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World-class scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing are just the beginning of your Islands' adventure. The Islands' history is rich in exotic detail, as our Museum, Botanical Garden and National Trust clearly demonstrate. So whether it's a trip under the sea to feed the stingrays, an excursion to the Turtle Farm for a hands-on experience of one of nature's most inspiring miracles, or a journey into the past to revisit the first landing by Christopher Columbus, a feast for the senses-and sensibilities-awaits.
Activities and Excursions in Grand Cayman
Pedro's St. James, Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Cayman Islands National Museum, Majestic Trail, Cayman Island Turtle Farm, Stingray City, Cayman Islands Helicopter Rides, Visit Cuba (trips), Stingray Brewery, Hell, Blow Holes, Conch House, South Church Street, Pirates Cave, Cardinal D's Park, Silver Thatch Excursions, Bowling, Tennis Club, Scooter Rentals, Horseback Riding
With so many activities in Grand Cayman and excursions in the Cayman Islands, scuba diving and snorkeling are not the only pastimes offered. A day out of the Cayman's sun can be taken to enjoy a multitude of excursions.
Boatswain's Beach, the new home of the world famous Cayman Turtle Farm, is Cayman largest and most eagerly anticipated tourist attraction. The Park offers visitors a unique opportunity to swim and snorkel with fish and other marine life, peer into a predator tank and come nose to nose with sharks and eels, stroll down a historic Caymanian street complete with porch side artisans or view the free flight bird aviary and walk the nature trail.
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New for 2006, Cayman’s largest and most eagerly anticipated tourist attraction, Boatswain’s Beach is now open. Pronounced ‘Bo-suns’ Beach, this one-of-a-kind, 23-acre adventure marine park promises to become one of the most exciting attractions in the Caribbean.
Boatswain’s Beach celebrates Caymanians’ stewardship of the seas and relationship with nature through tactile, colorful, educational and memorable experiences.
The park allows visitors to experience the rich history of Caymanian life in a fun and safe environment while providing opportunities to observe and interact with native flora and fauna. In keeping with its cultural heritage, Boatswain’s Beach is the new home of the world renowned Cayman Turtle Farm.
The only one of its kind in the world, the turtle farm is home to over 11,000 Green Sea Turtles, ranging in size from six ounces to six hundred pounds each. Visitors can tour an actual working farm, which is both educational and entertaining, and turtles are available for guests to hold for an amazing and unique photo opportunity.
The Cayman Turtle Farm has held a long-standing tradition of releasing some of the turtles that have been bred at the farm. This tradition was initially inspired by the Cayman Turtle Farm’s commitment to both its conservation initiatives of ensuring the continuation of the species, and of the on-going research that will help biologists learn more about turtle migration and nesting behaviour. Visitors to the island can have the opportunity to actively participate in an annual turtle release, as this year’s annual release takes place on November 16, 2006. This is an once-in-a-lifetime experience and those interested in participating should send an email to email@example.com for more information.
The turtle farm breeds the Green Sea Turtle, named for the green colour of the fat deposits inside its skin. Other turtle species exhibited on the farm include the Loggerhead Turtle, the Kemps Ridley, and the beautifully patterned Hawksbill Turtle.
The new expanded facilities at Boatswain’s Beach will ensure visitors continue to learn more about these amazing sea creatures as well as our new additions including the predators, birds, crocodiles, and other exciting creatures. The new park will house a world-class research and educational facility that will focus on the conservation of sea turtles.
The new Breaker’s freshwater pool, one of the parks main highlights opened to the public on July 15, 2006. Visitors can now enjoy a refreshing, cool dip in the ever inviting Breaker’s fresh water tidal lagoon and dine on a scrumptious meal at Breaker’s Snack Shack. Items on the menu include jerk chicken and pork, hamburgers, sandwiches, and desserts amongst other delights.
In October 2006, the park will offer visitors a unique opportunity to swim and snorkel with fish and other marine life in its 1.3 million gallon salt-water lagoon. Guests can also peer into the predator tank and come nose-to-nose with sharks and eels. For those less adventurous, wander through the beautiful free-flight bird aviary or stroll down an historic Caymanian street complete with porch side artisans. Children and adults alike will delight in interacting with starfish, urchins and crabs at the touch pool. Everyone will enjoy the experience of the finest Caymanian cuisine at a variety of locations throughout the park.
