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Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

By John Sage

Cayman Disabled Access Review Cayman disabled access is the best I’ve encountered anywhere in the Caribbean.  Good sidewalk ramps & flat terrain make it easy for wheelchair users to get around. 

Like Turks and Caicos, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Bermunda, the Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory which means there are stricter accessibility standards than most Caribbean islands.

There exists one major accessibility hurdle for disabled cruise passengers…all of the main cruise lines use tenders (rather than a pier) to bring passengers ashore.  A variety of factors (including weather) will determine if disabled cruise passengers can go ashore.  Your travel agent should be able to provide you with details about these factors.

I gave Cayman disabled access a 5 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because of the flat terrain of the island, the presences of well-designed sidewalk ramps, and the presence of accessible vans.  This is the highest rating that I give to destinations in the Caribbean and Europe.


View Cayman accessible shore excursions


Best Aspects of Cayman Disabled Access

Plenty of things for disabled visitors to do – Whether it’s a visit to Stingray City, swimming with the dolphins, learning about sea turtles, or viewing the local wildlife (including iguanas), Grand Cayman presents numerous options for disabled visitors. 

Swimming with the dolphins Swimming with the dolphinsLearning about sea turtles Grand Cayman


Small island means short drives – Because Grand Cayman is a small island (only 22 miles long), it’s possible to do many of the activities listed above in a single day!

Good sidewalk ramps – Unlike sidewalk ramps in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Thomas, nearly every intersection I encountered in George Town had sidewalk ramps with slopes that were very manageable.

Sidewalk ramps Sidewalk ramps


Flat terrain – The highest point on Grand Cayman is 79 feet, which makes it very flat island like Grand Turk, Cozumel, Freeport, and Key West.

Accessible shopping options – Grand Cayman disabled access presents numerous options for shopping in stores that have wheelchair ramps at the entrance.

Flat terrain Accessible shopping options


Accessible cruise tenders if weather is good – Under certain conditions, wheelchair users can use the cruise tenders which have wheelchair ramps at the boat (shown on the left) and at the cruise terminal (shown on the right).

Wheelchair users  Wheelchair ramps at the boat


Three accessible cruise terminals – Cruise tenders will bring you to one of three cruise terminals. All three have wheelchair accessible exits.  The North Terminal is shown on in the first photo. The South Terminal is shown in the second photo.  The Royal Walter cruise terminal is shown in the third photo.

Wheelchair accessible exits Wheelchair accessible exitsWheelchair accessible exits 


Accessible vans transportation is available – Grand Cayman wheelchair accessible vans are available on the island.  These are not taxis so you will need to book in advance.

Accessible vans transportation


Worst Aspects of Cayman Disabled Access

Cayman Disabled Access10 step ladders on submarine and glass bottom boat – Although there is an accessible entrance into the submarine office (shown on the left), there are ladders with no lift to get into the submarines and glass bottom boats.

Automotive traffic to cross street and reach shops – To travel between the cruise terminals and the city of George Town, you’ll need to cross a busy street with lots of automotive traffic.

Currents in some snorkeling areas – If you have chosen a Cayman wheelchair accessible snorkeling excursion you may encounter some currents near the reefs.

All cruise ships on the main cruise lines use tenders – There is no pier for large cruise ships, so all of them anchor in the harbor and use small tender boats to bring passengers ashore (I say small, but the tender I was on had a capacity of 340 people.)  The last time I visited Cayman in a wheelchair, there were 5 large cruise ships anchored offshore.

The accessibility of the tender process will depend on your accessibilty needs, your weight, the ship you are on, and the tender boat used.  Your travel agent should be able to advise you of the requirements for going ashore.

Cruise ships Cayman in a wheelchairCruise with Wheelchair Cruise


Attractions are not within walking/rolling distance of port – Most of the wheelchair accessible Cayman attractions are not located in George Town where your cruise ship will dock.  Consequently, you’ll need transportation during your shore excursion.  An example route you might use is the 8 mile drive from George Town to West Bay shown below.

8 mile drive from George Town to West Bay


View Cayman accessible shore excursions