of the British Royal family. In appreciation, King George III promised permanent freedom from taxes. The story is false but the tax savings are very real.

Austin Conolly Dr & Gun Bluff Dr Gun Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

26 Mark Cuban Vacation House in East End, Grand Cayman

In addition to his mansion in Dallas, billionaire Mark Cuban owns this seasonal home called Far Out on the East End. Grand Cayman is used to providing the wealthy with great vacations. It is more famous for servicing their offshore banking needs. The island is the fifth largest financial center in the world with over 500 banks and 300 insurance companies. Unlike most financial-dominate cities, however, there is not a single high-rise.

758 Austin Conolly Drive, Gun Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

27 Resort Private Beach at Northern Tip of East End, Grand Cayman

Most of Grand Cayman’s hotels are along Seven Mile Beach. A few hidden gems are on the opposite side of the island. A beautiful example is the 1,500 feet of sand in front of the Wyndham Reef Resort and Castaways Cove at the northern tip of the East End. Secluded and exquisite only begin to describe this tropical shoreline.

1 Queens Highway, East End, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

28 Residential Neighborhood Shoreline in North Side, Grand Cayman

A small community of permanent and seasonal residents has lovely homes facing the North Side district’s unspoiled shoreline. The only tourists here are those driving by on North Side Road. A few of the homes are available to rent. However, most of the locals prefer the day trippers visit other parts of the island so they can enjoy their beautiful seclusion.

553 Old Robin rd. Old Man Bay, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

29 Old Man Bay in North Side, Grand Cayman

Old Man Bay begins in the North Side as the East End’s Queens’s Highway becomes Old Robin Road. Most of this coastline has probably not changed for centuries. It is blessed with tiny, picturesque inlets with only an occasional building like this gazebo and few visitors. A perfect place to enjoy this view is at the Over The Edge Café while savoring their Caribbean cuisine. Their dishes feature local produce and fresh fish.

312 North Side Rd, Old Man Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

30 Amenities at Rum Point in North Side, Grand Cayman

If you listed the attributes for an ideal tropical beach, then you just described Rum Point. In addition to shallow, aquamarine water lapping against white sand, you will find restrooms, showers, a restaurant/bar, game courts and lots more. Active tourists can rent equipment for snorkeling, sailing and waverunning. Or enjoy a tour of the reef on a glass-bottom boat.

Sand Point Rd & Rum Point Dr, Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

31 Casuarina Tree at Rum Point in North Side, Grand Cayman

The casuarina is a tree frequently seen hugging Grand Cayman’s seashores. Resembling a pine tree, it typically drapes over the water like a weeping willow. This Australian native was introduced to Jamaica around 1788 and to Grand Cayman during the 1800s. Also called the ironwood or beefwood, it thrives in tropical climates and is commonly planted as an effective windbreak.

Sand Point Rd & Rum Point Dr, Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

32 Relaxation Formula at Rum Point in North Side, Grand Cayman

A day at the beach can be so exhausting. Here is a formula for reliving your tensions at Rum Point. 1. Stroll the pier. 2. Get a beach massage. 3. Sip a Mudslide or two. This cold concoction of vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream was invented here. 4. Finally, crawl into an available hammock and let the waves be your lullaby for a great nap. Repeat as necessary.

Sand Point Rd & Rum Point Dr, Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

33 Cayman Kai Beach in North Side, Grand Cayman

The beach at Rum Point is beautiful but typically crowded. If you to want to enjoy the Caribbean Sea along the North Side in more solitude, then consider its neighbor Cayman Kai Beach. You will love this six-mile stretch of sand. If you decide to stay for a few days, there are plenty of vacation houses available for rent.

Cayman Kai Public Beach, Rum Point Dr, Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

34 The Ritz-Carlton Entrance in West Bay, Grand Cayman

Seven Mile Beach in the West Bay is home to the majority of the island’s hotels and resorts. Accommodations range from moderate to high priced, from private villas to luxury hotels. One of the best rated is the Ritz-Carlton. It is located on 144 acres of prime Grand Cayman real estate. Other familiar brands include the Westin and Marriot.

