Where to Swim with Sea Turtles in the Cayman Islands

Visitors to the Cayman Islands are able to interact with green sea turtles as part of a decades-old conservation project, as well as swim with them in their natural habitat.

swim with sea turtles

The green sea turtle has been integral to the economy of the Cayman Islands for over 400 years. It’s on the money, the flag, the official seal – it’s even the mascot of the national airline, Cayman Airways. 

These days, the Cayman Islands native green sea turtle is seen not so much as a source of food but a national emblem of marine conservation, raising captive-bred sea turtles and releasing them back into the wild, bringing the once-decimated population back from the brink of extinction.

In the late 1960s, the ‘Cayman Turtle Farm’ was opened by a group of investors to breed green sea turtles in an exclusive deal with the Cayman Islands government. Today, the Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter has a more ecological focus as an important research project and conservation facility, becoming the largest land-based tourist attraction in the Cayman Islands, with up to half a million visitors a year.

It is the only institution in the world that successfully breeds green sea turtles, releases captive-bred sea turtles into the wild, and allows visitors hands-on turtle encounters and swimming with turtles, making a visit to the centre one of the most popular things to do in the Cayman Islands

The 23-acre park also features predators, birds, caiman, and other creatures in addition to its star turtles, which range in size from tiny hatchlings right up to Sparky, a 70-year-old female weighing about 550 pounds. Many of the turtles have been with the centre since it began in 1968.

Turtle Lagoon is a man-made area stocked with algae for the sea turtles and other marine life. Snorkels, swim vests and masks are provided for visitors to get into the water for an up-close encounter as the turtles swim about, scratch themselves on the coral below, or play with one another.

Cayman Turtle Centre

Since 1968, the centre has released over 31,000 turtles into the wild, and each year more captive-bred turtles are released into the Caribbean Sea from beaches around Grand Cayman. As a direct result, green sea turtle nests have recovered from just one in 1999 to over 200 nests today. Researchers say that 90% of the wild nesting green turtles in the Cayman Islands are a result of Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre’s captive breeding and release programme.

With this rebound in the population of the green sea turtles, visitors get the rare opportunity to enjoy swimming with sea turtles in their natural habitat. 

Excellent shore snorkelling and turtle-spotting are possible all around Grand Cayman, with perfect conditions for water activities year-round. Its famous sandy beaches are ideal for watersports thanks to a coastline that features small coves and shallow-water coral reefs adjacent to deep ocean drop-offs. Three well-known turtle-spotting areas accessible from the beach are:

Spotts Beach: A well-known beach about a 20-minute drive from George Town centre, a popular spot to watch the sunset but also the best place to swim wild with turtles in Grand Cayman. A big sea turtle population lives in this seagrass-covered area so you can encounter several turtles while swimming around. Sea conditions can be rough around Spotts Beach and it is not recommended for weak or inexperienced swimmers.

Cemetery Beach: This tranquil beach is on the quieter part of the Seven Mile Beach away from the hustle and bustle of George Town. The sand is powdery fine and there are big sea grape trees to provide shade. The reef system begins around 50 metres from shore. As well as enjoying a turtle adventure, expect to see spectacular corals and colourful fish species, stingrays and nurse sharks.

Turtle Reef: The Turtle Reef near the Grand Cayman turtle farm is a famous scuba diving site. With its shallow reef close to the shore it also provides excellent snorkelling for the whole family. As well as turtles, you can also see a wide variety of fish like parrotfish, filefish, barracuda, grouper, octopus and stingray. Snorkelling in the ocean with Cayman Island green turtles is an unforgettable holiday experience – as is a visit to Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter, where you not only get to touch and swim with turtles but also support the conservation effort while enjoying one of the most talked-about excursions in Grand Cayman.


What Makes the Cayman Islands the Best Wedding Venue?

The Cayman Islands offers the bride-to-be, her groom and their guests the best wedding experience in the Caribbean.

Just an hour from Miami, the Cayman Islands is a tropical island paradise with all the facilities a visitor would expect of an upmarket wedding destination. This autonomous British Overseas Territory boasts some of the best diving in the world, many luxury hotels and resorts, stunning beaches and the highest standard of living in the Caribbean.

