Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/UnderTheSeaTurtle Farm AdventuresAerial view of Grand CaymanGrand Cayman

Families will love:

  • Tops for diving and snorkeling
  • Seven Mile Beach with calm crystal-clear water
  • Hang out with stingrays at Stingray City

With more than 200 dive sites, crystal-clear visibility and relatively calm conditions, the Cayman Islands are one of the best places in the Caribbean for families to go diving and snorkeling. On land, families can also enjoy upscale resorts and great hotels.

The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, consist of three islands: the 76-square-mile Grand Cayman, the ... more
With more than 200 dive sites, crystal-clear visibility and relatively calm conditions, the Cayman Islands are one of the best places in the Caribbean for families to go diving and snorkeling. On land, families can also enjoy upscale resorts and great hotels.

The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, consist of three islands: the 76-square-mile Grand Cayman, the 10-square-mile Little Cayman and 14-square-mile Cayman Brac. The tourist hub and site of famous Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman -- population about 50,000, or 95 percent of the nation's total residents -- offers dive sites and upscale hotels. Little Cayman, population 150, lures dedicated divers, as does Cayman Brac, which also has caves carved out of its limestone bluffs.

Because of the Caymans' lack of taxes and favorable financial rules, Grand Cayman has attracted banks, trusts and hedge funds. The island has -- or had, until the recent economic downturn -- more than 600 financial institutions, a fact that caused Grand Cayman to be ranked as the world's sixth-largest financial center. As a result, Grand Cayman is no sleepy, little Caribbean atoll. High-rises with corporate logos dominate George Town, the capital and business district, and traffic snarls are common. Many banks, however, have closed in the current economic climate. There's even talk that the Cayman Islands may have to introduce an income tax, something that visitors find amusing. In the meantime, note that the Cayman Islands dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar, which gets you only 80 cents of local currency.

For rich reefs but relatively few people, go to Little Cayman. Traffic signs warn "Iguana! Drive Carefully." Since most resorts package lodging, meals and dives, the island supports only a few nonhotel restaurants, and nightlife is what you make it. Experts claim Bloody Bay Wall off Little Cayman's north shore to be one of the Caribbean's top dives. Some dive resorts do not welcome children, and others prefer divers in their teens.

An especially festive time to visit Grand Cayman is during the Annual 10-day Pirates Week Festival, usually held in November. The theme harkens back to the days when seamen, pirates included, sailed to the Caymans to replenish supplies, including rope made from the leaves of the islands' Silver Thatch palms. Blackbeard and Calico Jack are among the notorious sailors said to have come ashore. During the festivities, swords-drawn swashbucklers "capture" the city.

Be sure to check out our exclusive Caribbean Vacation Guide for Families, offering plenty of useful information about various Caribbean islands!

Written by Candyce H. Stapen less

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