Enjoy the view

Sign up for our newsletter for beautiful photos, news around Cayman, the condos, and more!


Captcha Code
 


Blog Home > Tags > Animals

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!

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.

The blue iguana is a beautiful and important animal native to the Cayman Islands. The blue iguanas, or blues, were once faced with extinction, but are now on their way back to a stable, healthy population. We were lucky enough to get some insights into how the blue iguanas are being revitalized from Nick Ebanks. Nick is the Operations Manager of the Blue Iguana Recovery, which is an initiative of The National Trust for the Cayman Islands. The recovery itself is located on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on the north side of the island, about a 45 minute drive from the condos.

The Blue Iguana Recovery Program was founded in 1990 as an effort to save the critically endangered species, whose population was down to only 30. The facility cares for and monitors blue iguanas, aids in the breeding process, strategically releases ready iguanas into the wild, and works with research institutions to help ensure genetic diversity within the wild population. In July 2018, the program hit a huge milestone when the wild population reached 1,000 blues. Though the program has successfully saved the blue iguanas from extinction, the work isn’t over. The ultimate goal is for the blues to be able to naturally breed and support themselves in the wild, thus eliminating the need for the program altogether. Nick says, “If we lose our jobs—perfect. That’s the goal.”


The very photogenic Peter

As Nick showed us around the rescue, I asked him a few questions about himself. Nick is a native Caymanian from West Bay. Though he didn’t always expect to be a conservationist, he’s grown to deeply appreciate and respect all forms of living creatures. After a period of time working with bats, he began volunteering at the iguana rescue around four years ago. After getting plenty of on-the-job experience, he worked all the way up to his operations manager position today. When asked what he likes most about his job, he said he really enjoys spending time outdoors, and working with great, like-minded people who are all very dedicated to taking care of the iguanas. He said conservation is very fulfilling and meaningful work, plus it’s an added bonus to be free from the restrictions that come along with an office job.

As we looked around, one of Nick’s coworkers, warden Alberto, joined us. Alberto showed us the “main attraction” blue iguana, Peter. Peter was born in 2003 to wild parents, but he liked to hang around Botanic Park so much that he basically adopted the staff himself! The program recruited Peter as an educational animal since he is so friendly—he enjoys being picked up by Alberto to be shown to visitors and isn’t bothered at all by attention. As I soon learned, Alberto himself is also a bit of a park star. He has a huge heart for the iguanas and is a beloved tour guide, so I’d highly recommend you request him if you stop by!


Alberto and Nick 

In addition to meeting a few of these sweet iguanas, the best thing about the tour was learning all about the animals from Nick. The iguanas blue color can change due to their environment, the sun, their food, and mood. It’s also a great indicator of overall health, so the staff monitors each iguana's color every day. One of the neatest things I saw while visiting was a small territorial spat between two roaming iguanas, Shreddy and Orro. Nick explained that Orro tread a little too closely on Shreddy’s territory, then pointed out how Orro took up a submissive posture and her color turned more light blue as a show of, “Hey, I know you’re top iguana, it’s all good here.” It was very cool to see up close!

As you might have guessed, Nick’s passion for animals and the Cayman wilderness extends beyond just his day job. At home he is fostering a dog named Vinny. He also tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors, doing everything from climbing, exploring, and observing native birds and insects to getting in a game of ultimate frisbee. “I like to keep it nice and simple—busy and simple,” he says. Once he reaches the goal of the blue iguanas being able to sustain themselves in the wild, he'd like to work with revitalizing native bird populations.


A beautiful blue enjoying basking in the sun in Botanic Park

I highly recommend you come visit the blues yourself the next time you’re on island and say hi to Nick, Alberto, and Peter. You can catch one of two daily tours given, Monday through Saturday, or you can schedule a private tour. Then you should see if you can spot some of the roaming blues in Botanic Park! Check out their website for more information about tour times.

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Ann Stafford loves natural history. Fortunately for us, she also loves sharing facts about natural history with others. We first came across Ann when we discovered her blog CaymAN Nature (she is quick to point out her name in the middle of the two words) while researching for another post of our own. We found her blog to be so full of great information that we wanted to learn more about the author behind all of this first-hand Cayman knowledge!

Growing up in the English countryside, Ann’s parents taught her to identify plants and animals at a young age, and what they didn’t teach her, she learned through countless books. In 1973, Ann and her husband moved to Grand Cayman. She immediately fell in love with the island and began to immerse herself in learning about the native flora and fauna. Around this time, she unfortunately began to witness many native plants being destroyed by invasive species. Ann dedicated herself to conserving the native plant life and educating others on conserving the food chain in Cayman—if the native plants disappear, so will the native animals who depend on them. 

