Cayman Time

Cayman Blog from The Reef Resort in Grand Cayman

Author Archives: NinaZ

The Reef in Travel & Leisure Magazine

One of the world’s premiere travel magazines, Travel & Leisure, is offering their readers an economic approach to travel for December (www.travelandleisure.com). As the economy falters “luxury” will become redefined and less prominent than the experience itself. The Arabian Business News had a very interesting article entitled; What is Luxury? (www.arabianbusiness.com/537435-what-is-luxury). The article defines luxury as the opposite to what is currently being offered as mass-market styled luxury and takes a look at the luxury of tomorrow: bespoke, one-of-a-kind, and eccentric. How refreshing!

For readers of Travel & Leisure, enjoy this month’s issue and as you browse through the pages see if you can find properties that are redefining luxury. We at The Reef Resort define luxury as “simple”: simple travel, simple relaxation, and simply doing nothing. Check out our offer on page 34. We invite all readers of Travel & Leisure to come experience the resort and simply do nothing!

21st annual Taste of Cayman

Foodies and wine enthusiasts looking for a culturally-cool island event may want to check out the 21st Taste of Cayman, Food & Wine Festival (CITA’s) at Camana Bay, Grand Cayman. The event will showcase local and international cuisines from over 30 restaurants amongst a plethora of activities from wine tastings, food sampling and cultural events. The event date is November 22, 2008 and don’t forget Cayman Airways is offering some great deals out of Chicago, IL and Washington D.C./Baltimore area as new airlift is now available from these cities via Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles Airport. For more information on CITA visit www.tasteofcayman.com.ky

Cayman Airlines now offers airlift from Dulles International Airport with rates starin

Do you live in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. area? If so booking a flight to Grand Cayman got a whole lot easier. Book a round trip ticket from Dulles International Airport (IAD) with Cayman Airways and The Reef Resort. www.reef.com will provide a $200 resort credit, just present a Cayman Airways Washington D.C. boarding pass upon check-in and receive your resort credit upon check-out. Hurry now the booking window is today through October 20, 2008 with travel dates between December 13, 2008 through March 7, 2009. Who says Christmas doesn’t come early! Of course restrictions apply, and island taxes and such are not included so check out the details at: www.caymanairways.com/dulles and of course the friendly folks at The Reef Resort can also answer any questions
email: reservations@thereef.com

The Reef Resort institutes Simplicity

Do Us A Favor Take A Vacation! An article from Business Week Magazine (www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_21/b4035088.htm – 58k) echoes a few of the reasons The Reef Resort is dedicated to providing Simple Relaxation. The resort is committed to giving their guests the tools to simply relax, and ensure everything about traveling to the resort is simple. The Reef now has in place a Simple Hurricane Policy, a Simply Fit Gym, a Simple booking process and the new spa; Le Soleil Spa uses simply the best products. Click back to the homepage for a few Simple Relaxation techniques or better yet call reservations today and book a Simply All Inclusive Vacation getaway. reservations@thereef.com

Travel like a local

Some of the best experiences on Grand Cayman aren’t found on the “tourism” developed 7-mile beach. Take a hike to the “inner sanction” of the island and feel like a discoverer as the Mystic trail offers a two mile stretch back in time – dating back at least 100 years through one of the last remaining example’s of the Caribbean’s dry, subtropical forests allowing guests to glimpse plants and animals that are unique to the Cayman Islands.

Another note of interest; Grand Cayman has seven protected bird sanctuaries, including the QE II Botanic Park, Colliers Pond, Salina Reserve and the Majestic Reserve. Among species sighted in Grand Cayman are the Tricolor Herons, Common Moorhen, Green Herons, Black-necked Stilts, American Coots, Blue-winged Teal, Cattle Egrets and rare West Indian Whistling Ducks. Visit the Cayman Islands website for additional information on unique activities: www.caymanislands.ky/activities

Two Caymanian restaurants are just minutes away from the resort and yes, you can hob-knob with the locals as both restaurants serve traditional island favorites. Contact the onsite concierge for directions and details; concierge@thereef.com

  • Vivian’s Kitchen, serves up traditional Caymanian cooking — turtle soup, conch specialties and more
  • Over the Edge, a local’s favorite where guests feast on fresh, just caught seafood including lobster at a very fair price.

Women Power – It’s a girl thing you wouldn’t understand!

Women are influencing every aspect of the marketplace and travel is no exception. Did you know twenty-four percent of American women have taken a girlfriend getaway in the past three years and 39 percent of American women plan to take one in the next 3 years? (AAA Girlfriend Travel Research Project #070005) The Reef Resort offers a variety of girlfriend getaway packages: Cheat’en Husbands getaways (perfect for the women whose husbands have strayed) and Beach Chic Escapes (a getaway for women who love all things beach). Women will relish the resort’s large beaches; all oceanfront rooms and the resorts off-the-beaten path location, all are ideal for rejuvenating friendships. Contact reservations for additional rates, packages and special offerings. reservations@thereef.com

Looking to book a flight to the Caribbean?

