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The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Little Cayman

Ten miles long and a mile wide, Little Cayman is truly little: the airport, post office and fire station are all housed in one building, there is one shop and one bank on the Island, and with a permanent population of about 150 people, humans are vastly outnumbered by birds and iguanas.

A genuine island hideaway, you cannot avoid slowing right down, resetting your watch to true “island time” and enjoy doing a whole lot of nothing. One of the last undeveloped islands in the Caribbean, Little Cayman offers peace, relaxation and unspoiled natural beauty on land and underwater. For those that want to explore its unspoiled surroundings after a few days of resting in a hammock with a book, there are secluded beaches, numerous lagoons, mangrove forests, salt ponds and tropical forests strewn with orchids. For the diver the sea holds a plethora of world class dive sites.

HISTORY

The smallest of the Cayman Islands, Little Cayman was the first to be settled by turtle fishermen in the 1600s, although it was not until 1833 that permanent settlers established Blossom Village. By the early 20th century, several hundred people earned their living trading in phosphate ore, coconuts and marine rope. The great hurricane of 1932 caused much destruction and in the wake of it many people left. By the late 1950s, the population was down to a mere 12 people.

GETTING TO LITTLE CAYMAN

Cayman Airways Express fly to Little Cayman from Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman several times a day.

GETTING AROUND

One main road circles the Island, hugging the coast so you may want to hire a car, SUV or scooter to explore. Alternatively, many of the resorts have complimentary bicycles available,  although it is unlikely that you will rent anything for more than a day as your resort will pick you up from the airport.Take it slow – iguanas have the right of way on the roads and have their own crossings, (you will see signs indicating this), and anyway the speed limit is a gentle 25mph. Points of interest are sign-posted along the way so stop to explore frequently and enjoy views of the largely undeveloped coast and the Caribbean Sea.

MONEY & BANKING

There is one bank, Cayman National Bank, which has an ATM. The branch is only open on Mondays and Thursdays. Visa and MC credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but AMEX less so.

EATING & DRINKING

The Hungry Iguana at Paradise Villas offers an à la carte menu. Birds of Paradise at Little Cayman Beach Resort offers a buffet. The restaurant at Pirates Point serves a set menu which changes daily and the food is very good. Visitors who are not staying at the resort must reserve before 12pm. Southern Cross Club also has a restaurant. There is a small grocery store in which you can buy the basics (and a multitude of frozen goods) but most people staying in private cottages will bring a cooler full of fresh food with them from Grand Cayman.

THINGS TO DO

  • Relax! There are few places in the world that invite you to relax as completely as Little Cayman. Find a hammock under a palm tree, grab a book or just sway gently in the breeze, listen to the sound of the sea, and enjoy not having to do a thing. Once you have completely unwound, you will be surprised at the number of things there are to see and do on such a small island.
  • Discover Unspoiled Beaches Over a dozen white sand beaches are dotted around the coast and you will easily spot them as you drive around the Island. The prettiest of these is Point of Sand, a shifting cape of pink sand at the eastern end, protected by a barrier reef. Great for swimming and snorkelling, but do be aware of currents, and don’t swim after dusk.
  • Owen Island is a picture-perfect island idyll. This tiny uninhabited islet, surrounded by white sand and the clearest blue water, lies about 200 yards offshore on the south shore. Kayak or take a boat over and spend the day on your own deserted island. A real Robinson Crusoe experience!
  • Snorkel some of the best sites in the Caribbean. Swim out over the famous drop off at Bloody Bay Wall and peer over the underwater precipice into the deep blue abyss. Jackson Bay and Preston Bay also offer excellent snorkelling. These sites are exposed however, so only strong swimmers should attempt them, and only go out if the weather is calm.
  • Dive the world famous walls of Little Cayman. Sheer drop-offs, starting in as little as 18ft, exceptional visibility and abundant marine life, coupled with the charm of the Island topside, have made Little Cayman a diving Mecca. Most famous is Bloody Bay Marine Park and Jackson Wall on the north side, although the dive sites on the south side are equally pristine and impressive.
  • Go Fishing World class offshore, sports and deep sea fishing and flyfishing can be done in Little Cayman. Learn more here.
  • Rent a Kayak and explore the mangroves or paddle your way out to Owen Island and spend the day beachcombing and swimming from this uninhabited island.
  • Ride a Bicycle Set off late in the afternoon for a gentle bicycle ride, (hotels usually offer them to guests, free of charge), and follow 8 mile loop around the Island. Stop along the way at wildlife viewing stations or at a sunset viewing point. Take lots of water or even pack a snack for a picnic at one of the many unspoiled beaches along the way.
  • Go Birdwatching Thousands of migratory birds pass over Little Cayman and there are also resident populations, due to the many ponds and numerous wetland areas. The National Trust’s Booby Pond Nature Reserve, home to the largest breeding colony of Red-footed Boobies in the Western Hemisphere, is a 200-acre site of international importance. 20,000 Boobies breed here, as does a large colony of magnificent frigates. Take advantage of the Trust’s viewing deck that is equipped with telescopes, to watch the herons, ducks, warblers, plovers, sandpipers and other birds dip and dive. Call the National Trust on (345) 948 1077 for more information.
  • Take a Hike along the Salt Rock Nature Trail, a historic right of way between Blossom Village and the north shore. Along the way, keep an eye out for birds, iguanas, butterflies and orchids.

     

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