Equal parts sun, adventure, and climbing, Cayman Brac is the place to be if you are looking for a secluded winter climbing destination. John Byrnes has a great website, http://www.climbcaymanbrac.com/ that serves as a guide to the island. This post is more to offer helpful suggestions accompanied with my amateur photography.
Getting there: Getting to Cayman Brac can involve a decent amount of travelling. Unless you live in Miami, you will be looking at three connecting flights, culminating in a fun jaunt from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac in a little prop plane.
I took a five day trip to Cayman Brac, but in reality two of those days were eaten by travel time. Try and set aside a solid week+ of vacation time to make it worth your while. If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway, Cayman Brac might not be the best option.
Where to stay: John Byrnes not only offers the climbing guide, but you can rent a floor of his house, the Bluff View. It has one bedroom, a futon, and I believe an air mattress (we only had three people and didn’t need it). I’ve got to say the futon is likely the most comfortable futon I’ve ever seen. There’s a kitchen with standard appliances and basic supplies, even a window AC unit for those looking to chill out. John also keeps a painters pole (for a stick clip) and rappel ropes in his shed for you to borrow.
If you are travelling with people who need to stay at a hotel, the Brac Reef Beach Resort seemed nice (only ate there) but it is filled with elderly scuba divers.
Transportation: You need a car. It’s a small island, but a car is necessary to be able to get to the climbing areas. Mylene at 4D’s gave us this stallion for $30/day cash. She drove us to the grocery, liquor store, and then the Bluff View. Exceptionally nice lady
Climbing: From climbing over raging seas to running into territorial owls guarding rest jugs, there was never a dull moment climbing on the Brac. John goes into everything in depth in his guide, but I would like to make a few notes.
1. Climbing at the point is a unique climbing experience in a once in a lifetime sort of way. You get to rap in and then fight your way out as the blue sea rages below. We even saw a turtle or two swim by. The one thing John doesn’t mention that I think would be very useful are walkie talkies.
Often you won’t be able to see or hear your belayer which can be tricky even if you have signals. Walkie talkies would be a game changer in my opinion.
2. Wear lots of sun tan lotion and a hat. Seriously, it is incredibly easy to get burned even when it’s cloudy.
3. Dixon’s wall is seriously world class. It reminds me of Ten Sleep Canyon but with a crazy overhanging band of tufas that wouldn’t be out of place in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. There was also plenty of shade covering the whole wall, and Berg is the nicest guy out there.
Other Adventure Activities on the Brac:
If you plan to take a hike to investigate the caves along the south east beach (orange cave etc.), wear hiking boots and bring climbing shoes.
In order to reach many of the caves you will have to do a short free-solo up the cliff face.
Hiking boots will make the sharp, loose rock terrain much more manageable.
Snorkeling: You can rent snorkeling gear from the Brac Reef Beach Resort for $10 a day (they also rent kayaks but we didn’t try them). We didn’t have enough time to do much snorkeling, but the public beach on the south road had some interesting underwater activity.
Exploring: I thought one of the best parts of Cayman Brac was just driving around the island, walking around, and exploring the environment. You can’t really go wrong, but I especially enjoyed the end of the north road.
I hope my thoughts inspire and help you to plan your next trip to the Brac. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments below.