From full scuba certification courses to one-day experiences for those who've never breathed off a regulator, the Cayman Islands qualify as a scuba diving shrine. While Grand Cayman receives the most publicity and visitors, all three Cayman Islands - Little Cayman and Cayman Brac being the other two -- offer outstanding scuba diving.
George Town, the capital on Grand Cayman, has become a thriving cruise ship port but has still managed to retain most of its charm, even with the proliferation of American franchise restaurants and hotels.
About 75 miles north of Grand Cayman and 5 miles from Cayman Brac, Little Cayman is the smallest of the three islands and home to only about 100 full-time residents. The Brac has about 1,500 residents but no actual towns, only settlements, such as Stake Bay, Spot Bay, the Creek, Tibbitts Turn, the Bight, and West End, where the airport is located.
The Cayman Islands have prospered as one of the first offshore banking havens and thus they have a high standard of living. (Notice all of the Mercedes and BMWs motoring around Georgetown.) The cost of living (ie: vacationing) is about 20 percent higher than it is in the United States. Condos and villas are widespread and Grand Cayman has many large private residences owned by well-to-do North Americans.
All three of the Caymans are blessed with outstanding underwater scenery that is among the most photographed in the world and scuba diving is the country's largest tourist draw. The deep ocean waters and lack of runoff from rivers and streams provide visibility, which sometimes exceeds 120 feet and rarely drops below 50 feet.
The islands also boast some of the region's best beaches, and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is notable among them.
Little Cayman and Cayman Brac offer small-scale amusements. On these islands, you'll have to entertain yourself with beachcombing, fishing and water-sports. With Grand Cayman taking care of the more elaborate diversions, one hopes Little Cayman and Cayman Brac will never grow up.
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