For those wanting to take a little of Boatswain’s Beach home, 18 shopping kiosks are located throughout the park, as well as a 3,500 square foot Boatswain’s Beach retail centre located in the reception building.
The farm is open seven days a week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and is wheelchair accessible. Entry for adults is US$60.00 and US$25.00 for children 2-12; children under 2 have free entry in to the park (prices are subject to change). The farm is located on Northwest Point Road in West Bay, just eight miles from George Town.
Boatswain’s Beach will launch its membership club in the near future, providing everyone with the opportunity to receive continuous updates, discounts, travel opportunities around the world, and many other exciting membership only activities at the park. For information on the club, and to receive updates and press releases on the park, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Boatswain’s Beach can also cater for functions of all types and sizes. Whether your party is an anniversary, birthday, business affair, Christmas, or New Year function, Boatswain’s Beach can host any occasion. As small as a group of 10 or as large as a group of 2,000 people, Boatswain’s Beach can make it happen!
With its ability to weave entertainment, education, and conservation together in one cohesive package, Boatswain’s Beach will take your next business event to another level. Furnished by an eccentric sunset, Caribbean music in the background, an array of delectable foods and the finest wines and spirits, your special event will turn into a beautiful evening that will never be forgotten.
Boatswain’s Beach will handle all the details, from catering and decorations to music and entertainment.
For more information on having your next event at Boatswain’s Beach, please contact the Special Events Coordinator, Mr. Chet Anglin at 949-3894 Ext. 4203 or at email@example.com
For more details on Boatswain’s Beach visit www.boatswainsbeach.ky
The only one of its kind in the world, Cayman
Turtle Farm is home to over 16,000 sea turtles, ranging in size from six ounces
to six-hundred pounds each! The farm is a modern-day reminder of the turtle's
role in the history of the Cayman Islands. When Christopher Columbus first
discovered the islands in 1503, he named them "Las Tortugas," meaning The
Turtles. According to legend, there were so many turtles that the islands looked
like they were covered with rocks.
Historically Accurate Reconstruction of Original 1780 Great
House Is A Spectacular Showpiece For the Birthplace of
Behind a traditional coral stone wall rises an authentic, three-storey early 19th century great house and outbuildings, with traditional "grounds" planted with pineapple, banana and other provisions. The adjacent acres are covered with luxuriant tropical plants, palm-lined walkways and a splendid manicured Great Lawn sprawling to a jaw-dropping view of the Caribbean. At the main entrance is the Visitors Centre featuring a state of the art multimedia theater where visitors experience 200 years of Cayman history in 20 minutes.
Today, it is a site whose grandeur is befitting of its importance as the Birthplace of Democracy in the Cayman Islands.
Formerly known as Pedro Castle, this is the oldest known existing stone structure in the Cayman Islands. The original building is believed to have been built of quarried native rock around 1780 as a great house by William Eden, a mariner, plantation owner and early settler.
Pirates & Folktales
There never was a Spanish-built castle, nor any proof that pirates ever came ashore at Pedro, much less built a fortress here. These were 20th century fabrications of combining local folktales and the stories created by a very real, American-born adventurer turned entrepreneur Tom Hubbell, who owned the site from 1954 until his death in 1977. In the 60's, Hubbell renovated the long-abandoned stone ruins, originally planning a small guest house and bar. He chiseled the date "1631" into the top of the building's entrance, added jagged crenellations along the top level and promoted it as a fortress once inhabited by Captain Morgan and other pirates.
Later Hubbell leased it as a bar and restaurant and rustic two-bedroom inn. Pedro Castle became a much bigger attraction as a popular watering hole. It survived hurricanes, a fire, and a variety of owners until a second fire in 1989 finally reduced the building to ruins once and for all.
In November, 1991, the Government bought the 7.65 acre property from Hubbell's estate to develop as Cayman's first national landmark and heritage tourism attraction. At that time, the price of CI$852,000 (US$1,039,634) made it the most expensive official land acquisition in the history of the Cayman Islands.
Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd., the Canadian consulting firm responsible for Antigua's Nelson's Dockyard, was selected in 1992 to work with Cayman's Historic Sites Committee as project managers. They launched a public education campaign emphasizing the official name was no longer Pedro Castle, but Pedro St. James Historic Site and Restoration.
The project began with two years of archaeological research and simultaneous searches in archives in Jamaica, Scotland, England and Spain. Together, these efforts unearthed historic facts far more interesting than romantic fiction.
In 1780, William Eden, a mariner and early English settler, established a cotton and mahogany plantation on Savannah's Pedro bluff with its spectacular view of the Caribbean and convenient anchorage for ships right offshore. His great house, called St. James, was built with slave labor using native quarried stone. It was a remarkable building for that period, when the population of Grand Cayman was only 400--of which 200 were slaves. It was the only house on Grand Cayman that survived the devastating hurricane of 1785. The original ruins beneath the "castle" are the oldest structure in the Cayman Islands. By 1823 the house and grounds were being used as a courthouse, jail and public pound.
Birthplace of Democracy
But its greatest historic significance was not even publicly known until this decade. Pedro St. James was the site of a historic meeting of residents which took place on 5 December, 1831 during which it was resolved that representatives should be appointed for the five different districts for the purpose of forming local laws for better Government. The elections took place on 10 December in the five districts on Grand Cayman and on 31 December they met as the first Legislative Assembly for the first time in George Town.
"Pedro St. James Historic Site, considered the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands, will serve as our premier national landmark. This is our equivalent to Independence Hall in the United States and will serve as a model for future heritage tourism attractions here," said Minister Jefferson.
In addition, another historic event took place here in May 1835, when the proclamation declaring the emancipation of all slaves throughout the colonies was read at Pedro St. James and at a number of other prominent places in the Cayman Islands.
Historically accurate restoration
The new Pedro St. James great house was completed in January 1998, a historically accurate restoration of the original plantation great house, representative of the period between 1820 and 1840. The three-level design with wide verandahs was based on archival and architectural research about that era of Caribbean history, as well as the materials used in the original structure itself. This provided enough evidence for an accurate idea of what Eden's original manor looked like.
Every detail reflects authentic building techniques of early 19th century Caribbean great houses - from rough hewn timber beams and wooden pegs to replacing the false upper level crenellations with a gabled framework. Other period features include mahogany floors and staircases, wide beam wooden ceilings; stone walls, outside wooden louvered shutters and mahogany doors.
The first floor houses the jail, store rooms, kitchen and pantry. The second level is a dining room, courtroom and verandah and the upper level contains the living quarters. Furnishings are a combination of original 19th century mahogany antiques and reproductions obtained from St. Kitts and other Caribbean countries. Rooms are accurate in detail down to walls painted with lime wash the color of oxblood; candle sconces and brass door fastenings.
A bake oven and outdoor kitchen on the building's northwest side are recreations of the original great house estate. More recent additions include an early 20th century Caymanian-style cottage and Steadman Bodden house, a restored traditional 100-year-old Caymanian wattle and daub home. Both were relocated to the site to enhance its educational heritage value.
One of the most beautiful locations in the Cayman Islands, Pedro St. James is already a popular venue for weddings and social events. The grounds have been landscaped as a magnificent natural tropical park with native trees and plants, as well as traditional medicinal and vegetable gardens representative of a small early 19th century West Indian plantation.
The $1.5 million Visitors' Centre includes five-buildings in 19th century architectural style surrounding a landscaped courtyard. The main attraction is the 49-seat state of the art multimedia theater featuring a 20-minute video presentation on Pedro St. James and highlights of 200 years of Cayman history. Other facilities include a resource center, gift shop, and café. Interpretative displays and signs throughout the great house and grounds allow self-guided tours but guides are also available.
For Information: Pedro St. James Historic Site is located in Savannah, Grand Cayman and is open 8:30-5:00 daily. The multi-media show starts on the hour from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is US$8.00. Children under 6 are free and children 6 to 12 years old pay US$4.00. For information, contact: ph: (345) 947-3329. Also visit us on the web at www.pedrostjames.ky.
Web Site: http://www.botanic-park.ky
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Many visitors arriving in this Western Caribbean destination, famous for
Stingray City, have never heard of Cayman's Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park,
located in Grand Cayman's North Side. This heritage attraction was officially
opened on 27th February, 1994 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and named in her
honor. The next milestone was reached in May 1997, when Hon. Thomas Jefferson,
Minister for Tourism, Commerce & Transport, officially opened three new
attractions there: the Visitors Centre, Floral Garden and Heritage Garden,
representing the Park's $1.75 million, second phase expansion program.
Make the Cayman Islands National Museum the first stop on
your tour of Grand Cayman and begin to see the real Cayman.
Our newest attraction presents some of the oldest known skills in the Cayman Islands. The Craft Market sits by the sea in a festive, park-like setting just a short stroll from the cruise ship dock in George Town. The vendors offer locally made items of leather, thatch, wood, and shell.
