Exploring Grand Cayman
On the Grand Cayman, east of the island's principal town, George Town, lies, predictably enough, the East End. One main road circles the entire East End, running east from George Town, tracing the shoreline as it snakes through small communities such as Bodden Town and Spotts. This road turns north at the end of the island and begins to trace the northern edge of the island, but you can take a shortcut halfway down the island on the Frank Sound Road, the route to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. When it comes out on the north side, the road travels west to Rum Point, a popular destination with vacationers who arrive by ferry from Seven Mile Beach and enjoy a day of fun in the sun. South of Rum Point, Cayman Kai is a quiet residential area filled with beautiful, expensive homes. Rum Point and Cayman Kai look west across the vast, shallow North Sound.
Seven Mile Beach
Across the North Sound from Rum Point and Cayman Kai lies a long stretch of land that is the main destination for most Cayman Islands vacationers. This is Seven Mile Beach, which sprawls north of George Town, sandwiched between the sea and the North Sound. This narrow strip of land may be small but it’s not short on accommodations and restaurants; this is the heart of vacationland. Here dive shops, watersports operators, beach bars, sportswear shops, and fine restaurants stand shoulder to shoulder, separated by some fine-needled casuarina trees. They look out on a calm, baby-blue sea that covers some of the top scuba diving sites in the world.
North to south along Seven Mile Beach runs West Bay Road, the main thoroughfare and one that can sometimes get downright crowded. Along this road you’ll find the lion’s share of Cayman's tourism business.
Along Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman narrows to a skinny stretch about a mile wide, bordered by the beach on the west and North Sound to the east. On its eastern edges, the sea forms a rugged boundary, at some points etching into the land with salt creeks and harbors. The largest harbor along this stretch of North Sound is Governors Harbour, where Governors Creek offers a maze of natural and man-made canals. Today it’s lined with luxury lots and lavish homes, as well as the Cayman Islands Yacht Club.
Finally, Seven Mile Beach ends in West Bay, the clump of land on the westernmost side of North Sound. This area is the home of the Cayman Turtle Farm, one of the most popular attractions with cruise tour operators and a great spot for families.
Traveling north from Seven Mile Beach along West Bay Road, the name of the road changes to North West Point Road and follows the coastline, becoming more and more residential. At the Cayman Turtle Farm, a less traveled road traces the far northern edge of this region, continually switching names along the route: Boatswains Bay Road, King Road, Birch Tree Hill Road, Conch Point Road, Palmetto Point Road. Traveling west, houses become fewer and fewer and the area gives way to a swampy habitat.
Or you can turn away from the coast and head to the inland area of West Bay and to a community called Hell, a popular stop on island tours. Follow Hell Road East onto Reverend Blackman Road and then Batabano Road to North Sound and the fishing community of Batabano. This is the home of Morgans Harbour, starting point for many deepsea fishing cruises and some tours of Stingray City. It’s not as glitzy as Seven Mile Beach, but offers an interesting look at the working side of Grand Cayman.
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