Grand Cayman is one of three islands that make up the Caymans Islands. It is the largest of the three islands and it sits 75 miles southwest of Little Cayman and 90 miles southwest of Cayman Brac. This 75 square mile island has much to offer, but I want to share with you a little town that stole my heart (and made me want to move) -- Camana Bay!
Just a short drive from Grand Cayman's capital city of Georgetown lies a hidden gem of a town that is bursting with liveliness and family-friendly fun. I have never visited such a community-oriented Caribbean town that truly goes out of their way to get everyone involved, making it fun for all. From holiday celebrations, to gatherings at the local bookstore to farmers/artisans markets and beyond - Camana Bay is a traveler's dream.
If you are looking to visit a low-key, classy yet casual area of Grand Cayman, Camana Bay is the town for you. You can enjoy the variety of shopping and dining that Camana bay has to offer, while also keeping the kids entertained. Let them run on the lawn or indulge in the many flavors of Gelato from Gelato & Co. - or take a break and let the kids play in the fountains or at Starfish Village while you dine.
Credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios
DiningCamana Bay's Town Centre offers over a dozen dining, drink and dessert options. Some of my favorite to dine at with the kids were KARoo, The Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta, and Mizu Asian Bistro (outside at the teppanyaki table). We also enjoyed breakfast sandwiches, smoothies and juices from Jesse's Juice Bar and LOTS of Gelato from Gelato & Co.
Known for its chic design and lounge culture, Abacus combines sophisticated city dining with Caribbean ease. With a focus on sustainable farm-to-table cuisine, the weekly changing lunch and dinner menus are organized ‘By Land’ and ‘By Sea’ while the all-day tapas menu is perfect for dining with friends and sampling an array of dishes. Local produce also inspires the artistically crafted cocktail menu with drinks featuring seasonal fruits sourced directly from Cayman’s farmers. The restaurant offers two distinct experiences with seating in the warmly lit, modern dining room and outside on the shaded patio surrounded by palm trees and cool breezes.
Bay Market, a division of Foster’s Food Fair, is a gourmet, speciality food store with a focus on organic, vegetarian and vegan items. In addition to a wide-ranging selection of organic produce and pantry essentials, Bay Market offers made-to-order breakfast dishes, salads and sandwiches, healthy to-go meals prepared daily, a mouthwatering antipasto and olive bar, an impressive variety of international cheeses, a full-service espresso and coffee bar and much more.
The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta
Experience Italian-inspired American favorites with a twist at The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta. This waterfront restaurant transports diners into a laidback, urban setting where the industrial-chic décor matches the edgy and flavor-packed menu. Versatile in its appeal, The Brooklyn is the ideal spot for a family meal, business lunch or date night. The tempting menu features globally inspired brick-oven pizzas, contemporary Italian-American comfort food and an extensive wine list.
Café del Sol
Start your morning with the welcoming aromas of gourmet coffee and buttery pastries at the charming Café del Sol. Grab a freshly prepared salad or sandwich for lunch, enjoy a refreshing smoothie while strolling through the Town Centre, or curl up in a cosy armchair with a good read from Books & Books, conveniently located next door. Wireless Internet access and computer stations are also available.
Gelato & Co. Cremeria Italiana
Journey to Italy with Gelato & Co. Cremeria Italiana’s authentic, handcrafted Italian ice creams, sorbets and desserts. For incredible taste and freshness, Gelato & Co. whips up new, from-scratch treats every day using the finest ingredients. Choose from over 26 delectable gelato flavours, indulge in a ready-to-eat cake or pudding from the dessert bar, or opt for a dairy- and fat-free sorbet – often made using seasonal local fruit.
Häagen-Dazs, the leading brand in premium ice cream, offers a sumptuous selection of fine ice cream, sorbets and smoothies. Indulge in tempting flavors including dulce de leche and vanilla caramel brownie or enjoy a guilt-free treat like lemon, mango or raspberry sorbet. Häagen-Dazs also serves coffees, soft drinks and pastries.
Jessie’s Juice Bar
Jessie’s Juice Bar’s philosophy is simple: let your food be your medicine, not your demise. The popular juice bar serves up liquid refreshments boasting a range of health benefits, from freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and assorted smoothies to loose-leaf teas, gourmet coffees and kombucha. A select range of health foods is also available, including vegetarian, vegan and raw options that incorporate age-old techniques such as sprouting, dehydrating and fermenting for added nutritional value.
KARoo takes diners on a culinary journey with a wide selection of tapas dishes, small plates, tasty sliders and artisan pizzas. Pair the mouthwatering creations with a perfectly chilled glass of wine or pick from their selection of craft beers and crisp designer cocktails. Sit inside to enjoy KARoo’s bustling bar atmosphere or dine al fresco for spectacular views of the sea. With its perfect mix of cosmopolitan urbanism and Caribbean charm, KARoo is the perfect place to watch your favorite sports, grab a drink with friends or enjoy a leisurely meal.
