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bulletCayman Visitor Attractions
bulletIn the heart of Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach
bulletHell Hath no Meaning as in Grand Cayman
bulletWalking through Grand Cayman's Charming Capital
bulletThe Lost City of the Caymans

 

 

Grand Cayman Visitor Attractions

by The Cayman Host

Grand Cayman lies in the western Caribbean Sea and is the largest of a group of three islands collectively known as the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman is still small by most standards, measuring around 20 miles in length and approximately 8 miles across at its widest point.

If you have never visited the islands before, this article outlines just a few of the things you can do during your stay. Many visitors arrive on the island via cruise ship, and stay only for a brief few hours, but, you will still find plenty of things to occupy your time. However, this article is aimed more at the stay over visitor, who has a more leisurely schedule.

Although famed for its beautiful beaches, and as a prime location for scuba diving and sport fishing, the island has plenty to offer aside from these activities. Of course, if you prefer to do nothing but lounge on the beach, there are few better places to do so than on the beautiful shores of Grand Cayman.

Seven Mile Beach is justifiably famous and offers a long crescent of white powdery sand and crystalline blue waters, just what one would expect of a Caribbean beach. It is close to the Capital of George Town and easily accessible for cruise ship visitors and offers most amenities you would hope to find. Even at its busiest, Seven Mile Beach is rarely what you could call crowded and there is plenty of room to find your own private spot to relax.

If you prefer a little more seclusion, there are plenty of out of the way spots where you can enjoy a beach entirely to yourself, although finding them if you are not familiar with the island might require the enlistment of a little local help. Taking your own supplies will be required if you intend to visit one of these smaller slices of paradise as very few are served by anthing more than the shade of a coconut palm or sea grape tree.

When you're ready to explore the island a little more, a car, although not essential, will give you far greater flexibility and freedom. There are plenty of car rental companies on the island, so finding an affordable set of wheels should not be difficult. Alternatively, you can use the bus services, which although cheap are not always convenient if you need to get to the more out of the way spots. Taxis are also available, but can be costly if you intend to travel any distance.

For something different, you could always head to the North East end of the island, where you will find the heavenly Cayman Kai and Rum Point. From here, you can take a kayak tour from the Kaibo Yacht Club. All equipment is provided and you need no prior experience to join one of these fun and educational outings. They offer sunset and full moon tours too, where paricipants get to drink rum punch under the stars. Whether you choose a daytime or nightime trip, you will see and learn plenty about the island and its marine life and ecology.

Exploring the island's eastern districts is a must for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of the more traditional Cayman, away from the development and "civilization" of the capital and its environs. You will encounter a slower pace of life and various charming distractions along the route east. You can purchase what is known as a "Discover The East Adventure Card", which offers free admission to the Botanic Park, and the Pedro St James National Hostoric Site, as well as free gifts and discounts at other local restaurants, tourist stops and businesses.

If you prefer to get an overall view of Grand Cayman, why not try a helicopter flight? You can opt for a full island tour, a Seven Mile Beach Tour or a Stingray Tour. You can even arrange a full package which includes collection and delivery from your location by limousine which delivers passengers to the airport. From there, a sunset tour by air followed by a romantic meal at one of Cayman's premier dining spots, after which diners are whisked home again by limousine.

If flying is not your thing, how about going under instead? A ninety minute tour on the semi submersible "Nautilus" is affordable and you will see some of the amazingly beautiful marine life wiithout the need to get your feet wet. For those who prefer to get up close and personal, there is a stop which allows for a half hour of snorkelling.

If you prefer to stay inside, you can watch divers feeding the fish right outside your window at CheeseBurger Reef, one of the best spots to snorkel in Grand Cayman. Keep an eye out too for sea turtles and southern stingrays as well as the large Tarpon that frequent the area. You will also glide over two fascinating shipwrecks during the course of your trip and an on board narration explains the history of these as well as all the other things you will witness. It's a great trip for families or those taking out guests of all ages.

These are just a handful of things that you will find to do on our beautiful tropical island - there are plenty more. Cayman is a friendly and culturally diverse island; safe and well appointed with accommodation and the infrastructure to ensure that there is something for everyone whatever their budget.

You can find a selection of Cayman Islands videos and clips from some wonderful Cayman Beaches compliled by the author to give you a better taste of the beauty of Grand Cayman. The author lives and works on the island and blogs regularly at The CaymanHost Blog

Article Source: http://www.articlerich.com

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In The Heart Of Grand Cayman On Seven Mile Beach

Author: Justin Burch

Along the western shore of Grand Cayman rests a stretch of sand known throughout the travel community as one of the world's best beaches. With placid waters and endless amounts of pure white sand, Seven Mile Beach is what makes Grand Cayman special. Though the beach comes up a mile and a half short of its name, there is certainly no shortage of space to relax in the sun. Furthermore, as you walk along the beach you will notice activities that range from cafes and bars beneath the palms to scuba diving and snorkeling. When you visit Grand Cayman, you will immediately see why Seven Mile Beach is at the top of so many lists.

