Want to explore the Caribbean like a pirate? Hundreds of years ago, the Cayman Islands were used as a hideout for pirates, who fled into Grand Cayman’s secret subterranean caves whenever hurricanes struck the area. These days, Grand Cayman’s beautiful jungle terrain is populated by luxurious resorts and pristine beaches, but hidden away underneath the touristy allure is an echo of the past: an enigmatic cave system, populated by over 100 caves that twist and turn for miles.
Legends say pirate treasure is still hidden somewhere in the limestone catacombs of the Crystal Caves. So for those of you planning that next deep-sea fishing adventure or shipwreck-diving experience to the Cayman Islands, consider going underground instead and adventuring like never before!
Grand Cayman’s Newest Attraction
Hidden beneath the dry tropical rainforest in Northside, Grand Cayman, the Crystal Caves sit just waiting to be explored. These caves were only recently mapped out for visitors, with 30 of 105 known caves still unexplored.
Get ready to explore formations that have formed over millions of years. Fossils and animal wildlife in the area suggest that the caves were once underwater, but were raised as erosion lifted the islands. It’s easy to get lost in these endless catacombs, so it’s good to know that once you enter the grounds, a tour guide will meet you to take you on your journey underground.
You can pre-book a tour or book on arrival.
Travel Down Under Grand Cayman
The cave entrance is surrounded by colorful Caymanian tropical forest that immediately gives way to stalagmite and stalactite formations. Crystalline limestone rock reflects the sunlight at the entrance, so you’ll be able to see inside the cave for a few feet without a flashlight. Tunnels and underground rivers flow from one cave to another and on a dry day, you’ll be able to see crystals on the formations shining brightly.
The highlight of the tour is beautiful Lake Cave—an underground lake fed by a freshwater spring with cool, clear bathing water. Trees above grow right into the limestone and rain seeps through the forest soil above making the underground lakes essentially filtered rainwater. You’ll see ropes where spelunkers and farmers in the past lowered themselves into the caverns.
Be sure to bring sturdy footwear—you’ll be traveling into the heart of Grand Cayman and the cave terrain gets very rugged.
Other Things to Do in Grand Cayman
Once you emerge from the Crystal Caves, your tour guide will give you more history about the unique plant and wildlife in the area. Afterward, check out Morritt’s Resort on Grand Cayman’s East End. This laid-back beach resort offers your very own host to show you around the island. Take the family on a banana boat tour or zip by the coastline on a wave runner. You can rent a kayak or a yacht or snorkel in the Caribbean waters with brilliant reefs, marine wildlife and old shipwrecks.
You’ll find the best eateries in Camana Bay, a few miles west, where you can also visit the famous Seven Mile Beach and shop some of the best Caribbean fashion. Or, nearby Rum Point Beach is an excellent place to finish your adventure. The shallow turquoise waters are serene enough for you to relax and reminisce with a shot of jager, the Cayman drink of choice!