If you’re looking for a sunny Caribbean beach vacation, you can’t go wrong with the Cayman Islands. The British Overseas Territory is a group of three islands with white sand beaches, palm trees, and a friendly atmosphere.
Here’s what you should know to decide where to stay when you visit these picturesque islands — let us be your guide!
The 5 Best Parts of the Cayman Islands
Most travelers visiting the Cayman Islands stay in Grand Cayman. Some of the best places to stay on the island include:
- West Bay: Best for first-time visitors and families
- George Town: Best for shopping and luxury travelers
- East End: Best for a quiet getaway
- Old Man Bay: Best hiking and nature lovers
- Rum Point: Best for diving and water activities
Where to Stay in the Cayman Islands: Best Areas
If you’re staying in the Cayman Islands, you’re likely going to stay on Grand Cayman, as it’s the biggest of the three islands and the only one with tourist accommodations.
However, it’s important to point out that only a few hotels and resorts operate in the area, leaving you with mostly rentals to choose from. To help narrow your search, here’s a closer look at some of the best areas and places to stay in the Cayman Islands.
1. West Bay
West Bay is where most tourists flock, as it’s where you’ll find most of the hotels and resorts. It’s the top recommendation for first-time visitors and families, thanks to its tourist-focused environment.
You’re never far from the beach, a restaurant, or a bar when staying in West Bay. It’s a small area packed with a mixture of residential blocks and busy commercial streets. Most of the stores and restaurants are along the coastal roads, making them easy to find.
The northern coast of West Bay has a few small beaches while the southern coast includes the upper portion of Seven Mile Beach, which extends south into George Town. The beachfront areas offer access to a wide range of water activities, including snorkeling and diving.
If you tire of the beach, West Bay has a few parks and hiking trails to explore. These spots are mostly found along the eastern coast of the region, which also includes a large bird sanctuary and national park.
Things to Do
- Dive and snorkel around the Kittiwake Shipwreck and just off the coast of Seven Mile Beach.
- Swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove on the east side of the district.
- Grab a souvenir after checking out the limestone rock formations at Hell, Grand Cayman.
- Watch for birds or enjoy the scenery as you explore Barker’s National Park.
Where to Eat
- Undra’s Takeout for cheeseburgers and jerk pork at low prices from a local favorite.
- Heritage Kitchen for fast, cheap food near the beach.
- Bacaro for fine dining with Italian cuisine, cocktails, and wine.
- Tukka West Restaurant & Bar for drinks with a view of the bay.
West Bay Budget Hotels
- Sunshine Suites Resort: This budget resort includes surprisingly large suites with fully equipped kitchens and an onsite restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s about a 10-minute drive from downtown George Town and a short walk from the beach.
- Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman: Relax in a tropical garden, an outdoor swimming pool, or an 18-hole golf course with a stay at this affordable hotel from one of the largest hotel chains in the world. It’s a short drive from the beach and has its own bar and grill.
West Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa: With a fitness center, spa, bar, and restaurant, this resort offers a lot of ways to unwind. It’s also right on the beach and has a large outdoor pool, so you don’t really need to go anywhere to have a wonderful tropical vacation.
- The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa: Located at the tip of Seven Mile Beach, this resort is perfect for families, couples, and spring breakers. You’ll have your choice of five different restaurants and lounges, along with views of the beach from your private patio or balcony.
West Bay Luxury Hotels
- Lighthouse Point Resort #5: This resort has large suites for rent with a minimum of a three-night stay. Each unit has two separate bedrooms and a full kitchen complete with an oven and dishwasher, along with luxurious furnishings and other amenities.
- Beach Living at Villas Pappagallo: Located on the northern coast, this collection of villas includes spacious accommodations with views of the pool and a private kitchen. It’s right on the beach, so you can walk out and splash in the sand or relax in the sun any time of the day.
2. George Town
Located just south of West Bay, George Town is the capital of the islands and the largest town. It has a few hotels, but many more villas and suites for rent.
As the capital and home to the airport, George Town has the largest concentration of commercial properties, including lodgings, restaurants, shops, and other things to see and do. The strip behind Seven Mile Beach has many bars, cafes, and boutiques.
Downtown George Town and the port area are the commercial hubs of the city. You’ll find larger crowds along with high-end jewelry stores and small, unique shops, such as a nature store and an antique shop, making it a top choice for shoppers.
George Town tends to be one of the more crowded parts of the island, which may not appeal to those wanting a quiet vacation. However, if you prefer to be near the center of the action, you’ll probably want to stay in the capital.
Things to Do
- Snorkel or splash in the water at the popular Smith’s Barcadere Cove.
- Learn more about the history of the islands at the Cayman Islands National Museum.
- Discover the culture of the region at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.
- Explore the historic sites in downtown George Town, including Heroes Square and Ft. George Ruins.
Where to Eat
- South West Collective for coffee or an adult beverage at a popular café near the beach.
- Top Taste Restaurant for Jamaican cuisine with large portions at low prices.
- Grand Old House Cayman for fine dining with seafood menu items and beachfront seating.
