If you are craving the ultimate Caribbean experience, you need look no further than the Cayman Islands. Whether it is culture, adventure or escapism that you desire, there is something for everyone on each of these three exquisite islands, regarded by many as the most safe and friendly in the Caribbean. Immersing yourself in some of the many local events is certainly one of the best ways to get a taste of the true wonders of island life. Whether you choose to stay on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, here are a few of our favourites.
Cayman Cookout: Grand Cayman – January
This premier Caribbean culinary event offers an incomparable line up of world famous chefs and wine experts. With over thirty events held over one weekend, the tastings, demonstrations, dinners and tours will provide you with a first hand experience of the Cayman Islands’ world famous elegant cuisine, and certainly keep you entertained. Another must for foodies is the ‘Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival’ held in February which showcases over forty of Cayman’s best restaurants.
Mardi Gras: Little Cayman – February/March
Starting on the last Saturday before Ash Wednesday, people flock from Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman to dance and celebrate. Enjoy live music, raffles, bead throwing and face painting, and see the tranquil paradise of the quieter island come alive with the sounds of soca, steel drums and reggae. Foodies are in luck, beacuse February also brings further culinary delights at the Taste of Cayman Food and Wine Festival; the largest food and wine festival of the year.
Little Cayman Agricultural Show: Little Cayman – March
A traditional Cayman event that is held every Ash Wednesday and now in it’s 47th year. This is a great day out with plenty of local produce on sale. You can meet Cayman farmers and their livestock, as well as listening to live music.
Braccanal Carnival: Cayman Brac – May
Cayman Brac’s own home grown carnival takes place in May. Festivities start on the Friday evening but the main event is the parade on Saturday, bringing the Cayman Islands together in a colourful and cultural celebration of costumes, music and dancing. The elaborate costumes and floats are traditionally inspired by the beautiful local marine environment.
Batabano: Grand Cayman – May
For more carnival action in May head to Grand Cayman, where two annual parades are held at the beginning of the month, providing a kaleidoscope of music, dance and pageantry. A colourful array of traditional island cuisine is on offer from over 20 local vendors, alongside the islands top restaurants. Starting from the Marquee Plaza, join the celebrations as they travel along West Bay Road and end on Harbour Drive for a high energy street party. Whichever island you are staying on, this is an event worth travelling for.
Brac Bash: Cayman Brac – September
Celebrating the anniversary of the sinking of the Russian Frigate (MV Captain Keith Tibbetts) in 1996 for wreck diving purposes, Brac Bash provides a fun weekend of events in Cayman Brac. Among the many events are the Brac Bash Cook-Off, and a Scavenger Hunt around the island. Another event held in September is the Miss Cayman Brac Festival Queen Pageant, which always draws the crowds to watch the contest and enjoy the music and dancing on a Friday evening.
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame: Grand Cayman – October
Each year the Cayman Islands are extremely proud to host an event that honours a sport that blossomed in their country. Based mainly in Grand Cayman, this is a phenomenal week of diving, culinary delights and underwater beauty, not forgetting the fantastic film festival with world-renowned underwater photographers and cinematographers. This is a fun filled event for all levels of divers.
Pirates Week: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – November
The Cayman Islands Annual Pirates Week Festival holds events across each of the three islands for eleven spectacular days of music, street dances, games, competitions, local food and drink, kids days, heritage days, sports events, pirate invasions and fireworks. Thousands of people line the streets of George Town harbour on the first Saturday to watch a mock ‘pirate invasion’ from the sea, with two old sailing vessels loaded with pirates making a surprise landing at the harbour and capturing the Governor. With something for everyone this is the only event of its kind in the Caribbean. If you are visiting at this time of year, you are in for a treat.
December is a magical time to visit all three of the Cayman Islands. The lack of snow and cold is made up for by plenty of holiday activities and festive decorations. This is the most joyful time of year on the island, and when you hear Jingle Bells with a reggae beat, you know you are celebrating the holidays Caribbean style! The Parade of Lights, probably the biggest event of the season, is something that should not be missed. Boats of every shape and size, decorated in Christmas lights, sail into the harbor before Camana Bay on the first Saturday in December with thousands crowding the shoreline to watch. Local food and craft stalls, choirs and bands provide entertainment before the parade, and afterwards you can enjoy one of the most fabulous fireworks displays you will ever see. Aside from the Christmas festivities in December, don’t miss out of Grand Cayman’s annual Marathon, which provides entertainment for runners and spectators alike.