The Cayman Islands have long been a popular destination for travelers looking for white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving spots, and plenty of low-key accommodations. The country officially reopened to travelers in November 2021, nearly 18 months after closing its borders for coronavirus restrictions, marking one of the longest pandemic closures in the Caribbean.

And while the country was closed to foreigners, new hotels, restaurants and attractions were built or revamped and plans were drawn up to lure travelers to the main island of Grand Cayman. In an effort to further expand its accessibility to the west, the country’s flag carrier, Cayman Airways, recently announced a new nonstop service route from LAX that will launch in November 2022. And the largest resort in the island, The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman has undergone a $50 million investment. dollar renovation that included completely redesigned rooms and common areas.

In other words, there’s never been a better time to visit. To plan your next trip to the culinary capital of the Caribbean, here are some of the new places to stay and things to do in Grand Cayman.

The swimming pool of Mrs. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden

Laura Skec

Mrs. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden Cocktail

Laura Skec

Where to eat and drink

Perched on the cliffs next to Pedro St. James of Savannah, a historic 1700s home and one of Cayman’s National Historic Sites, Thatch & Barrel offers a lunch and dinner menu featuring wines from South Africa. South and Spain, as well as cocktails that pay homage to the setting. . Pedro’s Old Fashion is made with 1780 dark rum, Orange Creole Shrubb and citrus bitters. Menu highlights include Scotch bonnet infused ceviche, marinated conch and refreshing pesto pasta. Consider heading here for a leisurely weekend brunch of saltfish and stuffed ackee or French toast.

During this time, Mrs. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden is a charming backyard restaurant modeled after a fictional bohemian traveler who came to Cayman in the ’70s. Tucked away behind the Hampton by Hilton hotel on Seven Mile Beach, the intimate beachfront eatery the pool is filled with kitsch details like tropical-patterned outdoor sofas, coral-striped umbrellas, and orange and pink tableware on wicker placemats. The food represents Cayman’s eclectic population — wood-oven empanadas are served with Korean ribs, vegan biryani and seafood tagliatelle. The cocktail menu includes drinks named after iconic women. Our recommendation? The earthy yet light Alice Walker, which is made with organic vodka, lemonade, fig lavender and Indian tonic.

Get a taste of Australia at the recently opened Tukka West in Cayman’s West Bay community, a residential area on the western tip of the island. Surfboards flank the entrance to the casual restaurant, and there’s plenty of patio seating where diners can watch the catch of the day land on the restaurant’s dock. In addition to Caymanian fish like albacore tuna and snapper, the restaurant serves Australian-influenced dishes like kangaroo sausage and crocodile beer fritters. Since Grand Cayman is the birthplace of the mudslide, try the espresso mudslide twist for dessert – a spin on the classic drink with espresso.

The National Gallery of the Cayman Arts is a free art museum in George Town

Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

The best things to do in the Cayman Islands

Cayman is a paradise for water activities, and most travelers head straight for the white sands of Seven Mile Beach or board a boat to swim with stingrays in Grand Cayman’s famous Stingray City. For something different, families can head to SPLASH at Seafire, a brand new water park at Kimpton’s Seafire Resort. Open to hotel guests and visitors with a day pass, the indoor water park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.