Whether it’s a small ceremony at an intimate resort, a fun-filled beach side reception or a large formal affair at a luxury hotel, there’s a Grand Cayman wedding venue to suit every couple and their guests. Caribbean wedding planners have all the experience needed to organize weddings of all kinds — whether it’s a grand affair for hundreds of guests or a small, intimate ceremony for close friends and family.

grand cayman wedding venues
Grand Cayman Wedding Venues

The happy couple and their guests will appreciate the fact that the Cayman Islands is very safe for visitors, with the lowest rate of crime in the Caribbean, making it ideal for a luxury Caribbean wedding trip. It is also an English-speaking territory and the US dollar is freely accepted. No wonder the Cayman Islands is hugely popular with couples planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean.

Read Original Article : CLICK HERE

Charter a Private Boat to Visit Amazing Places in Grand Cayman

Cayman Islands boat operators know exactly where to take you, whether your group is looking for a quiet area for swimming, snorkelling, diving or a spot of fishing, or just soaking up the sun on deck.

Why do visitors come to the Cayman Islands if not to enjoy being in, on or near the ocean? The unique marine environment, the tropical setting, the endless white sand beaches, the crystal clear waters, they all beckon the traveller, with promises of adventure and exploration.

And there’s no better way to experience all this than on a boat, cruising, snorkelling, fishing and exploring the spectacular sights on a Grand Cayman boat charter.

A wide range of charter boat companies operate in the Cayman Islands, serving the diving and watersports sectors as well as offering more relaxed cruises and activities that appeal to visitors looking for entertainment rather than pursuing a favourite activity.

Most boat trips, especially those popular with groups of cruise passengers and families, are conducted inside the North Sound, a large area of calm water protected by the reef that almost completely circles Grand Cayman. The North Sound area, measuring some 35 square miles, is popular with divers and snorkelers of all abilities and is also the home of the world famous Stingray City.

Half-day and full-day tours to Stingray City usually begin with a 25-minute boat ride to a beautiful sandbar within the reef, where the crystal clear water is no more than four feet deep and dozens of very friendly Southern Stingrays are waiting to greet visitors. These graceful fish are so used to humans they swim right up, nudging and encouraging visitors into the water to touch them and offer scraps of squid.

Other highlights of day tours usually include a visit to Coral Gardens to view the colourful corals and the teeming marine life that lives there. A nearby attraction, Starfish Point, is an opportunity to swim and enjoy a close-up encounter with starfish as well as schools of local fish.

These tours, usually of 30–50 people, are great value for money and usually include free use of snorkel gear as well as complimentary drinks and, on full day tours, lunch. Passengers can be dropped off afterwards at the cruise ship dock, boat marina or just about anywhere along Seven Mile Beach.

Group tours follow a set itinerary, and can be crowded if a large tour group is booked, but are reasonably priced. Private charters, on the other hand, give flexibility in itinerary, allowing you to choose where to go, when to start off, whether to stop off for lunch somewhere, and generally enjoy an intimate time with your friends and family.

Charter options allow families or small groups to enjoy the famous Cayman watersports activities without the crowds. Charter operators know exactly where to go if your group is looking for a quieter area for swimming, snorkelling, diving or a spot of fishing, either inshore on the reef or farther out where the big game fish patrol the depths.

A great feature of fishing the Cayman Islands is that incredibly deep water is so close to shore that it is only a short boat ride to get to there, meaning there’s more time spent fishing than getting to the fishing grounds. Barely a quarter of a mile from shore, outside the reef, the drop-off plummets more than 2,500 feet before plunging again to the bottom of the Cayman Trench, a further 20,000 feet deeper.

Whether you’re catching dinner on a Grand Cayman fishing charter, relaxing on deck soaking up the Caribbean sun on a private cruise, or having a swim among the corals and stingrays with your tour group, there is a Cayman Islands boat charter to suit everyone’s budget and taste.

