I grew up around horses, and although I don’t get to ride much today, horseback riding is still one of my favorite activities. On a recent trip to the Cayman Islands I was invited to go for a ride on the beach, how could I say no? I didn’t.
The drive to the horses was peaceful, the town seemed smaller away from the resort. I’m told that the house above is well over 100 years old, and is a traditional Caymanian style home. When we arrive, Detroit is waiting for me. I stopped for a second to look at his friend with different colored eyes on my way over.
The weather was gloomy, Hurricane Joaquin loomed in the distance. We began our ride and the rain started to fall. It was a light and was a welcomed cool down in the humidity. We headed for the beach, but didn’t make it far before lightening struck and rain poured in the distance. We decided it was better to head back and stay safe in case one of the horses were spooked. Or, even worse, we found out what it’s like to be the tallest person on the beach.
After we rode back to the stables we showed the horses some love and called it a day.
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.
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.