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Central George Town is home to an abundance of fun shops, delicious restaurants, and breathtaking ocean views, but did you know George Town is also home to some unique and interesting historic sites? Next time you’re in town on a mission to shop ‘til you drop, take some time to see these amazing historic places!

Mr. Arthur’s Home and Print Shop

At 186 North Church Street, you’ll find a small home and print shop that now operates as a general store. This small, white shiplap shop could be missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The shop offers a glimpse at Grand Cayman’s historical architecture and is the perfect place to stop if you need some snacks and drinks while walking through town.

Built in the late 1800s, the store was originally Mr. Arthur’s Home and Print Shop, owned by Arthur Bodden and his family. Known for his spotless white shirt, cap and pipe, Arthur was the first wireless operator and weather specialist on Grand Cayman. The print shop across from his home operated for more than 50 years printing Cayman Islands Government stationary.


Fort George

If you've ever noticed the wooden hut on a tall pole in George Town, you might have wondered where it came from. It’s a unique sight to see while strolling the shops on Harbour Drive, but this small site has a lot of tales to tell.

The hut is actually what remains of Fort George. Fort George was built sometime around the 1790s as a means to protect the island. It’s not clear whether Fort George ever successfully warded off an attack, but it was manned by local militias for many years. Eventually, the site was mostly abandoned and the sand-bottomed fort became a play area for children at the neighboring school. During World War II, a lookout hut was added to a silk cotton tree and was used by watchmen to monitor for German U-boats that commonly patrolled the Caribbean. It was abandoned after the war.

When a developer began to demolish the dilapidated Fort George in 1972, locals dedicated to protecting Grand Cayman’s history protested by standing in front of the remaining structure and eventually saved it.

Now a National Trust protected site, a replica of the lookout house was constructed using pieces of the original that had crumbled over years with no upkeep; it is now one of the more prominent features of a stroll through town, and one passersby ask many questions about.

When you visit, you’ll want to check out the three-panel mural painted by local artist John Broad that depicts three events that represent the strong history of both Fort George and Grand Cayman: an attack by Spanish marauders, a U-boat bombing, and an Easter Regatta.



George Town Step Well

Perhaps one of the easiest sites to miss and most unique in downtown George Town is the George Town Step Well.

When you’re picking out a souvenir cap at Outlet Embroidery Shop in Bayshore Mall, make sure you look at your feet. Viewable through a pane of glass, the George Town Step Well is believed to be one of four freshwater wells recorded in Grand Cayman in the 1700s. The well likely served as the main water source for residents of Hog Sty Bay and ships that docked at the port. The well was discovered by developers in 2003 and was excavated by local archeologists who found remnants of 18th-century pottery, glass, and other treasures. You can even see some of these artifacts outside the shop. The Grand Cayman Water Authority also found the water at the bottom of the well was perfectly good to drink today!


Take a Walk Through Time

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and cultural background of Grand Cayman, these unique sites are must-sees, even if they’re hard to spot at first. Next time you’re wandering through George Town, make sure you take some time to take a trip back in time at these amazing sites.

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It’s one of Grand Cayman’s most popular destinations—Stingray City. Whether you’ve been coming to Cayman for decades or you’re planning your very first time, Stingray City offers unique joys to experience each and every visit. We've put together a rundown of the highlights to help you plan your next trip! 

The “Founding” of Stingray City

The sandbar now known as Stingray City initially attracted these alluring creatures when fishermen stopped their boats there after fishing excursions. While cleaning their catch of the day, the fishermen would often throw the scraps overboard. Before too long, stingrays began to show up to take advantage of all that free food! Over time, generation after generation of stingrays made the trek to the sandbar for a snack, and eventually they grew familiar and friendly with people. 

Nowadays it’s the tour groups who bring the tasty treats that keep the clan of stingrays coming back to visit each day. This year the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation completed their biannual “stingray census” at the sandbar, and they counted 115 stingrays—the largest number ever recorded!

