The Cayman Islands, the UK’s tropical overseas territories

photo by giovanni

Everyone who has ever heard about the UK is probabably well familiar with the stereotype of the isles having atrociously bad weather. And it is true, if you find that a spot of rain and some murky clouds qualify for bad weather, but for some traveler’s the weather is part of the charm. However, if you are one of those people who can’t stand the chill and the dampness, then don’t give up on the idea of visiting the UK yet, because as unbelievable as it seems, you can enjoy tropical weather in the UK too. Where? In the Cayman Islands, the UK’s tropical overseas territories in the Caribbean.

About the islands

Columbus spotted the Cayman Islands on his voyage to the New World, but they remained largely uninhabited until the 17th century. The only denizens of the islands were pirates, shipwrecked sailors, deserters from the British army in Jamaica and refugees from the Inquisition. This pleasant bunch of people were more or less banished when the Cayman Islands became a British colony, then an overseas territory.

The Islands

photo by giovanni

The Cayman Islands are made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Although Grand Cayman is the most populous and has the most developed tourist facilities, all three are likely and likable tourist destinations. The main industry of the islands is tourism, but they are also knows as tax havens. This means that most goods and food is imported (so not too many interesting souvenirs are to be found), but nonetheless Caymanians have one of the highest standards of living in the world.

  Transport

Getting into the Cayman Islands is not a problem for most people, and VISA is only required for the nationals of few countries. The main airport in the islands is located in George Town, the capital, but Cayman Brac and Little Cayman also have two small airports. Some people choose to travel to the islands on boat, as George Town is a very popular stop for cruise ships.

Things to see and things to do

photo by giovanni

The unquestionable star of the Cayman Islands is the Seven Mile Beach on Gran Cayman, one of the finest beaches on the planet. The beach is only 5.5 miles, despite its name, and occupies a crescent-shaped slice of the western shore of the island. It is great for swimming, lounging, but especially snorkeling and diving (some portions more than the others). Grand Cayman also has quite a few interesting museums. Even if the Cayman islands are the UK’s tropical overseas territories, that doesn’t mean culture is entirely forgotten.

Cayman Brac’s appeal lies more in its fantastic diving opportunities than the beaches. There are some magnificent shipwrecks and offshore reefs to be explored in Cayman Brac, but you’ll have to book a place on a private charter service, as there is no ferry service. The Parrot Reserve is also a must-see, as there are several endemic species on the island.

Little Cayman is the least developed of the three, but still there is much to do in terms of snorkeling, diving and beach bumming. There are some nice souvenirs to be bought at the Mermaid’s Boutique, and several restaurants worth visiting.

Leave a Reply