Cayman Brac Island

Where Safety and Serenity Are Required, but Solitude Is Optional

Cayman Brac is one of three Cayman Islands and a Sister Island to Grand Cayman and smaller, nearby neighbor, Little Cayman. The island is roughly 14 square miles—approximately 12 miles long and 1.2 miles wide. It was named for the 140-foot bluff (called a “brac”) at the western tip. This bluff is pictured on the $1 bill of the Cayman Islands. Queen Elizabeth II is on the opposite side.

There are no friendlier people than the 1,800 island “Brackers” as residents of Cayman Brac are proudly known. Many can trace their family roots back generations to survivors of the 1932 hurricane that left no family untouched. The Brac is also a very religious and family-oriented community with probably more churches and places of worship than bars—which doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to have good times. There’s a time and place for everything.

The reefs and dive sites around Cayman Brac are largely very healthy with abundant marine life due to the island’s population and relatively small number of diver visitors each year. Its sites include sheer walls, nice swim-throughs, beautiful reefs, and two wrecks to explore—all taking place in seas with minimal currents and unlimited visibility. Our packages including afternoon boat dives now also include trips to nearby Little Cayman to dive its iconic Bloody Bay Wall – weather permitting.

The island’s lush green areas and marshes provide homes to many beautiful birds. Marked trails facilitate exploring the island’s natural beauty, including hiking up to the lighthouse. Most of the roads are flat and have little traffic, so the island lends itself to easy bicycling. Caves like Bat’s Cave, Peter’s Cave, Rebecca’s Cave, and more offer even novice spelunkers a way to spend non-diving time. And for the most adventurous, you can arrange excursions to climb up or rappel down the Bluff under the supervision of experienced professionals as a unique way to spend your surface interval.

The Cayman Islands are an autonomous British territory with its own parliament and a premier who acts as head of the two-party government. The British crown appoints a governor who is the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II. The governor selects the cabinet and has executive powers throughout the islands. Although the Cayman dollar is the official currency, the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. The electrical voltage is 120 V with standard 2- or 3-prong outlets, so electric devices from the U.S. and Canada will work as at home, without adapters.

History of the Cayman Islands

There is no record of pre-European settlement of the Cayman Islands.  The three small specks in the Caribbean remained unknown until the morning of May 10, 1503, when a sailor on Christopher Columbus’s fourth and final voyage to the new world spotted two low lying islands whose surrounding waters were teeming with sea turtles. He called them “Las Tortugas.”  The discoveries later renamed the Cayman Islands were a stopping point for the seafaring powers of Europe but were not settled until the 1700s.

Though settlement of Grand Cayman was underway by the 1730s, emigration to the Sister Islands did not begin until a full century later. Prior to settlement, the islands were known to, and used by turtle hunters and fishermen from Grand Cayman and Jamaica. Lured by available land and abundant fishing, early Sister Islanders came largely from a small handful of families, making the eighty-odd mile trip from Grand Cayman in open canoes.

England took formal control of the Cayman Islands as a result of the Treaty of Madrid in 1670.  The Islands were governed as part of the colony of Jamaica until 1962 when they became a separate Crown Colony and Jamaica became an independent commonwealth.   The Cayman Islands remain a Crown Colony to this day with the Governor appointed by the British Parliament.