Infamous across the world as a major tax haven, the Cayman Islands aren’t just for the rich and famous – they also offer a stunning tourism destination. Most visitors arrive as part of a Caribbean cruise, but it’s totally worth considering as a destination in its own right. Scuba diving is a massively popular activity here, thanks to the crystal clear waters and diverse marine life.
Stretched across three islands to the south of Cuba, it’s important to get an idea of what you most want to visit before you arrive as there’s so much to see and do on the islands. If you want to maximise your time, you need to do your research to make sure you choose the right base.
That’s where we come in! We’ve combined our own experience with advice from locals and travel experts, to bring you the lowdown on the three best places to stay in the Cayman Islands. Whether you want stunning beaches, laid-back coastal towns or unique local culture, we’ve got you covered.
So let’s jump right in!
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Lavish Villa in Cayman Island – Kimpton Seafire
Airbnb Luxe properties are specially selected for their high-end facilities and gorgeous interiors. This property comes with optional spa services, private drivers and even a chef. Even without all of this, it is well worth splurging on – with an inviting private pool and gorgeous sea views. The high ceilings add a sense of elegance and class to the interiors.
Romantic Bolthole in Cayman Island – Castaway by the Sea
It’s a little rustic, but this is the perfect getaway in the Cayman Islands for couples traveling on a budget. You’ll get to enjoy your own secluded cove, which adds to the castaway vibes of this cute little villa. There are major historical attractions within walking distance, as well as regular transport options to George Town and the other side of the island.
Beachfront Resort in Cayman Island – Grand Cayman Marriott Beach
This four-star waterfront hotel beautifully combines modern comfort with rustic charm. Room rates are more than reasonable given the location and star rating, and Seven Mile Beach is right on your doorstep. The beach décor creates a soothing and calm environment – perfect for a laid-back vacation in the sun. We also adore the on-site tropical gardens, where you can marvel at native turtles.
Home to both the biggest harbour and the airport, it’s pretty much guaranteed you will arrive in George Town. This is the only city in the territory and offers the most diverse range of activities by far.
Seven Mile Beach stretches along the western coast of Grand Cayman. It is home to some of the most exclusive resorts, condos, and villas in the territory. West Bay is at the northern tip of the beach and is much more peaceful than George Town in the south.
Top 3 Neighborhoods to Stay in Cayman Islands
Grand Cayman is easily the most popular island in the territory – and we’re sticking to it in this guide. While Little Cayman and Cayman Brac offer some fascinating destinations, they’re much harder to get to and generally far more expensive than Grand Cayman. The main island also has such a diverse range of destinations in its own right that you’ll barely have time to cover it all in one trip!
George Town is the capital and only city in the Cayman Islands. It’s the main destination for cruise ships and first-time arrivals, so it’s full of visitor information, great tour guides, and historic attractions. It’s also at the start of Seven Mile Beach which is lined with some fantastic vacation rentals in the Cayman Islands.
Heading further up Seven Mile Beach, you will reach West Bay on the northern tip of the island. This is a much more peaceful neighbourhood, making it the perfect choice for families visiting the Cayman Islands. It does have a more exclusive vibe so you will need to prepare to splurge – but it’s totally worth it to enjoy quieter beaches, and the best cuisine on offer in the territory.
The Cayman Islands are generally quite expensive, but heading slightly off the beaten path can uncover some surprises for anyone traveling on a budget. Bodden Town is only 15 minutes from George Town but has a more local vibe, so accommodation and dining options tend to be much more affordable here than in the bigger tourist strips.
Still not quite decided? We totally get it – it’s a difficult decision to make! To help you plan a little more, we’ve got more detailed guides for each neighbourhood below. We’ve also included our favourite accommodation and activity picks in each.
Home to both the biggest harbour and the airport, it’s pretty much guaranteed you will arrive in George Town. This is the only city in the territory and offers the most diverse range of activities by far. Whether you’re looking for history, cuisine or beaches, you’ll find it in George Town. For this reason, it’s our top pick for first-time visitors.
Need some help knowing where to explore? George Town is home to a variety of tour guides and excursion providers offering trips across Grand Cayman. Transport connections up the entire length of Seven Mile Beach and east to Bodden Town are also quick and affordable.
Creative Retreat in George Town: The Sanctuary
Aptly named the Sanctuary, this gorgeous boutique apartment is located just outside Central George Town in the Grand Harbour region. While this area has plenty of attractions in its own right, it is also well connected to the heart of the capital. With colourful façades and breezy shores, the resort has an artsy and laid-back feel to it.
Hidden Villa in George Town: Villa Mora
Looking to splurge? Look no further than this lavish villa on the southern George Town coast. It has a secluded charm that will give your trip an exclusive vibe, and even comes with its own little slice of beach. The oceanfront cabana is a romantic little hideout, with stunning sunset views across the Caribbean Sea.
Relaxing Hotel in George Town: Grand Cayman Marriott Beach
This vast resort sprawls along its own section of Seven Mile Beach, where you can enjoy endless vistas of the Caribbean Sea. The hotel is surrounded by other major attractions, including the Links at Seahaven Golf Course. This makes it a great choice for a laid-back holiday, as you won’t have to travel too far to get around. The complimentary breakfast is also pretty incredible, with enough options to keep you going for days.
