Is­lands in the sun -By Aruna Rathod

As far as lux­ury is con­cerned, the Cay­man Is­lands are one of the top Caribbean get­away des­ti­na­tions. The pris­tine white sandy beaches and crys­tal clear sea makes it the ideal place to re­lax and get away from it all.

The Luxury Collection - - Contents - -By Aruna Rathod

Dis­cov­ered by Christo­pher Colum­bus in 1503, when a chance wind blew his ship off course and he was thrust west­ward to­ward two very small and low is­lands – Cay­man Brac and Lit­tle Cay­man. By 1530, the is­lands were called the “Caimanas”— de­rived from the Carib In­dian word for the marine croc­o­dile that for­merly in­hab­ited the is­lands. Some early res­i­dents were be­lieved to be pirates that set­tled down look­ing for a more peace­ful life. To­day Cay­man Is­lands are a great des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors from all over the world.

Grand Cay­man: Cos­mopoli­tan Grand Cay­man Is­land is the largest of the three Cay­man Is­lands and what you can find is com­plete re­lax­ation, ex­quis­ite din­ing, and ex­cit­ing nightlife! The un­der­wa­ter with ac­ces­si­ble reefs is a great way to ex­pe­ri­ence marine life and the fa­mous Seven Mile Beach, the cres­cent-shaped nat­u­ral won­der with bound­less ca­pac­ity for re­lax­ation and breath­tak­ing beauty, is mes­mer­iz­ing. With sand stretch­ing as far as the eye can see, Grand Cay­man’s Seven Mile Beach is of­ten rated as one of the most beau­ti­ful beaches in all the Caribbean and the least pop­u­lated.

Once you are done with the beach, keep a day aside for the lux­ury of Ge­orge Town, where colour­ful tra­di­tional Caribbean-style build­ings meet high fi­nance cor­po­ra­tions, and fin­ish the day off with a sun­set cock­tail. En­joy duty- free shop­ping on sig­na­ture brands such as Ver­sace, Tif­fany, Gucci, and more. For a lo­cal flavour, visit the lo­cal ven­dors and crafts­men through­out the dis­tricts who work from their homes and are al­ways happy to spend some time help­ing you find that per­fect gift.

To en­joy the raw trop­i­cal beauty, visit the Eastern dis­tricts of Grand Cay­man as well as the Queen El­iz­a­beth II Botan­i­cal Park where you can learn about the rare Blue Igua­nas.

With over 50,000 res­i­dents, Grand Cay­man is ap­prox­i­mately 76 square miles. It is on Grand Cay­man that you will find some of the most pop­u­lar Caribbean ac­tiv­i­ties, at­trac­tions, and fes­ti­vals, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar Pirates Week and the colour­ful and ex­cit­ing Bata­bano. Other pop­u­lar at­trac­tions in­clude the Cay­man Is­lands Na­tional Mu­seum, Rum Point, Pe­dro St. James, Bod­den Town, the first cap­i­tal of the Cay­man Is­lands, Cay­man Turtle Farm, and the Na­tional’s Trusts Mas­tic Trail, a 2 mile tra­di­tional foot­path through un­spoiled wood­lands.

Cay­man Brac: Brac is for those look­ing for ad­ven­ture! Named for its breath­tak­ing 140 ft bluff, the “Brac” is a rugged and charm­ing 14 square miles, with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get up close and per­sonal with the most dra­matic scenery, ex­otic flora and fauna.

The is­land’s com­mu­nity are called “Brack­ers” - less than

1,800 but very invit­ing. Ask them and they will help you out by first show­ing you the Bluff, the breath­tak­ing view from the light­house lo­cated on the Bluff, as well as the lime­stone caves and sink­holes.

You can also in­dulge in un­der­wa­ter ad­ven­ture at Cay­man Brac’s crys­tal clear, warm wa­ters that pro­vide awe in­spir­ing wall dives, shal­low div­ing and wreck div­ing.

Cay­man Brac is a bird watcher’s par­adise. Lush green forests through­out the is­land are home to over 200 species of birds. Bird watch­ers will also de­light in the 180-acre par­rot re­serve which hosts the rare, en­dan­gered Brac Par­rot. Frigate birds, brown boo­bies, and pere­grine fal­cons can also be spot­ted in their nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

Lit­tle Cay­man: The least de­vel­oped and the small­est and most tran­quil of the three Cay­man Is­lands, Lit­tle Cay­man epit­o­mizes the def­i­ni­tion of “an is­land get­away.” Seclu­sion and strik­ing scenery makes it the per­fect hon­ey­moon is­land and a top Caribbean des­ti­na­tion.

With a pop­u­la­tion of less than 170, most of Lit­tle Cay­man re­mains un­in­hab­ited. Only ten miles long and one mile wide, this is­land get­away of­fers you a rare com­bi­na­tion of sun drenched soli­tude, glis­ten­ing beaches, and miles of un­touched trop­i­cal wilder­ness. On Lit­tle Cay­man, you are as­sured of to­tal pri­vacy and re­lax­ation. Bask on empty beaches with soft white sand, and lis­ten to palm leaves sway­ing.

