By Ashley Mateo
At a certain point, all the CaribbeanOpens a New Window. islands can seem interchangeable—start with a white-sand beach, add crystal-clear azure water, insert rum punch. But the Cayman Islands, a three-island archipelago just south of CubaOpens a New Window., is one of the closer destinations to the United States, and worth more than just the quick pit stop offered by cruise ships, which are responsible for the majority of the country’s two million-ish annual visitors.
On the superficial level, there’s the undeniable appeal of the Cayman climate—the average temperature fluctuates between 82°F and 89°F, so there’s literally no bad time of year to go. Plus, its western location shields the Cayman Islands from the worst of hurricane season. But if you look a little deeper, there’s the “Caymankind” hospitality the islands are known for; with people from 135 nations calling it home, it’s one of the most welcoming places you could vacation.
Evening: After you’ve fully digested while sunning on Seven Mile Beach, get (slightly) fancied up and take a walk through Camana Bay, a planned development with tons of restaurants and shops, as well as a 75-foot Observation Tower. When you’re finally ready to eat again, head to Agua RestaurantOpens a New Window.. Like the name implies, there’s a distinct water theme throughout, and the main dishes are mostly Italian-inspired seafood with a Peruvian twist—although the organic chicken is top-notch, too.