It’s been almost 4 years since the first time we went to the Brac. We loved it so much then that we swore it would be a regular weekend break. Oh how time flies… Cayman Brac is one of Cayman’s 2 sister islands and compared to Little Cayman is something of an “ugly sister” as it lacks the white sandy beaches of it’s tiny neighbour. What is lacks in sand, however, it makes up for with lush greenery and spectacular cliffs either side of the bluff which run the length of the middle of the island. Cliffs which are perfect for rock climbing which is what lured us back for our second trip.
As the slightly larger of the 2 sister islands, the Brac is serviced both by the Cayman Airways prop plane which goes to Little Cayman, as well as a regular 737 jet which carries commuters to and from Grand Cayman first thing in the morning and after work at night. Therefore it’s easy and cheap to jump on and get away for the weekend on a Friday night. The flight is only 30 minutes and 45 minutes after takeoff we’d located our hire car and arrived at our rented house for the weekend.
You shouldn’t expect luxury from the Brac, but you can look forward to spending time in a place which requires you to switch off from the rest of the world. A place where you can unwind and spend quality time with the friends you chose to take with you. It didn’t take long for us to shake off our “grown up” personas.
But this isn’t the sort of place where you spend your whole weekend by the pool. There’s lots of exploring waiting to be done on the Brac and we sprang out of bed early on Saturday morning to do just that. First stop – the top of the Bluff to check out our surroundings from above, before meandering through the trees in search of some bird life.
Despite our best efforts we didn’t see any Parrots :( and starved of the sea breeze inland, we headed back to sea level to see what else we could find.
We clambered over boulders and through caves for a couple of hours before stopping for a much needed swim.
With out journey of island discovery complete, it was time to get down to business. The bluff is littered with well-bolted rock climbing routes catering to all levels, including beginners like me.
Luckily we had a pro in our midst.
Who was on hand to offer up tips when the rest of other looked unsure…
This was my third climbing trip and although I still totally suck at it, I’m now determined to do some training and get better before the next time we go – rock climbing is really good fun and an insanely good way to stay in shape.
And pretend you're tarzan.
Some, of course, are naturals.
If you’re planning a trip to Cayman Brac and you want to go climbing you need to do some planning in advance. John Byrnes has set up a fabulous guide and website with all of the routes and lots of other information: www.climbcaymanbrac.com and you can also contact John with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We packed up as night fell and headed back to base. After a day of adventure everyone was ready for a good meal – luckily we had just the person for the job!
When you’re chosing a place to stay you can find some great properties of vrbo for any group size. My top tip would be to chose a place with a swimming pool. After climbing in 30 degree heat you’ll want somewhere to cool off and the sea isn’t really easy to jump into thanks for the rocky beaches and clumps of sea urchins patrolling the shores. Plus you’ll want a pool for late night lilo races! Many rentals will require a 3 or 4 night minimum stay on the website but if you email the owners, most I've found are willing to do a 2 night rental, particularly for Cayman residents or those booking last minute. Renting a house is more relaxing than staying in a resort and it means that you can take all of your food and drink with you. And for a couple of days you can wake up and pinch yourself as you step out onto the beach in your private back garden.
For some more of our antics and adventures here a little video diary of the weekend: