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Cayman Islands - Travel Guide:

Find the Heart of Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach   by Justin Burch
Scuba Diving on Grand Cayman   by Justin Burch

Cayman Islands Vacation Rentals - Featured Hotels in the Caymans

Find the Heart of Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach   by Justin Burch

Along the western shore of Grand Cayman rests a stretch of sand known throughout the travel community as one of the world's best beaches. With placid waters and endless amounts of pure white sand, Seven Mile Beach is what makes Grand Cayman special. Though the beach comes up a mile and a half short of its name, there is certainly no shortage of space to relax in the sun. Furthermore, as you walk along the beach you will notice activities that range from cafes and bars beneath the palms to scuba diving and snorkeling. When you visit Grand Cayman, you will immediately see why Seven Mile Beach is at the top of so many lists.

Sunset, Water, Ocean, Caribbean Island, Grand Cayman Island
Sunset, Water, Ocean, Caribbean Island, Grand Cayman Island
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Courtesy of the calm water and casual atmosphere, Seven Mile Beach is known as one of the most family-friendly recreation sites in the Caribbean. The warm water has a sandy bottom, making it a great place for children to swim. Families can rent all types of water toys, from snorkeling equipment and paddleboats to jet skis and windsurfers for the grownups. There are also a few spectacular scuba diving sites off the shore of Seven Mile Beach. Where the gently sloping shoreline meets the coral wall surrounding the island, you will find the popular reefs known as Paradise and Aquarium.

Seven Mile Beach is also the site of the island's best resorts and restaurants. Even if you aren't staying on Seven Mile Beach, many of the resorts have facilities that are open to the public. As many of the resorts open directly onto the beach, you will find several bars and snack stands equipped with peaceful lounge seating. Throughout this area you will find several world-class restaurants, serving everything from rustic Italian fare to fresh seafood with a Caribbean twist. The resorts also make it easy to rent water sport equipment without leaving the beach. Most importantly, all these activities (and, of course, the beach itself) are open to the public, whether or not you are lucky enough to spend your nights here.

High Angle View of a Coastline, Seven Mile Beach, Caribbean Sea, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
High Angle View of a Coastline, Seven Mile Beach, Caribbean Sea, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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At the southern end of Seven Mile Beach is one of Grand Cayman's favorite family attractions - The Butterfly Farm. Inside the farm's tropical gardens, you can view the life stages of butterflies amongst exotic flowers and peaceful ponds. Many early morning visitors are granted the pleasure of seeing new butterflies emerge from their cocoons to take their first flight. On guided tours of the facility, specialists will allow you to handle both caterpillars and butterflies. As butterflies are attracted to bright colors and perfumes, those who want some personal attention from the fluttering creatures should dress to impress. Open daily at 9 AM, The Butterfly Farm also allows visitors to return throughout their vacation with one paid entry. If you don't see a butterfly emerge from its shell the first time around, you can stop by and snap more photos any time you like.

Most of Grand Cayman's other premier sightseeing opportunities are located within a few miles of Seven Mile Beach. To the south of the beach is the island's capital city, Georgetown. This historic capital features plenty of great boutiques, art galleries and shopping areas set amongst a stunning array of colonial architecture. Georgetown also has several great dining and nightlife options.

West End, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, Caribbean
West End, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands, Caribbean
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North of Seven Mile Beach, you will find popular attractions such as Hell and The Cayman Island Turtle Farm in the small town of West Bay. Known for its devilish black coral formations, Hell is a favorite of witty travelers hoping to send friends and family correspondence from the underworld. On the other hand, The Cayman Island Turtle Farm is a great family destination where children can interact with these endangered creatures. Besides its conservation efforts, The Cayman Island Turtle Farm also calls to mind the colonial history of the island. Upon arrival, Christopher Columbus named the islands "Las Tortugas" (The Turtles) in honor of the multitude of sea turtles along the coast.

Whether you want to relax in the sand, find adventure in the water or experience world class dining and attractions, a stroll down Seven Mile Beach will put you in the heart of the action.