All together there are two sandbars that make up Stingray City—one that is roughly three-feet deep and one that is much deeper. The shallow sandbar is the most popular destination since visitors can comfortably stand while they interact with the stingrays. The deeper sandbar offers the opportunity to dive and swim alongside the majestic creatures. If you’re a diver, you should definitely check it out to experience Stingray City from a whole new perspective.

The Full Experience

Located in North Sound, Stingray City tour-goers get to enjoy incredible open-ocean views on the boat ride there. There are usually several excursions and boats visiting Stingray City at any given time, making it a vibrant and fun atmosphere. The water in North Sound is crystal clear and stunning, so visitors will have a fantastic view of the stingrays as they swim by—some might even brush up against your leg! If you’re uncomfortable with wading out into the water, watching the rays swim by from the boat is still an unforgettable experience.

Before visitors exit their boats and enter the water, they are taught what we like to affectionately call “the Stingray City Shuffle.” Since stingrays swim and frequently rest close to the water’s sandy bottom, it is possible to accidentally injure a ray by stepping on it. While the residents of Stingray City are very friendly, stingrays do still have barbs on their tail that can sting. As a guest coming into the stingrays's home turf, it’s important to be as respectful and mindful of their natural environment as possible. Just keep an eye downwards and shuffle your feet along the sand to keep our swimming friends safe and happy!



If you visit with a tour guide who has experience on how to properly handle the stingrays, they'll help you get up close and personal with one of these incredible animals. Many long-time guides even recognize particular stingrays—several have names, so be sure to ask who you're meeting! You can gently pet the stingray's back while it's being held by a guide, and remember, if you give one a kiss, it's seven years of good luck! ;) Many tour companies also employ photographers who will take photos of you posing with the stingrays for an additional fee, so you won't have to worry about getting your personal camera wet. 

Tour Options

There are many ways to book a tour to Stingray City, from private options for small-groups to large tour excursions. Here are some more in-depth stories about a couple of our recommendations, if you’d like a place to get started on your research. 

Share Your Memories

We hope we've covered the basics of a trip to Stingray City and have you convinced it's a must-do item for your next trip. Have you already visited Stingray City? Do you have a favorite memory from your visit, or did we miss any tips you’d like to share? Are you a first-timer with some specific questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, located on the island’s north side, combines two of our very favorite things about Cayman—incredible natural beauty and rich history! John Lawrus is the General Manager of Botanic Park, and we recently had the honor of taking a tour of this incredible park with him.

John shared with us that Botanic Park, owned jointly by the Cayman Islands Government and The National Trust, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The park was opened by its namesake, Queen Elizabeth herself, in 1994. (John had the honor of meeting the Queen at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show, where the park took home a Silver Medal!) When it first opened, the only completed attraction was the Woodland Trail.  Since then, the park has grown by leaps and bounds, encompassing 65 acres in total and boasting beautiful features like the Floral Colour Garden, the fascinating Heritage Garden, and award-winning orchids, plus it's home to the Blue Iguana Recovery Program through the National Trust. You can even spot some blues roaming throughout the park!

Originally from Canada, John moved to Cayman around 18 years ago to work in Botanic Park. He’s always had a passion for plants since childhood. Though he initially studied finance in school, the pull towards working with nature proved stronger than the pull towards numbers. He went back to school, attending the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, which is one of the most highly regarded educational tracks in the horticulture field. The coursework was intense, and John said that the students even had room inspections! But he knew the program provided unparalleled job opportunities in the field, so it was all worth it. After graduating, John worked at the UBC Botanical Garden in Vancouver before seeing a job opening in Cayman. From there, he's worked his way up from Garden Supervisor to Deputy General Manager to his current position as General Manager today.

