Grand Cayman, Cayman Island

Just offshore, coral reefs and walls plunge dramatically into the abyss, creating superb conditions for visitors to Grand Cayman to go scuba diving and snorkelling. These underwater "mountainsides" (the peak being the island itself) never fail to leave Grand Cayman divers and snorkelers awestruck. And Grand Cayman beaches are wide, sandy and fringed with palm trees.

Attractions:

Sights—Dive down to see the Oro Verde; explore the underwater reefs in a submarine; send someone back home a postcard from Hell; lounge by the clear waters at Rum Point.

Walks—Shop, eat and shell-scavenge your way along Seven Mile Beach; hike and nature-watch along the Mastic Trail.

Especially for Kids—Visit Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park; view sea turtles at Cayman Turtle Farm.

Port Info:

Of the three islands that make up the Caymans, Grand Cayman is the only one with the capacity to host cruise ships. Some ships still anchor outside the harbour west of George Town, but a recently built US$17.5 million port facility—just 1,312 ft/400 m north of the old Port Authority dock—with a 200-ft/60-m pier, has the capacity to dock one or two cruise ships. All passengers filter through a self-contained facility with immigration, tourist information, shops, restaurants, restrooms and a taxi dispatch center. Discussions about building another pier are under way, since on any given day there can be up to six cruise ships in the harbour and some passengers still need to be tendered to the terminal.

In rough weather, ships may anchor off the island's southern coast and tender passengers to Spotts, which lies about 4 mi/6 km from George Town. Taxis or buses then transport passengers to George Town for shopping and to the various attractions.

The main tourist information office is at the Regatta Office Park, Leeward 2, West Bay Road (opposite the Westin Hotel). It's open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm.

Phone 345-949-0623. There is also a small information booth at the cruise ship terminal.

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