Cayman is blessed with stunning natural beauty; the islands are simply incredible places both above and below the water.
The Caribbean itself – according to the rest of the world – has a reputation for a laid-back, easy lifestyle; the quintessential Carib scene is of a totally chilled out individual, cocktail in hand and sprawled in a hammock twixt two palm trees. Meanwhile, iguanas scamper about while the weary sun yawns kiss the sky into thousands of different shades of blush on its sigh over the horizon.
To many, such moments are an impossible dream; to some of us, we’ve got it right on our doorstep.
Little Cayman – all seven miles of it – is one of the planet’s last remaining wonders. With a population of around 100 lucky souls bolstered by enraptured hotel visitors, it’s irresistible. Take the short flight from Grand Cayman and find yourself in another world where the stresses and strains just melt away.
A dream place
When people think of a Caribbean island, Little Cayman is it: secluded, but close enough to neighbours to find someone to share a yarn and a drink with, friendly people and some quite extraordinary diving and watersports.
“You just feel like you have your own private island,” says Erin Bodden of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
“It really is just a dream place. Grab a bike – you don’t need to take a car. For me, landing at the runway and seeing the airport, which is a Caymanian cottage, is the best introduction to your stay you could have. Not many airports look like that! Talk about a hassle-free vacation; you’re not dealing with crazy customs or anything like that.”
Kayaking, for example, to tiny, uninhabited Owen Island is something that more or less everybody can and should do. You might get wet a few times but truly that’s a pleasure in itself as a respite from the rays of the superb sun. And it’s worth it when you get there: no better spot can there be for a picnic to grab an hour from the claws of the monstrous pace of life.
The diving is nothing short of phenomenal, as you’d expect. Bloody Bay and Jackson’s Bight are considered among the top wall dives worldwide. Indeed, the late Phillipe Cousteau was fond of visiting. The dive begins at Three Fathom Wall – just 18 feet – but staggers over a drop-off to around 1,000 feet.
“The diving is great, just fantastic,” confirms Erin.
“Places like Pirates Point get accolades from TripAdvisor, dive magazines and more. The dive masters are great across the board and there are also lionfish hunts and cookouts over at Little Cayman.”
Possibly one of the most photographed signs on Little Cayman is the one that reads: Iguanas have right of way. And although it has become a tourist attraction in its own right, it’s there for a reason.
“The rock iguanas are amazing. It’s about seeing the flora and fauna change on each island and embracing it. Considering the proximity, the islands are really different from each other – Booby Pond Nature Reserve is a great spot to visit to see many different kinds of birds which you will not have a chance to see anywhere else in the world. We are so lucky to have these rare creatures,” Erin beams.
Little Cayman is truly a timeless Caymanian experience; there’s a surprising amount to do on-island and some lively hotel bars – not to mention the Hungry Iguana restaurant, of course. You may see the hours stretch out in front of you, but one thing is for sure: there is a big, big difference between boredom and being ultra-chilled. Paradise is on the doorstep – why aren’t you there already?