This Hidden Gem National Park In The Cayman Islands Is A Crowd-Free Beachy Paradise

With its crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches, visiting the Cayman Islands means hitting the jackpot in terms of both beauty and relaxation. The British territory is located northwest of Jamaica, beckoning travelers who want to soak up some much-needed time under the sun in a tropical paradise.

From the bustling streets and the breathtaking beaches of Grand Cayman to the serene simplicity of Little Cayman and the less-travelerblogd ruggedness of Cayman Brac, the trio of islands offers a unique experience for every type of adventurer. However, one relatively undiscovered destination on the largest island still packs a punch: Barker's National Park.

Tucked away on the peninsula in the northwestern tip of Grand Cayman, Barker's National Park is a dream destination brimming with turquoise waters, a palm-adorned shoreline, and white sands that look straight out of a postcard. Unspoiled and tranquil, it's the perfect spot for pretty much everyone — from sun-worshippers who want to kick back to kitesurfers hoping to catch some air and bird watchers on the lookout for the island's endemic species.

Getting to Barker's National Park

Ranked by TripAdvisor users as the fifth best thing to do on Grand Cayman's scenic West Bay, Barker's National Park takes some effort to reach — especially due to the rough roads — but the journey is entirely worth it. The easiest way to get to Barker's is by driving along the Esterly Tibbetts Highway and following signs for Conch Point Road. Once you find the island's popular Ristorante Pappagallo, take the east-bound gravel road all the way to the end. Before you know it, you'll be at the park.

As a practical tip, you'll want to hire a four-wheel drive vehicle to help make the journey a little easier. Additionally, it's also worth noting that there are no facilities inside the park — this means no restrooms or shops. So make sure you pack your own food and drinks, as well as everything you need to spend a day outside.

If you're still a little apprehensive about making the journey on your own, several ATV and horseback riding tours make a quick stopover at the park. Some options to check out include the 80-minute excursion by ATV Cayman and a scenic ride on horseback guided by the experts at Pampered Ponies.

Making the most of your visit to the park

Once inside Barker's National Park, the beach is pretty much yours for the taking. Less crowded than popular tourist spots like the nearby Seven Mile Beach or the East End's Barefoot Beach, it's a prime spot if you're not into hordes of tourists flocking about. Plus, with shallow waters that are perfect for beginners and families, you can enjoy a healthy dose of paddle boarding, kayaking, or snorkeling along the nearby reef without much hassle. For the more advanced, Barker's National Park is also a go-to spot for kitesurfers — especially between November and April, when conditions are at their peak.

Barker's National Park is also well-suited for hiking and cycling through the mangrove-lined trails while spotting birds and other local wildlife. A great option for this is signing up for the half-day e-bike tour operated by Paddle Wheel Adventures. The three-hour tour makes a series of stops along West Bay, including Barker's National Park. Alternatively, Paddle Wheel Adventures also offers afternoon and full-day rentals so you can plan your route yourself.

West Bay has plenty of other destinations and attractions worth visiting — including one with a menacing name, Hell, that's known for its black limestone formations and unique post office where you can send your loved ones a "postcard from Hell." Other notable spots include the Cayman Turtle Center and Kittiwake shipwreck, just off-shore from Seven Mile Beach.