Flora & Fauna
Grand Cayman isn’t as lush as some of its Caribbean neighbours. It does however boast a good selection of tropical flora. The best place to see the greatest variety is at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Alternatively, take a hike along the Mastic Trail. Notable varieties include:
- Wild Banana Orchid – This flower is endemic (i.e. found nowhere else) to the Cayman Islands and is the national flower. It has scented flowers with purple tips.
- Silver Thatch Palm – The national tree played an important part in the history of the Cayman Island’s as it was used by the first settlers to construct thatched roofs and weave hats and baskets. The under side of the leaves are a silvery colour while the upper is a light green. The trees frequently reach heights of 30 feet.
If you come to Grand Cayman expecting to find tropical jungles full of exotic wildlife you will almost certainly be disappointed. The island is however, home to a few unique creatures including:
- Grand Cayman Blue Iguana – This vegetarian iguana is endemic to the Grand Cayman. There are only a few left in the wild.
- Agouti – Often referred to as the Cayman rabbit, these shy rodents were introduced to the islands by the early settlers as a source of food. You may be lucky to see one if you take a hike on the Mastic Trail.
- Grand Cayman Parrot – With great camouflage you are more likely to hear the national bird than actually see one. They are most vocal in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Grand Cayman is best known as a diving destination. With visibility of up to 150 feet, you’ve a good chance of seeing some of the following while diving or snorkelling:
- Green Sea Turtle - These reptiles get their name from the colour of their body fat and played an important part in the development of Cayman's economy. They can be seen at Boatswain's Beach. Other species prevalent include Loggerhead and Hawksbill Sea Turtles.
- Southern Atlantic Stingray - The best place to see these is at Stingray City.
- Moray Eel
- Yellow Snapper
- Nassau Grouper
- Sergeant Majors
- Blue Tang