About the Author - Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Grand Cayman for the Marriott Resorts.
Scuba Diving on Grand Cayman   by Justin Burch

Resting atop a submarine mountain of coral, the island of Grand Cayman offers some truly distinctive scuba diving opportunities. Off the shore, the coral walls that descend sharply into the Caribbean create some incredibly unique and challenging dives. Elsewhere around the island, there are plenty of dives perfect for all ages and skill levels. Regardless of where you dive in Grand Cayman, however, you are sure to encounter an unparalleled variety of underwater life. It also helps that the warm waters off the coast often boast visibility exceeding 100 feet - a fact sure to impress snorkelers, as well as scuba divers. With over 250 unique dive sites in all, Grand Cayman stands as one of the most diverse dive destinations in the Caribbean.

Kneeling in the Coral Rubble as Caribbean Reef Sharks Swim along the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas
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Many of the most popular dive sites on Grand Cayman are located off the western shore in an area known as the West Wall. Many of this area's dive sites are located just a short boat ride from the resorts lining Seven Mile Beach. At sites such as Armchair Reef, Wildlife Reef and Aquarium Reef, you will be able to spot numerous species of underwater creatures. Many of these reef dives are suitable for novice divers and snorkelers as well.

As Grand Cayman is known for its wall diving, you will definitely want to explore the deeper water of the western shore. At the first steep drop-off of 60 feet, you will find such sites as the Eagle's Nest and the Orange Canyon - named for its population of colorful elephant ear sponges. Another fun challenge is Bonnie's Arch, a unique site boasting a coral archway wide enough to swim through. All in all, there are more than 50 distinct dive sites located in the West Wall area of the island.

Though the North Wall is on the windward side of the island and features incredibly steep coral walls, one of the world's most famous shallow dive sites rests along the sandy beach. A good part of this popularity is owed to the fact that Stingray City is a perfect site for divers and snorkelers of all ages and skill levels. Once you are in the warm, clear water you will be able swim with families of gentle Southern Stingrays. With wingspans approaching four feet, many visitors find a great thrill in Stingray City while feeding and photographing these majestic animals.

Along the North Wall, you can also spot a large population of tarpons at Tarpon Alley. These large, strange fish are surprising friendly and will swim close to you if you move slowly. Along the coral wall, experienced divers can visit Eagle Ray Pass and the No Name Drop-Off for a glimpse of sea turtles, exotic fish and dense coral reefs.

While many dive tours only visit the South Wall when weather is poor off the western shore, there are plenty of pleasant dives for all skill levels in the shallow southern waters. At sites such as Japanese Gardens and Oriental Gardens, divers are promised an up-close view of colorful coral and sea creatures in calm water perfect for photography. Slightly further from shore, these "gardens" sink into an intricate maze of tunnels, arches and underwater canyons.

Coral Formations and Underwater Diver, Cozumel Island, Caribbean Sea, Mexico
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Adventurous divers will want to visit the eastern shore of Grand Cayman. Though there are only a few dive operators offering tours of this area, you are unlikely to find more pristine coral reefs anywhere. Within the first slope of reef, you will find a series of tunnels, underwater caves and arches. Sites in this area such as Grouper Grotto and Babylon are always teeming with fish, sponges and sea turtles.

Lastly, what would a Caribbean scuba diving trip be without a few wreck dives? The Balboa, a 375-foot cargo ship that sunk during a storm in 1932, sits at a modest depth of 30 feet in Georgetown Harbor. Today, the vessel is home to an assortment of the Caribbean's most photogenic residents. The most popular wreck dive in Grand Cayman is the Oro Verde, a coral-covered freighter resting in 60 feet of water off the shore from Seven Mile Beach. Additionally, Grand Cayman recently sank five vessels in various locations for both the enjoyment of divers and the ongoing research of environmental scientists.

There are over 40 experienced dive operators serving visitors to Grand Cayman, so finding a knowledgeable guide is a breeze. Even if you have never experienced scuba diving, you can become certified in Grand Cayman and then test your skills at some of the Caribbean's best dive sites.

