The high season in the Cayman Islands is traditionally winter—from December 15 to April 15—when northern weather is at its worst. It’s the most fashionable, the most expensive, and the most popular time to visit—and most resorts are heavily booked. You must make reservations at least two or three months in advance for the very best places (sometimes a year in advance for the most exclusive spots). Hotel prices drop 20%–50% after April 15; airfares and cruise prices also fall. Saving money isn’t the only reason to visit the Cayman Islands during the off-season. In summer the sea is even calmer (ideal for diving—except when tropical storms roil the waters), and things move at a slower pace. The water is clearer for snorkeling and smoother for sailing in May, June, and July, when the big game fish, though abundant year-round, really run riot.
The average daily temperature is about 80°F, and there isn’t much variation from the coolest to the warmest months, including the water temperature. Rainfall averages 50 to 60 inches per year (less in the more arid Sister Islands and Grand Cayman’s East End). But in the tropics, rainstorms tend to be sudden and brief, often erupting early in the morning and at dusk. Toward the end of summer, hurricane season begins in earnest. Starting in June, islanders pay close attention to the tropical waves as they form and travel across the Atlantic from Africa. In an odd paradox, tropical storms passing by leave behind the sunniest and clearest days you’ll ever see.
Festivals and Events
January gets the Cayman calendar literally cooking with the celebrity-heavy Cayman Cookout co-organized by top toque Eric Ripert, followed by Taste of Cayman in February. February also usually celebrates Cayman culture in the Arts Festival. Cayman explodes with color every April with its take on Carnival called Batabano. May’s Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament lures anglers from around the world. November’s GimiSTORY celebrates Cayman’s rich oral storytelling tradition. But the big blockbuster is November’s Pirates Week Festival, when Grand Cayman turns into one giant 11-day party, featuring parades, costume competitions, street dances, Heritage Days, mock pirate invasions, sporting events, fireworks, and delicious local grub.