John’s passion for preservation and his enthusiasm for the calming power of nature is contagious. As a bit of an “indoor girl” myself, I’m not usually drawn to learning about plant life on my own. But hearing John talk about the origin of certain trees, flowers, and uses for medicinal plants made me realize I've been missing out. I really enjoyed learning about which herbs can be used in teas to help with various ailments. John also told us the story of a particular tree that was knocked over by hurricane winds. The tree was able to withstand the damage and has continued growing, just in a new direction.

My personal favorite part of the park was the Heritage Garden, which pays homage to native plants that have played a huge role in Cayman’s history. (It's also the winner of the Silver Medal from the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show in London!) In addition to highlighting important species like the Silver Thatch Palm, it also includes fruit trees, a medicinal garden, plus an original Caymanian house, owned by the Rankine family circa 1900. John told us that eight members of the Rankine family lived in the cozy iron-wood home—it's a little hard to imagine today! Instead of having a lawn with grass, the home was surrounded by a sand yard, which has been replicated down to the white conch shells lining the pathway to the front door. There’s even a “caboose” kitchen, which is separate from the main house.

Silver Thatch Palm lines the roof of the Heritage House, which is decorated to match how it would have looked in the early 1900s.

As we walked through the park, John shared his favorite aspects of his job—getting to spend time in nature and the ability to provide a beautiful place for others to come and enjoy. He loves being able to work in a place that provides peace and relaxation for others. John says he especially loves the diversity of plant life in the park— beautifully landscaped areas located next to spots with a more “rugged” feel where the plants grow a little more freely.

Enjoy a stroll in the shade on the Woodland Trail. 

John is also incredibly proud of the work being done on the new Children’s Garden within the park. With much-appreciated support from all the Rotary Clubs across the island, construction on phase one began in December 2018, and the Garden Grow Zone was just recently completed. Once it’s finished, the Children's Garden will include awesome features like a sensory garden, splash pad, maze, observation tower, and more. As a father to a young daughter, John said he was very excited to help provide a place where kids can be kids—to play in the dirt, get a little sweaty, and just enjoy spending time outside. He said the design for the park kept children of all personalities in mind—from those who prefer to run around and crawl through tunnels to those who would rather take in their surroundings a little more quietly from a comfy seat. (If you're interested in keeping up with the Children's Park, follow Botanic Park on Facebook for more info!).

When he isn't taking care of the park, John enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He likes to relax by going fishing or spending any time around water (which, as we know, Cayman offers the best of all water-related activities!) He also lives on the north side of the island, and gave us a few hints on the best place to grab a bite in the area—he recommends Over the Edge Cafe and Kurt's Corner in Old Man Bay, which is "the truest pub on the island." He recommends even more highly that you get your lunch to-go and come eat it in the park.

A blue happily takes in some sun.

Next time you're on island, we can't recommend a visit to Botanic Park enough. John even says, it's "the most peaceful place on island," especially to take a walk, and who are we to argue with him? So pack yourself a picnic and come take it all in. And if you see John, be sure to ask him to show you his favorite plant in the park!

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We can all agree that Cayman is a beautiful island with so much history and such amazing sights and wildlife. The National Trust for the Cayman Islands was established to make sure none of that is lost. Founded in 1987, its mission is, "To preserve natural environments and places of historic significance for present and future generations of the Cayman Islands." We are so glad that they have upheld these values for over 30 years and continue their mission through education, conservation programs, and hosting events across the island.

Nadia Hardie is the Executive Director of the National Trust. We had the opportunity to sit down with Nadia to learn more about the amazing work of the National Trust. (And you can check out more about her personal story here!)

The National Trust is a non-profit organization comprised of over 800 members. Its members have access to all Trust activities, discounts at National Trust properties in many different countries, and other amazing perks and benefits. We were surprised at how affordable membership to the Trust is—it would be well worth the investment for both Cayman visitors and residents. We could write a whole book about the different programs and benefits provided by the National Trust, but we will highlight just a few here.