Come to Grand Cayman and you will see why the island is celebrated by divers and snorkelers across the globe. 


About the Author - Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Grand Cayman for the Marriott Resorts.
Try our Caribbean vacation rental search options:
Carib Sands Beach Resort - Unit 115 (Ref: 15431), Cayman Brac
Carib Sands Beach Resort is a striking new resort located on a sheltered white-sand beach on the south shore of Cayman Brac, B.W.I.  Experience some of the world's best diving while staying in exceptional comfort at the Carib Sands Beach Resort.  Much of the fabulous coral reef surrounding Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is protected under the Cayman Marine Conservation Law to preserve the spectacular natural beauty of the islands' pristine marine environment.  Carib Sands guests will enjoy exploring Cayman Brac's underwater scenery in comfort and safety. Reef Divers operates one of its new 42' Newton dive boats from the Carib Sands dock. Carib Sands Beach Resort offers a choice of one, two, or three-bedroom units.
Sunset Cottage Sunset Cottage, Vacation Rental, Cayman Brac
Sunset Cottage, our Cayman Brac vacation home, in the Cayman Islands, boasts a remarkably relaxing environment in which to escape...  Cayman Brac, a small, relaxing island offers: SCUBA, snorkeling, rock climbing, eating, peacefulness, boating, fishing, exploring, quiet time and just plain FUN!  Sunset Cottage, located on the West End, North Side, is on the quiet side of Cayman Brac and has its very own 75 feet of sandy beach front property.
Cayman Calypso Villa (Ref: 30549), East End, Grand Cayman
Designer-decorated 2,400 sq. ft. 3+ bedroom Caribbean style villa with media loft and separate office area. There are 3 1/2 bathrooms. Extremely spacious and luxurious villa to rent for your next vacation. Fully equipped state-of-the-art open-concept kitchen with granite countertops, halogen cooktop and convection/microwave oven, dishwasher and side-by-side refrigerator with ice dispenser. Also included is a stacking washer & dryer.  Our Cayman rental Villa has FREE DSL (High Speed Internet access).   Stunning, large, 5-tier cascading swimming pool (the ONLY 5-tier pool on Grand Cayman! ) with 3 waterfalls and whirlpool literally steps from the house. 300' of white sandy beach steps away!   Sleeps 8.
Cayman Snuggle Beach (Ref: 30799), East End, Grand Cayman
This spacious, private 1 bedroom apartment takes up the entire ground floor level of a large 3-storey house in the East End of Grand Cayman, in Colliers.  It walks out directly to a stunningly beautiful sandy beach, lush with vegetation and palm trees, right on your doorstep. Lounge chairs are on the beach and there is great snorkelling right off the beach!  This apartment has been newly renovated & freshly painted in a bright, colourful Caribbean theme. There is a new, king-size bed with headboard, beautiful yellow comforter with matching sheets and colourful Caribbean artwork on the walls. There is a large living room and fully equipped kitchen with full-sized fridge, stove, microwave, coffee maker and all cutlery / utensils / dishes. 
SeaWatch Villas Seawatch Villas, Grand Cayman
Come relax in a truly tropical setting, with glorious sunsets and sea breezes in natures backyard. Set in the peaceful residential area of Breakers, SeaWatch, as it's name implies, sits directly across from the sea, with it's own sandy, secluded beach. Just a 14 mile drive from Owen Roberts Airport, it's designed for couples on an Island getaway or families wanting to experience a truly "Caribbean Holiday." Seawatch Villas was opened in October 2000 after realizing that many visitors wanted to experience a Caribbean vacation without being in the hustle and bustle of the "town center."   3 bedroom/3 bath and 2 bedroom/2 bath villas.
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SeaWatch Villas Brac Reef Beach Resort, Cayman Brac
Brac Reef Beach Resort offers the finest Cayman Island accommodation and amenities. Our Cayman island resort boasts four and a half acres of beautiful milky white beachfront property, 27 standard guest rooms, 10 junior suites and 3 handicap accessible rooms, an award-winning restaurant, day spa, boutique, fitness center, and wireless internet throughout our resort. Our first class amenities will spoil you and guests return often because of the warmth and service of our friendly, dedicated staff. The resort is also home to the renowned Reef Divers Dive Operation and excellent Cayman Brac diving. 
