Eastern Grand Cayman
The eastern half (really 4/5ths) of Grand Cayman Island is the bulk of the land and the minority of the people. There are a couple small towns like Bodden Town and East End. Most of the interior is swamp. In fact about the only thing located truly in the interior of the island are the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens, which is where you'll find this statue of a blue iguana. You can also find one in a traffic rotary in downtown Georgetown but it's not nearly as scenic.
We generally never promote any other website from our website but since this iguana is posing so nicely and it is for an iguana conservation organization, we'll make an exception. This is 'Forrest', one of several blue iguanas who live in pens within the botanical gardens. Others just run amok down the trails and through the forest.
The blue iguana is endemic to Grand Cayman Island. It's a national symbol of the Caymans and at one point in 2003 there were considered to be less than 20 still alive in the wild. There are over 100 in the park alone as of this writing and a few more in other reserves around the island.
The iguanas are mostly found on a 1 mile (1.6 km) trail that winds through the park (bring water). There is a separate section of the park dedicated to the namesake botanical gardens and has quite an impressive array of Caribbean foliage.
This is (I think) the first appearance of our niece Madelyn on our trip pages and she's failing to look at the camera. No doubt she'll frequent future pages as well. It's not clear how much she enjoyed the botanical gardens although the iguanas seemed to be at least mildly popular.
Here is a 'wild' iguana elsewhere in the park. We use the term wild loosely since it actually means radio-tagged. Iguanas are not specifically confined to the park (and some breeding pairs have been found elsewhere on the island recently) but the range of an iguana is not particularly large (about 1 acre) so they generally stay nearby.
The south coast of Grand Cayman is a series of sounds which are all well protected by barrier reefs. Really just about the entire island is surrounded by reef and there is good diving offshore from anywhere on the island. We do mean anywhere. Several popular reefs are just off the shore from downtown Georgetown. It's not easy to tell in this picture but this is a typical Cayman beach which is littered with rocks and chunks of coral and not the sort of place you'd want to take a stroll barefoot.
Here we are somewhere in East End driving on the left side of the road. Personally, we've spent a fair bit of time in countries where people routinely drive on the left but we'd never actually rented a car and tried it ourselves before (much less in a minivan). This is a rare moment where the windshield wipers are not on. If you're a right-side driver who's never tried the left before, you'll know what we mean by that someday when you do. Renting a car is almost mandatory if you want to see the eastern parts of the island. There is bus service (they're smaller than you expect if you happen to be at a bus stop waiting for one) but it's a bit sporadic away from Georgetown and Seven Mile Beach.
Sir Turtle is the emblem of Cayman Airways and he also appeared on assorted stickers around our condo telling us helpful things. Sir Turtle always locks his sliding doors before going out. On an island where turtles are farm-raised as food, we think Sir Turtle should keep a lower profile.