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Grand Cayman is the main island of the Cayman Islands.
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Seven Mile Beach is a coral-sand beach on the western shore of the island. In fact, it is not 7 miles long, but 'only' 5.5 miles (almost 9 kilometres). It's a public beach just north of George Town, the capital. Although beauty is always in the eyy of the beholder, this beach has won a few prizes, including one for the best beach in the Caribbean. It is also the most popular one on the Cayman Islands, and during peak holiday periods, it can feel a little busy. Also, loads of resorts and hotels mean it rarely is deserted. Your best bet might be to visit here during the off season months of August and September and hope there is no hurricane spoiling your beach break! Several good shallow reefs mean that snorkelling is a popular activity as well, next to swimming and sunbathing of course.
The Wreck of the Ten Sails Park is part of the coastline at in the east of the island. The park commemorates the islands most legendary shipwreck, the Cordelia. One night in February 1794, the Cordelia was leading a convoy of merchant ships bound from Jamaica to Britain when it ran aground on the reef at East End. Another nine more followed, so that's where the name comes from. Try to find the wrecks if you dare, but be aware that it is a legend.
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is the biggest and most beautiful botanic park of the Cayman Islands. Actually, it is one of the best in the total Caribbean. It is a good place to experience the islands indigenous flora and fauna. There are trails winding through lush and flat terrain, featuring about 300 native species. These include buttonwood swamps, mahogany forests and native palms, orchids and many other tropical flowers. You will also witness the presence of see turtles, lizards, parrots and the charactaristic Cayman blue iguana which is highly endangered.
Pedro St. James Castle is an impressive great house dating back to 1780, making it the oldest building in the Caymans. Since then, it has been functioning as a jail, a courthouse and a parliament before it was turned into a museum recently. The Castle is advertised as being the islands' 'birthplace of democracy': in 1831 the decision was made here to vote for elected representatives. It is also the place where the Slavery Abolition Act was read in 1835 and nowadays it also houses a museum featuring a multimedia presentation about 18th century Cayman.
The wild banana orchid, the national flower of the Cayman Islands, is just one of a dozen orchid species on display during the early March orchid show at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Visitors can purchase these beauties, learn how to grow them, or simply admire the floral arrangements during this two-day festival whose proceeds go towards establishing a permanent garden in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
A traditional boat launch reenactment at Seven Mile Beach kicks off this two week long showcase of Cayman Islands’ arts and culture each April. The international storytelling festival called Gimistory attracts performers from across the Caribbean. Other Cayfest highlights include live folk singers, fashion shows, and a historical treasure hunt. Short film and photography competitions are also important parts of the event.
One of George Town’s liveliest events is this annual early May festival filled with live calypso and soca bands. Named after the tracks in the sand left by the sea turtles crawling towards their nesting place, the main Batabano parade sees more than 100 nationalities represented in colorful costumes and music. There is also a separate, but no less joyous, Junior Batabano parade for children.
In the middle of June, the Cayman Islands celebrates Her Majesty’s birthday with a 21-gun salute and full military dress parade in front of George Town’s Legislative Assembly. There is also a Government House open house and garden reception. Refreshments and steel band music accompany the formal event.
Grand Cayman has a perfect climate with warm and humid weather with almost constant sea breezes. Temperatures hoover around 28 °C to 30 °C during the day and 24 °C at night. The months of June to September are slightly warmer. During these months, extending into November is the rainy season on the other hand, with a small chance of a hurricane passing by now and then. December to April is the dry and slightly cooler period which is a good but popular time to visit. May and November are good months to visit if you want to avoid crowds, high prices and very bad weather.
Cayman Airways is the national airline of the Cayman Islands. It is based on Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) on Grand Cayman. They fly to Havana, Kingston, La Ceiba, Miami, Montego Bay, New York and Tampa and seasonal to Chicago and Washington, D.C.. Continental Airlines flies to Newark and Houston, British Airways to London and Nassau, while several other airlines serve cities like Toronto, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Boston and Philadelphia.
There are a lot of rental agencies to choose from, in the airport and in George Town. You have to be 21 years old (some companies don't insure you when under 25!) and buy a special 7.50 USD permit. Remember that driving is on the left.
On Grand Cayman, public minibuses travel from George Town to West Bay (every 15 minutes), Bodden Town (every 30 minutes) and to East End and North Side (every hour). They all leave from the main bus terminal next to the public library and run almost all day from 6:00am to 11:00pm.
There is a ferry between North Sound and Rum Point on Grand Cayman which takes about 40 minutes each way.
The ferry departs from the Hyatt Regency Canal at 10:00am, noon and 4:00pm on Mondays - Thursdays, on Friday to Sunday the last one leaves at 6:00pm. The return times from Rum Point are 11:00am, 3:00pm and and 6:30pm Mondays - Thursdays, on Friday to Sunday the last one is at 9:15pm.
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