Pirates Week Festival at the Cayman Islands

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Always on the lookout for great events around the world, we recently found out about the Pirates Week Festival - the National Festival of the Cayman Islands. I laughed at the pure joy shown on the photos from past Pirates Weeks. I knew I had to share this, with our Wandering Educators! I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with David Martins, Executive Director of Pirates Week Festival. Here's what he had to say...

Pirates Week Festival

WE: Please tell us about Pirates Week Festival...

DM: In the Cayman Islands, a country known in the Caribbean for its strong economy, friendly people, and crystal clear sea, we are also unique in our national festival, Pirates Week, which dips into the past to stage a wide-ranging celebration that is attended by thousands every year in early November.

Although the age of piracy was virtually over when Cayman was being settled, we have drawn on that era to create a fantasy that may not be based on Caymanian history but is an appealing and entertaining part of our annual celebration. If this is your first exposure to Pirates Week, let me point out that it's not just fireworks, parades and street dances, but a week of partying and celebrating that will stay in your memory forever.

It's the only festival in the region offering such a wide range of activities.

The 34 events include a massive fireworks show, a mock "pirate landing" with re-created sailing ships, a float parade, 2 costume competitions, a song contest, 5 heritage days, 2 teenage music nights, a kids' fun day, an underwater treasure hunt, and a schools' art competition.

Also, it's the only festival in the region where the major downtown events listed above are free.

Pirates Week Festival

WE:  What is the history of Pirates Week Festival?

DM: Pirates Week was started 31 years ago by the late Jim Bodden, when he was Minister of Tourism, to attract visitors to Cayman in the slow October-November period. It has grown into the biggest entertainment event in the country.

Pirates Week Festival

WE:  What events take place after the main Pirate Invasion?

DM: After the "pirate invasion" on the first Saturday, which takes place downtown in the harbour area, George Town is closed off in the afternoon for a massive float parade featuring cultural and corporate displays attracting thousands of residents and visitors. At night, there is a street dance in the same area featuring Caribbean music and cuisine.

Every day in the week after the pirate landing, residents and visitors flock to the heritage displays in the outlying areas, each of which ends with a Caribbean street dance at night. The Festival winds up with a "Trial of the Pirates" on the final Saturday and a concluding Street Dance and fireworks downtown.

Pirates Week Festival, Cayman Islands

WE:  Is there anything that people can do to give back to the Cayman Islands, while they are there? Are there volunteer opportunities?

DM: There are volunteer opportunites for visitors in our Department of Tourism's "Voluntourism" project where they can help out in various areas of festival operation. Persons interested in that can call the Pirates Week Office at 345=949-5859 or email us at pirates [at] candw.ky


Pirates Week Festival

WE:  Where do people go online to find accommodations?

DM: On line reservations can be organised through the Cayman Islands Tourism Association at 345-949-8522 or by emailing info [at] cita.ky

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

DM: The famed Caymanian hospitality is at its peak during our national festival; take it in; enjoy it; tell your friends about it.


Pirates Week Festival, Cayman Islands

WE: Thanks so much, David! I can't wait to come down and explore the Cayman Islands - and participate in the Pirates Week Festival!

For more information, please see:




Pirates Week Festival



All photos courtesy and copyright of Pirates Week Festival.