It is likely that the vast majority of Cayman Islands’ tourists visit Grand Cayman, our largest island and the home of world famous Seven Mile Beach. With the greatest development and a rich plethora of historic and natural sites and attractions, it’s not surprising.
But the Sister Islands, to the east, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, should take no backseat to their larger sibling.
Cayman Brac, specifically, is a naturalist’s paradise that offers breathtaking views, natural wonders - both terrestrial and aquatic - as well as historic sights and attractions.
No trip to the Cayman Islands is complete without a visit to our easternmost island. Here are 7 must-see attractions when you visit, courtesy of a local Cayman real estate company!
1. The Great Cave
The Great Cave, accessible at the end of South Side Road, is the largest cave in Cayman Brac (which features many limestone caves carved by aeolian and marine erosion). The natural beauty of limestone formations is on full display here, and includes stalactites, and stalagmites; the caves are also home to bats and many other endemic species.
Bring comfortable footwear and a camera!
2. The Bat Cave
The Bat Cave is another of Cayman Brac’s many limestone caves. Though this one is smaller than the Great Cave, it offers what is likely your best chance to catch a glimpse of a fruit bat or even a barn owl. Low-light hours are best.
Visitors also comment on the natural beauty of the area, specifically on the natural color shifts in the rocks that constitute the cave. A picture says a thousand words, an experience a million; don’t miss it!
3. The Lighthouse
Cayman Brac definitely has something the other islands don’t: topographical variation, and the Lighthouse Footpath, which runs two and a half miles along the Bluff (see below) showcases the best of it!
This trail is not a loop, so be prepared for the trip in and the trip out (5 miles total) and bring plenty of water. It will bring you up to the lighthouse, which was built in the 1930s and towers 131 feet above Cayman Brac.
4. The Cayman Brac Museum
Grand Cayman might get the lion’s share of attention because it is home to the Bodden Town Mission House and Pedro St. James Castle - but how about the oldest museum in the Cayman Islands?
The distinction belongs to the Cayman Brac Museum, which, as you can imagine, is across the waters from Grand Cayman!
Many of the artifacts on display at the Cayman Brac museum are on loan from community residents and showcase the life and times of those living on the Sister Islands - not just Cayman Brac but also Little Cayman.
Exhibits feature curiosities that tell the history of turtling, ship-building, medicine, and much more - anything that has touched the lives of locals. While many artifacts represent relatively recent history, some date back over 1,000 years.
The best part of this attraction? Admission is free!
5. The Parrot Preserve
The National Trust Parrot Preserve, also known as the Brac Parrot Preserve, comprises 282 acres of protected land right in the heart of Cayman Brac.
The National Trust Parrot Preserve is rich in botanical and avian biodiversity and is home to a striking range of native flora and avifauna.
Specifically, the Parrot Preserve is home to the Cayman Brac Parrot, a smaller subspecies of the Grand Cayman Parrot.
The Cayman Brac Parrot, Amazona leucocephala hesterna, sports a bright green iridescent body and wings with red cheeks and black ear patches and is distinguished by its white forehead and maroon belly.
Additionally, the Parrot Preserve is home to a wide range of other colorful and interesting species, including but not limited to thrushes, vireos, and pigeons.
6. The MV Keith Tibbetts
Artificial reefs produced by intentional scuttling of retired vessels are among the most biodiverse underwater shelters in the world - and certainly the most effective manmade ones.
The MV Keith Tibbetts is actually an old Russian frigate that was given to Cuba in the 1980s. The Cubans had no use for it and sold it to the Cayman Islands for the purpose of creating an artificial reef, which they did.
Today, the MV Keith Tibbetts, also known as the “Captain Keith,” lies just 200 yards off the northwest shore of Cayman Brac in about 60 to 90 feet of water.
It is a popular site with boaters, snorkelers, and scuba divers hoping to get up close and personal with angelfish, rays, barracudas, grouper, and of course, the sea turtles for which the Cayman Islands are famous.
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan broke the wreck apart and it now lies in two pieces, creating even more structure among the ruins for wildlife to inhabit and for intrepid divers to explore.
7. The Bluff (Of Course!)
Last but certainly not least, no trip to Cayman Brac would be complete without a trip to the breathtaking bluff from which the island draws its name.
Indeed, “Brac” is a Gaelic name for bluff, and at the island’s eastern end, the bluff rises to a height of more than 141 feet above sea level.
The Bluff, like the Parrot Preserve, is an important natural ecosystem, and the forests around it are considered an Important Bird Area that are home to warblers, pigeons, vireos, and even Caribbean elaenias.
Some of the best views along the bluff can be seen from the Lighthouse Footpath, mentioned above. Just make sure you spend some time getting familiar with this most beautiful feature of our gorgeous island.
Make It Home: Work with a Cayman Real Estate Company
For those of you that visit Cayman Brac and find it harder to leave than you’d expect, consider making it a home away from home with the help of a Cayman real estate company.
We are a member of CIREBA and since the 1970s have been helping buyers from all around the world realize their dreams of homeownership in the Cayman Islands. We connect our clients with luxury real estate across all three islands.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Cayman Islands real estate market or properties for sale, get in touch with us at 345-949-5250.