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Among the three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is overwhelmingly the largest, the most visited, and offers the most variety of activities. Where the two smaller islands mainly cater to diving connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts, Grand Cayman welcomes a diverse crowd of people. The local absence of taxes and many of the controls other nations place on their banking systems makes Grand Cayman one of the world's largest offshore financial centers, attracting an international set easily identified by their cell-phones and suits. But by far the larger group is the tourists: Club-goers, beach bums and diving devotees all call the island their paradise. You'll find it easy to enter whichever atmosphere pleases you, whether it's hectic tourist hotspots or remote island hideaways. Choose to spend all your time on the beach and in the nightlife, or use every day to explore one of over 250 diving sites in the island's crystal-clear water.
Nearly everyone arriving, whether by plane at Owen Roberts International Airport or by cruise ship, will end up in the same locale: George Town. That name encompasses both a district, which includes the airport, and the actual capital city of the island. After checking into your accommodation, head to the city's waterfront shopping area. All the shopping here is duty-free, so take a little time to check out stores like Caymania Duty Free and De Sunglass Man & De Watch Man . More importantly, though, you can nosh on one of the island's famous rum cakes here, at Tortuga Duty-Free Liquors & Bakery .
Atlantis Submarine Adventures is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and has recently achieved the unparalleled milestone of hosting more than 10 million passengers worldwide. Today Atlantis is the world leader in tourist submersibles, with operations in nine special locations around the Caribbean and Pacific. It all started in Grand Cayman back in 1985, with the introduction of the Atlantis I Submarine, which quickly captivated the wonder of visitors and island residents alike, by revealing the most amazing marine habitat on the planet. Since those early years there have been many exciting additions to Atlantis Adventures Cayman; the ultra modern, 48 passengers Atlantis XI Submarine, replaced the Atlantis I and the new Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine has joined the fleet. These unique vessels cover the full underwater experience from the teeming shallow reefs and shipwrecks of George Town harbour, to the coral canyons at 100 feet. These adventures are available to virtually everyone, all in air-conditioned comfort, with no pressure effects on ears and you don’t even get wet.
The Atlantis Class Submarine, an advanced technological marvel, was created to allow visitors to witness first-hand an amazing other world in safety and comfort. Your adventure begins with a short boat ride to rendezvous with Atlantis XI. The minute you enter the spacious cabin and take your place in front of your large view-port, you know you’re in for the thrill of a lifetime. Within moments you begin to see intricate coral reef formations and brilliant tropical fish dart within inches. A quick glance at the digital readout reveals you are now at 95 feet, it’s all too easy! A knowledgeable marine guide provides an informative narration throughout the journey. There’s even a choice, take a day tour and observe the swirls of majestic marine life gliding through crystal-clear sun streaked waters or probe the mysteries after dark. At night it’s a different world, the submarine’s lights reveal dazzling colors of the corals and sponges that are subdued during the day.
An enchanting world of fascinating creatures awaits you. Snorkelling is Cayman's greatest, easiest adventure and an activity everyone can enjoy. If you've only fantasized about peeking beneath the sea, there is no safer, gentler and more exciting place to learn this sport than in Cayman's calm, clear, current-free waters. From toddlers to great-grandparents, snorkelling is ideal for all ages and a great family activity too. Our skilled watersports operators are ready to teach you safe snorkelling techniques from the basic levels. You'll practically rub noses with neon fish, float over coral gardens - even stroke a friendly stingray at Stingray City!
There are many ways to enjoy snorkelling. Don't miss Cayman's original tourist attraction, a North Sound Stingray City trip with a gregarious Caymanian captain. Later, hover over tarpon at Devils Grotto and Eden Rock or splurge on a half day cruise with lunch and a sampling of snorkelling stops. You can even join a dive boat and watch divers below. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman offer many gentle adventures on shallow reefs right offshore, as well as snorkelling trips with picnic beach lunches.
Thanks to Cayman's strict Marine Park laws, our protected healthy coral reefs and abundant marine life remain our greatest natural attraction. Grab a mask, fins and snorkel, and discover unlimited fun and unforgettable adventures!
Blue Iguana or Grand Cayman Iguana (Cyclura lewisi)
Blue Iguanais a critically endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Previously listed as a subspecies of the cuban iguana, it was reclassified as a separate species in 2004 because of genetic differences discovered four years earlier. The Blue Iguana is one of the longest-living species of lizard (possibly up to 69 years) and is a national symbol of the Cayman Islands.
The Blue Iguana prefers dwelling in rocky, sunlit, open areas in dry forests or near the shore, as the females must dig holes in the sand to lay eggs in June and July. The Blue Iguana's vegetarian diet includes plants, fruits, and flowers. Its coloration is tan to gray with a bluish cast that is more pronounced during the breeding season and more so in males. It is large and heavy-bodied with a dorsal crest of short spines running from the base of the neck to the end of the tail.
The fossil record indicates that the Blue Iguana was abundant before European colonization; but fewer than 15 animals remained in the wild by 2003, and this wild population was predicted to become extinct within the first decade of the 21st century. The species' decline is mainly being driven by predation by feral pets (cats and dogs) and indirectly by the destruction of their natural habitat as fruit farms are converted to pasture for cattle grazing. Since 2004, 219 captive-bred animals have been released into a preserve on Grand Cayman run by a partnership headed by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in an attempt to save the species. At least five non-profit organizations are working with the government of the Cayman Islands to ensure the survival of the Blue Iguana.