The Princess Cruises cruise through the West Caribbean continues with our next stop in the Cayman Islands for a 4 x 4 Adventure!
A caravan of 4x4s took off for the day exploring this splendid Island…and along the way, ended up in HELL!
Grand Cayman is among the top Caribbean tourist destinations and although we only have a few hours on the island, we set off to find out what makes it so great! Ok, so it’s also regarded as one of the world’s best for scuba diving, and a major offshore financial centre in the Caribbean. But, neither one of those is on our list of things to do today.
We hopped on a transfer bus to a near-by resort where we met our guide, David, and our caravan of 4×4′s. We hopped on, and drove once again, on the wrong side of the road since this IS a British Overseas Territory. We headed out of Georgetown and off to see the island!
The Cayman Islands is about 400 miles south of Miami and is made up of 3 islands: Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, and of course, Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands were first sighted by Christopher Columbus on his 4th and final voyage to the New World in 1503, and he named them Las Tortugas after the many sea turtles occupying the islands. But the name Cayman came about in late 1500′s and was derived from caiman, a local term for aligator. Great Britain took formal control of the Cayman Islands under the Treaty of Madrid in 1670, and in 1962 they became a separate British Overseas Territory.In the video you will see Morgan’s Harbor at the North Sound where we make our first stop.
NOW I feel like I’m a 4×4 safari in the jungle as we make our way along the dirt road with water filled craters in Barker’s National Park. This is Grand Cayman’s Natural mangroves area and first environmental sanctuary on land spanning over 260 acres.. If you want to embrace nature at it’s purest, interested in ecotourism, or avoid cruise ships crowds, THIS would be a perfect place for it all.
The mangroves are important for lowlying coastal lands like Grand Cayman as it offers protection from storm winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also provide nursery protection, food, and shelter for a variety of marine species, as well as nesting areas for coastal birds like pelicans. So they’re extremely valuable for this tropical ecosystem.
We arrived at a gorgeous unspoiled beach in the Park that looked like something out of Giligan’s Island! Now THIS is a slice of heaven! Although the Cayman Islands escaped Ida this time, it wasn’t lucky when Hurricane Ivan unleashed its wrath in 2004. The Cayman Islands experienced more hurricane strikes than any other region in the Atlantic basin. The worst hurricane to hit the islands in 86 years, Ivan destroyed and damaged most of the buildings, and disrupted water and communication systems for months in some areas. Major rebuilding efforts returned the island to pre-Ivan levels in just 2 years.
What’s a visit to the Caymans without a local rumcake tasting and a variety of rum samples to wash it down with? Too bad for those stuck doing the driving…they don’t get to sample all the different local rums!!
After we thought we found haven on this Island, I was not expecting to end up in…… Hell!
And if you’d like to see what Hell looks like, come on, I’ll show you! This my friends, is Hell!!
Ok, so it’s not on fire, but it does resemble charred remains of a hell fire…or one of Gustave’s Inferno images. This surreal looking limestone formation is over a million years old, and different legends float around as to how it’s got it’s name. One obvious one is, This is what Hell must look like. Another one, according to our guide, is because of a British bird hunter who, when near by, used to curse “Bloody Hell” whenever he missed a shot. However it came to be called Hell, the name stuck and it’s become a tourist attraction with all the hellish bells and whistles in souvenir shops, and even a post office so you can send postcards from Hell and wear T-shirts that say: I survived Hell in Grand Cayman. Well, it’s time to get the hell outta here!
Now that we dropped off our 4×4′s, we have just enough time to enjoy a pina colada made from local rum…in just one sip of this delicious ambrosia, you can taste the entire Caribbean! A perfect way to celebrate finding heaven, and surviving hell in Grand Cayman!
This video was made possible via Twitter Press cruise sponsored by Princess Cruises. The content of this show represented the real experience of the participants and content was created without any influence or compensation by Princess or its representatives.