Seven Mile Beach, KY1-1209, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

35 Governor’s Residence in West Bay, Grand Cayman

In 1962, the Cayman Islands split from Jamaica and became a British Overseas Territory. Since 1971, the position of Governor has been appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom as the local leader of government. This Government House was built in 1964 and now serves as the governor’s official residence. It is located on Seven Mile Beach. In front of the mansion is a lovely public stretch of shoreline appropriately called Governor’s Beach.

W Bay Rd & Lime Tree Bay Ave, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

36 Seven Mile Beach in West Bay, Grand Cayman

If sun, sand and sea are the ingredients for your perfect vacation, then you must visit Seven Mile Beach. Technically, it is called West Bay Beach and is only 5.5 miles long, but neither subtracts from this quintessential Caribbean experience. To claim your spot on the pristine sand, you do not need to be a guest of one of the countless hotels, resorts or condos. The entire gorgeous coastline is public. Just look for an access sign with a swimmer symbol.

W Bay Rd & Earth Close George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

37 Romantic Couple at Seven Mile Beach in West Bay, Grand Cayman

The Grand Cayman experience is meant to be shared with someone you love. Whether you are just dating, want the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon, are enjoying vacation time with or without the kids or celebrating a significant anniversary, it is amazing how the Caribbean sun, sand and surf pushes away reality while bringing you closer together. Enjoy!

W Bay Rd & Earth Close, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

38 Old West Bay Beach in West Bay, Grand Cayman

This gorgeous beach in Old West Bay is part of the Cayman Island’s Maritime Heritage Trail. This is a land-based driving route highlighting key places with an interesting maritime history. Sites include lighthouses, architecture, bluffs, coves, forts and shorelines. The next phase of this program launched in 2003 is to preserve famous shipwrecks.

Mary Mollie Hydes Rd West Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

39 Hell’s Gift Shop Sign in West Bay, Grand Cayman

This sign welcomes all visitors to Hell, a fun attraction in the West Bay. Frankly, the adjacent rock formation is not too exciting. However, the moniker is the essence of clever marketing. There is a post office where you can send a letter from Hell. The gift shop employees constantly use double entendres regarding Hell. All of the souvenirs are blazoned with the words Hell or devil or both. I rarely purchase souvenirs. But I did go to Hell and back … with a shot glass.

Hell Rd & Fountain Rd, West Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

40 Limestone Rock Formations at Hell in West Bay, Grand Cayman

The black spires at Hell are a type of limestone called ironshore. The rugged spires were formed over millions of years as algae ate away softer surfaces. Beyond that, the geological causes for this formation are very complicated and not important to most tourists. It is free to view this small field from a platform. After a few minutes you will probably be disappointed. However, telling your friends you finally took their advice to go to Hell is priceless.

Hell Rd & Fountain Rd, West Bay, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

41 Father Watching Son Swim at Cemetery Beach in West Bay, Grand Cayman

If you are in Grand Cayman’s West End and Seven Mile Beach seems too commercial and populated, then head further north. Cemetery Beach is an excellent alternative. Normally the waves are not this high so you can enjoy snorkeling along a reef just off the shore. There are also other great spots to spread out your towel encircling the tip of the West Bay peninsula.

Swift Ln West Bay, Grand Cayman
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

42 Breezes by the Bay in George Town, Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is hot; the average high hovers in the upper 80s and at night it only drops about ten degrees. Even the water temperature is around 80° Fahrenheit all year. So expect to be parched after a day of sightseeing. The perfect solution? Sip a cold beer or a tropical cocktail on the second-story balcony of Breezes by the Bay or other neighboring taverns. From this vantage point, you can see when your cruise ship is loading the last tender.

8 Harbour Dr, George Town, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

43 Beach at Alternative Cruise Ship Dock in Savannah, Grand Cayman

Cruise ships going to Grand Cayman typically arrive at George Town. When the Caribbean waves are rough, many ships are turned away while a lucky few anchor off the southern shore. This alternative port in Savannah is stark, congested and not convenient to tourist sites. Yet there is one refreshing advantage: after touring the largest of the Cayman Islands all day in the bright sunshine, a quick dip in the water near Spotts Public Beach is heavenly. Plans were approved in 2015 to build a new, $200 million cruise ship terminal.

Spotts Beach Shamrock Rd, Savannah, Cayman Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
TOP