Animal Conservation Programs

In our conversation with Nadia, we learned that there are many programs that work to protect wildlife across Cayman. The Trust now maintains over 3,000 acres of protected areas to ensure that these plants and animals have an environment in which they can thrive.

It is obvious that she is passionate about the Trust’s mission. She was excited to tell us about some of the animals that the Trust works to protect. The Trust has identified certain animals that require more than just maintaining their natural environment. For animals like the Blue Iguana and several species of bats, the Trust engages in conservation programs.

The Resurgence of the Blue Iguana

Nadia explained to us the work that the Trust is doing on behalf of the Blue Iguanas (blues), a species endemic to Cayman. In the 1980s, Blue Iguanas were on the verge of extinction and had all but disappeared from the island. Nadia informed us that at one point, there were as few as 30 blues in existence. This sparked the National Trust to establish the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. (You can read our interview with Nick Ebanks, Operations Manager of the Recovery program, here.)

The program was founded in 1990 and has made significant progress towards the preservation of Blue Iguanas. As of 2018, there were 1,000 blues in the wild population! Not only does the Trust assist with the breeding process and reintroducing the animals into the wild, it also works with researchers to monitor the population. It is the hope of the Trust that one day this program will not be necessary and Blue Iguanas will be able to breed and support themselves.

Protecting the Bats

Bats are also protected in Cayman since they serve many crucial functions on island. There is a lot of misinformation about bats and, as a result, they have been killed and their habitats have been destroyed. The National Trust recognizes the importance of these creatures and helps to maintain the population. Nadia even told us about a “Bats and Bonfires” event where they have a bonfire, fire dancers, food, and presentations on bat conservation.

Along with providing education about bats, the Trust also puts up bat houses across the island and does bat removals from households (as long as it isn’t pup season). Nadia stated that during pup season (June-October), they are unable to do any removals because it would put young bats at risk of abandonment by their parents. Who knew there was so much to know about bats?

Fun with Cultural Education

We were excited to find out about the different types of National Trust events that are great for families and people of all ages. Some of these events include Breakfast with Iguanas, Bats and Bonfires, craft workshops, family fun days, and various wildlife and historical tours. They also host a “Little Explorers” morning every Wednesday morning with art projects and fun activities for the kids! The Trust does an amazing job of providing cultural education in a fun and engaging environment.

One of our favorite initiatives by the Trust is the Explorer Passport to Grand Cayman, which helps visitors and residents discover some amazing sites across the island. The Explorer Passport comes with a map, stickers, and pages with fun facts and information on different locations on island. This is a great opportunity to learn about Cayman culture and have fun while doing it. The Explorer Passports are available at the Nature Store in Dart Family Park for only $10! We are so excited about this that we even wrote a whole blog post about it!

Get Involved

Looking for ways to give back while in Cayman? The National Trust has many different volunteer opportunities for both residents and visitors of Cayman. If you and your family would want to coordinate a volunteer opportunity to give back, the Trust has plenty of opportunities for you to lend a hand—Nadia and the Trust would be excited to have you!

If you would like to coordinate a volunteer opportunity for your group or family, you can contact her at director@nationaltrust.org.ky or the Community Development Manager, Karie Bounds at community@nationaltrust.org.ky.

Membership to the Trust comes with many local perks and even offers discounts and admission into National Trust properties in participating countries across the World. The membership fees allow the Trust to manage and maintain nine different environmental reserves. The Trust also offers corporate sponsorships and partnerships to aid in cultural, educational, conservation and environmental initiatives.

For more information on programs, membership and upcoming events, visit the National Trust for the Cayman Islands website.

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I was so excited when I first heard about the "Explorer Passport" created by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.  I've been visiting Cayman for about 5 years, and was surprised to discover that I'd been to less than half of the places included in the passport. There are some points of interest that I hadn't even heard of which goes to show there is always something new to discover on this island.

