The Eastern Districts (Savannah, Bodden Town, East End and North Side) of Grand Cayman are scenic, unspoilt, quieter and less developed than the manicured sands and luxury resorts of Seven Mile Beach. You will find a wealth of things for the whole family to enjoy, from cultural activities to diving, or kayaking to just relaxing on the beach.
If you are looking for off the beaten track accommodation here are some ideas:
Cayman Villas has the largest portfolio of villas and condos on the beach in Cayman. From one bed condos to luxury 7–bedroom houses, they have some real gems. (345) 945 4144
The Retreat at Lookout is a peaceful family–run, very affordable guest house located on 20 acres in Bodden Town. Ideal for exploring the walking trails, beaches and local bird life or just relaxing by the pool. (705) 719 9144
Turtle Nest Inn is another option in Bodden Town offering reasonable prices with a pool on the beach. (345) 947 8665
THINGS TO DO - CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Top tip – If you are going to visit both Pedro St. James and the Botanic Park, ask for the Adventure Card when buying your tickets and save 20%.
• Pedro St. James Castle was built in 1780 and is set in over seven acres of manicured gardens overlooking the sea. Explore the castle that is often termed the birth place of democracy in the Cayman Islands. It’s also the place where it was announced in the Cayman Islands, in 1835, that slavery had ended in the British Empire. Don’t miss the multimedia show.
• The Mission House was built in the 1800s. The living conditions of an earlier time in Cayman’s history have been recreated in the home of Presbyterian missionaries who owned the house. Open Monday–Friday 9am–1pm. CI$6 for adults and CI$3 for children under 12. Note: Closed September. (345) 749 1132
• Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a 65–acre site made up of woodland walking trails, floral colour gardens, an undisturbed lake and wetland for wildlife, a heritage garden with an old Caymanian house and an orchid boardwalk. You will see butterflies, birds, turtles, agoutis, reptiles and the indigenous and endangered blue iguana.
• The Mastic Reserve and Trail runs through a centuries–old dry woodland forest, home to hundreds of rare animals and plants. See geological features such as sink holes, splits and caves, and also wetland and dry forest ecosystems. Guided hikes with a trained naturalist take place by arrangement most days of the week and one Saturday a month. The cost is CI$24 per person and CI$12 for children. For children the minimum recommended age is ten years. For reservations call (345) 749 1121.
• Lighthouse Park was a port of entry in the 19th century with vessels departing on fishing and turtling expeditions. It’s the site of Cayman’s first lighthouse where a light keeper was employed to hoist a lantern to the top of the mast at 6pm daily. Today visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the incredible views out to sea. (345) 749 1121.
Top Tip If you are going to visit both Pedro St. James and the Botanic Park, ask for the Adventure Card when buying your tickets and save 20%.
• Beachcomb in Bodden Town where the sand is littered with turtle grass, interesting corals, odd bits of old china and shells that the sea has thrown onto the beach. There
are restroom facilities and shelters at the public beach.
• Dive the Walls in East End which are known for their dramatic corals and drop offs. Many of the 55 dive sites in this area are a short boat ride away. You will see brightly hued sponges, corals, sea fans, turtles, eagle rays, angelfish, reef sharks and grouper to name a few of the 500 species of fish documented here. Call Ocean Frontiers (345) 947 7500.
• Kayak the Mangroves with Cayman Kayaks who take small groups into the mangroves on eco–adventure kayaking tours where you will learn all about this fascinating environment. Alternatively, contact White Sand Watersports for a casual potter on a glass bottomed kayak. They are located at The Reef Resort and rent kayaks by the hour.
• Experience Bioluminescence which is found in such high concentrations in the mangroves off Cayman Kai that an easy kayak ride into this magical world (on moonless nights) is quite unforgettable. Tours with Cayman Kayaks depart from Rum Point after sunset.
• Go Watersports Crazy with White Sand Watersports. Choose from jetski, snorkelling and kayaking tours or try an exhilarating Jetovator ride! Kitesurfing lessons can be booked through The Sweet Spot, which is based on the beach near the Morritt’s Tortuga (345) 925 8129. They offer lessons for all abilities daily.
