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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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Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden consists of more than twenty super-sized concrete animals. Located on the north side of the island, this drive-up tourist attraction is a great place to take photos with the family—kids absolutely love it. We recently had the opportunity to chat with the man behind the park, David Quasius.

Originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, David and his wife Kathy began visiting the island about twenty years ago when they inherited a beach house. The Concrete Sculpture Garden started off as a personal project to keep David busy. He started creating a small sculpture for their garden each year for their personal enjoyment. In 2010, David and his friend Leo Verrett, an artist from Minnesota, decided to make a larger blue iguana sculpture named Ivana the Iguana for the front yard. Once that piece was completed, it started to gain some attention. “People started stopping and I’d go out to chat. I was hooked,” David says. Shortly thereafter, David moved all of the small pieces out into the yard and, as they say, the rest is history.

Since then, David has created a new piece to add to the park each year. Most of these sculptures are of animals that are native to Cayman. When asked about his inspiration, he said he wants to find Cayman animals that appeal to kids. David says that his biggest joy in creating the Sculpture Garden is the sounds of the children laughing in the park. He loves seeing parents and grandparents snapping pictures of the kids with his creations. “To have this happening in your front yard is very neat,” says David.



Today, the Sculpture Park has multiplied and is home to many large concrete sculptures. A few of the sculptures you will see are Finley the mahi-mahi, Henrietta the chicken, and Clawdette the crab (our favorite). David has created a haven for photo opportunities. For example, when he created his newest concrete shark, Sharkie III, he added a concrete inner tube as a prop for a more interesting picture. His goal is to make the park more interactive and a fun place for families to visit.

When asked about his training and how he learned to make these amazing sculptures, David explained that he is a self-taught artist. He says that he comes from an artistic family and they exposed him to making concrete sculptures. His sister is a professional artist, and he learned some of his techniques working on family art projects. Being such an amazing artist, we were surprised to find out that David is actually a retired CPA!

David enjoys the complexities of creating the sculptures. “Each one has its own problems to solve,” says David. For example, he had to figure out how to attach 400 suckers to his giant octopus. We tried to get him to choose his favorite sculpture, but he just couldn’t. He did say that if he could only take four back to Wisconsin with him, it would be the crab, octopus, blue iguana, and the crocodile. With so much work going into each piece, it must be hard to choose a favorite. 

Each sculpture that David creates takes anywhere from six to eight weeks to complete, and the process is fascinating. David starts building each sculpture with an armature made of metal rebar, which he then wraps in a metal mesh. This gives the sculpture its basic shape and acts as a skeleton. Designing the armature is the most important part of the sculpture since the concrete cannot take shape without an armature. When creating a sculpture, David says that most of his time is spent on this step. Once the armature has been completed, it is time to add the mortar and put the finishing touches on the sculpture. Two layers of mortar are added with an additional finishing coat. David even has tutorials on YouTube showing how he creates these masterpieces (here's one about the scorpion!).


Claudette in all her glory.

Since his first visit to Cayman 20 years ago, David says he's loved the whole island, but has an extra special place in his heart for the north side. He describes it as a place where everyone knows everyone, there is very little traffic, and no roundabouts. While the north side may not have all your typical tourist attractions, they do have a really cool sculpture park!

For his next project, David plans to create a sculpture of the national bird, the Cayman parrot. If you stop by to visit the park this winter, you might be able to catch up with David and his wife, Kathy. Since their house is on the property, David and Kathy usually step out to visit when they hear a car door slam or hear children laughing. They love meeting both locals and visitors to the island.

Davinoff’s Concrete Sculpture Garden is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it’s free! If you are looking for some really cool photo opportunities, stop by for a visit. You can find more information about David and the park on his website.

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Finding fresh guava, foraging for almonds, swimming with sea turtles, watching locals slap down dominoes, sipping a 7 Mile Wheat beer... the amount of firsts you'll experience on a tour with Joe Tourist is incredible.

If you're looking to see a different side of Cayman, Gilbert Nicoletta with Joe Tourist will plan an unforgettable day just for you. He customizes all of his tours for individual guests, and after experiencing his All Island Tour on our last trip to Cayman, my husband and I are believers. We can't wait to schedule another tour with Gil.

snorkeling and picking guava

The adventure started as soon as he picked us up at Christopher Columbus Condos. He greeted us with fresh yellow sapote from his yard and some herbs to taste. To loosen us up for the day, he took us by the rum distillery for a tasting. I joked that I hadn't had breakfast and needed some sustenance, so Gil took us by a local food truck for some Caribbean meat pies after the distillery.

