Hidden Treasures In The Grand Cayman Islands - Cayman Brac And Little Cayman
By Sarah White
Of the 3 Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is by far the most well known but more and more people are discovering the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They too have become world famous for their diving, particularly their underwater walls and breathtaking marine life. These 2 small islands are perfect if you are looking for a place to truly get away from it all. They are less developed, less commercialized and have created a truly relaxed Caribbean lifestyle that is yours to discover. People have searched all over the world for the kind of elusive tranquility and island charm that is just naturally found on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Cayman Brac is the most easterly and smallest of the islands, just 14 square miles of natural wonder. With the charm and friendliness of a traditional seafaring community, it is here that you will find the country's most dramatic scenery. The openness found among the residents (all 1600 of them!) on "The Brac," as they call it, is one that will greet you with arms wide open and an infectiousness that you can't help but feel and return. It is one of the safest and crime free islands found on the Caribbean; even locking one's car has become a lost art!
In Cayman Brac, diving is what attracts most people, there are literally so many dive sites that you rarely have to travel for more than 100 ft to get from one site to the next! Whether you are looking for shallow or deep wall dives, all the ingredients for an incredible dive experience can be found here. The newest attraction for divers is the wreck of a Russian built Cuban naval frigate. The 330 ft. M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts, which was sunk off the island's northwest coast in 1996 and is now the home of an incredible array of marine life. It is perfectly situated for divers of all skills. There are 2 other wrecks that can be found off the Brac's coast, and the walls found here are literally pictures of perfection. The arches, swimthrus, cracks, gorgonia, sponges and fans will be unlike anything you have ever seen. Shine a light on the muted blue structures and the reds, yellows, oranges and purples will whirl all your color wheels at once.
The Brac's most dominant attraction is a limestone ridge that rises from the west along to the center of the island standing at 140 ft at the eastern tip. It is a sheer cliff that drops dramatically into the blues of the Caribbean below, sculpting the landscape into vistas carved with caves and covered with a variety of trees and plant life. You can experience the incredible view on the bluff from the lighthouse, or go exploring through the inviting caves and sinkholes that are high above the water, or maybe you'd like to take a wander through the woodlands that are filled with exotic flowers, plants and wildlife.
Cayman Brac is also becoming known for its climbing and has even been listed in the Top 10 for Exotic Climbing Sites in the world. There are seven areas on the island which have been bolted and are all around the east end of the bluff. Getting to these climbing sites is almost as much fun as the climbs themselves which challenges climbers to go from sea level, to the top of the bluff.
Little Cayman is the least developed of the Cayman Islands, with a population of less than 170, and a landmass that is only 10 miles long and 1 mile wide; most of this island remains uninhabited. Little Cayman offers you miles of untouched tropical wilderness, secluded, white sparkling beaches and a place where rare birds and timid iguanas outnumber humans. It is blessed with stunning coastlines and incredible coral reefs that are teeming with over 500 different species of fish and over 150 kinds of coral.
Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson Point are the main attractions and are world renowned diving sites. Bloody Bay Wall is one of the most pristine underwater sites in the world with a sheer coral wall that begins at 20 ft that plunges to over 6000 ft. It has been rated as the best diving in the Caribbean by National Geographic photographers and is protected for future generations with its designation as a marine park. With more than 50 unique dive sites located on Little Cayman that feature colorful coral gardens, wavering sea plumes and exotic tropical fish, it is a true underwater paradise.
Fly, lake and deep sea fishing are also very popular on Little Cayman, not to mention the multitude of watersports available. Enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, wind surfing, hobie-cat sailing and for avid kite boarders, Owen Island features the best launch site; for those who would prefer to be a spectator, you can enjoy watching from the beachfront hammocks! There is also plenty of hiking, cycling and bird watching to be found. Over 40% of Little Cayman is covered by pristine wetlands and raised viewing platforms around the island allowing observers excellent bird watching. Visitors who come to this island retreat, make a return to simpler times; enjoying the privacy, quiet and timeless beauty of this incredible natural world.
To get to the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, there are numerous flights that are offered daily from Grand Cayman. If you're looking for a different adventure, avid divers can even choose a live-a-board dive boat for a week and visit all three islands.
An enchanting world and an ecotourism paradise for divers and nature-lovers, there is something truly special that can only be found on the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman."
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.