- Ultra Lounge & Grill for a taste of the island’s relatively small nightlife scene.
George Town Budget Hotels
- The Locale Hotel Grand Cayman: This is one of the most affordable places to stay in the Cayman Islands, which you wouldn’t guess from the luxurious furnishings and amenities, including a large outdoor swimming pool. Breakfast is also available each morning.
- Seven Mile Beach Resort: With an outdoor pool and tropical-style suites, this is another stylish yet affordable place to stay. It has all the amenities you need for a wonderful stay, including a private pool, balcony, and kitchen.
George Town Mid-Range Hotels
- Hampton by Hilton Grand Cayman: Located about two minutes from Seven Mile Beach, this is one of the most popular resorts on the island. It offers great value and convenient access to nearby attractions and activities, including snorkeling and scuba diving tours.
- Grand Cayman Marriott Resort. Stay right on the beach. This hotel is perfect for beachgoers and those looking to relax, as it offers onsite massage services and a spa.
George Town Luxury Hotels
- The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman: With luxurious rooms and a large formal dining area, this classy resort is one of the most highly rated places to stay in the Cayman Islands. Depending on the room, you may get a view of the resort, the garden, or the ocean.
- Ocean View with King Bed: This large property sits next to the Ritz-Carlton and offers a slightly more private experience, as it’s a one-bedroom apartment with a private entrance. While it doesn’t have a pool, you’re just feet from the beach.
3. East End
East End covers the eastern side of Grand Cayman. Along with the North Side, the East End is a great area for exploring the natural beauty of the island. You can spend time at one of the many beaches or see what the surrounding land has to offer.
It’s home to the island’s largest parks and reserves, including the East End Marshland Natural Habitat. There’s more undeveloped land in the East End compared to any other part of the island. Instead of expansive villas and sprawling resorts, you’ll see lush tropical forests and unspoiled beaches.
Due to its distance from George Town and the airport, the East End tends to attract fewer visitors. This gives a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere compared to the more crowded streets of George Town and West Bay, but you won’t find many places to shop or enjoy a fine dining experience.
Things to Do
- Navigate the rocky shore for a better look at the Blowholes where seawater splashes against the rock, creating a blowhole effect.
- Shop or eat at the small collection of buildings in the center of the town of East End.
- Enjoy the privacy of the public beaches in East End, including Colliers Public Beach and Barefoot Beach.
- Watch parrots and other animals at the Cayman Parrot Sanctuary wildlife park.
Where to Eat
- La Casita for authentic Mexican food at low prices with takeout and dine-in options.
- Tukka East End for high-end dining and a great wine selection.
- Blue Rock Restaurant and Lounge for live music, beer, and grilled food.
- Pirate’s Cove for drinks and a good time from a popular hotspot in the town of East End.
East End Budget Hotels
- Wyndham Reef Resort: Enjoy an entire studio rental at this all-inclusive resort with an on-site bar and convenient access to several nearby restaurants. It offers all the comforts of home for a fraction of the price of other luxury resorts on the islands.
- Castle Guesthouse Home: With only one resort in the district, this is one of the most affordable alternatives. It includes a swimming pool and it’s a short walk from several restaurants and a park. However, it really stands out due to its unique castle-inspired architecture.
East End Mid-Range Hotels
- Southwinds Vacation Home: This rental is near the center of town, making it easy to reach the limited selection of restaurants and shops in the area. It’s also a comfortable place to stay with minimalist décor and modern furnishings.
- Blue Serenity Home: Create unforgettable memories with a stay in this four-bedroom rental home with a full kitchen and views of the sea. Relax at the outdoor pool or walk the extra few steps to the ocean.
East End Luxury Hotels
- Hidden Treasure Home: This stately home stands out for its bright yellow exterior and outdoor swimming pool. It has five bedrooms, giving you more than enough for a large group.
- Wind Upon the Waves Home: This three-bedroom home is found at Half Moon Bay, which is just west of the town of East End, and gives you a little more privacy compared to the previous places. It’s an air-conditioned home with a large yard, giving you plenty of room for outdoor games.
4. Old Man Bay
Old Man Bay is a village in the North Side, between Rum Point and the East End. It sits on the northern coast and provides the best access to outdoor land activities, such as hiking and exploring the nearby crystal caves.
Getting around Old Man Bay is also easy, which may appeal to older travelers or those with mobility concerns. Almost everything is found along one main stretch of road that runs alongside the coast.
As with most parts of the island outside of George Town and West Bay, Old Man Bay doesn’t have hotels but offers many rentals. The villas in the residential areas of Old Man Bay are mostly settled by retirees from other countries looking to enjoy the sun year-round.
If you want to spend more time outdoors but not in the water, Old Man Bay is the perfect destination. For those who want to be closer to shops and restaurants, try one of the earlier spots.
Things to Do
- Go underground with a walking tour through the stunning Cayman Crystal caves.
- Check out some of the interesting sites along the coast, such as the Good Mood Swing and Queen’s Monument.