Original Source: https://medium.com/@CaymanGuide/charter-a-private-boat-to-visit-amazing-places-in-grand-cayman-e158ac0a89f1

Changing Your Cayman Wedding Plans Due to Covid-19

Every year, hundreds of brides-to-be flock to the Cayman Islands for the wedding of their dreams, but what to do when your plans are wrecked by a global pandemic?

While some Caribbean countries are talking about reopening their borders to tourists as early as June or July, the Cayman Islands is taking a cautious approach and the anticipated reopening of local borders on 1st September is looking increasingly unlikely because of the increasing scale of infection in our largest visitor market, the US. For the time being, the destination wedding business in the Cayman Islands is not optimistic about returning to business as usual until 2021.

Meanwhile, for the foreseeable future, the only people getting into the Cayman Islands are Caymanian, permanent residents, work-permit holders or foreign homeowners. All are quarantined for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival. Obviously this is not going to work for the Grand Cayman destination wedding business, and the global lockdown has been devastating for couples in the midst of preparation, and for local wedding vendors and planners.

The prospect of having to cancel a wedding is hard: It takes months of planning and it’s a huge expense. Turning to the pros for guidance will help navigate an otherwise tricky scenario. If you have a Caribbean wedding planner, talk to them. They might have dealt with similar situations in the past or they’ll have advice that’ll make you feel like you don’t have to cope with everything on your own.

if you don’t have a Grand Cayman wedding planner, contact your venue and vendors to find a backup date that works, and a deadline for when you need to decide by. Get it all in writing and have a timeline for when you need to make critical decisions. Make a deposit if needed to reserve any backup dates, making sure that it can be applied to both current or postponed events.

Across the Cayman Islands, there are wedding planners, florists, venues, caterers, photographers, DJs and rental companies all trying to sort out how to support couples and their guests under fast-changing public health rules, or prepare for next year. Flexibility and good planning are going to be necessary for everybody concerned. Here are a few important pointers:

Look at Your Contracts All the vendor you’ve hired will have their own rules about postponing or canceling, so it’s vital you read the fine print in your contract before getting in touch. Most important is the contract you have with your venue, as most will have a rescheduling clause that could help you avoid major cancellation costs.

Wedding Vendors Have Already Been Paid. Now What? Wedding vendors are generally being considerate and sympathetic with date and venue changes. If you plan to postpone your wedding, most vendors are ready to reschedule. If you plan to cancel your celebrations, tell your vendors as soon as possible and come to a mutual agreement regarding the refunds.

Whether to Cancel..? Cancellation is a worst-case scenario. In many cases, you will lose your original deposit and the vendor will have to decide if they are going to give part of a non-refundable deposit back due to the special circumstances.

…Or Postpone? Due to the severity of the pandemic lockdown, some vendors are allowing date changes without an additional fee, but be aware that dates for next year may come with additional rate increases. Postponement will also put significant pressure on the 2021 wedding season, with potentially double the number of couples looking to tie the knot, so competition could be fierce.

What Should Be My New Wedding Date? This is the question on everybody’s lips. The situation continues to change with regards to Covid-19 in the Cayman Islands as well as the outside world and while nobody can predict the government’s plan for the next three weeks, never mind the next three months, the best advice is to hold off, and only begin planning a wedding after the lockdown is lifted. With the September reopening date for the Cayman Islands already looking unlikely, starting to plan for anything before October would be unwise.

Small Wedding, Big Reception Consider changing to a small, private ceremony in your home town, following local rules on social distancing, then throw the Cayman Islands reception of your dreams at a later date when restrictions are lifted and gathering in large groups is again safe. Planning a wedding reception for a future date can also be the best way to continue to work with the vendors you’ve already hired, as your deposit and payments could be used towards the new event.

It’s stressful enough to plan a wedding without a global pandemic throwing everything into chaos. So much time and effort went into something that you thought would be happening in the next couple of months. Feeling disappointed or frustrated is normal. Take support from your family, friends and your partner as you make difficult decisions about what to do next.

Original Source: https://medium.com/@caymanislandsinfo/changing-your-cayman-wedding-plans-due-to-covid-19-bf2bed8c0675

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started