The passport is an awesome activity booklet that the National Trust created to promote the cultural, historical and natural wonders of the island. It has 39 points of interest inside and comes with a poster-map and stickers to place on each location as you visit them.

The booklet describes the significance of each attraction and has extra tips for things to do, try or look for at each place. You'll find yourself eager to go to each spot so you can proudly put another sticker on your map. Kids will love the stickers and fun activities, and adults—you will love developing a deep sense of connection to the island as you learn more about what makes it so special; and who are we kidding, you will love the stickers, too!

The fun doesn't stop with the stickers and the map either. There are extra tips in the booklet which are presented as 3 things to check off at every place. The tips give even more reason to visit each attraction and made me want to revisit most of the places I had already been so I could experience something I missed the first time. For instance, one of the points of interest is Boggy Sand Road; the book explains that the street is lined with historic homes and the extra tips ask if you've seen:

  • Gingerbread fretwork (each district was known for its unique style)
  • Zinc roofs and expansive verandas
  • Traditional sand yards trimmed with conch shells

Although I've been to this sweet street before, I didn't know to look for these things that are culturally significant to the island. It made me want to go back and check off each item and read more about the traditional architecture in Cayman. 

The map even includes some culturally important places that few locals know about. While I was taking pictures of Miss Lassie's House, another place in the passport, a jogger approached on what seemed like her daily route. She saw me taking photos of the house and then saw the house. She stopped, pulled out her phone and took a couple of snapshots of the place saying she had never noticed it before. It's amazing what you miss when you're not looking for something.

There's so much joy in the "hunt," and taking your passport along on an island road-trip makes for easy exploring. A lot of the attractions are free and you can drive up to several of them anytime (even on Sundays when many island shops and attractions are closed).

So grab the passport and hit the road for some adventure. I suggest taking the day as it comes. Just pick a place on the map and go! Since some of the attractions are "off the beaten path" you'll discover a lot of things along the way, too. For instance, my husband and I found Dart Park by The National Trust—one of the stops on the map. At Dart Park you'll find super cool trees, an iron-shore full of fossils and little hermit crabs. It wasn't on the map, but we wouldn't have discovered it if we hadn't pulled in to see the Trust. We also happened upon a stretch of highway that followed the southern coastline just past Miss Lassie's House. Somehow in the five years I'd been frequenting Cayman we always bypassed that stretch of coastal highway and it was really pretty. I was so glad we found it.

Some of my favorite spots on the map have been Spotts Beach (for the sea turtles!), Crystal Caves and Heritage Beach. Honestly, I've enjoyed visiting them all, but I don't want to spoil any more of the fun for you.

Pick up your very own "Explorer Passport" at the National Trust and start discovering Cayman like never before. The packet only costs $10 KYD, and you'll have a blast checking off each location. Enjoy, and let us know when you've checked off all 39!

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It’s no surprise that Grand Cayman offers many water-based sporting activities for anyone looking to have an ocean adventure. However, for repeat guest Susan Corbitt and her husband, paddle boarding is so much more than a sport. It has served as a source of tranquility, and it can for you, too. (Several rental companies will even deliver paddle boards to Christopher Columbus Condos for your ultimate convenience.)

We chatted with Susan about her experience paddle boarding during her last visit to CCC and exactly what makes it so special. Keep reading to learn more.

Question: What were your expectations of paddle boarding before you ever stepped foot on a board?

Susan Corbitt: Just to have fun! I also wanted to go out farther in the ocean than I could just by swimming.

Q: How long did it take to get used to the paddle board/to stand up?

SC: Not long at all. I was standing up within the first 5 minutes. (See our tips for first-timers at the end of this post if you're not as lucky as Susan—we don't all get up on the first try. 😉)

Q: What kind of sights did you see while out on the water?

SC: We got to swim with a school of fish like we were a part of them. We also saw coral, and a tiny shark!

Q: What is the best difference between traveling in a boat versus a paddle board?

SC: You are more like a part of the water, closer to and in it. The water would splash in my face and I loved that!

