Our neighborhood guide to places to stay on Grand Cayman Island
This guide will help you learn more about the best places to stay on Grand Cayman Island. From whimsical beaches flanked in glittering sand, swaying palm trees, and cerulean seas, Grand Cayman Island beckons to discerning island seekers. Arriving on Grand Cayman entails far more than laying out your beach towel, turning up the calypso music, and sipping a piña colada.
This Caribbean island might be remote but it isn’t tiny or deserted. On the contrary, it’s about 22 miles long, eight miles wide, and home to nearly 65,000 residents. And, it can take up to 2.5 hours to circumnavigate the island without considering traffic. So, choosing the right neighborhood for your stay is crucial to claiming the island atmosphere you’re after.
Fortunately, we can help you sort it out between the best places on Cayman Island for families, where to stay in the middle of the action, and even how to get off the tourist track.
Where to Stay on Grand Cayman Islands
Finding the best place to stay on Grand Cayman largely depends on how much you do or don’t want to be in the hub of touristic activity.
- For 1st-Time Visitors: Seven Mille Beach & Georgetown
Getting around Grand Cayman can be a bit slow because traffic around Georgetown gets quite congested during the week. So, especially for first-time visitors, it’s ideal to stay in a condo complex on, or within walking distance of Seven Mile Beach. This will make it easier to access all of the main attractions, activities, restaurants, and shopping on foot if you prefer not to rent a car.
- For a Quiter Smalltown Caribbean Vibe: the Eastern Districts
If you’ve been to Grand Cayman previously and have already done all of the main attractions, you might really enjoy the small town Caribbean atmosphere of outlying neighborhoods. Staying in a vacation rental close to a market, a beach, and a few restaurants may prove idyllic. You’ll likely find your slice of paradise in the Eastern Districts.
- To Get off the Beaten Path: Rum Point, Bodden Town & East End
If you’re mainly on the island for water activities or prefer to get away from the crowds, you can stay in more isolated areas that emphasize the concept of ‘island getaway’ over community amenities. But, you’ll want to be well-prepared before you check in as getting to groceries and other amenities take a bit more effort. Prioritize the areas of Rum Point, Bodden Town, and East End.
Best Places to Stay Near Seven Mile Beach
The majority of people who come to Grand Cayman will stay either on Seven Mile Beach or in the nearby downtown areas of Georgetown.
Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world and serves as the matrix for all things to do on Grand Cayman. And whether you stay on the beachfront or across the road, you’ll be in the middle of everything. But, don’t mistake this area for Miami. It’s still relatively calm and you can walk to almost everything including beach activities, tours, shopping, and restaurants. It’s super easy to find hotels and condo, but if you’re looking for a private vacation villa rental, seek out the residential area of South Sound, is an especially great family-friendly neighborhood to look into.
Georgetown serves as the port of entry and financial center of Grand Cayman. It’s a great area for eating and luxury shopping, and it’s within walking distance of the docks and bay, Seven Mile Beach, plus a nature park known for turtle nesting. Georgetown is a family-friendly area ideal for surf lessons, windsurfing, and kayaking.If you’re staying in a condo or hotel, is best go to Georgetown on the weekends when the cruises are not in port. But, longer-term vacation rentals are also widely available and can offer respite from the hustle and bustle. South Sound is an especially great family-friendly neighborhood to look into.
Best Places to Stay Near Diving & Snorkeling
If you’re looking for endless hours of diving and snorkeling, the best neighborhoods are those on the West Bay or jutting out into the North Sound.
Rum Point & Cayman Kai
Rum Point and Cayman Kai are adjacent neighborhoods overlooking the North Sound, about an hour’s drive northeast of Georgetown. The area is a setting-off point for boating and water sports with beautiful beaches, shallow water shorelines, and the dazzling Kaibo Yacht Club. It’s also home to Grand Cayman’s main snorkeling attractions, Sting Ray City, and the nearby Starfish Point.
Rum Point is known for its luxury villas and condos, including vacation rentals. Beyond the sea attractions and awe-inspiring housing, you’ll find a few restaurants, gift shops, and the legendary Wreck Bar. Beyond that, it’s fairly quiet due to its remote location.
Cayman Kai is less touristic and is more of a local’s hideaway, a weekender’s paradise for Georgetowners. It has generally the same vibe as Rum Point highlighted by breathtaking villas, condos, and vacation rentals but with even less foot traffic and amenities. It’s best to come here prepared and intent on enjoying your own kitchen views.
West Bay is located in the opposite direction, about a 15-minute drive from Georgetown on the northwest tip of Grand Cayman. This residential area with lots of vacation rentals has a delightfully rustic, off-the-beaten-path vibe, is a more affordable alternative to Rumpoint and Cayman Kai, and boasts numerous nature-lovers tourist attractions. This is where you’ll find Cayman Turtle Farm, Lighthouse House Bay, Dolphin Adventure, the Hell limestone formations, and Barkers National Park. Plus, West Bay lists some of the top snorkeling destinations on Grand Cayman including Cemetery Beach, Turtle Reef, Lighthouse Point, and Macabuca.
Best Neighborhoods for Smalltown Caribbean Vibes
Are you the type who seeks a local vibe over a tourist hotspot? If yes, it’s best to base yourself in the Eastern Districts where vacation rentals rule the roost.
Savannah is a residential inland, community loved by families for its affordability, slower pace of life, and island suburbia atmosphere. There’s also a distinct historic vibe credited to the Pedro St. James Castle and the old-growth Poinciana trees which burst into scarlet blooms between May and August. Plus, the Countryside Shopping Village offers all the necessities of small-town life from markets to pharmacies, gyms, and clinics to cafes and restaurants. It’s centrally located about 5 miles from both Georgetown and Bodden Town, and just a 5-minute drive to Spott’s Bay, Sunset Bay, and Beach Bay.
Northside is sandwiched between Boden Town and Rum Point. It’s the perfect blend of the old town appeal and touristic activities. You’ll enjoy like the Mastic Trail to the Crystal Caves, the ever-popular bioluminescence tours, and plenty of Caribbean-style restaurants. The community is a mix of retirees and expats, and includes a great selection of vacation villas, known for their splendid views.
Best Places to Get Away From the Grand Cayman Crowds
If you’ve got your heart set on deserted beaches and serenity, Grand Cayman can cater to that, too. Set your compass for Bodden Town or the East End where island isolation awaits.
Bodden Town is on the south side of Grand Cayman and is an ideal spot for those who want to avoid Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach. The area is especially known for its homes and villas perched on scenic coastal roads. Below are rustic beaches characterized by bluffs and rocky shores, driftwood, and turtle grass – especially loved by pet owners and beachcombers.
Bodden Town has a wonderful array of restaurants thanks to a mix of local and expat dwellers, but shopping and markets are limited. You’ll want to be well-equipped before you arrive as the trip back to Georgetown can take upwards of 2 hours. And you’ll probably want to stay for a while, making it an epic spot to snag a vacation rental for a week or more.
Staying on the East End means getting as far off on the island as the wind will carry you. And it is indeed, on the farther east end of Grand Cayman. It’s truly a collision of two worlds, first-class hospitality, and raw, underdeveloped Caribbean coastlines. Some folks find it worth the effort to come this far east just for the restaurants and the resorts. Others choose it for the unspoiled beaches, isolated diving spots, divine sunsets, and nature reserves like the Salina Reserve. The East End is certainly worthy of holding up in a vacation villa for a week or more.
Do you still need help choosing from the places to stay on Grand Cayman? Send us a note and will get you sailing in the right direction!