SeaWatch Villas Cobalt Coast Dive Resort, West Bay
This West Bay resort is situated near the beach, close to Cayman Turtle Farm and Boatswain's Beach. Cobalt Coast Dive Resort has a private beach and an outdoor pool. Cobalt Coast Dive Resort has a restaurant and a bar/lounge. A cooked-to-order breakfast is complimentary to guests. The staff can arrange concierge services, dry cleaning/laundry services, and car rentals on site. Additional amenities include laundry facilities, a garden, and multilingual staff. The property has designated areas for smoking. Cobalt Coast Dive Resort has 18 guestrooms. Televisions are equipped with cable television channels, HBO, and ESPN.
SeaWatch Villas Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach is an all-suite resort positioned in a tranquil area of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Seven Mile Beach, on the Caribbean Sea, is accessible via a 75-yard footpath from the hotel. The Atlantis Submarine and Grand Cayman's Underwater Marine Park are two miles away.  This hotel offers a casual tropical ambience with stone tile patios and island-themed decor. Stingers Restaurant & Bar features alfresco dining, and offers a Caribbean luau with a dance band, limbo dancer and fire-eater. The hotel provides complimentary continental breakfasts each morning. Complimentary wireless Internet access is offered throughout the property, including guestrooms.
SeaWatch Villas Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Seven Mile Beach
The Grand Cayman Beach Suites is located on Seven Mile Beach, only four miles from Owen Roberts Airport. Nearby attractions include George Town, Stingray City and Cayman Turtle Farm, all within six miles of the hotel. Rum Point Beach is a 35- minute ferry ride away. Hemingway's provides casual, Caribbean cuisine with views of Seven Mile Beach on its terrace. The trendy-styled Bamboo has a menu that includes a sushi bar, cocktails and desserts. Wireless Internet access is available for a fee in the hotel's business center. A 24-hour fitness center is available while a European day spa provides treatments including deep tissue massage and body facials. The hotel boasts two outdoor pools, one overlooking the Caribbean Sea and next to a swim-up bar.
SeaWatch Villas Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort fronts beautiful Seven Mile Beach, stretching along Grand Cayman Island. The Rum Point ferry dock and George Town's shops, restaurants and cruise ships are located less than two kilometers from the resort. A tropical climate offers ideal conditions for golf, with courses located less than 3 miles away.  Dining options at this island resort include the beachside Solana restaurant that prepares international fare. The Red Parrot is primarily known for its buffet-style breakfasts and dishes created with pungent island spices. Balboa's Lounge features live music, theme nights, over 100 martini specialties and tapas preparations. Sol Bar hosts beach barbecues, happy hours and live music performances.
SeaWatch Villas The Ramada Grand Caymanian Resort, Seven Mile Beach
This Seven Mile Beach hotel is conveniently close to the airport, near Seven Mile Beach and Cemetery Beach. The Ramada Grand Caymanian Resort has a private beach, tennis courts, an outdoor pool, a spa tub, and a children's pool. Business amenities at this 3.0-star property include a business center, complimentary wireless Internet access, and meeting rooms for small groups. This property provides an airport shuttle (surcharge). Event facilities include conference rooms. The staff can arrange tour/ticket assistance, event catering, dry cleaning/laundry services, and express check-out. Additional amenities include a concierge desk, laundry facilities, and a children's club. This is a smoke-free property. 
SeaWatch Villas The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Seven Mile Beach
Named after the tall Casuarina trees that grace Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands, The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa stands across the street from championship golf links at Safehaven.  Caribbean/Cuban fine dining is highlighted at Casa Havana, where monthly wine dinners feature a selection of 330 wines. Innovative dishes include foie gras flamed in Cuban rum. Ferdinand's Caribbean Café provides bold décor and an ocean-view deck where fare includes parmesan-encrusted swordfish. Mulitple open-air restaurants and bars complete this resort's roster of tropical dining choices.
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