We flew to Little Cayman with Island Air (about 30 minutes), aboard a DeHavilland DHC6-300 Twin Otter -- capacity, about twenty passengers, plus the Captain and his First Officer. It was just a three-night getaway from Grand Cayman (May 27th to the 30th 2000), but our first visit to Little Cayman, and the first time we've left Turtle Nest Inn together in the fourteen months that it's been open. We needed a quick, simple, inexpensive and relaxing escape from innkeeping, and found it!
Shortly after departing from the airport on Grand Cayman (top left), we descended onto the Little Cayman "landing strip", observed by a solitary bird. We passed the open air "hangar", taxied across the main road, and disembarked onto a dirt clearing. There's no airport on LC, and one doesn't really seem needed.
The Hungry Iguana Restaurant & Bar (left), is LC's only independant eatery and "watering hole", and Jan, the chef, makes sure that you eat well. Village Square is the only grocery and general store, selling everything from soft drinks to TVs! On Sundays, though, you make do with what you have. There's one bank, open twice a week, a resident population of about eighty-five, and about four small inns catering to visitors.
Point of Sand, at the northeastern tip of LC and overlooking Cayman Brac, is the island's most attractive beach, and totally undeveloped. There's a sandy clearing that leads from the parking area to the beach (left). We followed everyone's advice and rented a jeep one morning to get there and do a full tour of the island. The folks at Pirate Point Resort kindly prepared lunch in a cooler, allowing us to stop for a secluded picnic. We otherwise got around on foot, or on the bicycles provided by PPR.
Many "iguana crossing" signs dot the main road that circles the island (mostly unpaved), warning you to slow down and give way to these beautiful reptiles. LC is a nature sanctuary, home also to many birds, turtles and crabs. Diving is the island's only "activity" and, like Grand Cayman, offers participants a fascinating, underwater world.
We had booked with Gladys, owner/manager of Pirates Point Resort (fax: 345.948.1011), and five-star chef. As with most hotels on LC, meals were included, and the food at PPR was very good. We stayed in a very spacious and airy, beachfront room, in a self-standing, twelve-sided "hut" which housed a second and similar unit (though not facing the sea). No air conditioning, no TV and no phone, but extremely pleasant, comfortable and restful. As the only non-diving guests (about twenty-five, in all), we had the complete run of the rustic and secluded grounds and pool during the day, sharing only with four cats often perched in a tree. Unlike many parts of Grand Cayman, we didn't see a single dog on LC. There's a common building, housing a bar, lounge, gift shop, kitchen, dining room and helpful staff. We'd call the setting "rustic/Caribbean".
Sam McCoy's Diving & Fishing Lodge (fax: 345.948.0057), run by Mary McCoy, is a little further away from the airfield and other resorts. Beautiful vegetation, a tiny pool, an attractive outdoor bar overlooking the beach and, apparently, very affordable rates. Again, a sort of "rustic/Caribbean" setting.
Southern Cross Club Diving & Fishing Resort (e-mail: email@example.com), run by Peter Hillenbrand, is made up of eleven beachfront cottages, a boat dock and a clubhouse/dining room where the included meals are served. There's a pool, kayaks, bikes, and lots of sand and palm trees, in what we'd call a "fashionable", but more purely "Caribbean" setting.
Little Cayman Beach Resort (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) is the largest and most complete hotel on the island. It's the only two-story tourist facility that we saw on LC, and dominates a complex that includes a spa, small shopping plaza, dining room, pool, beach and an open-air bar. During our brief visit, the LCBR seemed to exhude a sort of "Euro/Caribbean" atmosphere.
The two, condo-type resorts we came across (apartments, with cooking facilities), were Paradise Villas (left), near the airfield, and Conch Club Condominiums, owned by LCBR -- a more upscale and costly complex that seemed a bit out of place and "suburban" against LC's simplicity.
Little Cayman was deliciously peaceful and undeveloped, with fascinating wildlife, and we found the trip quite affordable, particularly given the better lodging rates and airfare offered to Cayman residents. The tranquility was medicinal and the food was great (especially for "semi-vegetarians"), but dining alone as a couple meant taking the meal back to our room, or sneaking off and paying for dinner on the Hungry Iguana's outdoor terrace.
We've never seen as many stars in the sky, anywhere, as we did during a two-mile walk one evening, and having absolutely nothing to do all day was a refreshing and therapeutic change. We don't often find it easy to relax, read and bike, but we had no choice on LC. And, although we aren't inclined to move there, we do intend to return regularly and would certainly suggest an LC side trip to those visiting Grand Cayman.
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