Drives between stops were fascinating as Gil told us story after story about about the social, economic, and environmental history of the Cayman Islands. Some stories were personal, others general culture, and still others hilarious tall tales. He explained why so many youth go into banking, how locals refer to time as Before-Ivan and After-Ivan, reminisced on raising Pigeons (if you had one with a "top-knot," you were the bomb), and so much more. Learning more about our home-away-from-home deepened the bond I have with this little Caribbean island. It will add to your love for Cayman too.

Jumping off the dock at Spotts Bay, we had the majestic opportunity to swim alongside several sea turtles. In the parking lot, Gil told us how the famous house-shaped graves of Cayman used to have wood pieces in the center with details engraved, but over the years the wood weathered away. He also spotted an almond tree and showed my husband, Brandon, and I how to crack them open. Brandon was a natural at opening them and I got to enjoy the fruits of his labor. ;)

Alongside the road, Gil found fresh guava for us to pick and enjoy as an appetizer before a feast that awaited us at Over the Edge Cafe. We enjoyed turtle and Cayman style bread, mahi mahi, cracked conch, farm to table veggies and more—a taster's platter full of local dishes you can only get on Gil's tours.

With full bellies, we walked into the North Side heritage day to see what was happening. Gil introduced us to local crafters that were plaiting baskets and rope with silver thatch. One of the women working on a basket told us the craft was a tradition handed down from her grandmother to her mother to her. While we were talking, another local approached the crowd, and my eyes widened in delight. It was Shelly Miller. We met at Rum Point a couple of years ago, thus proving Cayman is a small island indeed. It was fun to get to experience that as a visitor.

We continued to Starfish Point to see the sweet 5-pointed creatures and enjoy an amazing sunset. At dusk we drove by Davinoff's Concrete Sculpture Garden and then began to slingshot around the East End.

local tour guide with ccc guest

As the night settled in, Gil rolled his windows down so we could listen to some "old timers" playing dominoes at one of the East End beach shelters. He said if we heard someone slap them down that it basically meant "game over." The weather wasn't prime for the Blow Holes, but we stopped there anyways so Gil could show off the fossils in the iron shore, including one ancient crocodile.

On our way back to the condos, Gil continued to regale us with stories, my favorite being the family tradition of going crabbing after the first spring rain. He said that come May, "everybody's in the bushes" and on the side of the road looking for crabs, dreaming of baked crab-back.

Gil dropped us back off at the condos after a day filled to the brim with unforgettable stories and experiences. If you're interested in a custom island tour with Gil reach out to him on his Joe Tourist Cayman Facebook page. You won't regret it!

You can also read reviews from other adventurers over on the Joe Tourist Outdoor Adventures Trip Advisor page.

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Native Cayman dishes are an outstanding combination of island cuisine meets home-style cooking—deliciousness that you have to experience. Admittedly, it took a few trips for us to discover what dishes were unique to the island and where to find them. Once you sample the local food, though, you'll find yourself craving trips to Cayman not only for it's beauty, but also for dishes you can only get on island! Here are a few places you can "taste" Cayman culture for yourself.


  1. Champion House II

If you want to try local cuisine, Champion House II is a must-stop. The down-to-earth feel of the restaurant matches the seriously amazing home-style food. Sample Cayman-style fish, jerk chicken, turtle stew, conch stew, callaloo & ackee. Tip: Try several dishes by hitting up one of the daily buffets or best of all the Sunday brunch!


   

  2. Rankin's Jerk Centre

Grab some of the best jerk chicken on island at Rankin's Jerk Centre. Offering takeout and located in Bodden Town, this is the perfect pit stop for lunch or dinner on your way to or from the East End. It's also crazy affordable. Probably the least we've spent on a meal in Cayman!

     

  3. Boggy Sand Cafe

If you've got your heart set on Turtle Stew, we suggest a quick trip up the road to Boggy Sand Cafe. Just 1 kilometer from the condos and located right before Foster's, it's a convenient trip for which your taste buds will thank you.

     

  4. Vivine's Kitchen

Vivine's Kitchen is an island staple located on the East End. It's off the beaten path and as local as you can get, serving dishes such as salt beef & beans and Cayman-style fish. Enjoy dining in the tiny, unassuming interior or sit at a picnic table outside overlooking the sea. Hop on one of two resident hammocks after you chow down. Tip: It's cash only, so come prepared.

     

  5. Heritage Kitchen

Boasting "All Local Food," Heritage Kitchen is a great place for native seafood dishes and a chill island vibe. The Cayman-Style Grouper is absolutely delicious. So delicious, we went back twice in one trip for it! Also, don't miss the fish tea. (Hint: It's actually soup!) P.S. Heritage Kitchen is also cash only.

