Discover Cayman Brac: Where to Stay & What to See

Discover Cayman Brac: Where to Stay & What to See

There is nowhere quite like Cayman Brac. It has a beautiful kind of quirkiness that manifests itself in the radical kindness of the locals and the peculiarity of the island’s “attractions.” These traits are juxtaposed against a gorgeous Caribbean backdrop, leaving you wondering if Brac is even a real place. Maybe I dreamt it all? Find out where to stay and what to see below in Discovering Cayman Brac.

Where to Stay in Cayman Brac

Featherstone

Featherstone, Cayman Brac
View from the Owner’s Apartment

The Location

Featherstone is located in the eastern part of the island off Tibbet’s Turn. Winding down Surfer’s Lane, you will happen on Beach Drive, a rustic gravel lane flanked by beach bungalows and sea grape trees. The property is tucked away at the end of the access, its own tropical oasis. Quiet calm, and zen energy permeate the space, leaving guests feeling ‘off-the-beaten-path.’ Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a delightful breeze and the everpresent lull of lapping ocean waves.

Sunset from Featherstone’s private beach

The Cottages

Featherstone features three seperate rental units: the Cottage, Owner’s Apartment, and Guest Apartment. These Caribbean-style cottages open up into a private beach spanning 1.5 acres, complete with a dock and several hammock-adorned beach cabanas. The beachfront building contains the Owner’s Apartment on top and the Guest Apartment on the bottom, both sea-facing. Behind the main building is the two-story Cottage. Though set back, you can still catch a glimpse of the sea from the balcony. It is possible to rent all three properties (The Estate) for a larger group or private event.

We stayed in the Owner’s Apartment which sleeps 7 and features a full kitchen, dining table, and master suite. The suite’s bathroom boasts a double vanity, stone walk-in shower, and corner bath. The bedroom is equally plush, starring a Japanese-style bed with bamboo sheets, offering tantalizing views of the Caribbean Sea. Japanese accents are visible throughout the whole of the unit, contributing to the unique feng shui of Featherstone.

Outside the master suite, sleeping arrangments include a pull-out couch in the living room as well as a a bunk-bed and a futon in the detached unit off the porch. This area also features a half bath, making the Owner’s Apartment a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom unit. Cooking supplies, bedding, beach/bath towels, and wifi are all included.

The best part of this unit is the wrap-around porch, the perfect space for morning coffee, afternoon lunches, sunset bubbles, or even a dip in the private jacuzzi.

One of the many hammocks at Featherstone

The Amenities

The units are lovely, but the private beach and amenities are the bread and butter of Featherstone. The list of possible activities is long, ranging from lazy to active. Starting from the beach-bum end of things, guests can enjoy the hammocks, cabanas and lounge chairs spread throughout the sandy beachfront. Once the Caribbean heat kicks in, guests can put on their watershoes and head for the waves, enjoying a quick dip or a snorkel session. The owner has water accessories available upon request, as well as a game room full of books, board games, and sport gear.

For the more active islanders, there is a kayak ready to go on the beach, as well as a ping-pong table, and volleyball net upon request. With so many amenities, you may find it difficult to leave the property. But if you do, there are two bikes available for guests and a mini market just a few minutes down the road. And from there, the real adventure begins.

Private dock at Featherstone

What to See in Cayman Brac

What is there to see in Cayman Brac? Some would argue, “nothing” but I for one, say everything. Brac (population 1,800) is not hung up on island aesthetic, and it does not promote a Caribbean resort-style energy. What it deliberately lacks in tropical “glam,” it more than makes up for in ‘Cayman Kind’ and eccentric character. The best thing to do is rent a car and drive. Marvel at anything and everything. The island is known for its iconic bluff as well as its caves, which are obvious musts, but don’t stop there.

Cruising down the quiet roads of Brac, you will find conch-lined pathways, painted palm trees, and Caribbean houses in hues of paradisiacal pink and sea foam green. You’ll pass seaside churches, skull caves, stairs to nowhere, and mini Caymanian homes (think doll houses). Whilst out and about, you are guaranteed to encounter the notoriously friendly locals, always happy to chat and point you in the right direction. While exploring a roadside cave, a woman and her two children pulled over in their car just to say ‘Good Afternoon’ and ask how our trip was going. It’s a warmth that is felt from the moment you step foot on the island.

Keep reading to discover some must-see places on your aimless excursion through Brac:

Bubble House Cayman Brac
The Bubble House (on the way to the Great Cave)

Star Island

Star Island is one of Brac’s most popular restaurants, serving fresh local fish and Caribbean sides like plantain and cassava. We went for dinner and found an empty restaurant, though locals stopped in periodically for pick-up orders. I ordered grilled snapper with rice and beans and fried plantain. The delicious, fresh flavors made up for the lack of ambience in the restaurant. Star Island was no exception to the quirky character of Brac. With fluorescent green and yellow curtains and a menu that includes dolphin, it’s sure to be a memorable visit.

