Blue Iguana Safari at QE2 Botanic Park (11am Mon-Sat. US$30ea.,Guided)
Guided tours behind the scenes at the secure Blue Iguana captive breeding facility, are available at 11am daily, every day except Sundays. The 1.5 hour tour also includes a gentle “safari” on foot around the Park’s woodland trails, where you will meet some of the free roaming Blue Iguanas which we have restored to the wild.
To take a Blue Iguana Safari, you need to make your own way up to the QE II Botanic Park, in good time for a prompt 11am tour start from the Park’s visitor centre. The Program doesn’t arrange transport to & from the Park. The Park is about 15 minutes drive from the Compass Point Dive Resort area.
Your Blue Iguana Safari ticket covers your Park entry fee and the full guided tour. Cash (local currency or US dollars) is accepted, as are major credit cards, and local debit cards. All net profits benefit the Blue Iguana Recovery Program.
The tour involves gentle walking of no more than 1 mile, on gravel and crushed rock trails. We regret the tour isn’t suitable for wheelchairs or anyone who has difficultly walking unassisted. You will need sun protection, and should carry something to drink if it is hot. The iguanas are most active when the sun shines!
Expect lots of memorable photo opportunities, but remember the Blue Iguanas are wild animals, living their own lives, so we can’t guarantee how many you will see. You will also enjoy the natural forest, bird life, ponds, lake and gardens as you explore. The tour starts and ends at the Park’s visitor centre with a gift shop, rest rooms, and refreshments available.
The Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) is Grand Cayman’s largest native land animal. It’s a giant, dragon-like blue lizard which grows to over 5 feet long, over 25 lbs weight, and can live as long as humans! Originally a denizen of Grand Cayman’s coastal areas and interior dry shrublands, this magnificent reptile was driven to the brink of extinction, with only about a dozen surviving from the original wild population, by 2002.
The main causes of this catastrophic decline range through habitat destruction and road kills, to the deaths caused by free-roaming dogs, and feral cats. Although these human-caused pressures have led to the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana being the most endangered iguana on earth, they have found that this is one species that can be saved. The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is making remarkable strides: there is great hope for the future of the Blue Iguana, and its extraordinary wild habitat.
Mastic Trail (Tue-Fri, US$30ea., Guided)
The Mastic Reserve on Grand Cayman protects part of the largest contiguous area of untouched, old growth dry forest remaining on the island. The Mastic Trail is of international significance representing some of the last remaining examples of the Caribbean's dry, subtropical, semi deciduous dry forest, which have been the target of particularly intense deforestation throughout the West Indies. The area is home to a wide variety of animals and plants unique to the Cayman Islands.
The Mastic Trail passes through a variety of habitats: Black Mangrove wetland, stands of Royal Palms and Silver Thatch Palms and extensive ancient dry forest. Along the trail, walkers can expect to see now rare trees such as Cedar and Mahogany as well as an exceptionally fine specimen of a Mastic tree, from which the Reserve and Trail take their name. In June, the Wild Banana Orchid (National Flower of the Cayman Islands) blooms on the trailside. A rich abundance of birds inhabit these forests too. Many are tame enough to allow a close approach. Cayman's native Parrot is at home in the Reserve, as is the West Indian Woodpecker and the Caribbean Dove - which is only ever seen in undisturbed areas. Butterflies, lizards, snakes (not poisonous), frogs, large hermit crabs and the carton nests of termites are a few of the other animals walkers may encounter.
The Mastic Trail is 2.3 miles long and the guided walk takes approximately two and a half to three hours. Walkers get the chance to experience a fascinating exploration deep into Cayman's wild interior, in an area where the woodland has been evolving undisturbed for the last two million years.
Please note that the trail is not suitable for children under six years old, the elderly and infirm, or for persons with physical handicaps or conditions that may require emergency medical assistance. The Trust can accept no liability for injuries sustained on the trail.
Remember it is a criminal offence to take any plant or animal from Trust property. The trail is for pedestrian use only: it is much too rough for bicycles or horses. To protect ground nesting birds and other sensitive wildlife, dogs are not allowed on the trail. Poisonous plants such as Maiden Plum have sap which can cause serious skin reactions - so stay on the path and exercise reasonable caution!
Mastic Trail Tours are available on Tuesday through Friday mornings
CI$24 / US$30 per person
Call 749-1121 for reservations, meeting time and directions.
Gorling Bluff Lighthouse Park (Free, Always open, Self-Guided)
Located a 5 minute walk to the West or very short bike ride from Compass Point Dive Resort. Climb 36 steps to the highest point in the district and enjoy a panormic view of the surrounding reefs. Enjoy the informative historical plaques posted around the grounds. An excellent viewpoint for photographers and nature lovers.
Blow Holes (Free, Always open, Self-Guided)
The Blow Holes are located 2.5 miles to the West of Compass Point Dive Resort. Easily reachable by bicycle or a short drive in a rental car. The Blow Holes are caused by waves crashing on the shortline and being forced through a small hole in the rocky shoreline, causing a spout of water blowing up to 40 feet high. The Blow Holes are weather dependent and if the waves are not rolling in, the hole will not blow. Visit the Blow Holes at your own risk. Caution: there are no safety railings installed at the Blow Holes, there is NO lifeguard on duty, there are no steps to enter or exit the water. Stay clear of the edge. Not suitable for small children.