This week I’m pleased to offer a series of guest posts by P. Andrew Och, a very talented journalist and photographer. Och and I have freelanced together numerous times. Enjoy his tales and insights from his recent trip to Grand Cayman Island. All articles and photos are by P. Andrew Och, unless otherwise noted.
Grand Cayman Island is a British Territory south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. It’s part of three landmasses that also include Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Grand Cayman is about 76 square miles and boasts over 1.7 million visitors a year. Its largest and most popular beach is called Seven Mile Beach. This is where you’ll find most of the resorts and most of the people. So, if you want to avoid the crowds and find your own quiet little stretch of sand, I recommend you find your way to one of these beaches instead…
5. RUM POINT Rum Point sits just about 10 miles outside of George Town. The locals joke about what a “far drive” it is from town. Grand Cayman is only eight miles across at its widest point. An amusing FAQ sign there posts things like “Can you swim under the island?” Sunday nights a lot of boaters hang out there, and the Wreck Bar serves the best Mudslides on the island.
Kaibo Beach offers a casual and shady beachfront. This is where many locals go to camp during Easter weekend. On the North side of the island, the stretch of sand offers great local food and music at the Kaibo Beach Bar and Grill. There is a causal restaurant downstairs and fine dining upstairs. On Tuesday nights they have fun rum and BBQ parties and local music. A water taxi from Camana Bay provides some of the easiest and most direct transportation to the quaint little hideaway with many amenities.
This tiny little cove is hidden in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and many Caymanians bring their kids here to teach them how to swim. This spot offers nice sand, warm rocks and plenty of places to catch some rays. If it gets to hot for you, just duck under the sea grape trees that frame the beach, and take advantage of their cool canopy and bench-like trunks. These are the original outdoor rooms that used to be a feature of many old Cayman houses.
The Cayman Islands are not known for waves or surfing. The winds just aren’t usually in their favor for that activity, which works out well for the number one water activity: diving. However, when there are waves the locals wax up their boards and head for South Sound Beach. It’s not easy to find. You’ll need to ask a local where it is, and you’ll have to catch them before they ditch work to hit the surf.
This was by far my favorite beach on the island. Its pristine sand, landscape and surroundings are right out of a magazine. Starfish Point is aptly named because the water is full of amazing starfish. Visitors can pick them up, but don’t take them out of the water. You can get there by car, but many people prefer to go by boat, drop anchor and let the day drift away on the beautiful, crystal clear currents.
**BONUS LOCATION** BOOBY CAY
If sand isn’t your thing, but you still want to get a little sun and avoid the crowds, charter a boat and hit this more private part of the island. This secluded area can only be visited by boat, and is protected by the Department of the Environment. There is no fishing and no swimming in these gentle waters surrounded by wildlife and mangrove tree forests. However, don’t be surprised if birds aren’t the only “boobies” you see. This is a very popular place for people to park their boat and enjoy topless or nude sun bathing.
Let’s face it, you really can’t go wrong with any place you throw your towel in the Caymans. The sand is warm and the water is clear and calm. Hit all five, find your own special place or stick with one you like… just pack plenty of sunscreen and leave your smart phones back in the hotel room. Enjoy!