     

  6. Da Fish Shack

Da Fish Shack is a bit less "local-kitchen" than the other eateries on this list, but you don't want to miss their breadfruit dishes. Fried breadfruit and breadfruit pudding give yummy homage to the popular Cayman crop that's often compared to a potato in taste and consistency.

     

  7. Over the Edge Cafe

This North side restaurant and bar is ideal if your group is split on trying local fare. Some can indulge in tasty local cuisine like Cayman Style Lobster and a variety of turtle dishes, while others can get their burger and french fry fix. All entrees come with delectable Cayman fried bread (beignet fritters). 

For a huge Cayman feast, sign up for an island tour with Joe Tourist and ask him to take you by Over the Edge for the special Cayman platter you can only get on his tours. You won't regret it.

We hope you enjoy trying local dishes as these restaurants. Have any additional tips? Share them with us in the comments. And if you'd like to learn how to cook like a local check out the Traditional Cooking Classes that the National Trust has been sponsoring each month at the Mission House. The next class is July 6th, and they'll be teaching attendees how to make Custard-Top Cornbread. Yum!

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In the spirit of Easter, we are excited to introduce our guest blogger for this month, Claire Moore, who recently attended Mass at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in West Bay. Claire shares her wonderful experience worshiping while on vacation in Cayman below! 

During my time spent in the Cayman Islands, the experiences that stand out the most were the ones that showed me the true lifestyle of the Caymanians. . . and what better way to experience the local community than to attend a Sunday service at a neighborhood parish? From the exterior, Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church seemed to resemble any modernly designed church one would find in middle America; however, once I walked in, I was met with an explosion of color from all around. The beautiful and bright Caribbean sun worked its magic through the stained glass windows, streaming in through both sides of the room. The people standing up front in the choir had bright smiles on their faces, ready to sing their hearts out. Even the congregation all seemed to be dressed in vibrant, island colors—a mix of locals and tourists alike waiting for Mass to begin. Growing up Catholic, I knew what to expect from a typical Sunday church service—the familiar songs, the readings from the Bible, the homily from the priest, and of course, communion. However, this service was already off to a unique and intriguing start.

I remember Father Edwin, the priest residing over the Mass that morning, seemed to have a quiet yet joyful peace about him as he read from the gospel of Mark: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . and you must love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” I smiled to myself when I heard those words, since everything about my experience in the Cayman Islands so far had reflected that sentiment. I thought of my first encounter with the lovely Patricia at Christopher Columbus Condos, welcoming us all to the island with her warm hugs and infectious smile. I thought of Scottie, our scuba instructor, who kept us smiling with his knowledge and wonder at the sea creatures below. Before I could drift off too far into my memories, we were all standing up together to say the Our Father and exchange the sign of peace. Once again, the room filled with this palpable spirit of joy as everyone turned around and shook hands with each other, beaming smiles on their faces. I thought to myself how easy it was to already feel like a neighbor in Cayman when everyone is treating you like their own!

The joy continued as the choir soared into a beautiful rendition of the “Lamb of God,” nearly bringing a tear to my eye. In that moment, the passion and love that the choir showed for their faith took my breath away. It helped me to focus and to pray with more authenticity, even if I had been through the motions of this service many times before. I was truly inspired to thank God for such a blessing, experiencing His love on such a beautiful island surrounded by such loving and spirit-filled people.

As communion was wrapping up, I packed up my things, expecting to leave shortly thereafter. However, Father Edwin smiled and asked all the visitors to the parish to stand. As a few people from my pew and I stood up, the choir again burst out into joyous song, singing their “Welcome Song” to us. At this point, I was laughing out loud! The people of Christ the Redeemer parish truly took loving God and loving your neighbor to the next level that morning. I walked into that church feeling like a tourist, just out for another new experience on the island, and I left feeling like a local, a neighbor, a friend. I could not recommend this experience more; not just for deepening your faith, but also for tasting the true Cayman kindness that truly exists everywhere you go on the island.


Father Edwin with Claire and her boyfriend, Devon
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Did you know that Grand Cayman is home to one of only a handful of bioluminescent bays in the world? Bioluminescence is a fancy name for “light-up” creatures like fireflies, glow worms, and jellyfish. In Cayman, tiny light-up creatures live in the waters off the north side of the island, a short boat ride away from Rum Point. We recently took an unforgettable tour of the bioluminescent bay led by Tom Watling, who helped us see these enchanting creatures up close.