In order to educate others, Ann works to spread and publish her findings. In addition to her blog, Ann gained such an in-depth knowledge of Cayman plants and butterflies that she co-wrote the book Butterflies of the Cayman Islands with visiting entomologist Dr. Richard Robinson Askew. Ann is also a photographer and contributed images to the book Flora of the Cayman Islands. For a time she even lead tours of the island for a groups of journalists for the Department of Tourism.



In addition to butterflies and flora, Ann is especially interested in the early settlement of the Cayman Islands, including survival, livelihood, and exports. One livelihood custom in particular stood out and left her with a desire to learn more. This custom just happens to involve gravestones! On the island, you can find many gravestones shaped like small houses instead of the rounded shape the majority of us are familiar with. These gravestones were built in the 1800s and can be found in a variety of locations including Old Man Bay, North Side, and Bodden Town, to name a few.

On her blog, Ann explains in more detail: 
"The graves were marked, not by mounds of earth and headstones, or great massive tombs, but by houses in miniature, just large enough each to cover one person; mostly about six feet long, two feet broad, and one and a half high, with a sloping roof and full gable end, in which was inserted a small slab containing containing the name of the occupant, his age, and the day on which he entered his narrow home, 'the house appointed for all living.'" 



To learn more about these house-shaped gravestones and the Cayman natives buried there, you can visit the cultural page on Ann's blog.

Today, Ann guides guests around Grand Cayman on Nature and Historic Tours, sharing Cayman's fascinating history with others while she continues to share her countless nature photographs on social media and her blog. If you're looking for a unique tour experience, give Ann a ring next time you're on island! 
Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.

Christopher Columbus Condos is excited to announce that we’re working to become the first development on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lighting throughout the property.

A combined effort between CCC and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE), owner Keith Holloway is overseeing installation of the new lighting. “The native turtle population is a true treasure of the Cayman Islands. We have had nesting turtles on our property and have safeguarded the nests and hatchlings through the years.” We’re thrilled to add new lighting to our list of ways to help out the turtles.

What is turtle-friendly lighting?

Turtle nesting season occurs yearly between May and September, and hatchlings appear between July and November. Momma turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs, and then after 50–60 days, the hatchlings emerge and begin their journey back to the ocean.

When baby turtles hatch, they use the light of the moon to help navigate them to the ocean. Bright, blue-spectrum lighting on buildings can mimic the lighting of the moon, disorienting the hatchlings into dangerous places like further up the beach, nearby properties, or even roads. LED lights sit more on the orange end of the light spectrum, which doesn’t bother or confuse turtle hatchlings.

Due to the endangered status of green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, the DOE is working on an official policy that would require new developments on Seven Mile Beach to implement turtle-friendly lights. These regulations would be based on similar ones enacted along the Florida coastline, which have been incredibly successful and world renowned in helping preserve turtle populations.

Attractive and environmentally friendly

In addition to helping out our turtle friends, LED lighting is also more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The warm lighting creates a cozy, modern atmosphere outside the condos and around the pool. Enjoy watching the stars without distracting bright lights, and don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see to make your way back inside after taking in every second of gorgeous Cayman sunsets on the beach.

As Holloway says, Christopher Columbus is “invested in keeping the property current and modern for the enjoyment of our guests.” New lighting is another improvement that’s been made in recent years, in addition to in-unit wi-fi, enlarged laundry facilities, a roomy oceanside gazebo, and more.

Heads up for turtle nests

If you notice any turtle tracks on our segment on the beach, let a CCC staff member know or call the DOE directly as soon as possible. The DOE will properly secure and tag the nest so the hatchlings can have the best possible chances at survival. Remember, disturbing a turtle nest is against Cayman Islands’ law. If you see anyone harming a turtle or a nest, you should notify CCC staff or the Cayman police.



Since the DOE began monitoring nests on Seven Mile Beach in 1998, nest numbers have increased from just 30 a year to over 300. We hope that our new turtle-friendly lighting can help foster a comfortable and safe environment for many more nests to come!

*Photos courtesy of condo owner Marsha O'Daniel. They were taken in 2014 when the DOE came to CCC's section of the beach to assist some of the turtle hatchlings and allowed lucky viewers a chance to see the baby turtles up close.

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Cayman is for the KIDS!
I think it’s fair to say that most adults who get even a small glimpse of Cayman’s magnificent views and vast ocean want to immediately book their next vacation here.

The big question: is it a good destination for both the adults AND the kids? You better believe it.

If you need more convincing than just me saying so, (I’m not sure why you would ;)) here are 5 reasons your kids will love vacationing in Cayman just as much as you.

1. Christopher Columbus Condos Kiddie Pool

Let’s start real close to home, shall we? With our zero-entry kiddie pool even your littlest ones can take a safe dip in the water. The small pool is conveniently located between the gazebo and larger pool, not to mention in a prime location right next to the toy chest we like to keep stocked for our pint-sized friends. 

