Cayman Islands

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 18, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Cayman Islands, destination, Jessica Labrencis, New Zealand, Phoenix, Sao Paulo, Thailand, vacation package.

Cayman Islands

After last year's active hurricane season, you may hesitate before booking a Caribbean vacation this year. Consider, then, the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac), located in the far Western Caribbean, which have been hit by only one hurricane (Ivan in 2004) since 1932. Summer weather is pleasant, usually around 85 degrees with brief afternoon rain showers. While there's no guarantee that this summer will be hurricane-free in the islands, it's a good bet that your vacation plans won't be interrupted.

Summer events include the annual Taste of Cayman (complete with local and international dishes and a chili cook-off) on Grand Cayman during the first weekend of July, and Cayman Brac Family Week with island tours, hikes, family snorkeling, a beach cookout, and a sand-sculpting contest later in July.

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Popular attractions on Grand Cayman include the Cayman Turtle Farm, home to more than 16,000 green turtles raised for conservation, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, a 65-acre park with flowers and wildlife. You can save on these attractions and two others by purchasing a Heritage Passport. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and other water sports are also among the islands' main attractions.

Travelers who venture beyond touristy Grand Cayman to its sister islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, can dive, snorkel, bird watch, and explore without crowds.

The Cayman Summer Splash promotion is a good option for families and includes discounted hotel and rental car rates, reduced-price diving and other water sports excursions, half-off kids' fares on Cayman Airways, and enrollment in "Sir Turtle's Sea School" kids' program.

The islands are easily accessible from the U.S., as most major carriers serve Grand Cayman. This year, you have more options for reaching the islands. Low-fare carrier Spirit introduced non-stop service from Ft. Lauderdale in February, and connecting flights are available from major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C. Cayman Airways is offering half-off kids' fares to Grand Cayman.

We searched for hotel rates in the Cayman Islands to see how much you can save by traveling in the off-peak fall season and we found savings of up to $150 per night.

Room type Hotel Off-peak rate Peak rate
Two bedroom, pool view Plantation Village Beach Resort, Grand Cayman $185 (July 1 to December 15, 2006) $335 (December 16, 2006, to April 15, 2007)
Beachfront studio suite The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman $175 (April 22 to December 21, 2006) $245 (January 7, 2005, to April 21, 2006)
Triple room (price includes three meals) Sam McCoy's Diving & Fishing Lodge, Little Cayman $115 (June 1 to October 15, 2006) $125 (October 16, 2006, to May 31, 2007)

To find more information about visiting the Caymans Islands, refer to CaymanIslands.com. For more tips and strategies for saving money in the Cayman Islands, visit the SmarterTravel.com Cayman Islands Travel Guide.

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