• Take a North Sound Boat Trip with White Sand Watersports or Ocean Frontiers. Both offer dawn boat trips to Stingray City Sandbar, which is an incredible experience as you have the rays all to yourself as the sun comes up!
• Relax at Rum Point or Cayman Kai, where with their white sandy beaches, calm waters and lots of shade, it is easy to while away the whole day! Kaibo is a tranquil spot located right at the tip offering relaxed beachfront dining and a great menu. There’s a quiet beach to relax on while you watch the boats coming and going from the dock. Drive further on and you’ll find Starfish Point, a secluded area where starfish rest in the calm, shallow water. Rum Point is usually fairly busy, with lots of beach loungers, hammocks and has a casual restaurant/bar.
• Paddleboarding Rent a paddleboard from White Sand Water Sports and explore the area at your own pace.
• Explore new Snorkelling Spots on this side of the Island. Find plenty of coral formations, sea fans and schooling fish. Choose one of Ocean Frontiers’ numerous snorkelling tours which range from early morning trips to see the Stingrays to sunset tours with champagne! Alternatively, book a snorkelling safari with White Sand Water Sports. Snorkelling under the dock at Morritt’s is also recommended for families as you’ll spot tarpon and a whole host of brightly coloured fish.
FOOD & DRINK - RUSTIC DINING
Chester’s Fish Fry
Located in the middle of Bodden Town, this small shack has a few tables and serves up authentic local cuisine like oxtail, fried fish, tripe and beans, crab and BBQ chicken. (345) 939 3474.
Grape Tree Café
A simple beach shack café in Bodden Town. Serves excellent fresh and local flavours. Open Friday-Sunday.
Over the Edge
Located in Old Man Bay, North Side this unpretentious rustic restaurant is located right on the water. Simple, delicious seafood at reasonable prices with a slight French twist. (345) 947 9568.
Located in East End, local cuisine is served up in an unpretentious shaded setting by the sea. Try turtle, conch, crab, lobster and BBQ chicken. (345) 947 7435.
Located at Rum Point, they serve contemporary American fair on picnic tables by the water under the shade of casuarina trees. (345) 947 9412.
OTHER RESTAURANTS & BARS
An Indian-Chinese fusion restaurant offering unique seafood dishes. Almost opposite Ocean Frontiers. (345) 947 7278.
David’s Deep Blue Restaurant & Bar
Unpretentious and affordable with a laid–back atmosphere, this restaurant is located right on the beach in Cayman Kai. Their casual but delicious menu features pizzas made in their outdoor brick oven, excellent salads, sandwiches and fresh local fish. Their Barefoot Beach BBQ every Tuesday is great fun with live music and their monthly full moon party, Luna del Mar, is a very special experience.
Daily gourmet coffees, breakfast from 7am, perfect for a beachside breakfast.
This iconic Cayman restaurant overlooks the water in Breakers. It offers an Italian menu melded with local flavours and a superb wine list. Dine inside or on their wonderful, romantic dock that stretches out over the water for magnificent views and a delightful breeze. Their Mediterranean brunch is popular and great value for money.
Rum Point Club Restaurant
Tables are set up on a colourful and casually elegant screened–in patio where the food is international Caribbean in style. They are closed during the summer months. (345) 947 9412
An outdoor beach bar and restaurant located at the Wyndham Reef Resort. (345) 947 3100.
South Coast Bar & Grill
Located in Breakers this family run, casual, unpretentious restaurant right on the water serves great local Caribbean food at very reasonable prices. (345) 947 2517
This waterfront restaurant serves local seafood with an authentic Australian flair and a Caribbean twist. (345) 947 2700
There are not many shopping options in the Eastern Districts. There is a Foster’s Food Fair grocery store in East End and at Countryside Shopping Centre in Savannah. You’ll find gift shops at Kaibo Espresso, The Lighthouse restaurant, Pedro St. James and the Botanic Park. Kaibo Espresso also has a gas station.