Passenger Pick of the Month
Little Cayman Beach Resort
I like to encourage my passengers to expand their vacation experience by carving out some time to visit Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. Better yet carve out a week and feel all the tension and stress leave your body. Little Cayman is a nature lovers dream, the island consists of 10 square miles of unspoiled surroundings. Today the island is most commonly known in the diving community as the “Mecca of the Caribbean”. Bloody Bay Marine Park draws the majority of visitors to the island. Jacques Cousteau was inspired by it…it was and is "World Class". Little Cayman Beach Resort is the best diving and luxury beach resort on the island! Having access to one of the world’s top ten dive sites (Bloody Bay Wall) is almost enough to justify the visit, but when one adds an outstanding dive operation, excellent food, and true concierge service, this destination resort on tiny Little Cayman is a rare treasure. Caribbean Travel Life voted them Best Little Hotel 2011.
The island is truly small with the airport, post office and fire department all housed in one building. There is also one shop and one bank on the island so this little gem of an island is a great place to get away from it all. Little Cayman offers peace, relaxation and unspoiled beauty both above and below the water. Make sure while you are there to visit Owen Island, a short 200 yard kayak ride to your own uninhabited island!
The name behind this “Treasure Island” is Linton N. Tibbetts, a man with a passion to preserve both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Mr. T., as he is affectionately known, has for many years been instrumental in promoting the economic and cultural development of the Caymans. He himself resides on Little Cayman and enjoys his favorite past time fishing. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to the Order of the British Empire in honor of his devoted service to the islands. He currently serves on the board of Cayman Brac Power and Light and has over many years worked with the Cayman Island National Museum and the National Gallery. To help preserve the rich history of the sister islands, he and wife Polly built the Little Cayman Museum. While on the island my husband and I toured the museum and found it was a wealth of information. Most recently they provided a major expansion to the Kirkconnell Nursing Home on Cayman Brac called the Tibbetts Annex.
He is the proud father of four children Mary and Donna, David and Dan (both sons deceased), nine grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. The Brac Reef Beach Resort and Little Cayman Beach Resort along with several other family businesses remain under his wise patriarchal guidance. Along with Polly, he frequently visits their home on Little Cayman where he loves fishing, collecting antique tools and island memorabilia and continues to count it a great privilege to introduce visitors to his beloved islands and heritage. Linton Tibbetts died October 6, 2011 after a brief illness.
Little Cayman History
Columbus discovered the islands in May 1503 when severe winds pushed his ships off course. He noted that the sea was full of turtles, so the islands were originally named Las Tortugas. Around 1540, the name Caymanas – derived from the Carib word for marine.
The first settlement was on Little Cayman when turtle fishermen set up fishing camps in the 1600s. Following a raid by a Spanish privateer it was abandoned in 1671 and not re-settled until 1833 when a few families established Blossom Village. By the early 1900s, several hundred people lived on Little Cayman, exporting phosphate ore, coconuts and marine rope.
During the 20th century, Caymanians turned to the sea for their livelihood and became outstanding sailors and fishermen famed for their independent spirit. Many Caymanian men joined the U.S. Merchant Marine and earned reputations as some of the finest ship’s captains and seamen in the world.
The Cayman Islands opted to remain a British Crown Colony when Jamaica voted for independence in 1962.
Little Cayman’s Geology & Wildlife
The three islands are an outcropping of the Cayman Ridge, a submarine mountain range that extends west from the Sierra Maestra mountain range in Cuba. All three islands are low lying and are composed of limestone and consolidated coral.
Little Cayman is the smallest of the three islands – just one mile by ten and the highest point is only 40 feet in elevation. Our undeveloped coastline is full of lagoons, mangrove forests, secluded beaches and salt ponds.
Little Cayman saw few visitors until recent times and this lack of human impact has allowed the wildlife, reefs and marine life to flourish. With a resident population of less than 170 people, most of Little Cayman still remains uninhabited. Conversely, Little Cayman’s indigenous Rock Iguana population is estimated at 2,000. The iguana has the right of way and signs painted by local artists were erected in 1995 cautioning motorists to watch out for them along the main coastal road.
Little Cayman is one of the region’s most important birding areas and the 260-acre Booby Pond Reserve is a RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance). The Booby Pond Nature Reserve protects the largest colony of Red-footed Booby birds in the Caribbean – 5000 pairs. Best viewing times are the early morning, as the boobies leave the colony to fish far out at sea, and just before dusk as they are pursued by the waiting frigate birds. Spectacular chases result, as one or two frigate birds harass a booby until it releases part of its fish catch in order to escape.
The Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac provide a stop off for thousands of birds on their seasonal migration to warmer climates in the West Indies, Central and South America. Island birds include Loggerhead Kingbird, Bananaquit, Thick-billed Vireo, Vitelline Warbler and Zenaida dove. Many species of Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, West Indian Whistling-duck and Black-necked Stilt also nest on the Cayman Islands.
For more information about the Sister Islands, please visit the museums of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac during your visit.