Courtesy of the calm water and casual atmosphere, Seven Mile Beach is known as one of the most family-friendly recreation sites in the Caribbean. The warm water has a sandy bottom, making it a great place for children to swim. Families can rent all types of water toys, from snorkeling equipment and paddle boats to jet skis and windsurfers for the grownups. There are also a few spectacular scuba diving sites off the shore of Seven Mile Beach. Where the gently sloping shoreline meets the coral wall surrounding the island, you will find the popular reefs known as Paradise and Aquarium.

Seven Mile Beach is also the site of the island's best resorts and restaurants. Even if you aren't staying on Seven Mile Beach, many of the resorts have facilities that are open to the public. As many of the resorts open directly onto the beach, you will find several bars and snack stands equipped with peaceful lounge seating. Throughout this area you will find several world-class restaurants, serving everything from rustic Italian fare to fresh seafood with a Caribbean twist. The resorts also make it easy to rent water sport equipment without leaving the beach. Most importantly, all these activities (and, of course, the beach itself) are open to the public, whether or not you are lucky enough to spend your nights here.

At the southern end of Seven Mile Beach is one of Grand Cayman's favorite family attractions - The Butterfly Farm. Inside the farm's tropical gardens, you can view the life stages of butterflies amongst exotic flowers and peaceful ponds. Many early morning visitors are granted the pleasure of seeing new butterflies emerge from their cocoons to take their first flight. On guided tours of the facility, specialists will allow you to handle both caterpillars and butterflies. As butterflies are attracted to bright colors and perfumes, those who want some personal attention from the fluttering creatures should dress to impress. Open daily at 9 AM, The Butterfly Farm also allows visitors to return throughout their vacation with one paid entry. If you don't see a butterfly emerge from its shell the first time around, you can stop by and snap more photos any time you like.

Most of Grand Cayman's other premier sightseeing opportunities are located within a few miles of Seven Mile Beach. To the south of the beach is the island's capital city, Georgetown. This historic capital features plenty of great boutiques, art galleries and shopping areas set amongst a stunning array of colonial architecture. Georgetown also has several great dining and nightlife options.

North of Seven Mile Beach, you will find popular attractions such as Hell and The Cayman Island Turtle Farm in the small town of West Bay. Known for its devilish black coral formations, Hell is a favorite of witty travelers hoping to send friends and family correspondence from the underworld. On the other hand, The Cayman Island Turtle Farm is a great family destination where children can interact with these endangered creatures. Besides its conservation efforts, The Cayman Island Turtle Farm also calls to mind the colonial history of the island. Upon arrival, Christopher Columbus named the islands "Las Tortugas" (The Turtles) in honor of the multitude of sea turtles along the coast.

Whether you want to relax in the sand, find adventure in the water or experience world class dining and attractions, a stroll down Seven Mile Beach will put you in the heart of the action.

About the Author:

Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Grand Cayman [ http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/gcmgc-grand-cayman-marriott-beach-resort/ ] for the Marriott Resorts.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/find-the-heart-of-grand-cayman-on-seven-mile-beach-218159.html

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Hell_hath_no_meaning_as_in_Grand_Cayman

On the picturesque Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, there is place known as Hell. Just a short drive from five-star resorts and pristine beaches, rests an ominous field of brimstone with a fascinating geological history. There are certainly several versions to the story of how Hell got its name. Yet, most variations involve a local official seeing this strange limestone field for the first time and saying, "This is what Hell must look like." Whatever you may think of this unique version of Hell, the surrounding West Bay area of Grand Cayman offers some of the best photo opportunities in the Caribbean, while Hell itself promises an unforgettable sightseeing opportunity.

At this point, you are probably wondering what is so hellish about this little Caribbean town. The story is interesting, but certainly nothing to fear.

Approximately 1.5 million years ago, the sea level was 15-20 higher than it is today. As a result, Grand Cayman and many other Caribbean islands were largely flooded. When the water receded, limestone-based coral formations were left behind. Scientists have recognized a large formation of such ancient coral - known as ironshore - covering most of the western half of Grand Cayman.

Ironshore is the central attraction of Hell. Yet, in Hell, the limestone deposits have taken on an ominous shape. In an area about the size of half a football field, you will see exposed black ironshore that has been uniquely weathered to resemble the fires of the netherworld. Though the formations may look like the result of volcanic activity, the limestone was in fact darkened by eroding algae after the sea waters receded. As the limestone was simultaneously exposed to acidic algae and the elements over many centuries, the field of Hell took on its devilish form.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to walk among the limestone formations. However, the viewing platforms grant you a bird's eye view of the sharp, blackened ironshore. Beyond the rocks of Hell, you will see mangrove trees and the beautiful Caribbean scenery you expect of Grand Cayman.

There is also plenty of fun to be had with Hell's secondary attractions. At the town's small gift shop, you will be greeted by the devil himself (or perhaps just a man in costume) with such phrases as, "How the hell are you?" or "Where the hell are you from?" After picking up some "postcards from hell," you can send your friends and family a unique message courtesy of Hell's themed post office. Opened in 1962, the post office allows visitors the ability to postmark their Caribbean correspondence from Satan's hometown.

Just south of Hell, you will find Seven Mile Beach, one of the island's most famous beaches. Though the beach is only 5.5 miles long, it promises plenty of pristine, powdery sand. Many of the island's most popular resorts are located along this stretch, as well, yet the beach is rarely overcrowded. At the south end of the beach, you will find more exposed ironshore - further evidence of the formations resting beneath the island's surface. Though the limestone at Seven Mile Beach wasn't weathered as dramatically as in Hell, it certainly gives you an idea of the island's - and the entire Caribbean region's - unique geological makeup.

The trip to Hell is a short one (the town, that is). Mini buses run throughout the island and Hell is a popular stop. It is even possible to walk to the site from many of Grand Cayman's resorts - most being about 5-7 miles away. However you choose to get to Hell, the journey will definitely offer scenic views of the island's West Bay region.

You probably won't need to spend much time in Hell either. Offering a unique brand of fun, the town and its wicked rocks offer a simple, pleasant family activity. When planning your tour around beautiful Grand Cayman, plan an afternoon stop at the place no one wants to end up (but everyone seems to enjoy).

This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes articles relating to travel in Grand Cayman and the Caribbean for the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Justin_Burch

 

Walking Through Grand Cayman's Charming Capital

By Justin Burch

Grand Cayman has long been known as a small, charming island and its capital city of Georgetown is no different. Where this picturesque, walkable city is lacking in glitz and glamour, it answers with historic architecture, one-of-a-kind sites and excellent shopping opportunities. Take a walk through Georgetown and you will see why this city and the island of Grand Cayman are unlike any other destinations in the Caribbean.

One of the first stops for most visitors in Georgetown is the Cayman Islands National Museum. Housed in a colonial courts building constructed in 1833, the museum opened to the public in 1990 with a collection of more than 2,000 artifacts. Oddly enough, much of the initial collection was purchased from an intrepid local historian, Ira Thompson, who had amassed one of the Caribbean's finest private collections over a period of 50 years. The initial collection, much of which is still on display today, included a wealth of historical documents, local flora and fauna samples, rare Caribbean coins and plenty of local oddities.

Today, the Cayman Islands National Museum's exhibitions focus on the remarkable success of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Together, these three islands measure just over 100 square miles, nearly half of that land occupied by low-lying mangrove swamps. As the Cayman Islands lacked the natural resources of other colonial Caribbean locations, residents once relied entirely on fishing, turtling and the export of thatch rope. However, throughout the late colonial period and well into the 20th century, Caymanians came to be known as exemplary seamen. In fact, until the rise of Caribbean tourism in the 1970s, the income of such skilled sailors drove the islands' modest economy.

In addition to the fascinating story told within the museum, visitors should also take time to enjoy the views of Hog Sty Bay. With Grand Cayman's most historic structure set against the picturesque shoreline, the view has become one of the most celebrated and photographed on the island. Before leaving the museum for other sites in Georgetown, visitors can also enjoy the gift shop which features a fine selection of books, jewelry, locally-produced arts and crafts and free walking maps of Georgetown. The Cayman Islands National Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM and Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM.

Also near the Georgetown waterfront, visitors will spot the Elmslie Memorial United Church. This peaceful church, named for the island's first Presbyterian missionary, has long been at the center of Caymanian cultural and religious life. Known as a simple, friendly society, Grand Cayman's values are reflected in the details of this beautiful, but modest building. Featuring a stunning vaulted ceiling with wooden arches and an austere, but majestic interior, Elmslie Memorial United Church has been revered as a place of peaceful contemplation by locals and visitors alike.

While Grand Cayman's capital is known as quiet, historic city, shopping has become a favorite activity for travelers. As Grand Cayman has no sales tax and many stores offer duty-free merchandise, there are plenty of great values to be found throughout Georgetown. Throughout the small, independent shops and larger shopping malls, visitors will find everything from designer clothing and accessories to unique artwork and souvenirs. One of the best places to find local products is the Cayman Craft Market located in central Georgetown. Regardless of where you decide to shop in Georgetown or throughout Grand Cayman, tax-free and duty-free shopping will lead you to plenty of incredible bargains.

If you want to experience live music, theatre or the bar and restaurant scene of Georgetown, the Friday edition of the Caymanian Compass is the first place to start. This local paper features listings for all of the island's upcoming entertainment and highlights the best spots for any type of tourist to find dinner, drinks and fun. The paper is distributed throughout Georgetown, but copies will also be available through the concierge or front desk at most resorts.

Georgetown is one of the most unique cities in the Caribbean and there are plenty of ways to explore its treasures. From the rich history of the Cayman Islands National Museum to the deals found around every corner, Georgetown helps set Grand Cayman apart.

 

Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Grand Cayman for the Marriott Resorts.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Justin_Burch

 

The "Lost City" of the Cayman Islands

By Justin Burch

Everyone is familiar with the mythic city of Atlantis - the ancient Greek civilization that Plato famously claimed had succumbed to tragedy and came to rest at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. However, no one has ever seen an underwater city - until now. Thousands of miles from the classical civilizations in the warm waters of the Caribbean, a sculptor has been quietly constructing his own vision of Atlantis off the coast of Cayman Brac. Though the sculptor is only a few years into the massive project, the undertaking has already attracted the attention of scuba divers and thrill seekers from throughout the world.

The Cayman version of Atlantis is the brainchild of a somewhat mysterious local artist known only as Foots. Now in his 50s, Foots has stated that he has been obsessed with the myth of Atlantis since he was a small boy. Working almost entirely by himself, Foots has already completed a number of giant sculptures and laid the foundation for Atlantis. After completing the sculptures, Foots places his work on a naturally sandy stretch of the Caribbean's floor, always mindful of the delicate submarine ecosystem. Though there is much for divers to enjoy in this Caribbean Atlantis, Foots will continue working on this massive project indefinitely, adding new sculptures to the underwater city every six months. Most surprisingly, Foots has not made any drawings of his underwater project, choosing instead to work only from his imagination, allowing the city's plans to develop and change as the civilization grows.

The entrance to Cayman's Atlantis is marked by the giant Archway of Atlantis. With each of the bases weighing over ten tons, scuba divers will immediately find themselves in the midst of an awe-inspiring environment. The great archway opens onto what Foots has called The Elders' Way. At the end of this path lined with classical temple columns, the sculptor has placed stylized sculptures of human figures - known to the sculptor as "Prophets" - to watch over the underwater city. To insure that locals were able to get involved in the project, Foots modeled each one of these sculptures after individuals who have contributed to Cayman society. The figures of the prophets look out across a large courtyard on the seafloor known as the Inner Circle of Light. In Foots' version of the Atlantis myth, a young girl made sure that the torches atop the city's eleven columns were always lit and no shadows ever passed over the great sundial. Divers will find the sundial in the middle of the courtyard, protected by the city's great columns. At the center is a representation of the Circle of Light, the space where all time was said to be endless.

One of most important aspects of the underwater city is the care given to its location at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Though surrounded by dense coral reefs on all sides, the site for Atlantis was chosen because no coral needed to be removed to accommodate the sculptures. Furthermore, as the sculptures are made of simple concrete and won't harm any of the area's sea creatures, the city will always be able to support vibrant life. In fact, though the Cayman Atlantis is currently set on several acres of featureless sand, divers will notice that the city has already attracted a wide variety of residents. Everywhere you look in the underwater city, hard corals have begun branching out, sponges have found homes amongst the sculptures and numerous species of tropical fish swim through the city each day.

Resting at a shallow depth (only 40-50 feet), divers are guaranteed excellent visibility. Most of the Cayman Islands' dive operators visit this special site everyday. Unlike many of the Cayman Islands' popular wall dive sites, Atlantis is a great dive for all ages and skill levels. Thanks to the shallow overall depth and excellent underwater visibility, the site can also be enjoyed by snorkelers.

If you want to experience a dive site unlike any other in the world, be sure to make the short trip to Grand Cayman's sister island, Cayman Brac. Already the world's first underwater city and the largest collection of underwater sculpture, the Caymans' "Lost City" will continue developing and welcoming submarine life for years to come.

This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean for the Grand Cayman Islands.

 

To learn more about the Cayman Islands, visit our other Cayman Pages

bulletCayman Scuba Diving
bulletHiking and Birdwatching on Grand Cayman
bulletCayman Brac and Little Cayman
bulletAn Introduction to the Cayman Islands

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