To move around, you could rent a scooter, or bike and me­an­der your way around the is­land, just re­mem­ber that igua­nas have the right of way. The re­mote South Hole Sound La­goon is great for a pri­vate swim in wa­ter that is ev­ery shade of blue, or row out to tiny, de­serted Owen Is­land to en­joy a view of na­ture in its most pris­tine form where you can

en­joy an is­land get­away ex­pe­ri­ence so real, you’ll feel as if you were the last per­son on Earth.

Live in lux­ury: Lux­ury Cay­man Vil­las takes lux­ury to a whole new level, of­fer­ing a deluxe hol­i­day in the com­fort of your ‘own home’.

Each villa has its own 24-hour sup­port team, guest ser­vices man­ager and ded­i­cated concierge to ar­range all the lit­tle de­tails for you, whether it’s mak­ing din­ner reser­va­tions or or­gan­is­ing an ex­cur­sion. There is also the op­tion to have a pri­vate chef come to your villa and cook for you; per­haps it’s a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, you have spe­cific di­etary re­quire­ments or you just don’t fancy do­ing the wash­ing up. You can also re­quest your villa to be pre-stocked with gro­ceries for the week, have the op­tion to be fast-tracked through air­port se­cu­rity and cus­toms when you land, and be met by your pri­vate trans­fer to en­sure that you are on hol­i­day as soon as you set foot on Grand Cay­man. To­tally com­mit­ted to the en­vi­ron­ment, all prop­er­ties have LED light­ing and so­lar pan­els and wind tur­bines are used to gen­er­ate power.

The Ritz-carl­ton Grand Cay­man lo­cated in Grand Cay­man also pro­vides a lux­u­ri­ous is­land es­cape. Lo­cated on the world­fa­mous Seven Mile Beach, it is home to the Grand Cay­man Pent­house, the largest suite in the Caribbean with 8,000 square feet of in­door and out­door liv­ing space lo­cated on the top floor of the ho­tel. The wrap­around out­door ter­race, with din­ing ta­ble, fire pit and out­door pri­vate shower, of­fers stun­ning views over the sea and the villa even comes with its own beach ca­bana for those lazy days in the sun­shine. Eat­ing out: Not only is the Ritz-carl­ton Grand Cay­man home to lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tion but it is also home to the restau­rant ‘Blue’ by world-fa­mous chef Eric Ripert. This seafood restau­rant boasts of six or seven-course tast­ing menus along with à la carte din­ing, a large col­lec­tion of fine wines and craft cock­tails. The restau­rant also has two pri­vate din­ing rooms for those spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

Agua restau­rant also of­fers gourmet seafood in a friendly and wel­com­ing set­ting. The menus change reg­u­larly, depend­ing on the catch of the day, and their sig­na­ture ce­viche dishes are de­li­ciously light and fresh.

For water­front din­ing head to the Grand Old House. Lo­cated in the south of Grand Cay­man, this old plan­ta­tion house has four pri­vate din­ing rooms, an award-win­ning wine and Cuban cigar list and a panoramic seafront ter­race. The menu con­sists of tra­di­tional Cay­ma­nian flavours and all dishes are made us­ing lo­cal pro­duce.

Sport yatch – ex­plore in style: The best way to ex­plore the Cay­man Is­lands is by boat so why not char­ter your own 42’ or 29’ Sea Ray sport yacht? Cay­man Lux­ury Char­ters of­fer day char­ters of their mag­nif­i­cent yachts, whether it’s for ex­plor­ing, head­ing to the Stingray City sand­bar to swim with the wild stingrays or just to re­lax. They even of­fer sun­set cruises to watch the spec­tac­u­lar Cay­man Is­lands sun­sets – renowned for be­ing beau­ti­ful and ro­man­tic. How to get there: The best way to reach Cay­man Is­lands is from the US, Lon­don or Toronto. Eight dif­fer­ent air­lines fly into Grand Cay­man from the United States, Canada and the United King­dom.

Fly to the Cay­man Is­lands with Bri­tish Air­ways and you’ll touch­down in the Caribbean in just over 12 hours. Af­ter a brief stopover in Nas­sau in the Ba­hamas, it’s just a short hop to your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

Air Canada of­fers non-stop flights from Toronto to Grand Cay­man ev­ery week, twice a week.

The main pas­sen­ger air­port in the Cay­man Is­lands, Owen Roberts In­ter­na­tional Air­port, is lo­cated on the largest of the Cay­man Is­lands, Grand Cay­man. Cay­man Brac also has its own air­port, Charles Kirk­con­nell Air­port. These two air­ports serve as the Cay­man Is­lands main ports of en­try for vis­i­tors. Lit­tle Cay­man is served by daily in­ter-is­land flights.

Photo credit - Law­son Wood

Images cour­tesy: Cay­man Is­lands De­part­ment of Tourism.

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