Explore Cayman For a better experience on Explore Cayman, Update your browser.

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Cayman Brac

The most easterly of the Cayman Islands, the Brac is 12 miles long and just over a mile wide. Early Scottish fishermen who settled here gave the Island its name; Brac being Gaelic for bluff, named after the limestone ridge that runs down the centre of the Island reaching an elevation of 140ft at the eastern end – the highest point on all three islands.

The 1,500 friendly Brackers share their island with over 200 bird species and numerous iguanas. The dramatic scenery and rugged terrain boasts a plethora of hidden caves, winding trails, a unique cultural history and is ideal for a number of outdoor land–based activities, in addition to the superb diving which it is famous for.

HISTORY

Christopher Columbus sighted Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on the 10th of May 1503, on his second voyage to the New World. He named the Islands “Las Tortugas” (The Turtles) and claimed them for Spain. Eventually they came to be known as the Cayman Islands. Cayman Brac was a prominent home for pirates, known as the “Brethren of the Sea,” seeking a hiding place for stolen treasures. Of these swashbuckling pirates, the most famous one to roam the Island’s shores was Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. Legend has it that Blackbeard’s booty is still buried or hidden in the recesses of a Cayman Brac cave. The Brac is the most easterly of the Cayman Islands. Cayman Brac (Gaelic for bluff), known for its charm, friendliness and the most dramatic scenery of the three Islands, is a great spot for couples or families. The small towns have names like West End, Watering Place, Cotton Tree Bay, Creek and Spot Bay. A haven for a multitude of bird species, Cayman Brac has a Parrot Reserve created by the National Trust of the Cayman Islands. It also features an international airport, boasts Cayman’s oldest museum and has the highest elevation of the three Islands at 152 feet.

GETTING TO CAYMAN BRAC

There are no ferries operating between the Islands, so access is by air only. Cayman Airways and Cayman Airways Express (345) 949 2311 operate several flights daily between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. There are also direct flights to Cayman Brac from Miami. Cayman Islands Helicopters also fly to the Sister Islands.

GETTING AROUND

There are no buses on the Brac so you may want to hire a car to explore the Island. Hotels and resorts often supply complimentary bikes and cycling is a great way to get around the south shore (which borders the Bluff), particularly for days when you are exploring caves and trails, as you will be off the bike and on foot for at least half the time.

Navigating is easy: main roads run along the north and south shores, with a few secondary roads crossing from one side to the other, but it is not possible to drive all the way around the Island. Please see the Information section for details on taxis and car rentals.

MONEY & BANKING

There is just one bank on Cayman Brac with one ATM. Debit cards, Visa, Master Card and Discover are accepted at most establishments, but few accept American Express

EATING & DRINKING

Two popular restaurants are the Cayman Brac Beach Resort restaurant and the Captain’s Table, located next to Carib Sands. If you want to sample some wholesome local food, particularly seafood, try Paradise Creations, La Esperanza or Star Island Restaurant.

THINGS TO DO ON THE BRAC

Outdoor Enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to keep them occupied on the Brac. Get ahold of a Nature Tourism brochure (available at the airport, car rental agencies and hotels) for information and details on all manner of outdoor activities. Free Guided Tours are available Monday to Friday through Nature Cayman. Tours last three to four hours and cover all the main points of interest on the Island, but it can also be tailored to your specific interests. To book a tour call (345) 948 2222 or email: naturecayman@gov.ky.

