While at Grand Cayman, I was able to visit a place that I was very excited to go to: the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. I was able to get a ride, as the park is roughly a 20 miles drive in the North Side district from the hotel. When I got the opportunity set up to go to Grand Cayman, and I was researching things to do on my trip, this was the first thing I saw, and was excited to go. I knew it was something my wife would have wanted to see as well, had she been able to come with me.
Entrance is KY$10.00/adult, $15.00 for a guided tour. My tour took about an hour and a half. The park is 65 acres of land jointly owned by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust of the Cayman Islands. They have numerous tropical plants that themselves serve as natural habitats for native animals, especially the endangered blue iguana.
Starting at the Visitor’s Centre, the park makes two main loops. First and foremost, the flagship exhibit of the park: the Woodland Trail. This loop is about a mile, and it showcases the ecological diversity of the Cayman Islands, containing more than 50% of plants native to the Cayman Islands. More than half way around the Woodland Trail is the Blue Iguana Habitat. While these iguanas can be seen throughout the park, it is here that houses the Blue Iguana Recover Program.
The second loop, which is really just an extension off of the Woodland Trail, houses four other loops and five exhibits.
First exhibit is the most recently opened Orchid Boardwalk. This exhibit showcases ten different orchids, including three endemic to the Cayman Islands, such as the Cayman Islands Banana Orchid.
Second exhibit is the Xeriphytic Garden. This showcases various succulents.
Third exhibit is the Heritage Garden. This exhibit showcases a Caymanian house with plants that served of great importance to the people of the Cayman Islands throughout its history, like in farming, such as the plantain and banana trees, and in industry, such as the silver thatch palm, whose palm leaves have made everything from rope to thatched roofing. There is also included a homeopathic garden, where herbs were used by Caymanians for various illnesses and injuries.
Fourth exhibit, and my personal favourite, is the Colour Garden. Starting with pink, moving into red, and then throughout the spectrum until lavender, the garden is divided by the colour of the flowers. This garden expertly blends wooded areas with open grassy areas containing trellises and gazebos. It was here that I saw most of the blue iguanas, and a parrot, and took most of my pictures.
Fifth exhibit is a natural lake. This lake serves a natural habitat for many animals, such as iguanas, turtles, ducks, and more. Around the lake grow a variety of palm tree.
Of my stops along Grand Cayman, this was by far my favourite. I know that I need to come back to Grand Cayman and bring my wife, but this is definitely the first major place we will go when we come back. This is a place where I can spend many more hours, perhaps all day, just enjoying the sites and taking it slow.