Nature, Nature and more Nature
Prepare yourself for a truly unique experience if you decide to visit Little Cayman. Find total solitude in a nature lover’s paradise with miles of uncrowded beaches and untouched wilderness, where iguanas and rare birds outnumber humans.
With a resident population of fewer than 200 people, this tiny island of approximately 10 square miles is similar in size to Cayman Brac. Although it is only 5 miles away from Cayman Brac, it has such a different life way, that it feels remote, rustic and paradisaical. Little Cayman is home to a wide variety of exotic plants and birds, as well as to iguanas and other wildlife. The avid bird watcher will be sure to visit Booby Pond, which has the largest known breeding colony of Red Footed Boobies (5000 pairs) in the Western Hemisphere, and the only breeding colony of Magnificent Frigate Birds in this hemisphere. Nearly flat and with little variation in the vegetation from end to end, Little Cayman nonetheless has ecological appeal for the number of ponds and marshes that host bird life. The local branch of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands is very active on Little Cayman, protecting these important wildlife acreages.
The Lesser Cayman Iguana flourishes in the western end of the island. It is a protected subspecies of the Cuban Iguana that lives only on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. These rock iguanas can reach up to 6 feet in length. With its ridged back and striped tail it is often mistaken for the Green Iguana which is common on Grand Cayman. The Lesser Cayman Iguana, however, is a different animal. It can be easily viewed basking in the sun in the roads or along the road sides.
What keeps the tourist industry floating here though is the spectacular marine life of Bloody Bay Marine Park. (This environmental zone is named for an altercation in Cayman’s early history between pirates and British government interests.) Because so few visitors make it to Little Cayman, the reefs are relatively infrequently dived. And with a small population, there is relatively little fishing, or any activity for that matter, to unsettle the balance of the ecosystem.
Cayman’s vertical walls are one of the most important features of its diving industry and Bloody Bay Wall is unarguably the most spectacular. It is easily accessible even to the novice diver because it rises to within 20 feet of the surface and is just a short distance from shore. Short mini-walls are present in some stretches of the park allowing you to dive ‘the wall’ and bottom out on a sandy shelf at 50 to 60 feet. The plant and fish life are so strong and healthy in this park that it feels like swimming through a museum quality aquarium. Lobster are common, free-swimming eels wind through the coral heads, sea fans wave in the light current, fish school and skitter in large numbers. And the visibility on the shallower dive sites is breathtaking – clear water with abundant light on colorful reefs.
Tranquility and Seclusion
There is no town, per se, on Little Cayman. Blossom Village is the name of the one-block neighborhood at the air strip. The small shed serving as the airline office also holds the post office and the fire service. Next door is a small string of shops with the essentials – grocery, car rental and souvenirs. It is the communication hub of the island, where newspapers and other news come in on the limited number of daily flights.
Little Cayman is ringed with beaches, some white and sandy, others of coral rubble. Exploring and poking around in the sand and among the rocks and shells is an honored pastime for visitors who need a break from reading under the palm tree. You can easily tour the island by bicycle in one day, and many visitors do just that. And you may well not want for more activity in your day because the slow pace in Little Cayman puts you in full-on relaxing mode such that an easy and flat bicycle ride feels like enough activity for the day. A small islet called Owen Island lies off the southern beach. It creates a picturesque scene anchored just offshore with the intervening lagoon throwing off a dozen shades of blue.
Most visitors to the island arrive on a small plane which provides regular flights between the three islands. There is no paved runway, only a grass landing field, but that only enforces the reality of an isolated island getaway. Diving and fishing tourism is the mainstay here, which can raise the population to as high as 600 people when all the guest rooms are full. But each resort is located on sequestered property far enough from the other resorts that you can imagine you are on a private island.
To experience a Little Cayman vacation, though, does not mean having to give up the comforts of home. Even though the population is sparse you’ll find a reliable electricity supply, state of the art telecommunications services and excellent accommodations. Most of the resorts offer guests the expected vacation pleasures of an island resort including diving and sport fishing, spas and fine dining.
If you decide to spend a portion or all of your vacation on Little Cayman you won’t be disappointed and fond memories surely await you. If you really and truly want to get away from the crowds without having to sacrifice comfortable accommodation and good food, Little Cayman is pitch perfect.