The Cayman National Museum is a great introduction to Cayman’s culture. Over the years the building has been utilised for many different purposes including storing armaments, the Old Court House, a police station, a school and for the offices of the first Commissioners. The Museum now houses permanent exhibits, themed displays and artefacts canvassing Cayman’s art and traditions and natural history and includes boats, furniture, textiles, paintings and ceramics. There is also a simulated submarine as well as a children’s gallery with interesting interactive exhibits.
The Mastic Reserve & Trail is an area of 843 acres that runs through a centuries-old dry woodland forest in the centre of Grand Cayman. Set up to protect the largest area of old growth forest remaining in the Cayman Islands, it also protects a variety of animals, plants, endemic orchids, trees and birds. Guided hikes with a trained naturalist take place by arrangement most days of the week and one Saturday of the month. CI$52 for adults and CI$30 for children (minimum recommended age 10 years). Private tours are available on request. (345) 749 1121.
The National Gallery is home to the Cayman Island’s national art collection. It provides an insight into the Island’s short history, from its sea-faring community to its emergence as a global financial centre and major tourist destination. The gallery hosts up to 10 exhibitions a year showing a variety of Caymanian exhibitions, as well as art from further afield. Admission is free. (345) 945 8111.
Pedro St. James Castle was built in 1780 and is set in over seven acres of manicured gardens overlooking the sea. Explore the castle that is often termed “the birthplace of democracy” in the Cayman Islands. It is also where, in 1835, it was announced to the community that slavery had ended in the British Empire. Don’t miss the multimedia show or the rum tasting! Open daily 9am-5pm. CI$10 for adults (CI$5 resident rate), CI$5 for children and free for children under 12. Guided tours are available.
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a 65–acre site made up of a woodland walking trail, floral colour gardens, an undisturbed lake and wetlands for wildlife, a heritage garden with an old Caymanian house where you can learn how early settlers lived. You will also see butterflies, birds, turtles, agoutis, reptiles and the indigenous and endangered Blue Iguana. Open daily from 9am-5.30pm (last admission at 4.30pm). CI$10 for adults ($5 resident rate), CI$5 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 12. Guided tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm.
The Cayman National Cultural Foundation offers tours of Mind's Eye - The Visionary World of Miss Lassie. Tour the house where Miss Lassie lived (#4 South Sound Road) and view her paintings that cover the walls, ceilings and furnishings. Tours take place on the second Saturday of each month from 10am-11am - tour groups meet at 9.55am. Admission is free but donations are happily accepted. (345) 949 5477.
The Mission House was built in the 1800s in Bodden Town and used as many things including a school. On this tour the living conditions of an earlier time in Cayman’s history have been recreated in the home of Presbyterian missionaries who are known to have owned the house. Open Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm. Closed September. Admission is CI$10 for adults and CI$4 for children under 12. (345) 749 1123.
Schooner launch sites can still be seen where the old launching ramps were cut into the ironshore (coastal rock) in and around George Town. Caymanians were traditionally fine boat builders, building schooners out of local hardwoods, which were famed for their speed and beautiful lines. When a vessel was ready to be launched the whole town would gather to watch as it was rolled into the water on logs.
Pirate’s Week is Cayman’s most popular festival with pirates invading Cayman’s shores every November followed by eleven days of local food and cultural activities. Batabano Carnival in May is a kaleidoscope of music, dance and pageantry, culminating in a spectacular street parade. The Cayman National Cultural Foundation also hosts a range of events on-Island throughout the year. Visit the events calendar for details on all Cayman's best events.