The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the heart of the Caribbean, south of Cuba and west of Jamaica. The Territory is made up of three islands - Grand Cayman, which stretches 35 km long and 13km wide, as well as the smaller, sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. It is the only destination on the planet that combines big business with idyllic beach life. With its favourable tax laws, Cayman is the world's fifth largest financial centre and is wrapped in stunning, powdery beaches and the Caribbean's favourite dive and snorkeling sites. WestJet has recently introduced direct service to Grand Cayman from Toronto.
While Cayman is a small place, it packs a culinary wallop. It is home to over 150 restaurants, everything from fun and funky beach-side cafes to five-star establishments like `Luca' which sports a wine selection of more than 3,000 bottles.
Foodies and oenophiles will want to attend the Cayman Cookout, which takes place from January 13th - 16th , 2011 on Grand Cayman Island. The Cookout provides guests with four days of epicurean adventures, including demonstrations, tastings and excursions as well as up close and personal encounters with world class chefs and sommeliers. Among the master chefs taking part in the Cookout is Toronto's Susur Lee who has been touted by Food & Wine Magazine as, `one of the best chefs of the millennium'.
Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival, which coincides with the Cookout and runs from January 9th - 16th, 2011 is a week long celebration of food and drink and includes wine dinners at hotels and restaurants around Grand Cayman.
Recognized as the birthplace of recreational diving, the Cayman Islands is rated as one of the world's top dive and snorkeling destinations with an unrivalled variety of more than 250 sites. Among the highlights is Stingray City, a 4 metre dive off the North Sound in Grand Cayman where you get a rare opportunity to swim with more than two dozen `tame' Southern Stingrays that sail gracefully through the sun-kissed waters. Off Little Cayman is the legendary Bloody Bay Wall. Just a short swim from the shore, the wall drop-off begins at just 5.5 metres and plunges to over 300 metres and is dotted with chimneys, canyons and coral arches.
In early December, the USS Kittiwake, an historic, decommissioned naval ship will be sunk to create a stunning new artificial reef for divers and snorkelers. The 76.5 metre long vessel will be sit just 20 metres below the surface.
Whatever the age or interest, the Cayman Islands have it covered. Among the options are first-class spas and yoga classes on the beach. (Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman has been rated as the top stretch of sand in the Caribbean.) There is kiteboarding, kayaking, wind surfing, aqua trikes and paddle boats. Teenagers and the young at heart will want to head to the Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park which features the world's largest skate park and the Waveloch Surf Machine which creates a gnarly, 3.35 metre wave. Other adventures include a dip on the Atlantis submarine, a cruise on the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship or a hike through the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
The options are nearly endless for I do's on Cayman. Couples can opt for a traditional wedding in a church, chapel or hotel or a casual service on the beach - or even underwater with exotic tropical fish as witnesses.
Cayman also recently launched www.caymanvows.ky, a web site designed to showcase its wide range of wedding experiences, connect couples with service providers and inspire them to find their own unique wedding style. The site contains numerous interactive elements and a gallery of over 900 photos. Couples can take the `Find Your Wedding Style' quiz and read `Real Wedding Stories'.
Mark Your Calendar
Other important events on the Cayman calendar include the Cayman Islands Marathon which runs on December 5th and includes a half and full marathon as well as a four person relay and a kid's fun run. The marathon route curls along the edge of the ocean on Grand Cayman. March 5th is the Little Cayman Mardi Gras, complete with parades, floats and dancing and on April 30th the islanders celebrate Batabano, an annual carnival extravaganza . (Batabano is the local word for the track left in the sand by turtles as they move onto the beach to nest.)
WestJet offers scheduled service throughout its 71-city North American and Caribbean network including non-stop flights to Grand Cayman from Toronto. Great connections from other cities are available. Book today at westjet.com. WestJet Vacations also provides a variety of packages to Grand Cayman.
Book your getaway today by visiting westjetvacations.com, calling 1-877-737-7001 or by contacting your travel agent today!