Of all that Grand Cayman has to offer, the island’s wildlife may be the most gawk-worthy resource. The Cayman Islands are home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean, so of course snorkeling is a must, but even above the water the islands have much to offer for those looking to get in touch with nature.
All three Cayman Islands have designated no fishing and no hunting areas, either labeled as animal sanctuaries or reserves, which helps to maintain species’ counts and prevent damage being done to the islands’ precious ecosystems. On Grand Cayman the Blue Iguana Nature Reserve and the Meagre Bay Pond Animal Sanctuary are two such preservative areas home to unique species.
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The Blue Iguana is native to Grand Cayman, but in 2002 was driven to the brink of extinction when only a dozen or so of the reptiles were still alive. Since then, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program has made strides to protect these bluish creatures, and now over 800 can be found on the island, both in sanctuaries and in the wild. With a lifespan comparable to a human’s and a length of up to 6 feet, these dragon-like lizards are Grand Cayman’s largest land animal. Check them out at the Reserve, or at the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park.
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The many species of birds that find their home on Grand Cayman can be easily spotted in the Meagre Bay Pond Animal Sanctuary. Visitors can enter the pond on their own for self-led tours, or can opt for a walking tour geared toward bird watching or hiking. For more nature walking, we suggest venturing to nearby Mastic Reserve for a hike along the Mastic Trail. See the many unique plants and trees that grow abundantly in the Reserve, including Mastic Trees, Mangroves, Royal Palms and several varieties of orchid.
Finally, you can take a day trip to the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park to see more wildlife. Walk the nature trail to visit iguanas and see the vast variety of flowering plants that are native to Grand Cayman. Or, take a safari tour of the park to learn more about the different species it preserves.