  • Hike one of the 12 marked trails while you are on the Brac. They take you through wetlands, forests, over the Bluff and to historic landmarks. Trails are well marked, and whilst guides are not necessary, they are encouraged. Hikes are graded from easy to rough and ceramic signs on the roadside mark the start of each trail. Sturdy footwear is recommended, as is sunscreen and water.
  • Explore the Island’s Caves. There are many to visit, and more to be discovered as some entrances are still concealed by thick vegetation. Some caves were even used by pirates to stash their treasure chests and, more recently, residents took shelter in the caves during hurricanes. Check out the stalactite and stalagmite formations in both the Great Cave and Nani Cave, enjoy views of Spot Bay from Peter’s Cave or learn about the grim history of Rebecca’s Cave and the devastating ‘32 hurricane.
  • Bird Watching is particularly good from October to April when migrating birds pass through in search of fresh water and warmer weather. With some 200 species of full and part-time resident birds, the Island is an ornithologist’s paradise. Land birds you may see include the rare Cayman Brac Parrot, the Red–legged Thrush and the West Indian Whistling Duck. There are also five seabird colonies. The 310-acre Brac Parrot Reserve was established in 1990 to protect the Brac’s endemic parrot and various other species of birds. A two-mile trail through the reserve gives you a chance to see some rare species.
  • Rock Climbing enthusiasts have rated Cayman Brac as one of the top ten exotic climbing destinations worldwide. There are 75 routes on offer that have bolts in place for climbers who can abseil from the top of the bluff down to the sea and climb back up again. Getting to the sites is a challenge in itself and most are only suitable for experienced climbers. For more information on climbing call Rock Iguana Ltd on (345) 936 BRAC (2722).
  • Go Fishing in the crystal clear waters which are teeming with reef and game fish. Keen anglers can go shore fishing for tarpon or deep sea fishing for wahoo, mahi mahi, blue marlin and tuna. Ask your hotel for information on fishing charters or contact El Jeffé Fishing Charters at fishthebrac@outlook.com to book a deep sea fishing trip. There are also several fishing tournaments throughout the year.
  • Rent a Kayak and take a leisurely paddle around the calm waters off the south coast. Explore the shoreline and view the Island from a different perspective. Kayaks can be rented at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort.
  • Lie on the Beach or go Beachcombing. Although the shoreline is predominantly composed of limestone, there are a few sandy beaches along the south coast, the best of which is probably Public Beach. You will also find sandy beaches and great hammocks in front of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort. Although the swimming is not great as it is shallow and rocky.
  • Snorkelling is better off the north shore (weather permitting). Try the site at Buccaneer’s Inn, at the end of Robert Foster Lane, where there is a ladder in place to access the water and the unfinished Barcadere has created a salt water swimming pool. Only strong swimmers are advised to venture out into the open sea from there. Radar Reef in Stake Bay is a good snorkelling spot and shore dive. You can also try Handcuff Reef across from the police station in Creek. Keep an eye out as you drive for beach rocks painted red with white lettering which indicate prime shore diving spots. The Sister Islands Tourism Association (SITA) has a useful Shore Diving Guide that is available at dive shops and gift shops for US$20.
  • Diving on Cayman Brac is some of the best in the Caribbean with walls, drop-offs, patch and finger reefs, and the wreck of the MV Captain Tibbetts, a 330ft Russian warship to explore. The sea is pristine, visibility is excellent and marine life abundant. There are two dive shops: Reef Divers at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort (345) 948 1642 and Brac Scuba Shack (345) 925 3215. They also run dive trips to Little Cayman on request.
  • Spa Treatments are available from the Beach Spa (345) 925 2772 and the Tropical Touch Day Spa at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort (345) 948 1323.
  • Pioneer Bakery is well known throughout the Cayman Islands for its delicious round bread, which is baked fresh daily. Stop by around 11am to sample out-of-the-oven goodness! (345) 948 0519. They also sell other delicious baked goods.
  • Heritage House is a lovely historic home that was once a tannery. Here they host a number of cultural activities throughout the year, including a craft market that sells locally made products such as jewellery, silver thatch items, plants and food. The market is also held weekly at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort, from 4pm-6pm on Thursdays. For further information on these activities call (345) 948 0563.
  • The Cayman Brac Museum is the oldest museum in the country. Browse exhibits on turtling, shipbuilding and other traditional occupations that illustrate the way of life on the Island in years gone by. One of the main exhibits features the catastrophic story of the ’32 Storm when the eye of the storm passed over Cayman Brac, devastating it, and claiming many lives. This exhibit contains images of survivors and quotes from those who lived to tell of the harrowing events during the storm.  Artefacts which survived the storm can also be seen on display. Admission is free.