The Cayman Islands: Walking in a water wonderland

Cayman in the News 20 December 2018
The Cayman Islands@Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac@are far more than a place where millionaires stash their cash. They@re a playground for the well-heeled but not pretentious. Here, you@re more likely to be judged by how much fun you are than by the size of your bank account.

Article by Sheryl Nance-Nash

The Cayman Islands—Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac—are far more than a place where millionaires stash their cash. They’re a playground for the well-heeled but not pretentious. Here, you’re more likely to be judged by how much fun you are than by the size of your bank account.

Get ready to relax. It won’t take long to shake off your worries. Talk a walk on Grand Cayman’s infamous Seven Mile Beach (It’s just 5.5 miles, but who cares?). Let your toes embrace the powdery white sand beach and your eyes take in the turquoise waters. This water wonderland is ideal for kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing, fishing, sailing on a Hobie Cat, snorkeling, diving, parasailing or chilling with a cocktail on a catamaran watching the sunset. Put on your adventurer hat and venture by boat to Stingray City. It’s not a city really, but a sandbar where stingrays are plentiful. Hop off the boat and swim a short distance to waters that are a bit shallower, where you can stand up and interact with these fascinating creatures. Your tour guide will show you how to interact with them, and if you dare, how to drop the highly favored squid into its weird looking slit of a mouth. Many folks also give the stingray a kiss for good luck, but that’s a decision entirely to be made by you.

Keep the adventure theme going. You can’t go home without a tour of the Cayman Crystal Caves. Wind your way through the tropical forest and explore three caves that have formed over more than 1 million years. Your eyes will widen and your jaw might drop. The stalagmite and stalactite crystal structures are impressive. Don’t be surprised if your imagination kicks in and structures start to look like stuff, a face, an animal, you name it. Know, too, that it’s not your imagination; there really are bats in the caves. No worries, though. They’re just as scared as you are.

You can also get your nature groove on at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. There are 65 acres of tropical flora and fauna, themed gardens and woodland trails. Expect to see green parrots, Cayman butterflies and, if you’re lucky, maybe a blue iguana. Picnic by the pond if you like.

Old and young alike will enjoy the Cayman Turtle Centre Island Wildlife Encounter. Swim with turtles in a lagoon with lots of marine life. Check out the park’s Breaker’s Lagoon, which has bragging rights for being the largest swimming pool on the island. Its waterfalls are pretty cool, too. Kids never tire of the Turtle Twister Water Slide that’s more than 15 feet high and 100 feet long. Do spend time at the Education Centre and Hatchery there.

If you want to get glimpse of the 18th century in Grand Cayman, stop by Pedro St. James, 7 acres of sculpted landscape, ocean views and the 18th century Great House, a three-story home built by Englishman William Eden. It served as home to the Eden family and over the years, a jail, cotton plantation, courthouse, a government assembly and restaurant, before the Cayman Islands purchased the land in 1996 and restored it to its glory. It’s a historic site where you’ll be enchanted by a very special storyteller (don’t want to spoil it). Enjoy Friday Sea Sessions with happy hour and barbecue. Drink up with rum-tasting tours there. The local rum, Governor’s, gets the job done. No wonder Caymanians are in such a good mood. If like what you taste, go to Governor’s distillery for more. The owner is lively, and it’s guaranteed you’ve never had a tasting and tour quite like this wild and crazy party.

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