Grand Cayman on a Budget: Discover Exciting Adventures Without Breaking the Bank

We checked it out first-hand and found that there are tons of great things to do in Grand Cayman on a budget vacation!

If you love budget travel and want to learn about some other secret spots from first-hand accounts, check out these other articles I’ve written:

Accommodations in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is a relatively expensive place to stay. We were lucky enough to have some saved up reward points and stayed at The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa for part of our trip, and then an Airbnb down a little closer to George Town (the largest town). Remember, resorts like this almost always charge a resort fee on top of the nightly rate, so check this if you are budget travelling with points

The Westin was beautiful and the snorkelling out front was nice. The resort features a white sandy beach with calm, clear water. It has a pool with a swim-up bar and a cozy hot tub.

One embarrassing and disappointing thing about the Westin was that when my friends and I returned to the poolside after snorkelling, the staff on two occasions accused us of pretending to be guests! I suppose they’re not used to seeing young women traveling alone? Or not used to seeing guests snorkelling? It was very unprofessional and very weird!

When leaving our hotel accommodations for the second half of our trip, Airbnb was the cheapest one available, and it was about $100USD per night for a room in a bed-and-breakfast.

Getting around Grand Cayman

The cheapest way to get around is by bus. But the busses in Grand Cayman aren’t ordinary busses: they’re large white vans that circle the island. There is no schedule, but one tends pass by every 10-15 minutes. You simply pay the driver with your cayman dollars (I believe a ride costs around the equivalent of $2 USD). You simply flag down the bus van, and when the bus stops, ask the driver if they’re going where you want!

Alternatively, you can take a taxi, or rent scooters or a car. Cayman is a small, easy going island with friendly roads for driving.

One of the best things to do in Grand Cayman is rent a scooter! The rate was pretty reasonable, and my friend and I shared a lager moped and toured much of the island. The roads are safe enough and smooth, just drive cautiously!

Scuba Diving in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is literally EXPLODING with nurse sharks, morays, and Caribbean stingrays!

Interestingly, since introducing the invasive species, lion fish, in the Caribbean, giant moray eels have abandoned their nocturnal ways and instead hunt lion fish by day! Morays already have weak vision, which is further impaired by eye damage caused by sun exposure. So the Grand Cayman reefs are teeming with hunting moray eels and it’s an exciting sight to see! Divers also spear the invasive lion fish and feel them to the nurse sharks, hoping to interest them in eating the creatures.

Scuba by Boat:

During our stay on cayman, we dove with Living The Dream Divers and had some truly amazing dives with them. They operate two boats, increasing the variety of sites we could visit. They showed great safety standards and their dive master was knowledgeable and had a keen eye for showing us little critters. We also enjoyed when they brought their Hawaiian slings along to rid the reef of the invasive lion fish.

Shore Diving in Grand Cayman:

While we didn’t scuba from shore when we were there, we did a bit of snorkelling from shore and can easily say it would be worth a scuba! Entry is calm and sandy, making this a perfect shore diving destination. Simply rent a tank from a shop (and gear if you need it) and bring along your scuba buddy for an amazing dive!

Scuba Diving the Kittiwake Wreck

This submarine rescue vessel served from 1945 – 1994. The Kittiwake is available for both snorkelling and diving. There is no end of rooms to explore at this wreck. Soon enough, it will become an artificial reef, enhancing the marine environment with new fishery stock and habitats for marine life.

This dive is reasonably easy–you can penetrate the wreck and see some neat things, including a bathroom with mirrors and the wheelhouse.

Stingray City in Cayman- an amazing stingray wonderland!

It is definitely worth it to book a day-trip to this unique spot!

We opted for a sea-do trip through the mangroves and the bay. Once you get to the north shallow sandy area, you hop off into waist deep water and watch as dozens of stingrays swim around you.

Afterwards, we rode our sea-dos to starfish point for a snorkel and lunch, and then rode back to the inner bay marina.

Snorkelling & Picnics at Governors Beach

Governor’s Beach is a stretch of white sand, turquoise seas, and beautiful reefs. Across the street is a little shopping centre where one can grab a lunch to go for a beautiful picnic – if you’re fiendish like us, you’ll grab a lunch of chocolate cake!

The snorkelling here is really amazing. This is not an exaggeration – we saw two lobsters chasing each other around and they were AT LEAST 3 feet long. They were borderline terrifying, haha. Other than that, you can see nurse sharks, schooling fish, and lots of morays.

Free Things to do in Grand Cayman:

Hiking in Grand Cayman

A reasonably flat island, there’s not really much hiking serious to be done on Grand Cayman. But the island is a great place to walk around and explore! My friend and I put on our adventure sandals (these shoes are amazing for tropical backpacking), hopped on a bus-van to the north-western tip of the island turtle centre, and walked to the papaya cottage and back (2 hour loop). Along the way we saw stunning ocean views, passed countless gardens full of tropical flours, and had a laugh at fat iguanas jumping around in the trees. We also saw some of the destruction caused to homes by hurricanes in these neighbourhoods, which was eye-opening for me as a Canadian who had never seen what a tropical storm can do.

Friday Free Booze Women’s Nights in Grand Cayman

I’m not sure if this is still a thing, as it seemed too great to be true, but every Friday many of the bars in town offer free drinks (and sometimes entire dinners!) to women. We joined in on the free drinks, made some friends, and tagged along for an epic night of bar golf! Check around if this is still happening!

If you have questions about backpacking Cayman Islands, comment below and I’ll get back to you!

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