Drive through paradise on the Cayman Islands

It’s an island with only one main road which hugs the coast, and it goes around in a circle of sorts. But it will take you to one breathtaking spot after another. You will drive down the road, with the ocean breeze in your hair, and your eyes – more used to looking at the computer screen at work – will greedily drink in the blue sea and white sands as you vacation on the Cayman Islands.

Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands, is 22 miles long. That may be on the smaller side, but you can’t very well take a vacation covering that distance on foot. While there is public transportation, not all parts of the island are covered. Even when they are mini buses to take you to the many place of tourist interest, having a car is so much more convenient, to say nothing of it being cost-effective. For, cabs can be expensive.

And, the car allows you to be able to carry all your children’s sand buckets and shovels with ease. To say nothing of Teddy, who is accompanying your child as you and your family relax as you all take a well-earned vacation.

But the best part about renting your car as you explore the island is that you can let your heart be your guide. Feel like stopping by the side of the road to enjoy the view at Rum Bay? Why not! Want to have a spur-of-the-moment picnic at Smith Cove? Sure. Want to stay at Seven Mile Beach for a longer time? Please do. After all, the car’s not going anywhere.

The beauty of the Cayman Islands calls for some free-spirited exploration, and renting a car allows you to do just that. At leisure. You can go off the tourist trail if you choose and go far from the madding crowd. You are sure to discover some hidden gem of a secluded beach only the locals know since most tourists are too busy rushing past. Or you can visit the usual gorgeous hot spots found on a tourist’s itinerary – Hell, Stingray City, Mastic Trail, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Conch Point, and East End, among so many others.

While there are ferry services on Grand Cayman itself, people heading to the sister islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac need to take the aerial route. Private boat charters, though available, can be expensive. On these two smaller and more tranquil islands, you can rent cars, SUVs or scooters to get around. There are car rentals in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. No buses here, but cycling is a good option. Do remember that on unspoiled Little Cayman, iguanas have right of way!

If you opt for a car rental, just remember to drive on the left side of the road on the Cayman Islands. It’s not at all difficult and just takes a bit of getting used to. The roads are good, though some can be narrow, and there’s very little traffic. Wear your seatbelt and don’t use your cell phone. And never, never drink and drive.

And there are some other things to keep in view. You must be 21 years or older to be able to rent a car. Apart from your driver’s license, you need to buy a visitor’s driving permit for a one-time charge of $20.

On landing in Georgetown, the capital, just head to a reputed car rental company to drive around in Grand Cayman. Most companies offer a range of cars from subcompacts to sedans to SUVs, vans and jeeps. They also provide the complete package – from visitor’s driving permits to car seats for children and insurance.

So buckle up. You are in for the trip of a lifetime.