How do you define paradise? For many, it’s turquoise water washing onto pristine, white-sand beaches, delicious cuisine and a meaningful connection to local culture. And that perfectly describes the Cayman Islands. Cayman is an ideal getaway whether you want to go diving to see some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, dig into the local flavors, or just crash on a blanket in the soft sand. And Kimpton is coming its way!
Kimpton’s First Caribbean Property
We are so glad to announce our first Caribbean location on Grand Cayman Island. The Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa set back on stunning Seven Mile Beach will be the first new hotel property to be built here in a decade. With 266 distinctively-appointed guest rooms and suites, including 16 oceanfront suites, nine beachfront bungalows, and eight uniquely configured family suites, Seafire will seamlessly blend a fresh, modern vibe with the native landscape of lush gardens unfolding into the beach and sea when it opens in late 2016.
Cayman at a Glance
The Cayman Islands are in the Western part of the Caribbean Sea about halfway between Cuba and Belize. Interestingly, the three islands — Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac — are actually peaks of a massive underwater ridge. This British territory is a stunner known for its sparkling blue water, great beaches, and sumptuous restaurants that keep travelers coming back year after year.
Outdoors & Natural Beauty
Since it’s surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, you have to dive in to some wonderful water activities. Cayman is famous for some of the best scuba diving spots in the world including Orange Canyon known for its spectacular orange sponges, Devil’s Grotto and the USS Kittiwake wreck, a former Navy ship recently sunk just off of Seven Mile Beach. And that beach itself is often rated one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean and the least crowded.
One of the most unique spots is Stingray City. It’s said that the stingrays came to this sandbar initially to feast on the discarded leftovers from fishermen cleaning their daily catch. As a result, these gentle creatures congregate here in large numbers and are happy to swim with you.
Those looking to get back to nature can explore the 200-year-old Mastic Trail and hike the 2-mile path through swamp and woodlands taken by the island’s first settlers. Over at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, come face-to-face with the islands iconic blue iguanas.
The Local Life – Vibrant Island Flavor
While beautiful, there is much more depth to Cayman that just the beach. The Caymanian culture is a vibrant blend of 135 nationalities living together sharing their traditions and history in harmony with nature. Whether camping by the sea at Easter or hunting for land crabs during the rainy season, many events are social and family-oriented. Visit East End on any given Sunday and you will see families and friends, recently returned from church, ‘shooting the breeze’ on their front porches. Don’t worry about missing that “white Christmas” if you are here during the holidays. “Backing sand” is the Caymanian tradition of bringing the white sand from the beaches to locals’ front yards and on Christmas Eve it’s raked into intricate patterns and decorated with shiny conch shell pathways.
With more than 200 restaurants — from chic five-star dining to local fish shacks — the Cayman Islands are a delight for food lovers. Since no place is far from the water, seafood is an integral part of life and cuisine here. Local specialties such as conch are delicious and abundant. For a real local experience, check out a jerk stand and make sure you head to an authentic Sunday afternoon fish fry. For a fun local souvenir, take home some gourmet pepper jelly from the Cayman Pepper Patch with its blend of five different local grown peppers and spices, handmade daily by Carol Hay.
Start thinking about your plan to escape and come see us next year. We’ll be ready to welcome you to your lush home away from home down here in paradise…aka, everyday reality in Cayman.
Tell us: What would you do on a trip to the Cayman Islands?
— Lisa Lubin