Holiday, Vacation & Tour
Hell Hath No
Meaning As In Grand Cayman
On the picturesque Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, there is place known as Hell. Just a short drive from five-star resorts and pristine beaches, rests an ominous field of brimstone with a fascinating geological history. There are certainly several versions to the story of how Hell got its name. Yet, most variations involve a local official seeing this strange limestone field for the first time and saying, “This is what Hell must look like.” Whatever you may think of this un...
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On the picturesque Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, there is place known as Hell. Just a short drive from five-star resorts and pristine beaches, rests an ominous field of brimstone with a fascinating geological history. There are certainly several versions to the story of how Hell got its name. Yet, most variations involve a local official seeing this strange limestone field for the first time and saying, “This is what Hell must look like.” Whatever you may think of this unique version of Hell, the surrounding West Bay area of Grand Cayman offers some of the best photo opportunities in the Caribbean, while Hell itself promises an unforgettable sightseeing opportunity.
At this point, you are probably wondering what is so hellish about this little Caribbean town. The story is interesting, but certainly nothing to fear.
Approximately 1.5 million years ago, the sea level was 15-20 higher than it is today. As a result, Grand Cayman and many other Caribbean islands were largely flooded. When the water receded, limestone-based coral formations were left behind. Scientists have recognized a large formation of such ancient coral – known as ironshore – covering most of the western half of Grand Cayman.
Ironshore is the central attraction of Hell. Yet, in Hell, the limestone deposits have taken on an ominous shape. In an area about the size of half a football field, you will see exposed black ironshore that has been uniquely weathered to resemble the fires of the netherworld. Though the formations may look like the result of volcanic activity, the limestone was in fact darkened by eroding algae after the sea waters receded. As the limestone was simultaneously exposed to acidic algae and the elements over many centuries, the field of Hell took on its devilish form.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to walk among the limestone formations. However, the viewing platforms grant you a bird’s eye view of the sharp, blackened ironshore. Beyond the rocks of Hell, you will see mangrove trees and the beautiful Caribbean scenery you expect of Grand Cayman.
There is also plenty of fun to be had with Hell’s secondary attractions. At the town’s small gift shop, you will be greeted by the devil himself (or perhaps just a man in costume) with such phrases as, “How the hell are you?” or “Where the hell are you from?” After picking up some “postcards from hell,” you can send your friends and family a unique message courtesy of Hell’s themed post office. Opened in 1962, the post office allows visitors the ability to postmark their Caribbean correspondence from Satan’s hometown.
Just south of Hell, you will find Seven Mile Beach, one of the island’s most famous beaches. Though the beach is only 5.5 miles long, it promises plenty of pristine, powdery sand. Many of the island’s most popular resorts are located along this stretch, as well, yet the beach is rarely overcrowded. At the south end of the beach, you will find more exposed ironshore – further evidence of the formations resting beneath the island’s surface. Though the limestone at Seven Mile Beach wasn’t weathered as dramatically as in Hell, it certainly gives you an idea of the island’s – and the entire Caribbean region’s – unique geological makeup.
The trip to Hell is a short one (the town, that is). Mini buses run throughout the island and Hell is a popular stop. It is even possible to walk to the site from many of Grand Cayman’s resorts – most being about 5-7 miles away. However you choose to get to Hell, the journey will definitely offer scenic views of the island’s West Bay region.
You probably won’t need to spend much time in Hell either. Offering a unique brand of fun, the town and its wicked rocks offer a simple, pleasant family activity. When planning your tour around beautiful Grand Cayman, plan an afternoon stop at the place no one wants to end up (but everyone seems to enjoy).
Hidden Treasures In
The Grand Cayman Islands - Cayman Brac And Little Cayman
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 i...
cayman brac,little cayman,bloody bay wall,jackson point
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."
Snorkeling: A Great Family Activity
With clear waters that have a visibility that reaches 100 feet, Grand Cayman snorkeling sites offer the best view of the world under the sea. Because it is the birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean, beginners can choose from 40 dive operators for their lessons. Grand Cayman snorkeling sites are very calm and almost current-free, giving new divers the chance to gain their confidence in water without being bothered by the thought of being carried away by the curren...
Grand Cayman snorkeling
With clear waters that have a visibility that reaches 100 feet, Grand Cayman snorkeling sites offer the best view of the world under the sea. Because it is the birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean, beginners can choose from 40 dive operators for their lessons. Grand Cayman snorkeling sites are very calm and almost current-free, giving new divers the chance to gain their confidence in water without being bothered by the thought of being carried away by the current. It offers fantastic snorkeling sites that can be enjoyed by both experienced divers and beginners, making Grand Cayman a great place for family fun.
Grand Cayman Snorkeling for Kids
With 40 dive shops distributed all over the island, finding an experienced diver who can coach the children is not a problem. Better yet, this area offers two programs that are perfect for kids: SASY and Bubblemaker. SASY, Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth, is a scuba unit made for kids. Made for snorkeling, six-year-old kids are given some lessons on how to use this unit in a swimming pool before they are taken to the beach or dive boat for a supervised snorkeling experience. Children who are eight to eleven years old can be taught how to use the Bubblemaker. This will allow them to go underwater, reaching a depth of 6 feet.
Adventures for the Family
Grand Cayman snorkeling sites have clear and calm waters that would allow the whole family to have a good view of the diverse marine life below from the surface. After the whole family has taken their Bubblemaker, SASY or snorkeling lessons, they can be taken to the Turtle Farm in West Bay. Although most visitors overlook this Grand Cayman snorkeling site because it is not well-promoted, this spot is worth a look. The children would enjoy viewing the marine life that inhabits this area. Close to the shore, they could view the colorful parrot fish, soft sponges, octopus and seafans that frequent the area near the shore. Of course, swimming amidst sea turtles will make the experience more memorable.
In order to put a touch of history into the trip, taking the family to Georgetown is a great idea. Here, the Wreck of Gamma can be found not far from the shoreline. One can even see it sticking out of the water from the shore. This is an old freighter that crashed against the shoreline and is now crumbling because of corrosion. Children will definitely find the wreck awesome. Because the wreck has become an artificial home for many marine species, they would also enjoy looking at the coral formations in front of the wreck.
The Cheeseburger Reef is another great Grand Cayman snorkeling site to visit. Located next to Burger King, families can go for some burgers, fries and sodas right after viewing the coral formations and feeding the fish that inhabit them. Cheeseburger Reef does sound like a funny for a reef that bears no resemblance to the sandwich but a visit to the nearby fast food place will answer why it gained that name.
With so many unique and wonderful Grand Cayman snorkeling sites to choose from, finding a place that can be enjoyed by the whole family is not difficult.