7 Best Grand Cayman Shore Excursions

7 Best Grand Cayman Shore Excursions
Located in the Western Caribbean, Grand Cayman Island offers a wide array of attractions for cruise passengers. Stunning Seven Mile Beach is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful strands in the Caribbean. The island’s coral reefs and plentiful marine life are another major draw. While Christopher Columbus named the Cayman Islands Las Tortugas for the plentiful sea turtles in the waters surrounding the islands, Grand Cayman is now known for offering vacationers opportunities to encounter much more – including dolphins and friendly Southern Stingrays.

Grand Cayman does not have a cruise ship dock, so access to the island is only available by tender. It’s important for cruise guests to be aware of their ship’s tender schedule and last tender departure times when making shore excursion plans. Tender lines are often long near the end of the day. Those planning to return to the tender location via taxi should pre-arrange their pick up time and allow plenty of margin for traffic delays. Cruise ships do not wait for independent travelers, so plan carefully and avoid being left behind.

If your ship calls on Grand Cayman during your next cruise, here are seven great things to do on your island visit:

1. Meet Friendly Stingrays and More. Interacting with friendly wild stingrays at Grand Cayman’s Stingray City Sandbar is one of the most sought-after excursions in the Caribbean. On these trips, guests stand in shallow water that’s generally about 3-4 feet deep and have the opportunity to observe and play with Southern Stingrays. Trips to Stingray City Sandbar are often paired with other options, such as snorkeling at Coral Gardens and Starfish Point, spending time on Seven Mile Beach, visiting more secluded Rum Point Beach, or swimming with turtles and other marine life at the Turtle Farm at Boatswain’s Beach. Dolphin encounters and swims are also available at Dolphin Cove on Grand Cayman.

2. Enjoy Grand Cayman’s Beautiful Beaches. Gorgeous Seven Mile Beach is one of the most popular destinations for cruise ship passengers visiting Grand Cayman. Rum Point Beach, a lovely spot located further away on the island, is great for vacationers as well. While cruise lines offer a variety of excursions that include a day at the beach, many budget-oriented passengers prefer to go on their own to save money. Several properties and resorts provide day passes for cruise passengers interested in enjoying a relaxing day at the beach. One of the most economical options for independent travelers is the Royal Palms Beach Club. Located directly on Seven Mile Beach, Royal Palms is just a short drive from the cruise ship tender area in Georgetown. This property offers a beachfront patio dining area, a full-service bar and restaurant, showers, bathrooms, changing rooms and free Wi-Fi, all for just a few dollars per person. Beach chairs and cabanas are available for an additional fee.

3. Relax At A Resort. If you’d like to chill at a resort and enjoy a room for a day with privileges, check out the resorts available through ResortforaDay.com. ResortforaDay.com sells a limited number of passes to Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman, Sunshine Suites Resort Grand Cayman and the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort. Passes include a private guest room for the day as well as complete access to all outdoor resort amenities including the beach, pool, lounge chairs and sports facilities.

4. Explore Stunning Underwater Reefs. The coral reefs surrounding Grand Cayman are some of the most beautiful in the world, making the island a popular destination for divers. One and two tank dives with PADI Dive Instructors are available for cruise passengers who are certified divers. Beginning and Discover SCUBA programs are also offered. Those who aren’t SCUBA certified can get a feel for the experience through SNUBA and Sea Trek helmet adventure excursions. Snorkelers can choose from a wide array of tours, often packaged in combination with stingray encounters, beach time, kayaking or biking. Those who don’t want to get wet can explore Grand Cayman’s underwater world on the Nautilus semi-submarine, by glass-bottom boat, or via the Atlantis Submarine. While cruising to a maximum depth of 100 feet, Atlantis Submarine guests will see such things are large barrel sponges, colorful fish, stingrays and sea turtles. This can be a great activity for families, but it’s important to note that passengers on the Atlantis Submarine must be a minimum of three feet tall and at least four years of age.

5. Shop ‘Till You Drop. Grand Cayman is a favorite Caribbean port for shoppers. The capital city of George Town contains a wide variety of stores selling fine jewelry, electronics, apparel, souvenirs, spirits and food items. Cruise passengers often like to visit the Tortuga Rum Cake Outlet to pick up some tasty souvenirs. Just a bit further away is Camana Bay, an upscale mixed use development containing a number of shops, restaurants, and even a movie theater. Avid shoppers can easily spend the day shopping and dining here.

6. See The Sights. There are many ways to explore the island of Grand Cayman, including by bus, taxi tour, 4x4 jeep, or even horseback. While organized tours are available through the cruise lines, many taxi operators offer island tours for small groups and families for considerably less. It’s common to negotiate for the best rate. Popular sights on bus and taxi tours include Pedro St. James Castle, the historic area of West Bay, Seven Mile Beach, and the Town of Hell. Vacationers enjoy having their pictures taken in front of Hell’s rock formations and sending postcards from Hell to their friends and family back home.

7. Get Out On The Water. Grand Cayman is an excellent spot for watersports like sailing, kayaking and jet skiing. Cruise guests can kayak through Grand Cayman’s mangrove forests, spotting wildlife and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Catamaran sailing trips around the island are often paired with snorkeling and/or visits to Grand Cayman’s famous Stingray City. Jet ski tours through Grand Cayman’s turquoise waters often include snorkeling options as well.

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