Cayman Islands: Sister Islands Day Trips
By Tristan Ralston on 23rd February, 2024
While Grand Cayman might be your focus for your Cayman Islands vacation, the ‘sister’ islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are just a short flight away and offer fantastic day trips.
Just a 30-minute flight from Grand Cayman, the mighty Cayman Brac combines peace and quiet with adventure, a unique and breathtakingly beautiful island that is a nature-lover’s paradise. As you journey through the island, you will feel as if time has stood still as there are few cars and no traffic. Visitors can rent bicycles and explore this friendly little island at their own speed. The sister islands have stunning beaches, brilliant dive sites, natural beauty and old world charm that makes them the perfect location in which to enjoy some serious downtime. Here is everything you need to know about planning a day trip to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.
Getting to the ‘Sister’ islands
Once you arrive into Grand Cayman, it is only a short hop over to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. There are no ferry services operating between the Cayman Islands, so traveling by air is the way to go. Cayman Airways offers daily flights to and from each of the three islands.
A day trip to Cayman Brac
A nature lover’s dream, Cayman Brac is a tiny island that runs about 12 miles in length and is about 1.2 miles wide. Much loved for its stunning scenery that takes the form of a craggy 140-foot limestone cliff known as The Bluff, (which gives the island its name, as ‘Brac’ is Gaelic for bluff).
The island is a particular draw for nature enthusiasts keen to explore the Bluff’s honeycomb of caves, as well as climbers who want the challenge of climbing this highest point of the Cayman Islands. The Brac is filled with marked hiking trails, boardwalks, interpretive signs and ecology panels and historic sites, informing visitors so they can appreciate the diverse and exotic local flora and fauna.
Exotic bird watching
Bird watching is a popular pastime on Cayman Brac because around 200 species live there. Look out for the frigatebirds and brown boobies, as well as the endangered Cayman Brac parrot. Wetland ponds are home to herons and the rare West Indian whistling duck. Visit the National Trust Parrot Reserve and Nature Trail for true biodiversity set in 281.6 acres of ancient forest.
Diving on Cayman Brac
The Brac offers beautiful clear, warm waters that are perfect for scuba diving and are rich in underwater life. The clarity of the water is so supreme, that even snorkelers can see up to 150 feet. Around 500 different types of marine life can be spotted, including reef sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays. What’s more, the island’s reefs are made up of some 100 different types of coral, both hard and soft ones. To add to the diving excitement, two decades ago a 330 ft. Russian frigate was scuttled on the Brac’s north shore and now, the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts, as it is known, is one of the most exciting dives in the Cayman Islands.
Cayman Brac is a prime spot for divers, with limestone caves, underwater sinkholes, shipwrecks, and sea wall diving just some of the features of diving in this unspoilt paradise. “Tweeting” takes on a whole new meaning here, with some fantastic opportunities for birdwatching on the Bluff (a sheer limestone cliff that rises to around 150ft – the highest natural elevation in all three of the Cayman Islands) and also in the lush green limestone forests throughout the island, with opportunities to spot the more than 100 species of birds which migrate to the island, including parrots, boobies, falcons, pelicans, and egrets.
Rock Climbing on Cayman Barc
Rock climbing has become an increasingly popular activity here, a fantastic adrenalin-filled adventure that offers the chance of incredible views while testing your climbing prowess at the same time After all that excitement, a spot of yoga is a great way to unwind and commune with oneself. On Cayman Brac you can practice yoga in the shade of the Bluff while enjoying the serene sounds of the ocean, or go for a relaxing massage at Fuzion Salon.
A day trip to Little Cayman
If you thought islands couldn’t get any smaller than Cayman Brac then you have to visit its even smaller little sister, Little Cayman. A ten minutes plane ride from the Brac lands you in Little Cayman’s tiny airport where the adventure really begins. If you have ever imagined what a paradise island might look like, then this is it! At just 10 miles long and an average width of just 1 mile, Little Cayman is an idyllic sanctuary where peace and tranquility reign supreme. It’s an incredible place to unwind in happy seclusion, with the twinkling turquoise sea, gentle breeze and white sand beaches as your backdrop. Swim out to tiny Owen Island that sits just offshore and you will probably be the only inhabitants there for the day!
The National Trust of the Cayman Islands has its own house on Little Cayman to help visitors understand more about the island’s natural habitats and animals. It’s a treasure trove of information. Birds are a big draw here too, and Booby Pond is home to a colony of 20,000 red-footed booby birds and 350 frigatebirds and is a major breeding and overwintering site for herons, shorebirds, waders and ducks. The Bird Outlook on Booby Pond is an excellent place to watch birds and take their photos in the evening. There’s also the Little Cayman Museum and the Little Cayman Marine Museum to enjoy, helping visitors appreciate the history of this very special location.
Diving on Little Cayman
Bloody Bay wall is probably one of the most exciting dive locations anywhere in the world, starting at 20 feet and plunging to 6,000 feet. It’s an undersea world, the likes of which you probably won’t have ever seen before, teeming with colourful flora and fauna. Fishing is a popular and relaxing pastime and both deep sea and fly fishing are available.
Book your day trips to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
Visit caymanairways.com to book your flights to the sister islands or call +1 (800) 422-9626 for U.S. reservations.
For more information about Cayman Brac and Little Cayman visit the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s website.
Read more: 10 reasons to visit The Cayman Islands