The Mastic Trail
Geddes Hislop and his wife Janet are the founders of this locally owned and operated enterprise. They specialize in guided hiking tours along Grand Cayman's famous Mastic Trail, as well as bird watching excursions on Grand Cayman. Geddes has a university degree in Wildlife Biology, and will help you get the most out of the Mastic Reserve -- one of the last tracts of primary evergreen woodland, evolved undisturbed for the last two million years, and offering a rich abundance of birds, rare trees and animals. For more information on these services, as well as Botanic Park visits, historical and environmental tours around Grand Cayman, etc., call (345)945-6588.
They can also be reached by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take your vacation to new heights with Captain Jerome, owner and operator of Cayman Islands Helicopters. Flying for over 13 years in the US, Canada and France, Jerome has appeared in movies and logged thousands of hours in the air, providing guests with some of the most spectacular views imaginable.
You can get a bird’s eye view of all the island’s hottest spots in record time and avoid all the crowds. With only four to six passengers per trip, you are assured of personal service and the best views of the sights you want to see. The island and its surrounding colorful waters provide breathtaking views as you soar across the landscape. Just outside the reef, it is not uncommon to spot large sharks, stingrays and an exciting array of sea life as seen from this elevated perspective. Tours are very reasonably priced and include free shuttle service to and from the Seven Mile Beach area. Call 929-0116 or 943-4354 for more information and reservations.
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Frequently labeled a paradise for divers and others, Cayman also boasts a bit of Hades, a village named Hell at the northwest end of the island. Visitors enjoy a visit to the Hell Post Office, from which they can send a postcard back home proving that they've taken a trip to Hell.
One of the natural attractions here is an unusual 15-million-year-old limestone formation, weathered into jagged pinnacles and ridges. Called iron shore, the rock formations were once as white as snow but acidic substances have lent it a charred look and carved the rock into unusual shapes. Please note that it is illegal to remove any of the rocks.
This attraction at East End should not be missed. As waves come crashing to the shore, tall geysers spout skyward from the coral rock, creating one of the most spectacular photo opportunities on the island. The spouts are the result of air and water being trapped in underwater caverns with the rise and fall of the waves.
The 1935 structure easily rates a drive-by. A snapshot of the thousands of conch shells embedded in the walls of this house are no substitute for a glimpse of the live creatures in the North Sound or for a nice conch lunch, but who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?
The main attraction of Bodden Town, the former capital of the Cayman Islands, is at the center of town. Pirate Cave is connected to a labyrinth of tunnels and other undersea caves, which in days of yore made it an ideal place for pirates to hide their treasure. The site now houses only a few artifacts, including bones and stocks. Bodden Town's other main points of interest are Gun Square, where an early British fort once stood, and the famous Slave Wall, built by slaves to ward off foreign invaders.
At Cardinal D's Park, just off Eastern Avenue (George Town), you'll find a bird sanctuary with over sixty species of exotic birds, iguanas, agoutis, ducks, emus, miniature ponies and turtles. There's also a snack bar and souvenir shop. Founded by two Caymanians in 1985, the park is ideal for kids, who can feed the animals, and nature lovers. Open seven days a week, the park can be reached at (345) 949-8856
They feature first class,
professionally trained big & beautiful horses.
Stingray Bowling Centre & ARCADE
- closing (seven days a week)
The Cayman Islands Tennis Club, a member of the International Tennis Federation
(ITF), offers their court in South Sound to visitors at a flat
Jogging & Hiking
The Mastic Trail, part of the Mastic Reserve, is two miles long, takes about 2½ to 3 hours, and is ideal for hiking in Cayman's wild interior. The woodland, evolved undisturbed for the last 2 million years, offers a rich abundance of birds, rare trees and animals, with guided walks available daily. Call Geddes Hislop of Silver Thatch Excursions at (345) 945-6588, or e-mail him at email@example.com for more information about a guided tour. Geddes has a degree in Wildlife Biology, and really knows his stuff. For joggers, Beach Bay Road, near Turtle Nest Inn, is a route followed regularly by those wanting a good surface with little traffic. And, of course, there's the beach almost all around Grand Cayman, with public access guaranteed everywhere.
Bicycle Rentals - rentals are available on Grand Cayman, at Cayman Cycle Rentals, at (345) 945-4021, or Soto's Scooters & Cars, at (345) 945-4652.
345-949-8485 (345) 949-5132