Postcard from Grand Cayman
Craving different scenery, fresh experiences and the excitement of exploring new destinations? Now is the time to discover aspects of the island’s nature, culture and history you may never have previously thought of.
Words by Natasha Were.
NATURE | Take a day trip to North Side and experience Cayman’s natural landscape as it once was on the Mastic Trail. The 2.3-mile trail takes you through the largest area of old-growth forest in Cayman, where the trees have evolved undisturbed over millions of years. As well as cedar, mahogany and mastic trees, in June, you’ll see flowering banana orchids, and if you’re lucky, Cayman parrots, West Indian woodpeckers and Caribbean doves. Head out on a walk any time or join one of the National Trust’s guided tours.
To enjoy the abundance of nature in a more manicured form, head to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Wander through the colour gardens and enjoy the succession of flowering plants in different tones, admire the sand gardens of yesteryear and traditional crops in the Heritage Garden, and meander under the cool shade of the Woodland Trail. In the Xerophytic Garden, view a multitude of cacti and drought-tolerant plants; at the lake, you’ll find a variety of aquatic birds, and the Orchid Boardwalk is the place to see Cayman’s national flower, the banana orchid.
Whilst there, don’t miss the Blue Iguana Conservation facility to get up close and personal with the endemic reptiles, once on the brink of extinction. For the full experience, join the National Trust’s half-day tour to learn about the project’s history and success whilst the wardens feed and care for the iguanas.
CULTURE | Soak up a little local culture at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing the work of Caymanian artists, past and present, allow you to see the islands through a different lens. Stroll around the sculpture garden, labyrinth and nature trail to soothe body and mind.
Their wellness programme, designed to offer nurturing and restorative activities, includes outdoor yoga, meditation and healthy eating classes. For a chance to engage more mindfully with the exhibits, visit on a Monday when the gallery opens earlier allowing for a quiet hour of contemplation.
Need something more interactive? The Gallery’s programme of lectures, film screenings, workshops and classes offer adults and children multiple options to dive deeper into the arts, whether on a practical or educational level.
HISTORY | Ever wonder what life was like for the early settlers? Pedro St. James was once the grandest private home on island with three storeys, shady verandas, and thick stone walls. Now restored and filled with period furniture, historic tools and utensils, it offers an insight into a time gone by. Guided and self-guided tours include multi-sensory presentations that bring history to life. Make an event of it and add on a rum tasting, high tea or an after-dark lantern tour.
Named after the missionaries who once lived there, the Mission House in Bodden Town is another historic home dating back to the 1700s. Rebuilt following Hurricane Ivan, it now serves to illustrate traditional building techniques and is filled with fascinating artefacts that show how life was lived. Owned and operated by the National Trust, it is the venue for monthly cooking and traditional craft classes. Participants can prepare traditional dishes such as Cassava cake, conch stew and Cayman style beef or try their hand at thatch rope-making.
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