Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

After a brief (and warm) stop in Smith Cove, we headed out to Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. It is one of the only places on the island where you can see the both beautiful and endangered Blue Iguanas. While we saw a few other lizards, including a member of the more invasive species on the island, a baby green iguana, I had no luck to see the famed “Blue Dragon”. The tour of their habitat was closed during my visit, and we didn’t have any luck to find any sunning themselves in the blue garden. I spent quite a few moments of my trip chasing the green iguanas around while trying to get a good photo, so a sight of a blue iguana would have made my day.

I always love to visit botanical gardens and parks wherever we go, and this one had a unique feature. There was an area of the park that while not in season, was still beautiful. The orchid area featured various orchids mounted to trees, with an elevated wooden walkway and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when in season. There is also another area of the park, called the Color Garden that is stunning. The colors go from reds, pinks, and oranges to beautiful blues and violets. There is also a palm garden, and a marshy area. My souvenir from this stop was in the form of a few “mozzie” (mosquito) bites, they always manage to get ahold of me.

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Smith Cove

As hurricane Joaquin wrecked havoc on the eastern part of the Caribbean, part of the storm made it’s way over Grand Cayman. I was scheduled to go on a submarine tour (would have ben SO cool) but it was canceled due to the rougher seas and approaching storm. Instead I made a stop at Smith Cove, which is a small beach on the western part of Grand Cayman. The sand there is beautifully white and the water is a dreamy shade of turquoise.

Upon arrival I was greeted by Betsy the tourist, a larger-than-life statue of an iguana named Betsy dressed as a tourist. She is there to remind the visitors that although the iguana’s on Grand Cayman are plenty, they are still a precious addition to the island’s eco-system. I took a walk over to the north end of the beach and found lots of little shells attached to the rocks. I think they were snails, as they were too small to be crabs. I’ve heard the snorkeling here is pretty good, but I’m not a fan. The beach only had a couple of people on it this day, but I’ve heard it can be a hot spot for visitors.

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Grand Cayman, Day 1

Grand Cayman Travel Guide, things to eat, drink, see, and do on the island of Grand Cayman

The weather had finally started to cool down when I left for Grand Cayman. I know Fall in California isn’t near and that it will inevitably heat up again, but the little break was a nice start to this trip. The sunset from San Jose Airport was breathtaking, and not something I am used to watching. Three flights and a day later, I landed in Grand Cayman. The heat combined with the humidity nearly took my breath away. If there were such a thing as weather-shock, this surely was it.

After my arrival I was whisked to the farmer’s market at Camana Bay. The merchants were all very friendly, and I sampled everything from raw ackee (soft cashew like fruit), to young coconut jelly. I learned of the caymanite stone, and was even gifted a piece of raw caymanite by a local merchant. Once home, I entrusted it to Aiden to add to his rock collection. He was very excited to learn about the stone, and loved that it’s only found on the Cayman Islands.

I checked in to my hotel on Seven Mile Beach, then had lunch at Bar Jack. The best Pina Coladas are supposedly found there, so I had to sample. It certainly did not dissapoint, and neither did the ‘live entertainment’ when an iguana walked through the middle of the restaurant. After a delicious dinner at Mizu in Camana Bay, turning in early was a special treat for me because I don’t normally go to bed early at home.

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