|The Caymans, once a mecca to pirates the likes of Blackbeard and Sir Henry Morgan, now attract two somewhat different breeds of adventurer: those who invest big and those who dive deep. Serving the former, more than 500 banks are registered in this tax-free haven, indisputably the world capital of offshore finance. Accommodating the latter, steep underwater cliffs drop away from these shores to depths of up to 20,000 feet in stunningly lucid waters teeming with vibrant marine life. |
Grand Cayman is the largest and busiest of the three islands, served by frequent flights from Florida and nearby Jamaica. George Town, its capital, is the hub for dealmakers, and Seven Mile Beach, a ribbon of sunstruck perfection, plays front yard to a string of upscale hotels and condos. These islands may fly the Union Jack and drive on the left, but their cultural allegiance is to the U.S.; resort amenities evoke Dallas and Miami, and pizza parlors abound. Like its junior siblings to the north, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Grand Cayman is flat and dry, offering few diversions for wildlife enthusiasts or botany buffs, but its beaches are gorgeous (many sublimely secluded), and its waters rich in visual entertainment. At Stingray City, snorkelers swim among tame rays with five-foot wingspans. From George Town, one can dive amid offshore shipwrecks or tour the reefs by submarine. Sport fishing is also excellent; in a month-long tournament held every June, fishermen reel in outsize catches of marlin, bonefish, tarpon, and tuna. Tennis is widely available, and Grand Cayman has one nine-hole golf course, but aquasports are the hands-down leading attraction. For all the marine fun with less of the bustle, your clients might enjoy one of the two smaller, sparsely populated islands, both commanding equally fine beaches and dive sites.
The Caymanian standard of living is high, and nothing here comes cheap, but visitors are welcomed warmly by the genial inhabitants.