Q: What makes paddleboarding such a unique experience for you?

SC:The tranquility of it, it’s such a peaceful and relaxing experience. Paddleboarding gives me a calm and ability to appreciate all of God’s creation.On the last day we had our boards, we went out into the water right before sunset and it was perfect.

Q: Do you have any tips for others who want to try paddleboarding?

SC: Do it! Don't be afraid to stand up. Be aware that the further you are from shore the waters become rougher.

Other tips for beginners:

1. Be sure to check the weather and wind conditions.
2. Make sure the board's fin is deep enough underwater that it doesn't touch the ground once you put your weight on it. 
3. Stand with your feet, hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and back straight.
4. Keep your eyes on the horizon for best stability.
5. Keep your paddle in a vertical orientation, using your core muscles to propel yourself, not just your arms. For a more detailed explanation of paddling technique, check out this helpful video

Susan's paddle boards were rented and delivered to Christopher Columbus Condos from Paradise Paddle. Each rental includes a paddle board, paddle, leash, life vest and a crash-course lesson (if you want one), making it an excellent option for a first-timer. Paradise Paddle offers a variety of other items like kayaks and snorkel gear, as well, if you want to go all out on your next ocean adventure!

Did we miss any must-know tips for beginning paddleboarders? Let us know your paddleboarding secrets in the comments below! 
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This post was written with traditional honeymooners in mind, but we'd like to think that we all need a little "honeymooning" in our life. Yea, we just made that a verb! So whether you're planning your first vacation as a married couple, you've been married 25 years or you're enjoying the single life this post has a little something for anyone looking to enjoy the romance that is life. Now let's set the stage!

It’s just the two of you now, ready to start your life of new adventures together and the first adventure is a big one. That’s right, the honeymoon. Before you get in the car and drive or board an airplane, you have to decide where your honeymoon destination will be.

You could choose big city, small country or even Disney, but we sincerely believe your best option is grand beach. Specifically, Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman island.

With stunning beachfront views, crystal clear water and some of the best scuba diving spots in the world, Grand Cayman is the perfect backdrop for a romantic and adventurous honeymoon.

The Cozy Stay

Christopher Columbus Condos on Seven Mile Beach has 30 intimate units to choose from including 16 Ocean View and 4 Ocean View Penthouse units. Each unit includes a fully equipped kitchen for those who like to stay in and cook (for those who prefer to go out to eat, keep reading) and an open concept living room. The entire property also offers free WiFi and provides beach towels so you don’t have to worry about packing your own. To make your stay even homier our beloved Christopher Columbus staff is on site Monday-Saturday to accommodate all of your needs including daily housekeeping services.

With only 30 units the property is quiet, peaceful, and there's plenty of room on our large beach.

Speaking of beaches...

The Private Beach

One of our favorite spots to hang out on the entire property is of course our beach backyard! While on the beach you and your new spouse can relax under one of our 13 thatched huts and read a book, take a nap or:

  • Go snorkeling
  • Swim in the pool or ocean
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Swing under a hut
  • Play bocce ball and so much more

The Food

Food is a basic necessity for survival. Amazing food is found in Cayman. In addition to traditional Caymanian cuisine, restaurants on the island offer Caribbean, European, Farm-to-Table and Mexican to name a few varieties. Check out this list of some of our favorite lunch spots to get your culinary adventure started.

The Memories to Make

After hearing about our private beach we wouldn’t judge you one bit if you and your new spouse relaxed on the beach or poolside everyday of your stay. However, if you do feel like seeing more of what our beautiful island has to offer we have a few suggestions for where to begin.

The Photo Opps

Honeymooning at Christopher Columbus is sure to leave you and your special someone with some amazing memories that you will cherish forever. If you’re wondering how it can get any better let’s talk about photo opportunities and the FOMO your family and friends are sure to have after seeing all your pictures.

