Online Travel Guide To Grand Cayman

If you find yourself headed to Grand Cayman for a tropical vacation, consider visiting George Town, the capital city and finance center of the Cayman Islands. One of the most developed areas in the islands and a popular destination for cruise ships and tourists, the city combines the best of both a modern, sophisticated lifestyle and island charm.

Inside the city, visitors find a financial powerhouse – the Cayman Islands hold the spot of 5th largest financial center in the world, and many banks position themselves right in the capital. Finance combined with tourism drives the economy of the Cayman Islands, and George Town enjoys a high standard of living, a strong infrastructure, and modern conveniences including excellent education and healthcare. The city holds more than just banks, however– visitors here find all the elements of a great vacation as well as financial services.

Many George Town tourists come from the visiting cruise ships, which dock further out in the harbor–smaller boats shuttle people in to one of the two terminals. Rows of convenient shops greet them directly on the waterfront, with several more in the city. Many consider the shopping a true highlight of George Town, with stores selling everything from luxury jewelry, clothing, alcohol, perfume, and leather goods to fun island trinkets to bring back home. For a true signature souvenir, pick up some black coral jewelry or rum cake! When the shopping wraps up for the day, it‘s time for everyone’s favorite part of vacation – the food.

George Town restaurants feature several different cuisines, everything from local fresh fish to Greek to Mexican to Chinese, in a variety of settings – many of the hotels along 7 Mile Beach, easily accessible from the city, contain their own posh, sit down restaurants. Tourists find bars, fast food, and cafes sprinkled among the shops near the waterfront, perfect for a bite of lunch or dinner, or a relaxing drink at the end of the day. The bars in George Town provide entertainment in the late hours, of course, but for clubs and dancing, head to the hotspot of 7 Mile Beach. Lounges, hotel entertainment, and popular night spots draw a crowd and let you party the night away.

Plenty of culture and history exist in George Town, reminders of the past that contrast with today‘s modern, updated appeal. To experience some of it firsthand, head to the Cayman Islands National Museum, right off of Harbor Drive and easily accessible from the ship terminals. The museum dedicates itself to preserving the heritage, culture, and natural history of the Cayman Islands, and contains exhibits and relics of times long past as well as a children‘s area, great for younger guests. At 9:00 AM every morning Monday through Saturday, the traditional blowing of a conch shell signifies the museum‘s opening. The National Gallery, a celebration of art on the Cayman Islands, also resides next to Harbor Drive. Check out the many exhibits, local works, and beautiful paintings that grace its interior, and walk away with a whole new sense of the beauty of the Caymans.

At the west end of Harbor Drive and at the corner of Fort Street sits Fort George, the remains of a structure built to defend Grand Cayman from Spanish sailors who might approach the island with hostile intentions. Once at risk of demolition in 1972, the National Trust took over and still owns the fort today, opening it for tourists interested in a piece of George Town history.

If you continue to head up Fort Street, Hero‘s Square soon appears on your right, directly across from the Court House. This pleasant area features the Seaman‘s statue, a sculpture of a father and son at sea, and a beautiful bubbling fountain, a great spot for taking a relaxing moment off from sightseeing.

The appeals of George Town don‘t simply stop at the historical landmarks. Its proximity to many major sites in Grand Cayman makes it a great jumping off point for an island adventure. 7 Mile Beach, with its glorious stretches of white sand and several of the island‘s large luxury hotels, lies just to the north. The Owen Roberts International Airport sits only a short drive by car to the northeast. Reach a number of interesting snorkeling and diving sites just from the George Town Harbor, including Eden‘s Rock, the wreck of the freighter Cali, Devil‘s Grotto, and Cheeseburger Reef (the entrance ladder for this one sits right next to a McDonalds.) Without even straying far from the city, visitors easily find some of the signature entertainments of the Cayman Islands.

If you want to leave the city and immediate area, of course, George Town provides ready sources of transportation. A public bus terminal sits near the library on Edward Street, which travels to other Grand Cayman destinations including Bodden Town, 7 Mile Beach, the East End, and the North Side. Many visitors choose to travel by taxi or rented car (remember, stay to the left!)

When planning a Caribbean vacation to Grand Cayman, George Town definitely deserves a full days worth, if not more, of activities. Historical sites, a significant financial industry, and close access to water activities and beautiful beaches make it an excellent spot to get a sense of the fun, the beauty, and the sophistication of Grand Cayman island.

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