Local Caymanian culture is warm and vibrant. A truly diverse melting pot, over 120 different nationalities live and work together in harmony across the three islands evident in all aspects of life from the cuisine to the dialect. The common theme across all residents is Caymankind, an appreciation for random acts of kindness, acceptance of all customs and traditions, and a commitment to work together for a better tomorrow through sustainability programs that preserve their beautiful slice of nature.
If you want a glimpse into Cayman’s past, look no further than Pedro St. James, a historically reconstructed Great House and the birthplace of Caymanian democracy, a twenty minute drive from George Town. Originally constructed in the 1800’s, the building has undergone multiple restorations due to hurricane damage over the years. A compelling historical tour is enhanced by breathtaking ocean views and an interactive 3D exhibit.
The magnificent Queen Elizabeth II Botantic Park boasts more than just beautiful flowers and gardens, opened by Her Majesty in 1994, the economically important Silver Thatch Palm and the medicinal garden provide insight into the horticulture Caymanians use to treat various ailments. The 35-acre wonderland is regarded as one of the best in the Caribbean and is in fact, the only one in the region to be Green Globe-Certified for sustainable tourism. There is also a restored house from the 1900’s on the premises, owned by Julius Rankine from East End.
The bustling Craft Market downtown connects visitors and cruise passengers with traditional creations from local artisans. Be sure to pick up leather goods, wood workings, shell designs and locally made jams, jellies, pickles, and of course, the ever-famous Rum Cake.
The celebration of Caymanian culture is evident throughout the year during local events that highlight food, fun and festivities.
The Caribbean’s premier epicurean event, Cayman Cookout is a gathering of culinary enthusiasts for a weekend celebrating food and wine. Hosted by Chef Eric Ripert, an incomparable roster of world famous chefs, sommeliers and guests, including Anthony Bourdain, Jose Andrés and Daniel Humm, head to the islands for four days of mouth-watering tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners.
Another time-honored tradition now in its 35th year is Pirates Week with more than 40 family-friendly events, including live music performances, street festivals, sports competitions, fireworks, costumes, and an abundance of other activities. The party kicks off with a steel pan competition and mock ‘pirate invasion to keep you on your toes. Special travel packages are available for visitors to take part in the fun.
Cayman Carnival Batabano is held annually during the first week of May. One of the calendar’s most vibrant festivals, a giant street parade of colorful music, dance, and costumes radiate through the islands, bringing center stage the area’s religious and African influences. Named after the tracks sea turtles leave in the sand, finding these gems among the beaches are a sign of good luck and reason to celebrate.