As the British Airways sale kicks off this month with flights to the Cayman Islands from just £629pp* and flight plus accommodation packages for £999pp**, we look at seven surprising ways visitors can experience this spectacular British Caribbean destination without breaking the bank.

1. Hike the Mastic Trail – free

Spot parrots, West Indian woodpeckers and Caribbean doves in the ancient forest of the Mastic Trail on Grand Cayman. The trail takes in mangrove wetland, stands of royal palms and silver thatch palms, rare trees, such as cedar and mahogany, as well as a huge mastic tree. In June, the wild banana orchid – the national flower of the Cayman Islands – blooms on the trail and keen-eyed naturalists may also see butterflies, lizards, frogs and large hermit crabs. Sister island Cayman Brac has its own nature trail best explored with a free guide from Nature Cayman.  

2. Snorkel and be wowed – free

The Cayman Islands is recognised as one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean with perfect conditions for water activities year-round. Thanks to the characteristic of the coastline that features small coves and shallow water coral reefs, there’s plenty of off-the-beach spots that are ideal for snorkelling with no boat tours needed. From turtles, conch and parrotfish to stingrays and eagle rays there is an array of stunning wildlife waiting below the waves. Those who want to stay fully on dry land but not miss out on the local marine life should keep an eye out for turtle hatchling and yearling releases on Seven Mile Beach.

3. Join in a carnival vibe – free

The Caribbean vibe doesn’t cost a penny, and visitors and locals alike gather together for every carnival and party going. CayMAS in July or Batabano Cayman Carnival in May are both popular dates in the carnival calendar. While CayMAS Carnival takes place over a whole weekend in July, the annual Batabano is an explosion of Caribbean music, dancing and costumes celebrating the Cayman Islands’ multicultural history and diversity of music. An eye-popping fiesta, the carnival is well known throughout the Caribbean and attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike. &

4. Iguana Spotting at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park – £10

A small admission fee to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park gives visitors the chance to enjoy a leisurely walk through colourful gardens and spot the indigenous and endangered blue iguana – at the very home of the Blue Iguana Conservation programme. The two-acre lake here also serves as a habitat and breeding ground for native birds and other rare aquatic birds and animals native to the Caribbean. The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park includes seven main attractions – the Visitor’s Centre, the Floral Garden, Orchid Boardwalk, Xerophytic Garden, Heritage Garden, Woodland Trail, and the Children’s Garden (under development).

5. Cayman crystal caves – £30

Explore these stunning caves once used by pirates on a guided walking tour over 1.5 hours that takes visitors underground and overground amongst the surrounding tropical forest. Cayman Crystal Caves are home to spectacular stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures and experienced guides will also point out tropical plant and animal life, including strangler balsam trees, air plants, parrots and bats.

6. Pedro St. James National Historic Site – £10

Travellers can immerse themselves in a spot of history and discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman through this restored 18th century property. The oldest surviving stone structure in the Cayman Islands, Pedro St James is home to many cultural and historical tales. Guests can explore the rooms and learn about its history of pirate raids, tragedy, triumph, and political reformation – as well as enjoy a rum tasting and delicious lunch (additional cost) at this dynamic piece of Caymanian heritage.

7. Bioluminescence Kayak Tour – £58

Grand Cayman is one of only a handful of destinations globally where you can experience the bioluminescence phenomenon – the emission of light from the extremely high concentrations of bioluminescent phytoplankton. Tours of Bioluminescent Bay are a must and Cayman Kayaks specialise in providing sustainable bioluminescent tours by kayak and Cayman’s only electric boat. Their top notch guides will lead visitors on this jaw-dropping 1.5-2 hours night tour, teaching paddlers about the natural phenomenon.

To discover more about the Cayman Islands and the unforgettable experiences waiting to be discovered, head

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