2. Cayman Turtle Centre

If the kids in your family love animals, the Cayman Turtle Centre is a must-visit attraction! This centre is both entertaining as well as informative with the Education Centre teaching about turtles and their history in Grand Cayman. Even better, if you happen to visit during breeding season (May-October) you just might witness a new hatchling coming up through the sand of their incubation boxes!

Of course, the most popular experience for kids at the Turtle Centre is the Touch Tank Wading Pools. In these special pools, your kids can get in the shallow tank with the turtles and briefly pick them up! Talk about a perfect photo opp.

3. Atlantis Submarine Dive

Most activities in Cayman will include water for obvious reasons, and although this example is no exception, you will stay completely dry! Speaking from personal experience, the Atlantis Submarine Dive is a great way to explore all the mystery and beauty that lives underwater. The Atlantis tour is also a great alternative to scuba diving if you have children that are too young or apprehensive. The submarine is pressurized so there is no discomfort and the crew follows a list of safety procedures. Submarine dives are also offered both day and night.

Read more about Atlantis Submarines Tours

4​Stingray City

Don't let the name scare you. These Stingrays are incredibly friendly and love visitors. Especially visitors that bring food! Arguably the most popular attraction on the island, Stingray City is a one-of-a-kind way for you and your kids to get up close with Stingrays in their natural habitat. You can reach down to pet their soft skin as they swim by and feed them. Many catamaran tours visit Stingray City and take your picture with one of the local stingrays!

5. Paddle boarding
Another activity that can be enjoyed on the CCC beachfront is Stand Up paddle boarding, a.k.a SUP. This activity could take a little trial and error for those who struggle with staying balanced, but still provides a ton of fun. Many SUP rentals in Grand Cayman will also deliver the boards to Christopher Columbus and pick them up when you're done. 

If you imagined your kids taking part in any or all of these island activities then your family vacation planning is already halfway complete. Oh, and if you need a place to stay we've got you covered there too! 
Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.

If you’re like me, the only drawback to your trip to Grand Cayman is leaving furry family members at home. I’m not ashamed to admit that saying goodbye to my cats is cause for tears and daily requests for photos from the catsitter. Four-legged or not, my pets are important members of my household. If you have a big heart for animals like I do, you can show love to dogs and cats in need on the island through the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

The Cayman Islands Humane Society (CIHS) provides food, shelter, and care to homeless or abused dogs and cats, and also works to pair animals with loving and responsible owners. The shelter has a staff of 11, but can always use a helping hand from volunteers and support from donations. The current facility houses 37 dog kennels and a cat adoption room, which are kept very full due to the large number of animals in need.

How to help if you don’t live on island

  1. Volunteer to be a dog walker when you’re visiting
Dog walkers can come from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays, though it’s best to walk in the early morning when it’s not too hot—paws and hot pavement don't mix. If you’ve got the time, staff will help pair you with a dog who likes to go for longer walks and socialize. Camana Bay and the beach are great places to get in a little exercise with your furry pal for the day!  
    2. Be a patron of the Thrift Shop and Book Loft
Proceeds from these shops support the shelter. Grab some beach reading or a unique souvenir and help feed a dog or cat in the process!
    3. Become an Associated Member for CI $40 a year
Memberships are a great way to not only support the work of CIHS but also keep updated with what’s happening at the shelter. Members receive a monthly newsletter with photos and updates. 
    4. Sponsor a cage for a puppy, kitten, dog, or cat for one year
These sponsorships are a great way to make a direct impact for an animal in need.
    5. Donate funds or supplies to the shelter
Monetary donations of any amount are always greatly appreciated and can be put to immediate use. Other donations such as food, treats, cat litter, etc., are also welcome—but you should give the shelter a call to see what they’re in the most need of before taking a trip to the store.
    6. Adopt a pet
The shelter does offer a service to fly a pet from the island, so if you fall in love with a particular fuzzy fellow you see on Facebook or meet while visiting, it is possible to bring them home. Dogs and cats are duty free when coming into the United States.
    7. Tell your friends! 
If you know any animal lovers who feel like Cayman is a home away from home, encourage them to support the Humane Society’s efforts as well. Share one of CIHS's Facebook posts or create your own. 
     

The Humane Society office is located at 153 North Sound Road in Georgetown near the airport, so it’s only a short ten minute drive from the condos. If you’re looking to brighten a sunny Cayman day even more by taking a dog for a walk or making a donation, get in touch with the Humane Society and volunteer!

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Page 1 of 1
First Previous
1
Next Last
Pages :

The Latest from Instagram @ChristopherColumbusCondos