Lover’s Wall

Lover’s Wall is a brick wall located along the East End on Sea View Road on the way to the Blowholes. It's red heart sign is the perfect spot for newlyweds to snap a keeper to frame later.

Sunsets

Picking a favorite Cayman sunset is just as wrong as picking a favorite child. The good news for honeymooners like yourselves, is a gorgeous sunset fills the sky every night creating a breathtaking backdrop for honeymoon photos. The unique lighting can also create a romantic silhouette shot.

CaymanKind

Finally, something we are 100% certain no other honeymoon destination will have. The kind, warm and inviting charisma from Cayman residents. They are delighted to share their love of the island and you'll be delighted you chose to honeymoon in Cayman.

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There are so many things to do in Grand Cayman that it's easy to miss these gems that are just off the beaten path. Next time you're in Cayman and you're looking for something different to do, visit some of these hidden places patiently awaiting your arrival.


  1. Nature Path at Wreck of the Ten Sail

You may have heard of the Wreck of the Ten Sail Memorial, but few people talk about the gorgeous nature that surrounds it including a path that winds through palm trees, plumeria plants and more. It's worth a leisurely stroll!


   
spotify island playlist
  2. The Bird Sanctuary

The Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary is tucked in it's own little corner of the Spotts Newlands area right off of Shamrock Road. The sanctuary includes a small pond with a dock and bench for wildlife viewing. The pond is full of turtles that will swim up to you when you step onto the dock, too. 

     
book
  3. Smith's Cove

Smith's Cove, a local favorite, provides the perfect place to wade in the water, and the beach area is surrounded by trees that provide plenty of shade to read a book, unpack a picnic or simply reflect. Katrina McTaggart even called it a magical place for refuge.

     
coffee mug on beach hut table
  4. Lover's Wall

Grab your sweetie and take a drive to Lover's Wall in the East End on Sea View Road. You'll find it right before you get to The Blowholes. Pull off the road to walk around the quiet coast and of course snap an Instagram-worthy pic with your special someone in front of the sign.

     

  5. The Mangroves

The mangroves serve an important ecological purpose in Cayman. You'll need to go by kayak to explore them as quarters can get tight! Lucky for you we wrote a post all about kayaking through them here. It's a mix of nature, education and fun.  

     

  6. Heritage Beach

This beach is a great picnic spot, and one frequented by East Enders looking for a quiet family lunch or peaceful break. The beach is owned and protected by the National Trust as one of the few remaining natural stretches of beach land in Cayman. 

     
underwater photo of girls with sand dollars
  7. Library Beach

This teeny beach on the East End is one that any self-described book lover has to visit for at least a fun photo opp. Don't forget a book and your shushing pose! An introvert's dream beach!

 

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My first trip out to Stingray City was a huge day of firsts for me—first time on a boat in the ocean, first time petting a stingray, first time holding a starfish, and first time snorkeling. Even on a day full of amazing new experiences, getting to meet Winston, crew member extraordinaire, stands out as one of the highlights. 

The first thing that made me smile about Winston was his ability to guess my shoe size just by looking at my feet. He took a quick glance and then handed me a pair of snorkeling fins (which to my surprise weren’t called just "flippers") that fit on the first try. He laughed and said that people with “little heels and ankles” were by far the hardest people to fit. My shoe store trips would be significantly easier if I had Winston along! 

As the boat began to take off towards the Coral Gardens, we were quickly greeted by lots of cold, salty splashes of seawater. Most people squealed and shouted at being suddenly soaked, but Winston opened up his arms, closed his eyes, and smiled as the waves splashed him. “Ahh, you all should enjoy this now because you won’t get any of this on the ride back.” I, like my fellow passengers, was initially a little jarred by the splashes, but seeing Winston enjoy the waves and encourage us to enjoy the experience turned my attitude around. 