- Hike through the center of a nature reserve as you navigate the Mastic Trail.
- Get up close and personal with iguana and other anima life at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Where to Eat
- Over the Edge for Caribbean cuisine with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean.
- Island Bites for hot dogs, chicken, or fish from a food truck near the beach.
- The Caboose for family meals with generous portions at a great price.
- Serenity Bar and Lounge for drinks from a local watering hole near the water.
Old Man Bay Budget Hotels
- KiToCay Villa Home: Instead of a hotel, you may need to stay in a rental home such as this affordable three-bedroom place with a fully equipped kitchen. The classy décor and ocean views are sure to make your trip more memorable.
- Northern Lights 5: This is one of several places for rent near the eastern edge of the district. It’s a short stroll from Old Man Bay Beach and has its own outdoor swimming pool if you don’t feel like getting in the ocean.
Old Man Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- On The Bay: Spend time in the garden, cook a meal in the kitchen, or walk across the yard to the ocean when staying at this comfy resort with multiple units. Each unit has a private bathroom and a full kitchen.
- Christmas Palms Home: This rental home sits a little further back from the beach and is shaded by large palm trees. It gives you a more secluded atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy the sprawling property in peace and quiet.
Old Man Bay Luxury Hotels
- Azure Breeze #6: Enjoy a stay at this breezy retreat, which features bright décor and furnishings that help bring the outdoors inside. It’s a luxurious villa with three separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a private entrance.
- Cayman Sands: This place features a large, covered swimming pool with an outdoor sitting area, allowing you to spend more time outdoors without dealing with bugs. Other highlights include four bedrooms and an open floor plan, so you and your travel companions are never far from each other.
5. Rum Point
Found at the northern tip of the North Side, Rum Point is one of the most popular towns in the district. It’s about an hour’s drive from George Town. It’s a fairly remote part of the island but includes many luxurious villas and condominiums overlooking the beaches that line the coast.
While the neighborhood does have a few restaurants and stores, you’re not going to do a lot of shopping in this area. However, there are lots of water activities to enjoy. It offers miles of beachline with shallow waters that are perfect for snorkeling.
It’s also the starting point for many other water activities, including diving and boat rentals or tours. Residents also developed a manmade bay in the center of the neighborhood. It’s now called Bioluminescent Bay and includes high concentrations of bioluminescent plankton that appear to glow in the dark at night.
Things to Do
- Relax and splash or search for starfish in the shallow waters of Starfish Point.
- Soak up the sun at Rum Point Beach or Cayman Kai Public Beach.
- Take a magical late-night kayak tour of Bioluminescent Bay.
- Snorkel, dive, or take a boat around David’s Cove off the western coast of the town.
Where to Eat
- Kaibo Restaurants for upscale dining with sweeping views of the bay and the option to eat on the sand.
- Rum Point Club for burgers, BBQ, and a family atmosphere near Rum Point Public Beach.
- Pirates Grill Cayman Islands for wings, cheeseburgers, and cold beer near Starfish Point.
- The Wreck Bar & Grill for sandwiches, fries, and drinks with a friendly atmosphere.
Rum Point Budget Hotels
- Pools of the Kai: Located at the southern edge of Rum Point, this private retreat offers space for a large group and includes a full kitchen, dishwasher, and oven. It’s a comfortable place to stay and available at a low price.
- Ocean Paradise: Found a short drive from the center of town, this oceanside paradise has a private entrance and large rooms, making it a great choice for those who want some privacy. It’s across from the beach, so you don’t need to travel far to take a dip in the water.
Rum Point Mid-Range Hotels
- Northside Grand Cayman Getaway with Private Beach: This mid-range beachfront property has large decks with sweeping views of the ocean, along with four separate bedrooms and two living rooms. It’s a top choice for larger groups wanting to stay for more than just a night or two.
- S’Kai Fall Home: The outdoor pool and balcony offer privacy and relaxation at this three-bedroom beachfront property. It’s a bit of a walk from the nearest restaurant but offers greater seclusion compared to most places.
Rum Point Luxury Hotels
- Club Suites at Rum Point: Stay right near the center of town and the beach at this luxurious getaway. It includes a swimming pool and dining area, but its best feature is the selection of bars and restaurants right next door.
- Luxury Cayman Villas: Located in the small Driftwood Village, this private home has a large terrace and spacious family rooms for spreading out. Other highlights include free breakfast and parking for guests.
So, Where Should You Stay in the Cayman Islands?
|👪 Best for Families||West Bay|
|🛍️ Best for Shopping||George Town|
|🧘♀️ Least Crowded||East End|
|🥾 Best for Hiking||Old Man Bay|
|🤿 Best for Water Activities||Rum Point|
While the Cayman Islands has a lot to explore, Grand Cayman is where everyone stays. It also has something for everyone, from the more heavily populated West Bay and George Town to the secluded beaches in Old Man Bay and East End.
However, regardless of where you choose to stay, there’s something in each area for all types of budgets and travel styles. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that the Cayman Islands have to offer. Happy travels!