Things to See and Do in George Town
- Start at the Cayman Islands National Museum if you’re interested in history, before exploring the nearby Hog Sty Bay and Fort George Ruins
- The Wreck of Cali is a shipwreck just off the coast – you can take a boat out to the site to go diving through the wreckage
- Fancy trying out scuba diving but don’t want to commit to lessons? SNUBA diving, offered by Sea Trek, is a more accessible option for newbies
- Margaritaville Grand Cayman is an iconic restaurant, offering a wide menu of local and international cuisine with excellent customer reviews
- The most popular part of Seven Mile Beach starts in George Town, offering an endless supply of water sports equipment, stylish restaurants and buzzing bars
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#2 Bodden Town – Where to Stay in Cayman Island on a Budget
There’s no escaping it – the Cayman Islands are an expensive destination. The tax haven status has attracted the wealthy for generations, and the remote location makes imports expensive. You’ll have to prepare your wallet, and come fully prepared, but Bodden Town makes that a little bit easier. It has a more local atmosphere than George Town, so many of the restaurants and accommodations are more affordable.
You’ll also get to see the real Grand Cayman. Cultural attractions are quite laid-back here, but you’ll get a more authentic view of the island and its population. Bodden Town is far enough off the beaten path to provide a unique experience, while close enough to George Town to offer quick transport links.
Rustic Retreat in Bodden Town: Castaway by the Sea
Picture this – you roll out of bed in the morning, walk over to your own private little cove, and listen to the ocean waves lapping up the coast. This romantic hideaway is perfect for couples on a budget, and it’s only a two-minute walk from central Bodden Town. There are also some great caves and hiking trails nearby, making this our top pick for adventure travellers heading to the Cayman Islands.
Trendy Villa in Bodden Town: Oceanfront Suites
This villa is on the splurge end of the scale, but is still far more affordable than other luxury accommodations on the island. It comes with stunning views of the ocean, which can be admired from the infinity pool. You will have your own private stretch of oceanfront away from the tourist crowds, although the main Bodden Town area can also be reached on foot within a few minutes.
Oceanfront Suites is one of our favourites in Cayman Islands but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Secluded Getaway in Bodden Town: Moon Bay
Moon Bay is a little bit more affordable for those that still want to stay in a villa. Operated by Cayman Villas, you can sleep easy knowing you’ll be well taken care of throughout your stay. The wider resort area comes with two pools and some tennis courts, as well as a small private beach for guest use. The villa itself is modern, and comes with a balcony and ocean views.
Moon Bay is one of our favourites in Cayman Islands but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Bodden Town
- The Cayman Islands have a turbulent history – Bodden Town Mission House is a sombre attraction to its darker parts and are a must-visit to learn about the area’s past.
- Bodden Town Road runs along the length of the town, offering locally-owned boutiques where you can grab some truly unique souvenirs
- Sunrise Family Golf Centre is on the opposite coast (within the Bodden Town Region) and offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea
- Enjoy some locally sourced seafood at Grape Tree Cafe
#3 West Bay – Best Area in Cayman Island for Families
Seven Mile Beach stretches along the western coast of Grand Cayman, and is home to some of the most exclusive resorts, condos, and villas in the territory. West Bay is at the northern tip of the beach, and is a much more peaceful area than George Town. It’s a great choice for families looking to avoid the major tourist crowds, though you will have to prepare to splash out a little.
Alongside families, West Bay is also a great destination for couples. The resorts are more popular among families, so we recommend booking a condo or villa if you want to avoid this. There are beaches everywhere you look in the area, so there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Luxurious Bungalow in West Bay: Kimpton Seafire
This secluded gem in Cayman Islands is well-worth the price. Follow the palm tree-lined street that connects it to Seven Mile Beach for unspoiled views of the sunrise every morning. The apartment itself is kitted out with everything you could want for the ultimate comfort. You’ll also have a whole host of add-on services to choose from to make your stay even more luxurious.
Stylish Pied-à-Terre in West Bay: 7-Mile Beach
For families on a budget, this is a great choice for accommodation located right on the beach! It sleeps up to four guests in two bedroom, and has modern interiors. Snorkelling gear is available for guest use – perfect for keeping everyone entertained.
Gorgeous Resort in West Bay: The Westin Grand Cayman
The Westin are known for their luxurious elegance across the world – and their Grand Cayman resort is no different! The on-site Hibiscus Spa offers every holistic therapy and beauty treatment you can imagine. The rooms are spacious and stylishly decorated, with guaranteed great views across the coast. All of this is only steps away from Seven Mile Beach.
Things to See and Do in West Bay
- Cemetery Beach offers great snorkelling and sea glass hunting opportunities.
- West Bay Beach is the northernmost point of Seven Mile Beach – it’s really laid-back and is more suited for those with older children
- Stingray City, as the name suggests, is the best spot to spot stingrays on the islands – just make sure you take a boat trip out so everyone stays safe
- Heritage Kitchen is located right on the beach, offering typical Cayman cuisine at very reasonable prices
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Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are a stunning destination in the heart of the Caribbean offering more than just unspoiled views. The beaches here are the perfect spot for discovering marine life and enjoying water sports. In the towns, you will also find some fascinating historic attractions, unique local cuisine, and vibrant cultural highlights. The Cayman Islands are more than just a cruise ship stopover – especially if you want to veer slightly off the beaten path.
In terms of our favourite neighbourhood, you really can’t beat George Town. The official capital of the Cayman Islands, it has everything you’ll need including grocery stores, restaurants, and visitor guides. It’s also well connected to both West Bay and Bodden Town.
If you can, we recommend travelling around the islands. While we’ve only included destinations on Grand Cayman, the smaller islands have are well worth a day-trip and have some hidden gems of their own. We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to the Cayman Islands. All that’s left to do is pack your beach bag and get going!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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