Lola is a trendy and friendly neighborhood gem, fit for foodies, with a creative menu that gives diners an opportunity to experience a modern spin on their favorite dishes. With everything made fresh from scratch, this chic and cosy bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. “Lola After Dark” offers handcrafted signature cocktails, ice-cold draught beers, great wines and freshly squeezed juices, while the in-house bakery and pastry shop specializes in artisan breads, designer cakes, sweet and savory treats and gourmet coffees by Illy. Relax in air-conditioned comfort or dine al fresco on Camana Bay’s vibrant Paseo, the ideal spot for people watching. Catering for events of all sizes is also available.
Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar
Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar, a stylish Asian-inspired restaurant and bar, focuses on finely tuned flavors and fresh, local ingredients for an authentic Pan-Asian menu. Travel to the Far East with barrel-aged sakes, black salt-rimmed margaritas and traditional loose-leaf teas. Dine in Mizu’s intricate Asian-inspired interior or sit at the open sushi bar and watch the chefs carefully prepare your roll. After 4pm, the outside terrace offers a tranquil dining experience along the water’s edge.
Petit Paris offers an array of baked goods, including fresh breads, flaky croissants, delicious pastries, macarons and cookies, and decadent cakes. Sip on a gourmet coffee or expresso with Nespresso – one of the most popular coffee systems in the world today. For heartier options, they offer a soup of the day, salads, crêpes, sandwiches on freshly baked baguettes, paninis, croque-monsieur and more. In addition, they have pre-packaged sweets like nougat, bonbons, hard candies and biscuits – all imported from France.
The King’s Head
Walking through the double doors of The King’s Head is to be transported in time and space. Sit inside to take in the unique décor or enjoy a view of the water with bar bites and drinks shared atop beer barrels or at the communal tables with traditional bench seating. Pull up a bar stool for a pint and enjoy the company of the bar mascot, Winston. An English bulldog, he embodies his namesake, Mr. Churchill, with his hedonistic appreciation for good food and alcohol and his penchant for relaxation. Chat with the friendly staff, raise a pint to Winston and enjoy a drink the ‘proper old English’ way.
The Waterfront Urban Diner
The Waterfront Urban Diner marries modern city dining with the laidback tropics. Experience quick, feel-good food at an affordable price. Savor American classics and gastro-pub fare made from the freshest local ingredients and enjoy warm hospitality in a charming setting of reclaimed wooden floors, funky industrial lighting and chalkboard writing on the walls. The Waterfront is perfect for an intimate dinner date or a hearty breakfast on the water with the entire family.
West Indies Wine Company
Both a tasting room and an inspired shop, West Indies Wine Company engages guests with a curated selection of 80 different wines by the glass – served at the perfect temperature via state-of-the-art Napa Technology WineStations. Gather for an informal tasting with the in-house sommelier or use your personal smart card to serve yourself. Watch the world go by from the outdoor seating on The Paseo or simply grab your favorite bottle to go – any day of the week.
The eclectic variety of shops in Camana Bay are enough to keep you busy all day. Most shops appeal to both visitors and locals, so you don't feel like you're being ripped off just because you're a visitor. You won't find dozens of souvenir shops here, either. Instead you can expect to find everything from designer fashion, jewelry, skincare, cosmetics, home decor and essentials, tech products, books, toys and more. Think of it like your local shopping mall, just a little classier.
Tip: Take advantage of Starfish Village if you have kids!
As I mentioned above, Starfish Village is the perfect place for the kids to play. It is a unique and innovative children’s enrichment centre where playful learning sparks imagination, creativity, exploration and discovery. Children 0 to 12 years can interact with developmentally appropriate toys and engage in spontaneous play in a well-supervised environment with qualified and enthusiastic staff. Starfish Village offers a full-service Montessori program as well as a traditional preschool program that follows the Cayman Islands early childhood curriculum. Other services include morning and after-school programs, Drop & Play and Stay & Play services, speciality workshops, seasonal camps and birthday parties.
The Observation Tower
The Camana Bay Observation Tower is a structure you don't want to miss. This is a 75-foot tower that offers a full panoramic view of the area. The inside of the tower features a stunning ocean-themed mural made of 3 million Venetian glass tiles. These tiles took a year to hand cut and 8 months to install. This tower was fun for both the adults and the kids in our group and is worth the visit.
Just a 20 minute boat taxi ride away from Camana Bay sits a cute little area called Kaibo. We happened to be in the area for the annual heritage festival and joined local school children as they learned more about their culture. We found some great home decor and jewelry here, too.
Oh, and you have to try the Mudslides at the Kaibo restaurant!
Living in Camana BayYou know I couldn't resist looking up living in Camana Bay. I absolutely fell in love with this town and wanted to see their living options. I was pleased to see that they not only have luxury apartment living, but they also have residential living. You can learn more at www.camanabay.com.
Where to Stay
Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa on Seven Mile Beach - my review coming soon!
A special thank you to Camana Bay for hosting my family.