The Cayman Islands has always been a great destination for a luxury beach or dive vacation, appealing to both romantic couples and families. But with travel restrictions finally lifted this summer, there are even more reasons to start planning a winter getaway in the Caymans.
The Return of Cayman Cookout
The grills and ovens at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman went cold for two years during the pandemic, but the Cayman Cookout food festival is coming back in 2023. Scheduled for Jan. 12-16, this elite event gathers top chefs and mixologists from all over the world to show off their talents and share their food during a series of exclusive demonstrations. A handful of demos are priced around $100, but prices go up with name recognition at an event that attracts the like of Emeril Lagasse, Tom Coliccio, and Jose Andres. If you want to have event host Eric Ripert cook you a meal aboard a private jet, it will set you back a mere $25,000.
Fly Nonstop from the West Coast
Hawaii and Mexico are the usual sun-and-sand vacation go-to destinations from the West Coast, but Cayman Airways is making it easier for travelers to choose the Caribbean instead. On Nov. 6, the airline launched nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) in Grand Cayman, with introductory fares starting at $399. The flights will operate through March 2023, with weekly departures from LAX (Saturdays) and Grand Cayman (Sundays). Onboard amenities will include rum punch service and Business Class seating.
Rum Point Reopening
As posh as Grand Cayman’s west coast is, Rum Point has always been a lower-key option. The frozen mudslides will start flowing again on the north shore, with the Wreck Bar and Grill set to start serving up jerk pork and fish and chips fried in Caybrew batter again this winter. Grab a hammock or hop on a Red Sail Sports charter to Stingray City, then settle into the dining room at the Rum Point Club for ceviche and seafood hot pot. Closed since October 2021, Rum Point is expected to be fully reopened by the end of 2022.
A New Waterpark at the Kimpton
The SPLASH waterpark is the newest amenity at the family friendly Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in Grand Cayman. Opened in June 2022, the aquatic play area includes kid-sized waterslides, splash areas, and fountains. Alongside the fun is an educational mission, with park elements designed around local flora and a host of interactive features, like a spinning rock made of Grand Cayman’s native limestone.
Crystal Caves Eyes Some Added Zip
Most of the attractions at Crystal Caves have understandably been underground, but one of the Cayman Islands’ most popular attractions is casting its eyes skyward with plans to add a new zip line along with an underground restaurant. Meanwhile, Crystal Caves reopened in November 2022 and resumed its 1.5-hour limestone cave tours, which are paired with a half-hour nature walk through the surrounding tropical forest.
Stay on Seven Mile Beach for Less
Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach is loaded with upscale resorts, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay there. The Hampton by Hilton Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach hotel, which opened in late 2019, has room rates starting under $300 a night (trust us, that’s a bargain), and also accepts Hilton Honors points as payment for stay. In addition to a pleasant pool area and freshly made over rooms, stays include a daily hot breakfast.
Go Veggie (or Vegan) on Grand Cayman
Vegetarians and vegans can dive into great food in the Cayman Islands. The new Edgy Vedge restaurant in West Bay is a fully plant-based eatery and marketplace with indoor and outdoor seating, and joins Island Naturals, VIVO, and Bread and Chocolate as Grand Cayman restaurants offering vegetarian and vegan dining. In addition to meat-free comfort food, Edge Edge serves cocktails, beer and wine and has as marketplace for when you prefer to bring your meal to your beach or room rather than dining in. Also new on the island are San Si Wu Noodle Co. in George Town, which has handmade Chinese noodles and dumplings made fresh daily.