The Cayman Islands is made up of three Islands. Grand Cayman is the largest of the three. It’s also home to the Cayman capital city, George Town and 4 other districts.
In this article, I’m going to concentrate on Grand Cayman because it’s by far the most visited and well-known of the three islands. With an area of about 76 square miles, it’s the largest as well.
Grand Cayman has an average width of four miles and rises to 60 feet about sea level, at its highest point. The wet season runs from May to October but, with a year-round average temperature that ranges from around 22ºC to 32ºC, Grand Cayman is still very much an island paradise.
Apart from being a popular holiday destination, Grand Cayman is also a place many richer folk choose to call home. With its tax-free status, tropical climate, white beaches, and many social activities, Grand Cayman can be an excellent choice.
The Island also offers excellent education facilities. Furthermore, the level of healthcare available is first-rate. Among other things, Grand Cayman has achieved technologically-enhanced excellence in cardiac surgery, chemotherapy, and in-home nursing.
The 52,000 people who call Grand Cayman home are lucky enough to enjoy a very high standard of life.
That being the case, it’s not surprising that more than 2,000 Brits choose to call Grand Cayman home. The US and Canadian expatriate populations are not far behind.
The Five Cayman Islands Districts Compared
Grand Cayman consists of five districts:
- George Town
- Bodden Town
- West Bay
- North Side
- East End
The two smaller Cayman Islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, form a sixth Cayman Island District, aptly named Sister Islands.
George Town is the Cayman Island capital city, so it’s only right it should come top of the list. With a population that exceeds 20,000, George Town is also where most of the Grand Cayman population lives.
As with any large city, the range of different industries and commercial activities in George Town is quite diverse.
The busy downtown area is home to many of the city’s office buildings, banks, and other financial institutions.
The waterfront houses the cruise ship terminal. Not surprisingly, there’s also a lot of retail establishments that cater to the city’s tourists and other visitors. The island’s port is also located on the George Town waterfront.
The area around the Owen Roberts Airport contains a mix of homes, industrial enterprises, and retail outlets. You’ll find the new lifestyle town center of Camana Bay on the shores of the North Sound.
Bodden Town used to be the Cayman Islands’ capital city. That changed when it was ousted by George Town in the mid 19th Century.
Life in Bodden Town is very different to life in George Town. There is less hustle and bustle and it feels more like a local’s town.
There are a few historical sites, such as the Mission House. The Pirate Caves and Coe Wood are popular with tourists too. As are the Governor Russell beach areas—especially with people who want to do a spot of snorkeling.
Bodden Town also offers some quality dining experiences, but the tourist accommodation options are somewhat limited in comparison to Georgetown.
West Bay is a residential area north of Seven Mile Beach.
Seven Mile Beach has a greater tourist pull, but West Bay boasts quite a few good tourist attractions of its own. Among other things, it’s home to the Dolphin Adventure and the Cayman Motor Museum.
The Cayman Turtle Farm is also located at West Bay and, if you want to get a first-hand experience of Hell, West Bay is the best the place to go for that too.
Hell is a group of black limestone formations that takes up an area that’s about 50 percent smaller than a football pitch.
Apart from enjoying a unique experience, visitors have the opportunity to visit the on-site post office and send their friends and loved ones a postcard from Hell.
North Side takes its name from one of the villages situated there. It’s located on the north shore of Grand Cayman.
There are no large resorts or busy streets. Above all else, North Side, Grand Cayman offers a quieter way of life. This appeals to many people and the majority of private vacation homes and villas are located here.
As for things to do, most of the Grand Cayman north shore area is a reef-protected marine sanctuary. For this reason, North Side offers some of the best snorkeling experiences on the island.
North Side, Grand Cayman also offers one of the most unique natural spectacles in the world. Visitors who take a kayak tour to its Bio-Luminescent Bay can sit amidst the enthralling water display provided by light-emitting plankton.
The East End district of Grand Cayman mainly consists of tiny villages and shopping options are limited.
As with New York, New York, but at the other end of the scale, there is an East End, East End.
East End is the principal village in the East End district and is the main hub of local activity. However, you’ll find most of the tourists in Colliers.
As with the rest of Grand Cayman, the East End district offers plenty of stunning natural beauty. There’s also a surprising number of options for eating out located along the side of the Queen’s Highway.