Tom and Lisha Watling are the owners of Cayman Kayaks, who offer eco-friendly tours of the bioluminescent bay by double kayak or by boat. Cayman Kayak tours run only on moonless or low-light evenings so the experience with the bioluminescence can be as enjoyable as possible. The tours embark from Rum Point, and while it’s a bit of a drive from West Bay, it’s well worth the trip.

We took the boat tour of the bay, and the boat itself was almost as neat as the tour! Tom’s boat, Moonless Moments, might look like a regular catamaran at first glance, but it was custom designed with the touring experience and the utmost safety of the bioluminescence in mind. The boat is electric, which protects the organisms from harmful fuel emissions, and its walls are high and painted black to help block out nearby streetlights. Panels in the floor of the boat pop out, allowing tour goers to get up close and personal with the bioluminescence without swimming in the bay. Tom explained to us that everyday things like sunscreen, lotions, perfumes, and hair care products are harmful to the bioluminescence, so swimming in the bay is strongly discouraged and tour goers are advised to avoid or wash off any sunscreen or lotion beforehand.

As we entered the bay, Tom passed around a paddle to put in the water. When we looked over the side of the boat, suddenly the water surrounding the paddle lit up a bright blue. It was impressive and beautiful, and that was just the beginning of the light show. Once the boat stopped inside the bay, Tom popped out the panels in the boat’s floor, and we were able to play in the water and see the bioluminescence up close. With every swipe of my hand, dozens and dozens of little creatures lit up blue along my movements like fairy dust. Though small, the light provided by these creatures is mighty!

Tom and a friend kayak in the bioluminescent bay (Courtesy of Cayman Kayaks

Though the organisms in Cayman’s bioluminescent bay haven’t been studied officially, Tom told us that they are believed to be Pyrodinium Bahamense. Dr. Michael Latz of the Marine Institute in San Diego, California, toured the bay with Tom and noted that the organisms were very similar to those in another, extensively studied bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico—Mosquito Bay. Though he didn’t put the Cayman creatures under a microscope, he felt there were enough similarities to hypothesize that Cayman is also home to the Pyrodinium Bahamense.

In addition to the magic of the bioluminescence, getting to chat with Tom during the tour was a treat in itself. He told us that his parents first visited Cayman from Canada on their honeymoon in the 1980s and immediately fell head-over-heels for the island. It would be almost a year before they went back home at all! As a first-generation Caymanian, Tom is a strong advocate for protecting and conserving Cayman’s natural beauty. He recalls the first time he really noticed the bioluminescence, saying, “I was out on my back out on a dock looking up at the stars—the star gazing is great this side of the island. I went to shore and picked up a coconut and brought it to the end of the dock, threw it up in the air, and watched it splash. It didn’t splash as per usual, though—it glowed, sparkled, and because the end of the dock was in shallow waters, shoals of fish shot out from every direction of impact from the coconut hitting the surface. Phosphorescence! I thought to myself. Incredible!

When asked what it is about the bay that invokes such passion in him, Tom answered, “It’s the small things that makes the muscle behind my eyes tighten and my heart squeeze into tears of joy. That is what Cayman’s wildlife is all about to me—the knowledge of what you are looking at, and then getting up close to the tiny life structures and truly appreciating these life forms.”

A naturalist in every sense of the word, Tom shares his passion for nature with those on his tours. One of my favorite moments of the tour was when he stopped the boat and took the time to point out some of the constellations in the sky above, gently encouraging each of us to take a few moments, breathe in the ocean air, and be present in nature.

With Tom after our tour. 

Next time you visit the island, I highly recommend you book a tour of the bioluminescent bay—it will be an experience you won’t soon forget! And if you’re interested in helping keeping the bay happy and healthy for generations to come, you can read more about how you can support Tom and Lisha’s efforts here.


*Cover photo courtesy of Cayman Kayaks
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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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Usually when someone tells you to “go to Hell,” they don’t mean it kindly, but I promise I have the best of intentions with this recommendation. Hell, Grand Cayman, is a fun, quirky destination (technically a town!) that will leave you spoiled for choice when it comes to silly photo opportunities, unique souvenirs, and puns.

Driving down the highway to Hell takes about six minutes from the condos. When we arrived, it was far from a cold day. We stopped in at a gift shop and were soon greeted by Mr. McDoom (real name!). He gave us very stylish plastic devil horns and pitchforks to wield while he took us around. Originally from Jamaica, Mr. McDoom moved to Cayman as a child, and he and his family have owned the property for over 40 years. They love talking to the hundreds of visitors that come each day, typically large groups on cruise ship excursions. We were lucky enough to arrive at a slow time, so we got a solo tour and greatly enjoyed Mr. McDoom’s hospitality and sense of humor. Helluva guy!