Star Island, Cayman Brac

RECOMMENDED READ: A Very Last Minute Cayman Brac Itinerary

La Esperanza

If you’re looking for a “party,” this is inevitably where you will find it. At least, that is what the cashier at Blackbeard’s told us. La Esperanza is a seaside drinking hole where the waves can almost be heard over the blaring soca beats. There is also a small grocer and jerk stand open during the day. On Friday and Saturday nights it’s the liveliest bar on island–loud music, friendly locals, and domino games. The challenge is to keep up with the amount of drinks being bought for you.

La Esperanza
La Esperanza during the light of day

Brac Reef Resort

A very different vibe from La Esperanza, Brac Reef Resort is closer to what you may find on Seven Mile Beach–pricey drinks, pristine poolside views (only for hotel guests), and a menu that is far from local. I only recommend it for its delicious margaritas and gorgeous views. We went during the day for a quick pick-me-up and dip in the ocean.

Foot’s Museum (Casa del Diablo)

You read that right. On your way to the Great Cave, you will pass a driveway lined with statues, some demonic in nature, and one with flippered legs sticking out of a toilet. There’s no way you can see something like that and not stop. So we did. I have heard rumors about this house but do not know the full story. Basically, it’s an artist’s house, (Ron “Foots” Kynes) directly on the water, that serves as an art gallery for the odd Brac tourist. The kind of art you will find there ranges from a fishing boat full or Red Stripe bottles to fake missiles, all the way to Led Zeppelin tributes. We did not see the artist, but the property is open sans no-trespassing signs. Enter if you dare!

Foots Museum
Foots Museum, Cayman Brac
Foots Museum
Foots Museum (exterior)

The Bluff

The bluff does not require a lot of explanation. It’s a stunning, dangerous view. Don’t get too close to the edge, obviously. You will also hear people talk about the lighthouse at the top of the bluff. There is indeed some kind of light structure, but if you’re picturing a picturesque, Cape Code kind of lighthouse, then prepare to be disappointed. The terrain is odd and apocolyptic, further contributing to Brac’s “am I dreaming” sensation.

The Bluff, Cayman Brac
The Bluff

The Great Cave

There is nothing super “great” about this cave, but it’s fun to climb the makeshift ladders to the top, and explore the rocky shore at the bottom. From this coastal vantage point, you can see the bluff from the bottom and check out other small caves along the water.

Climbing up to the Great Cave

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A Very Last Minute Cayman Brac Itinerary

A Very Last Minute Cayman Brac Itinerary

Sometimes it’s the trips we don’t plan for that turn out to be the most memorable. There is nothing quite like the excitement of a spontaneous weekend get-away. Could it be that a spur-of-the-moment trip to Cayman Brac is exactly the adventure you’ve been craving? Read below to discover the perfect last-minute itinerary to inspire your impromptu mini vacay.

Hotel Alexander

Many people traveling to the Brac opt for a house rental, but this may require booking well in advance. When planning on the fly, Hotel Alexander is the ideal option for location and convenience during your stay on the island. A minute walk from the beach and an even shorter walk to the liquor store, Hotel Alexander provides a comfy home-base for your little island adventure. Best of all is the Pura Vida bartender, Emmanuela who is warm, funny, and makes some amazing Seven Fathoms cocktails!

Car Rental

CB Rent-A-Car is a literal minute walk from the tiny Brac airport. Stroll on over and rent a vehicle for only CI $30-45 per day. There is an extra CI $25/day charge for comprehensive insurance but even so, this has to be one of the most affordable rental car companies I have ever encountered. Our Kia Sportage was CI $44 /day and was the perfect size for our travel team of four along with our get-away luggage. Pro-tip: Bring your aux cord… Cayman Brac, for reasons that escape me, has an obsession with country music. It is all the play on the radio. I don’t know about you, but this is not the vibe I was looking for on my island holiday. Bring your playlist or be prepared for a weekend of country-western jams!

THE ITINERARY

Friday Evening – Kicking Off the Adventure

Get Lost: Our flight landed at 5:40 pm. After picking up our Kia, we got totally turned around and ended up at the most beautiful dead-end. There we watched the sunset and of course, took some killer photos. See the directions below if you want to *purposely* find this dead end 😉

When leaving the airport, take a left onto Westside Road and then a right onto Robert Foster Ln. Keep driving and you will drive right into the ocean (literally!)

Sunset at the “dead end”

Drinks @ Captain’s Table: Known for its beautiful and kind bartenders who make excellent Micheladas! A casual and intimate restaurant with a poolside bar that provides a fragmented ocean view. 

Check-In @ Hotel Alexander: After unloading your get-away gear in the room, head next door to Big Daddy’s (AKA Blackbeard’s) to stock up on liquid reinforcements for the evening and weekend ahead. 

