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August 1, 2003 -- The Cayman Islands are a very, very mellow place. A quiet realm of quiet beaches, this triumvirate of Caribbean islands is a respite from the hectic, overdeveloped tourist culture of much of the rest of the Caribbean. As residents of a British Crown Colony (much like Bermuda), Cayman Islanders are reserved and polite to the elite tourists who come there for scuba diving, water sports and lounging around.

The Caymans make most of their money from offshore banking, but you don't have to be a mogul to get there, thanks to a sale this week from Cayman Airways. They're offering unbeatable fares from Florida and Texas (roundtrip, without tax):

  • Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman: $129 midweek, $159 weekend
  • Tampa to Grand Cayman: $159 midweek, $199 weekend
  • Houston to Grand Cayman: $199 midweek, $229 weekend

These fares are good for flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Houston from August 19-October 31, and for flights from Tampa between September 9 and August 31. Buy online by August 7 at www.frommers.com/destinations/caymanislands; you can find more information at www.destination.ky.

October's the rainiest month in the Caymans, so September is probably a better time to go. September temperatures in the Caymans are in the high 80s, with bathwater-warm seas.

Grand Cayman has two smaller, even less touristed sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Roundtrip flights to Cayman Brac are $59, and Cayman Airways has discount fares to Havana from Cayman Brac for $129 roundtrip, making the Caymans a good stopping point for anyone coming from the US who isn't affected by our nation's "travel ban" to Cuba. For more on concerns regarding going to Cuba, see www.frommers.com/destinations/cuba/3173020032.html.

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