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This article was written on 05 Jul 2010, and is filled under To: Cayman Islands.

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Discover the Cayman Islands

Welcome to the Cayman Islands, a charming vacation spot popular among families couples and water sport enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re looking for adventure, great shopping opportunities, a honeymoon spot, or simply want to relax on the beach, you’ll find it here. The islands’ mellow civility ensures that you’ll be coming back for more.


HISTORY AND CULTURE

This British Overseas Territory consists of three islands – Grand Cayman, smaller Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Christopher Columbus explored the Cayman Islands in 1503 and called them Las Tortugas after seeing so many turtles in the surrounding waters. The islands were later renamed Cayman, which is the Carib word for the marine crocodile that once lived here.

England took charge of the Caymans, along with Jamaica, in 1670, and a variety of people settled on the islands: emigrants from Europe, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, deserters from Oliver Cromwell’s army in Jamaica, and slaves. Famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Sir Henry Morgan also settled here, using the islands’ caves and coves as hideouts.

Today tourism and finance dominate the economy, and Caymanians enjoy the highest living standard in the Caribbean. Most Caymanians are of African and British descent (or mixed) and live in Grand Cayman, the largest island of the Caymans.

SIGHTS

– Grand Cayman

In Boatswain’s Beach, discover an important variety of animals, such as iguanas, turtles, birds, butterflies, and invertebrates like crabs and starfish.

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park covers 65 acres and is home to 2000 species of indigenous and nonindigenous plants.

Built in 1780 by William Eden, owner of a plantation, Pedro St. James Castle is the Caymans’ oldest surviving architecture and one of the most historically significant buildings on the islands.

– Cayman Brac

The oldest museum is Cayman Brac Museum. This historic site has a collection of tools and instrument used by previous generations of Brackers.

The Parrot Preserve is home to a wide range of indigenous birds, including the endangered Cayman Brac parrot.

– Little Cayman

Discover Little Cayman’s history at the Little Cayman Museum, which has a collection of relics and artefacts.

Observe the red-footed boobies at the Little Cayman National Trust.

Learn more about Little Cayman’s biodiversity at the Little Cayman Research Center.

BEACHES

The best beach on Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach, but Barkers, Rum Point, and Smith’s Cove are also excellent. The beaches on Cayman Brac’s north coast are ideal spot for snorkelers. Little Cayman also has its share of good beaches, including Owen Island and Point o’ Sand.

ACTIVITIES

Imagine the crystal-clear waters, simply breathtaking coral reefs, and exotic marine life that makes the Caymans one of the Caribbean’s top dive destinations. The best dive site is Bloody Bay Wall, off the coast of Little Cayman, but there are many good diving opportunities on Grand Cayman as well.

Petting and feeding the exotic marine creatures of Stingray City or Stingray Sandbar – the most popular snorkelling destination – is an exciting experience.

If you enjoy sport fishing, you can charter a boat and head out to search for blue marlin, yellow- and blackfin tuna, dolphinfish, and bonefish.

Land-based activities include golfing, hiking, horseback riding, spelunking and even skating and skateboarding. Climbing the Brac’s limestone bluff is a highlight.

Many of Cayman Islands’ best sights are hidden under the waves, and semisubmersible tours of the bay allow you to see these wonders without getting yourself wet.

Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach is a fine 6 ½-mile-long (10-km-long) stretch of white sand.

Grand Cayman also has many interesting historical sights, natural attractions and plenty of shopping opportunities.

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