10 things to do in George Town on a port day to Grand Cayman

A port day on the island of Grand Cayman gives travellers access to a surprisingly diverse array of memorable experiences - from swimming with stingrays, to getting up close to the original Batmobile, and visiting caves once used by pirates.

The capital of the Cayman Islands, George Town, lies in the west Grand Cayman. It’s a vibrant place, with lively bars and restaurants, and buildings painted in pretty, pastel colours, surrounded by clear, azure waters, with tax-free luxury shopping and plenty to see and do.

The Cayman Islands - , Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac - are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, situated in the about 180 miles (290km) northwest of Jamaica. The islands are outcroppings of a submarine mountain range that extends northeastward from to .

Christopher Columbus was the first explorer to record the Islands in 1503. Noting the islands and seas around them were teeming with turtles, he named them Las Tortugas. Mangrove swamps cover nearly a third of the land and the islands are also home to rare, blue iguanas, many lizards and frogs, and rich in birdlife.

Getting around

  • You will disembark at Harbour Drive, a stone’s throw from many of George Town’s attractions, and there are plenty of things to do in and around the capital on foot. Grand Cayman is also small enough (just 4 miles by 22 miles) that you can cram in a range of other experiences around the island on a port day.
  • Roads are good, so hiring a car is a popular choice to make the most of your time - don’t forget, the Islands are a territory of the United Kingdom, so driving is on the left - and the local bus services and taxis offer good alternatives.
  • Local buses are cheap (fares start at CI $1.50/around £1.30), clean and safe. Taxis are available from the dock in George Town, but a lot harder on the pocket, so make sure you agree on a price before you set off.

From relaxing on the beach, to getting up close with the local wildlife, and tax-free shopping, there is so much to do on a port day in George Town, so we have picked our top 10 things to do in Grand Cayman to inspire you and get you off to a start with planning a truly unforgettable visit.

Visit the Cayman Islands National Museum

  • A short hop on foot from the dock, overlooking Hog Sty Bay, the Cayman Islands National Museum is housed in the Old Courts building in George Town - which has survived a great many hurricanes, and is now one of the remaining 19th century structures on the island. Immersing yourself in the history and heritage of the islands is a great way to start your visit and, because it only takes about an hour to look around the whole museum, you’ll have plenty of time left to enjoy the many other attractions in and around the islands’ capital.

Marvel at the Cayman Crystal Caves

  • Situated in a lush tropical forest on the North side of Grand Cayman, these other-wordly caves are full of glistening stalagmite and stalactite structures, formed over millions of years. Once used by pirates as hideouts and to shelter from storms and hurricanes, legend has it that they buried treasure here - but today you are far more likely to come across the resident bats than chests of stolen gold. Tours take about 90 minutes and include a short walking tour through the captivating tropical plants and animal life of the forest. You can pick up a bus from George Town easily to get here, or hop in a taxi.

Dive into paradise

  • Grand Cayman is one of the world’s premier diving destinations and Devil’s Grotto and nearby Eden Rock are two of Cayman’s most-loved places to snorkel and scuba dive. Honey-combed with caves and canyons to swim through, and inhabited by beautiful corals, sponges and many tropical fish including large tarpon, silversides, blue tang, yellow tail, and sergeant majors, you might also be lucky enough to see turtles, rays and reef sharks here. 

Take a luxurious submarine or glass-bottom boat tour

  • If scuba diving isn’t your thing, you can still experience the wonders of the underwater world of Grand Cayman - without getting wet - by taking a tour in a glass-bottom boat, or even a submarine. You’ll see shipwrecks, beautiful coral, plenty of fish and, if you’re lucky, sea turtles, and stingrays. 

Visit Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

  • Escape the crowds at these beautifully manicured gardens, filled with colourful tropical botanicals and a sizeable population of enormous blue iguanas. These serene gardens include fountains, footbridges, tiny pastel outbuildings, and quiet clearings, making it the perfect place to take souvenir photos or fill your Instagram with shots your friends will envy.

Sample Grand Cayman’s best beers and spirits

  • Grand Cayman is a rum-lover’s paradise and you can try a range of artisanal, small batch spirits at . Their Seven Fathoms rum is the connoisseurs’ choice and not to be missed. It’s so called because it is aged in oak barrels seven fathoms (42 feet) under the sea - the only such distillery in the world.
  • Distillery tours take 30-40 minutes and finish with a tasting of Seven Fathoms Rum, Governor’s Reserve Rum, and Gun Bay Vodka, plus a seasonal "Distiller's Special" – a rare creation only available at the Cayman Spirits Company Distillery.
  • If beer is more your style, head to the Cayman Islands Brewery and sample their award-winning beers - including Mango Tango, Twisted Citrus, Pirate Red, and Nitro Stout, as well as a selection of lagers and pale ales only available in the Cayman Islands. The guided tour takes about 20 minutes and includes 5 samples. With ten beer brands and three seasonal craft brews, there’s something to please every palate.

Get revved up at The Cayman Motor Museum

  • Located in the West Bay area of Grand Cayman, a short taxi or bus ride from George Town, this museum was created by businessman Andreas Ugland to share his collection of exotic, rare, and classic motorcars and motorbikes.
  • Featuring everything from the first car ever brought to the Cayman Islands (a 1905 Cadillac brought in from Cuba in 1914), to the original Batmobile and Batcycle from the Batman TV series, a replica of the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, considered the first car in the world, and classic Ferraris, Rally Cars, Porsches,and Bentleys, along with plenty of artwork and motor memorabilia, a visit here is a must for petrol heads!

Swim, eat and relax at Seven Mile Beach

  • Many people wouldn’t consider a trip to Grand Cayman complete without including a visit to this beautiful, long, crescent-shaped beach at the western end of Grand Cayman island - which, despite its name, is just over 6 miles long. With its silky, white, coral-sand, and calm, turquoise water, it is often listed among the best beaches in the Caribbean.
  • Home to the majority of the island's luxury resorts and hotels, you can still find uncrowded shorelines to walk along and snorkel with exotic fish in some more rocky areas. Relax in one of the myriad of bars and restaurants with an order of conch fritters, washed down with a cool glass of rum punch.

Swim with stingrays!

  • One of the Cayman Islands’ top attractions, Stingray City started as an area where the local fishermen stopped to clean their fish before heading back to land and stingrays would come by to scavenge. Here, you will find two areas: a deeper one used by scuba divers and a sandbar, where you can stand in the shallow water, and interact with the stingrays that will swim closely around you.

Be sure to check your bag before you disembark

  • Although John Grisham described holidaying in the Cayman Islands as, 'Sex, sun, rum and a little shopping,' in The Firm, possession of sex toys is an offence under Cayman law, so make sure you leave your favourite toys on board before you go! Grand Cayman island thriving and vibrant, with so many wonderful experiences to offer, that our list barely scratches the surface of the things you can see and do on a port day here.

If you have a must-do experience you think we should add to our list, we’d love to hear about it, tell us about your Grand Cayman story on social media and we’ll share it with the rest of our travellers! If you’ve been inspired by our George Town guide explore all our Caribbean adult holiday offers here.