American Gothic, Reimagined—2017 

Hell itself is actually a dark, jagged rock formation. Mr. McDoom explained that the formation was likely a reef at one time many, many years ago, but erosion and time wore away bits and pieces, giving it the strange volcanic rock-like appearance it has today. If you’re wondering how the attention-grabbing name was decided on in the first place, we owe it all to a British Commissioner who toured Grand Cayman in the early days of settlement. When he saw the bizarre formation, he exclaimed, “My God, this must be what Hell looks like!“ Since the experience seemed to shake him quite a bit, my best guess is that shortly thereafter he took off like a bat outta. . . well, you know. 

While visitors can’t walk on the rocks because of safety concerns, iguanas take full advantage of basking in the sun on the formation.

Hell-bent on finding some one-of-a-kind souvenirs, we made our way inside the McDoom's gift shop. Remember, there might be Hell to pay if you forget a souvenir for your friends after visiting Cayman. Luckily there are tons of options to choose from—shot glasses to t-shirts to fridge magnets to hats. My favorite part was picking out postcards to send back home to my family. Hell even has its own post office, so lucky recipients will receive their greetings with an amusing, Instagram-worthy postmark. Mrs. McDoom met us at the register, and she was wonderfully friendly. We chatted about our trip so far, and she recommended a few of her personal favorite hidden gem restaurants around West Bay. 


So if you have a little Hell to raise, make the short trip from the condos and visit with the McDooms at Hell, Grand Cayman. 

There's another gift shop across the road called The Devil's Hangout, where you may even find the devil himself. The owner Ivan is usually dressed in full devil costume and always ready for a photo opp.  All in all we think you'll have a hell of a time!

Red Hell Building with Devil in shorts

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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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The Search for Sea Glass

Are you looking for a unique souvenir to remember your trip to the Cayman Islands? What about a piece of a rum bottle, sipped on by a great sea captain as he looked out over the waves on a full-moon night?

Take some time to search for sea glass on your next trip to Cayman and you may find just that or at least a piece with equal character. ; )

What is sea glass?

As I was planning my first trip to Grand Cayman, the idea of searching for sea glass immediately caught my eye. Growing up in the land-locked Midwest, I’d never heard of it and was intrigued by its beauty, mystery, and enthusiastic hunter community.

Sea glass forms after pieces of discarded glass tumble, roll, and crash around for years in the waves of water. After anywhere from ten to one hundred years, the sharp edges are worn smooth and the once-shiny surface takes on a more frosted look. Round, rock-like pieces of sea glass make their way to the shoreline and await discovery by people like you and me. 

Sea glass forms specifically from bodies of salt water, while similar “beach glass” comes from freshwater sources. A trained eye can spot the difference between sea and beach glass due to the piece’s luster—salt produces a more opaque surface. This stuff is so popular that it's even produced commercially, but the commercial glass will have a much shinier, cleaner look to it which indicates it's an imitation.

Uses

The uses for sea glass are as myriad as the colors it comes in. Some like to use it in jewelry making, wall art, statement pieces in jars or bowls, votive candle holders, as worry rocks, and more. Use pieces as inspiration for stories about the glass’s origin—is it the perfume bottle of a famous aristocrat from the 1920s, window glass lost during a storm, or a soda shared between a couple on their first date? Let your creativity run wild—the most important thing to keep in mind when searching for sea glass is to have fun.

Types of sea glass

Sea glass comes in a rainbow of colors from a variety of places, from old trash dumps to shipwrecks. Most common sources include beer, liquor, and soda bottles—a high percentage of white, brown, and white/clear sea glass can be sourced to these bottles. More rare colors include glass from medicine bottles, kitchenware, household decorations, and even auto/boat glass. Some rare colors you can keep an eye out for are cobalt blue, lavender, orange, lime green, cornflower blue, jade, and black.

With historical knowledge of commercial dying processes, some sea glass can even be dated to a particular era. For example, lavender glass can be traced to a change in the chemical processing of glass around WWI, and some sea-foam green can be traced to old Coca-Cola bottling practices. The sea glass enthusiast community has lots of great resources online to help you narrow down the origins of your finds.

So the next time you’re on Seven Mile Beach at high or low tide, grab your sun hat, a couple of friends, your imagination, and see what treasures you can find. And don’t forget to share photos of your sea glass finds with us using #loveCCC on Instagram.

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