Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
(and must be returned with) a full tank of gas. And there's no need to worry
about getting lost; only one road circles the island.
While driving on the island, you will soon see that, with under 170 perma-
nent residents, the island's largest population consists of birds and igua-
nas. Over 2,000 Little Cayman rock iguanas live here, so “Iguana Cross-
ing” and “Iguana Right of Way” signs are posted along the road to protect
the large lizards.
For more information on island activities, see the Cayman Brac and Little
Cayman chapters, beginning on pages 197 and 215 respectively.
Sights & Attractions
949-8368, The best way to learn more about
Cayman history and culture is to stop by this museum, just across
from the cruise ship terminals. It is housed in the Old Courts Building, one
of the few 19th-century structures left on the island. Twelve outdoor steps
lead up to the second story of the building; these gave rise to a Cayman
saying, “walking the 12 steps,” which meant you were being taken to court.
Over the years, this seaside building has served as a courthouse, jail, and
meeting hall, and today it houses over 2,000 artifacts that recall the his-
tory of these islands. Created in 1979 by a museum law and opened in
1990, the museum collects items of historic, scientific, and artistic relevance.
Visitors enter on the ground floor and start with an eight minute slide
show about the history of the islands. They then enjoy a self-guided tour of
the museum, with displays on all aspects of Caymanian life. A bathymetric
map displays the depth of the seas around the Cayman Islands, including
the Cayman Trench at 23,750 feet below sea level. Other exhibits recall
facets of natural history: mangrove swamps that create a rich birding en-
vironment; Caymanite, a semi-precious stone unique to the Cayman Is-
lands; and displays on local marine life.
Some of the most fascinating exhibits recall the early economy of the
Caymanians. An oral history program captures the history of the early
turtlers who made a living capturing the now-protected reptiles. Exhibits
show the tools of the early residents, including the muntle, a club used to
kill fish when they were caught; the calabash, a versatile gourd that, once
dried, had many uses; sisal switches used to beat mosquitoes away; and
wompers, sandals worn on the east end, originally made from leather and
later from old tires.
After your museum tour, you'll exit through the museum shop, a good
source of Caymanian-made items. The shop, housed in the old jail with
part of the old coral stone wall still exposed, has a good selection of books
and maps of the Cayman Islands; if you don't have time for a museum tour,
you can enter through the store for a little shopping.
Cayman Islands National Museum , Harbour Drive,
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