Since he seemed to have such a positive outlook on being at work, I asked Winston how long he’d been doing boat tours. He’s been working for Stingray City for about eight years. Winston worked in construction for several years after moving to Cayman from Jamaica for better opportunities for his family. I asked which he liked better and with a big smile he said he liked giving tours much better—he gets to be outdoors in a beautiful, laid back atmosphere, and gets to meet lots of people from all around the world. Of all the destinations on the boat tours, he said he enjoys Star Fish Point the most because of the fun but relaxing atmosphere and how much kids enjoy the spot. 

Once we arrived at Stingray City, Winston also served as our stingray ambassador. As a few stingrays began to swim by our group, one guest got a little freaked out by the rays being so close. She screamed, flailed, and even tried to escape back onto the boat, but Winston took the time to calm her down. He explained that there was nothing to be afraid of, and slowly guided her over to the stingray. After a few moments, she seemed to calm down a little, and by the time we were finished she even gave the ray a little kiss for luck! As Winston said, “You have to kiss the stingray—it’s seven years good luck!” 

All too soon it was time to get back on the boat and leave the stingrays behind, but as I asked Winston if I could give the ray a goodbye pet on the fin, he replied with his signature, “Of course!” Throughout the whole day, any request a guest had—Will you take a photo? Can you explain how starfish eat?—Winston always replied with a cheerful, “Of course!” His kindness and enthusiasm made an already incredible experience even more special. 

Whether it was manning the ship’s anchor, explaining how to use snorkel gear, or wrangling stingrays, Winston did everything with a genuine smile and generous spirit. Every time I think back on my big day of firsts, Winston’s smile is a big part of my memories. The first trip won’t be my last time hanging with stingrays for certain, and hopefully it won’t be my last time getting to visit with Winston. 
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The way I met LeTher Robinson was a bit unconventional, however in our brief interaction, she epitomized what it meant to be CaymanKind and I am so grateful. 

Earlier in the week I made a reservation to go underwater with Atlantis Submarines in Georgetown. When the day came for my dive, excitement was quickly replaced with extreme nervousness. I had just driven on the opposite side of the road (and car) for the very first time in my life just days before. To get to Atlantis, I had to drive on the opposite side of the road, by myself with only a screenshot of directions to Georgetown. That's right, no GPS!

Fast forward a bit and I finally made it to Georgetown, although I had missed the submarine's departure time. I was upset, thinking I had just spent money on a missed adventure and frazzled from having gotten lost in an area completely unfamiliar to me and not in my directions. If you're wondering how I eventually found my way all I can say is two words: divine intervention. 

Although I missed my ride in the submarine, I still wanted to find my way to the Atlantis to see if I could reserve a spot on their day dive the following day. As I began walking around I noticed a sign for the Sandon Feat Gallery and decided to go in and see if anyone inside could point me in the right direction. 

I was immediately greeted by two women (LeTher and her coworker) who were working in the gallery that day and told them my situation. I asked LeTher if she could look up some information for me on the gallery's computer. To be honest I was so stressed out at the time, that I wasn't thinking very clearly. So, when they simply suggested that I tell the workers and Atlantis my situation and see if I could reschedule it was like a weight-lifting lightbulb went off in my head. I know, that's one powerful lightbulb! ;) 

I found out that the Atlantis building was just a short walk down the road. With all that taken care of I began to look around the gallery while talking to LeTher. I found out that she is originally from Jamaica and has lived in Cayman for over 14 years. She and her husband have two kids, a son and a daughter. She went to Cosmetology school and even owned her own salon at one point! 

Today, LeTher is often hired for her interior decorating skills and specifically loves paintings. It's clear from these interests that she truly appreciates art and has a creative spirit! What better place to live than Cayman where there is so much beauty to be inspired by. Once I introduced myself as a member of the marketing team for Christopher Columbus she even began inquiring ways she could improve her own marketing skills. 

I'm so thankful to LeTher for her Cayman KINDness to me on a stressful day. It just goes to show you that little things you do for others can still make a big difference!
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