Discovery Day in Cayman Islands

Discovery Day is a public holiday observed on the third Monday in May in the Cayman Islands. This holiday commemorates the discovery of the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in 1503 by Christopher Columbus.

Although the origins of this holiday are to honor that initial discovery, the holiday has also been conflated with the National Day of Preparedness—a day that attempts to ready the citizens of the Cayman Islands against hurricanes and other potential natural disasters. Because this day is a public holiday, government offices and schools are closed, as are many businesses.

The History of Discovery Day in the Cayman Islands

During his fourth voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus came across the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on May 10, 1503. Although Columbus did not stop at the islands, he named them Las Tortugas because of all the sea turtles he saw. By the end of the 16th century, the islands would receive the name Caymanas—a local Carib name for the crocodiles that could be found on the islands.

Facts About the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are as mysterious as they are beautiful, so we decided to list some of the facts that we’ve learned about them while researching Discovery Day.

  • The Cayman Islands consist of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman.
  • The Cayman Islands are located 450 miles south of Miami, Florida, and 272 miles northwest of Jamaica.
  • The average temperature in the Cayman Islands is 78 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 86 degrees Fahrenheit in summer.

Observing Discovery Day in the Cayman Islands

This holiday is not only a day off for the general population, but it’s also a day for people to get together with friends and family members. Because it coincides with the National Day of Preparedness, it’s also a day on which people make sure that they are prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Where is it celebrated?
Cayman Islands (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 20 Monday
Next year (2025)
May 19 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 15 Monday