Saint Martin is famous for its myriads of quirks; thanks to its French and Dutch parentage you can always have something to explore whichever side you’ll find yourself on. The Cayman Islands, on the other hand, is a tropical paradise that makes you want to make it your home. The challenge will always rest in you, so read on.
Where are Saint Martin and the Cayman Islands?
Saint Martin and the Cayman Islands are just some of the Caribbean’s best destinations, offering not just ridiculous picturesque views, awe-inspiring natural beauty but also curious mixed cultures, and subtle twists that make them worth visiting since the region’s tourism boom. The famous Cayman Islands are situated seemingly a vast sea away from unique Saint Martin.
The French collectivity of Saint-Martin covers the north of the island of the same name, shared with the Dutch Sint Maarten to the south. Saint Martin is located just northeast of the Caribbean Sea, in the Lesser Antilles. The island is situated within the Leeward Islands, a group of island chains just past Puerto Rico. The northern part of the island is Saint Martin, a territory of France, while the south is the Dutch constituent country of Sint Maarten.
The Cayman Islands on the other hand is located a vast sea away, east of Saint Martin. Just south of Cuba, far east of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. and west of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands seems like a perfect stop for cruises from the Yucatan to the northeast of the Caribbean islands.
How Far is the Cayman Islands from Saint Martin?
While Saint Martin sits northeast of the Caribbean, Aruba lies down south, further across the region. Aruba is approximately 1,924 kilometers or 1,196 miles southwest of Saint Martin. The only way you can get in between these islands is by flying, via Cayman Airways, InterCaribbean Airways, and American Airlines.
Cayman Islands’ Best Draws
The Cayman Island is yet another territory of another European state, among the many, there are in the region. However, the Cayman Islands are British Overseas Territories that have a certain level of autonomy over their civil affairs. Denoted in plural form, “islands”, the Cayman Islands is composed of three principal islands, the Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac – often referred to as the Sister Islands.
One of the interesting things in the Cayman Islands is its small population, despite it being at the center of the northern Caribbean. Perhaps the most populated area on the island is the Grand Cayman, apparently, the biggest among the islands is the tourist hotbed and the island group’s central hub.
However, despite the sparse population of the islands, they are gifted with many amazing natural features that come with being a geographical collective, unlike a single island has.
Its three principal islands have given it a multitude of beaches for visitors and, even locals to enjoy. This is in itself is probably one of the island’s greatest draws. An archipelago or a group of islands will always have plenty of natural features to offer.
If you’re the nature-loving type, or just love being outdoors, Cayman Islands will always have something to offer your woe under the sun, other than its picturesque beaches. Cayman Brac island has easy trails that meander through dense forests, and diverse terrains ideal for those who love to trek.
Thinking about more than just lounging on the beach and dive down? The island group even has colorful beautiful reefs teeming with marine life with good visibility. You can book via dive companies in Grand Cayman like the Waverunner Snorkel Safari, or even Ritz-Carlton, should you decide to stay there.
However, arguably the island group’s best feature, isn’t nature, the beaches, the people, but the atmosphere that it provides everyone. Head on to Little Cayman, with its small population of 270+, you can have the pristine beaches all to yourself, or with a handful of friends, to just relax, and let time melt away. Little Cayman has that effect, and it is quite the draw.
The Cayman Islands is still a British Overseas Territory, which makes it an anglophone country. If you speak English, you’ll find yourself navigating through various curiosities on the island quite easily with the help of warm locals who wouldn’t hesitate to show you the beauty of their islands.
Holidays in The Cayman Islands
With three equally interesting and beautiful laid-back islands, the Cayman Islands is like a holiday destination made to feel like home or rather a home away from home. One of the magic of the island is presenting opportunities for you to live like a local. With the help of English as the lingua franca, anglophones will find little to no difficulty exploring the island, or better yet living there for a while.
Grand Cayman, is in itself grand, as the territory’s central hub and tourist hotbed, it is where a lot of things happen, and it is the most densely populated among the islands. You can find the best hotels, and resorts in Grand Cayman, from the famous Ritz-Carlton to the Marriott. Grand Cayman is also home to a plethora of bars and restaurants that will give you that resort town feel without taking away from the classic homey, laid-back feel of the island.
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are probably the most laid-back islands on the territory offering a homey feel with its mellow beaches that seem secluded, few locals, and amazing food places perfect for hinging yourself in the local culture.
The island group also has celebrations and festivities that are quite happening as well. In Little Cayman, small but mighty, held every last Saturday before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras is celebrated where the community bands together and makes colorful floats according to a unique theme, dancing and celebrating along with Caymanian calypso tunes.
Famous for its appreciation of the culinary arts, and the quality of its own cuisine, the Cayman Islands also celebrate a Cayman Cookout at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman. Typically lasting for five straight days’ worth of mouthwatering features cooked by illustrious chefs and mixologists. Taste of Cayman at Camana Bay is also another notable culinary celebration in the Cayman Islands’ calendar, it celebrates the local culinary and cultural scene for more than thirty years.
Its often said that the Cayman Islands’ prices are a bit costly for the region, however, it isn’t the most expensive either. Aruba is often the top contender for high prices in the region, but with certain products and purchases, Cayman Islands take the helm.
To put things into perspective, you can always compare the prices of different necessities and other common purchases between destinations. For a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, it would cost you 12 to 20 USD in the Cayman Islands, in Aruba it would average at about 10 to 35 USD, while in other big players in the Caribbean like the Dominican Republic or neighboring Jamaica, it would be around 6 to 10 USD.
Half a liter of a domestic beer in the Cayman Islands would be around 4 to 7 USD, while in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica it can cost around 2 to 3 USD. Aruba on the other hand is cheaper than the Cayman Islands with prices around 3 to 10 USD, partly because they brew their own beer.
Saint Martin vs. Grand Cayman
Both islands are some of the biggest names in the Caribbean, thanks to their unique features, and classic beautiful landscapes and beaches, but what sets them apart may just be the deciding factor.
For one Saint Martin is an island that is split by two European states, so essentially, the island is bicultural, that’s twice the fun, and double the culture to explore, all with a backdrop of insanely gorgeous beaches, thanks to the Caribbean.
Grand Cayman, on the other hand, is just one island, albeit a big one, of the Cayman Islands, which in itself has a staggering number of beaches and other features. The biggest island of the British Territory, Grand Cayman is the central hub and a tourist’s haven lined with top-rated resorts and hotels, the only catch is that the island is twice as expensive as Saint Martin’s.
Which is better – Saint Martin or the Cayman Islands?
To choose one over the other would be unfair given all the beauty there is in this region. The Caribbean has jewels, some well-known, often overrated, some hidden gems waiting for the eager explorer to find them on their own. Saint Martin has a special thing going on, with its bicultural landscape and uber-gorgeous towns and beaches, while the Cayman Islands will always have its three islands that each have flavors and twists on their own.
Saint Martin and the Cayman Islands have their draws and catch that may seem enticing, ideal, or dealbreakers to some, so every seasoned traveler needs to keep a list, or at least a mental one, of the things they want to experience, and curiosities they want satisfied. This particular thirst will ultimately lay down certain factors that will help them decide which is which, or which is better.