Enjoy the Hotel: Sure, the flight from Grand Cayman is only 30 minutes, but no matter how short the journey, a bit of travel fatigue is inevitable. Luckily, the hotel features a poolside bar and full menu restaurant which means you don’t have to venture from your lodging for a nice meal and social vibe.

Beach Night Cap: The beach is just a minute walk from Hotel Alexander. Bring some glasses and a beverage of your choosing for a moonlight night cap accompanied by a few good friends and the pacifying sound of ocean waves. Night, night!

Saturday – DIY Island Tour

Morning Run: I feel I haven’t truly visited a new place until I have completed a 5k run in its foreign surroundings. This is why Saturday morning, bright and early, I was hitting the road to explore Cayman Brac on foot. I ran from Hotel Alexander to Sunset Place and back, about a 4 mile (or 6k) run, round-trip. With traffic-free roads and the sound of waves crashing, it was quite an idyllic route to jump start a day of adventure. 

Breakfast: Star Island Restaurant: A short drive from the hotel, Star Island may be the most affordable place I have dined in the Cayman Islands aside from maybe Burger King. A cozy, local haunt, Star Island feels like a mash-up between a VFW hall and church luncheon. The staff is very sweet and the food, quite tasty. Nothing beats the price — CI $8 for an omelette with ALL the sides included. I ordered a ginger juice and was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and delicious it tasted. 

Star Island in all its glory. If you look closely you can see a cow to the right!

Road Trip My best advice to you, if you have no rock-climbing or diving plans, would be to rent a car and drive around the island, looking for random adventures. That is precisely what we did and there was certainly no shortage of adventures to be had! Below I will list some of the spots to keep an eye out for if you are looking for some Brac travel inspiration!

  • Idea #1Caves: The rocky features of Brac’s landscape are home to many crevices and caves. Consult Google Maps or the tourist guide provided by CB Rent-A-Car and make quick pit-stops at the many natural roadside attractions. Warning: these caves are not for the faint of heart as they are very dark and heavily populated with spunky little bats. If you’re like me, you’ll observe from afar while snapping a cute photo.
  • Idea #2 – Natural Swimming Hole: Somewhere on Spot Bay Rd on the East End, if you have a good eye, you may catch a glimpse of the most beautiful natural pool with sparkling, crystalline water.  If you’re lucky enough to spot this dazzling oasis from the road, you must immediately pull-over and go for a swim or a hobble along the Ironshore.
  • Idea #3The Bluffs: The jagged, picturesque bluffs are quintessential to the Brac landscape and are a must-see on your spontaneous island tour. While on the East End, in the Creek area, turn onto Ann Tatum Bluff Rd and then left onto Major Donald. Keep driving until you come to the Lighthouse…which is quite an underwhelming structure; however, the panoramic vista overlooking an expansive blue seascape will truly take your breath away. But careful! Not too close to the edge…do not use our picture as a reference 🙂
  • Idea #4 – Beach Walk: On the south side of the island, drive as far east as you can and you’ll arrive at the Great Cave. Continue walking toward the water and you’ll find yourself on an expansive stretch of rocky beach with stunning, ground-level views of the bluff.  Pick your way along the rough shore, feeling the salty, ocean breeze on your skin, until you reach the blowhole nearest the bluff face. 
  • Idea #5 – Public Beach: After a day of adventure and spontaneity, make your way to Public Beach and sink your toes in the sand for a little R&R. 
  • Idea #6 – Sunset: Enjoy the dreamiest of sunsets from Sunset Place at the end of South Side Rd W while catching a glimpse of Little Cayman on the horizon.

SUNDAY – BYE, BYE, BRAC

Morning Run: This time, I ran the opposite way — from Hotel Alexander to Public Beach and back, totaling 5 kilometers.

Breakfast: Back to Star Island, because we simply couldn’t get enough!

Relax: Following an action-packed Saturday, we treated ourselves to a slow morning at Hotel Alexander. Brewing a pot of coffee in the room, lounging poolside with a book… A leisurely and luxurious start to our Sunday.

Bikes: Following our recharge session, we headed back to Captain’s Table where you can rent motorized bicycles for CI $25 the day. With only a few hours before departure, we took a cruise up and down South Side Rd W, off-roading every now and again onto sandy paths leading to the beach. 

Airport: Back to Grand Cayman we go! 


FINAL IMPRESSIONS

Cayman Brac is a lovely place to escape on a weekend adventure! Its landscape and outdoor activities are quite distinct from Grand Cayman and will make you feel as if you are truly “getting away.” Be sure to pack casual or athletic clothing and supportive footwear as this island features rugged terrain and boasts a sporty itinerary. My other top tips for this trip would be to rent a car, take the bikes for a spin, and arrive at the airport at least an hour before your flight (a lesson our friend learned the hard way). Overall, Cayman Brac is a place that is definitely worth visiting if you are feeling active and adventurous! 

Have more questions about the Brac? Comment below or follow me on Instagram!

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