The Cayman Isands are a British Overseas Territory in the
Western Caribbean. Unlike islands in the Eastern Caribbean, there
are no other islands close by. Cuba is 350 km (225 mi) to the
north and Jamaica is 500 km (300 mi) to the east. The islands were
named the Tortugas by Columbus in 1503. The name Cayman subsequently
came into use in reference to caiman alligators, which were numerous at
one time. The
islands consist of the Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The three islands are within 150 km (90 mi) of each other.
Grand Cayman is
the largest of the islands. It is 35 km (22 mi) long and 13 km (8
mi) at its widest. The capital of the Cayman Islands is located in
George Town on Grand Cayman. It has a population of about
30,000. The next largest towns are West Bay and Bodden Town.
The Caymans are coral formations surrounding peaks on the Cayman Ridge and
are set beside the Cayman Trough that drops to 6,000 m (20,000 ft).
The Grand Cayman is famous for off shore banking and supports about 600
banks, including many of the largest in the world.
The Cayman Islands are a popular tourist destination due
to their mild Caribbean climate. They experience more rain in the
summer months and slightly cooler, drier temperatures in the winter months
from November to April. The Cayman Islands are in the path of the
Atlantic hurricane season from June to November. George Town is
often included as a port of call in Western Caribbean cruises and also has
an international airport.
Seven Mile Beach – on the west shore of the island with
trees, great reefs for snorkeling, resorts, beach bars and rental
shops. Often considered one of the best beaches in the
world. Stop at Calico Jack’s beach bar. There are other options for beaches on the island too - Rum
Point Beach at Cayman Kai or Smith's Cove for good snorkeling in South
Sound. Catch a ferry between Seven Mile Beach and Rum Point.
Dive down to Eden Rock & Devil's Grotto, just south of Seven Mile
Beach. There are many dive sites in the islands. The Cali
Schooner Shipwreck is just north of George Town and a few yards off
shore. The Kittiwake was sunk off West Bay Public beach
in 2011 and is open to the public.
Hell - black limestone formations near West Bay, plus a colorful