Hundreds of known and unnamed beaches surround Grand Cayman, where the shores are sandy and the water is richly blue. Most are located beyond the seven miles of white sandy beach that curve West Bay Road, so rent a car or scooter for the day and explore each nook and cranny of beach Grand Cayman has to offer.
Rum Point, North Side
Rum Point is arguably one of the most magical beaches on Grand Cayman. Located in the quiet and friendly district of North Side, this stretch of beach is secluded, accessible by boat, surrounded by million-dollar mansions and features a charming restaurant and bar, ranking it pretty high on the must visit beaches of Grand Cayman list.
Rum Point’s signature drink, the mudslide, can be ordered from the comfort of one of the many hammocks strung between the casuarina trees while enjoying a breath-taking view of the sunset.
The clear and shallow waters that stretch for yards are a favourite feature for families with small children. The barrier reef is only a short swim from shore and is home to a kaleidoscope of vibrant fish, sea urchins and starfish. It is not uncommon to spot a southern stingray gracefully swimming nearby. Full snorkel gear can be rented on-site, as well as equipment for motorised and non-motorised watersports should you feel the sudden impulse to explore your adventurous side.
On Sunday afternoons locals are known to flock to Rum Point by boat, car and everything in between. It is the busiest day for this tranquil beach, but still great fun.
Spotts Beach, George Town
Mostly visited by residents, Spotts Beach is a delightful little beach located in the Spotts Newlands area and definitely worth further exploration. Sea turtles, conch, lobster, stingrays and even a moray eel are all on the list of things to see at Spotts Beach, so be sure to bring your snorkel gear; there is no rental company on-site if you happen to forget.
Surrounded by limestone bluffs and fine white sand, Spotts Beach is well-hidden from the main road. It is idyllic for watching the sun rise. The multi-coloured cabanas and family-style benches also make for an easy romantic beach picnic.
Spotts Beach is frequented by residents most often on the weekends but is still a great alternative if you are looking for a beach that is secluded and not too out-of-the-way.
Smith Barcadere, George Town
Previously referred to as Smith’s Cove, Smith Barcadere is a favoured beach for many visitors yet it still manages to be a fairly well-kept secret. The crowds are small, the views are strikingly picturesque and the range of swimming and snorkelling options are spot-on.
Dramatic limestone and coral rock formations can be seen just yards from the shores of Smith Barcadere; they create coves of calm turquoise water where fascinating underwater wildlife can easily be seen by the avid snorkeler.
If dry land is more your cup of tea, there are plenty of shady sea grape trees perfect for sunbathing and losing yourself in a good book.
While there are no watersports equipment rental facilities on-site, Smith Barcadere has a public restroom, outdoor shower and a number of picnic benches, making this beach secluded but welcoming.
Cemetery Beach and Reef, West Bay
Just beyond the entrance to the district of West Bay, and tucked between a local cemetery and a private residence, is a narrow sand path that leads to Cemetery Beach and Reef. Similar to Seven Mile Beach with its soft pink and white sand and clear waters, Cemetery Beach and Reef offers the unexpected advantage of superb shore snorkeling.
At Cemetery Beach and Reef the fish can only described using one word: friendly. Unlike the timid little critters you may find at other dive and snorkel sites, they are rather curious and playful. Green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, southern stingrays, eels, lobsters, and sea urchins also inhabit the coral formations located just a short swim from shore.
After a day of perfect swim and snorkel conditions, dine alfresco at a nearby seaside restaurant or indulge in a plate of barbecued chicken and ribs at the neighbouring jerk stand.
It is widely known across the Cayman Islands – and readily accepted – that time moves slower in Cayman Brac. The warm sun, common hammock and omnipresent sea make it so abundantly clear that Cayman Brac is a place of relaxation. Go ahead, grab a book, kick up your feet and soak up the sun here for a while!
Cayman Brac Public Beach, South Side
Although Cayman Brac is more commonly known for its 140-foot Bluff and remarkable sea cliffs, the Cayman Brac Public Beach has a rather nice stretch of smooth sand and calm, crystalline waters. This beach is located within a protected marine park, making it an ultimate snorkel site where conch, lobsters, fish, stingrays and eels abound.
Tidy cabanas, benches, outdoor showers and public restrooms at the Cayman Brac Public Beach allow for the conveniences of a resort beach without the crowd. Most resorts on Cayman Brac have snorkel gear for rent on-site so be sure to pick up what you need before heading here; it is well worth the extra effort.
Grab a meal on your way and stay a while at this diamond in the rough.
As the Cayman Airways’ twin otter plane begins its descent onto the Little Cayman landing strip, stress levels decrease and an overall feeling of well-being takes over. With a population of less than 170, it is easy to lose all concept of time and truly relax. Little Cayman is the ideal destination if basking in the sun is high on your vacation agenda.
Point o’ Sand, North-Eastern Coast
It is not unusual to be the only visitor on Point o’ Sand on any given day; the beach is best known for its solitude and snorkelling. A short car or scooter ride from most resorts and guest houses on Little Cayman, Point o’ Sand represents the very essence of a perfect beach with its simplicity and untouched beauty; it perfectly combines turquoise and royal blue seas with powdery white sand and the bright green of coconut palms.
The Point o’ Sand reef is teeming with a host of different families of fish. Be certain to bring your own gear; the only thing you will find here is a solitary cabana with a picnic bench and a charcoal grill. Ask your resort to pack a boxed lunch or bring a cooler of snacks so you can linger all day because, put simply, you will want to.
Owen Island, South Coast
If authentic tranquility is what you are after, a visit to Owen Island is what you need. A small, unspoiled island located on the south-western coast of Little Cayman, Owen Island is visible from most resorts and guest houses along the beach and is only accessible by boat or kayak. It offers the ultimate sense of privacy, romance, rest and relaxation.
There are no restaurants, bars, shower or restroom facilities, or any thing else for that matter on this uninhabited island which makes it all the more exclusive. On a busy day, you may share Owen Island with one or two other persons but there is enough sandy beach and crystal clear water to share.
Bring a friend for company, pack lots of sunscreen, and consider bringing a small cooler of beverages – it can get quite hot!
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Published: Skies Magazine, July 2014