Grand Cayman facts for kids

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Grand cayman
Grand Cayman from space, April 1994.

Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands at about 196 km² and contains the capital George Town. Towns on the island are referred to as "districts".

Geography

Grand Cayman encompasses 76% of the territory's entire land mass. The island is approximately 22 miles (35 km) long with its widest point being 8 miles (13 km) wide. The elevation ranges from sea level at the beaches to 60 feet (18 m) above sea level on the North Side's Mastic Trail.

Island districts

Red bay dock and piers
Red Bay Dock and adjacent piers, South Sound, George Town district
GrandCaymanMap
Grand Cayman Districts, towns, villages, and attractions

Grand Cayman Island includes five of the six districts of the Cayman Islands: Bodden Town, East End, George Town, North Side, and West Bay.

  • Bodden Town - Founded in the 1700s, Bodden Town district comprises the central part of Grand Cayman Island, between the George Town and North Side districts. The village of Bodden Town was the original capital of the Cayman Islands. Its population is currently listed at 5,764.
  • East End - The East End district is located at the east side of Grand Cayman Island and consists mostly of the Village of East End, numerous natural attractions, restaurants, and accommodations. Its population is currently listed at 1,371.
  • George Town - The capital of the Cayman Islands and world-famous centre for offshore banking and investments, its population is currently listed at 20,676.
  • North Side - Includes Kaibo, Rum Point, and Breakers. Its population is currently listed at 1,079. Sand Point Cove in Rum Point is home to a Bioluminescent Bay or Bio Bay.
  • West Bay - Has numerous tourist attractions including the Cayman Turtle Farm and the Cayman Motor Museum. Towns in the West Bay district include Seven Mile Beach, Hell, and West Bay Village. Its population is currently listed at 8,243.

The remaining district is Sister Islands, which consists of the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Its population is currently listed at 1,937.

Flora and fauna

Flora

Hibiscus palm
Hibiscus and palm tree on Grand Cayman Island

Of the flora, a good representation of the variety of plant life on Grand Cayman can be found at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park located in the North Side District. Wild banana orchids, ghost orchids, thatch palm trees, red birch trees, mahogany trees and various fruit trees such as avocado, mango, guinep, naseberry, breadfruit, and tamarind. Yellow mastics (Sideroxylon foetidissimum) and black mastics (Terminalia eriostachya) are also seen in the park, as well as on the 2 miles (3.2 km)-long Mastic Trail. Elsewhere outside the park, all of these species can be seen around Grand Cayman, including coconut palm, Casuarina pine, mangrove, and poinciana trees.

Fauna

Central American Agouti Grand Cayman
Central American agouti at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Green sea turtle cayman turtle farm
Green sea turtle in lagoon at Cayman Turtle Farm
East End Blow Hole
East End blow hole

Fauna seen in various locations around the island include blue iguanas (Cyclura lewisi), Grand Cayman amazon parrots (Amazona leucocephala caymanensis), Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), and Gecarcinus ruricola, a species of land crab. The Cayman Islands Turtle Farm located in the West Bay district raises green sea turtles for their meat and to release into the wild.

Through breeding, the farm produces upwards of 1800 turtles a year. Between 1980 and 2006, the farm released approximately 30,600 turtles to the wild; because of a mark placed on each animal, the released turtles have been seen throughout the Caribbean.

There are 4 endemic snake species on Grand Cayman and 2 invasive species. They are all relatively harmless and the largest is the rarely seen invasive corn snake, which may grow to about 5 feet. The smallest grows to about 6 inches and is the invasive brahminy blind snake which is also rarely seen. The most common is the endemic Cayman racer snake. It can grow to approximately 6 feet, but 3-foot specimens are much more common. These snakes tend to race away if encountered and in rare cases will rear-up in a threatening manner if cornered. The Cayman racer snake does carry a mild venom which it uses to imobilise prey, but in large enough doses it can cause significant swelling and brusing if it latches on for an extended period. A simple bite and release does not usually cause any reaction in humans. The other 3 endemic snake species are the Cayman ground boa, Cayman blind snake and Cayman water snake.

Demographics

Of the three islands, Grand Cayman contains approximately 95% of the territory's entire population.

Economy

Offshore banking

There are just under 600 banks and trust companies in the Grand Cayman, including 43 of the 50 largest banks in the world. Because of this large financial presence on the island, banking, investments, and insurance drive the economy in Grand Cayman.

Tourism

Rum point beach
Rum Point beach

Grand Cayman Island has a number of natural attractions: the blow holes in the East End district, the Mastic Trail that runs north to south through the center of the island, Hell in the West Bay, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

Watersports such as scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities on Grand Cayman as the island is known for its coral reefs and underwater sea walls along with a number of shipwrecks.

Because of its clubs, resorts, and hotels, Seven Mile Beach has the largest concentration of visitors and tourists on the island.


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