The news is gloom and doom regarding airfare to the Caribbean. With a bit of planning and knowledge travelers can fly to the Caribbean painlessly and also book a decent fare, visit The Window Seat at Travelocity www.windowseat.travelocity.com. This site is very informative and delivers up-to-date news when flying to the Caribbean.

Planning a Destination Wedding?

From 2001 to 2006, destination – wedding spending grew by 318 percent at constant prices, from $3 billion to nearly $10 billion with resorts and lodging in exotic or tropic locales stand to gain the most growth, reported in the April 2008 issue of Kiplinger Finance. Did you know that Grand Cayman, due to its financial strength offers some of the best wedding vendors in the Caribbean and beyond? Destination weddings on Grand Cayman have been popular for many years, and The Reef Resort, has seen a dramatic increase in weddings.

The resort’s off-the-beaten path location, 1,600 sq.-ft. beach, (the largest on the island) all beachfront suites, the new spa, plus their one wedding a day guarantee have made the resort an increasingly popular choice. Linda Locke, the onsite wedding coordinator, has recently launched a unique pre-destination wedding scouting trip to the island. The package was developed as a romantic getaway weekend for the newly engaged couple that is making a decision on where to host their destination wedding. “This idea dawned on me one day as I wanted couples to come and experience the island and the resort plus meet with photographers and florists, and review catering options, locations and more. The purpose of the package was to prepare and educate couples to make sure their wedding day was seamless, joyful, and memorable. Brides and grooms today are concerned with planning a family-friendly wedding, since families play such a huge role.

Couples want to consider their family’s wants and desires and there is no better person than a family member to make the final judgments.” Contact Linda at www.theknot.com and or Destination Weddings www.destinationweddings.com

What is the passport card and is it necessary?

The Passport Card is a new card issued by the U.S. Government and is used for entrance into the U.S. via Canada, Mexico, seaports and for use with cruises but it cannot be used for air travel. Why get it? Read more by clicking below, and see for yourself why you may or may not need this card.
Please visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

What is a Sea Safari?

Most travelers are familiar with safaris in Africa but did you know Grand Cayman offers its own sea safari? A Grand Cayman styled safari is an ocean adventure using a kayak as opposed to a Jeep or Land Rover but the premise is the same for a sea safari. Like an African safari, a sea safari offers snapshots of nature in motion. A sea safari offers travelers opportunities to explore secluded shorelines, inlets, bird-nesting areas, and mangrove communities. An experienced guide will point out scenes of interest and describe the importance and interdependence of these fragile ecosystems with the surrounding coral reefs. A refreshing swim and snorkeling around a healthy coral head is also part of the adventure. A nighttime outing will allow travelers to enjoy the phosphorous glow from the plankton below and if the moon is full, guests can see bioluminescent ocean plants. Very memorable. Visit online to learn more, www.caymankayaks.com

Scuba diving the East End of Grand Cayman is an organic experience

“Did you know one-half of U.S. adults, or 98 million people, have taken an adventure trip in the past five years,” reported from Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). What you might not know is the East End of Grand Cayman Island provides some of the best organic snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean, as this area is one of the most undisturbed on the island with new dive sites being discovered regularly. The Beach Locker, a satellite dive center operated by the resorts dive partners, Ocean Frontiers, is now open. Note, Ocean Frontiers is a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm IDC Center offering all levels of instruction from a basic beginner lesson in the pool to Divemaster and Instructor programs. A brand new all inclusive dive package is available and affordable contact reservations@thereef.com

International Fall Travel maybe a better bet than domestic travel

Peter Greenberg renowned travel expert reported in his latest newsletter, “This fall, international travel is set to be a much better experience than domestic travel. As carriers cut U.S. routes and raise domestic fares, overseas routes will be largely unaffected because of the long-standing bi-lateral agreements between countries, which make airlines reluctant to give them up. Prices may even go down from previously steep levels, as airlines cut prices in an attempt to stimulate demand in this sluggish economy. In fact, this Thanksgiving you may want to consider going to London instead of to Grandma’s house in Louisville for dinner – because overseas airfares are almost the same as domestic fares. Don’t believe us? A quick check on Expedia.com reveals that it costs $563 to fly from JFK to LAX over the Thanksgiving holiday, and only $641 for a roundtrip from New York to London. Atlanta to San Francisco costs $472, but for only $57 more, you could go to Montego Bay, Jamaica instead.” Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Irish Times by Karen Elowitt for PeterGreenberg.com. This is a great travel site to learn the latest and greatest: sign up for Greenberg’s free newsletters at www.petergreenberg.com

Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park – a true island treasure

Did you know you can find all things native to Grand Cayman in just one place? Visitors to the island will want to make the trip to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, www.botanic-park.ky The park was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth and guests can transverse more than 25 acres experiencing Grand Cayman of old, as this is an undistributed wilderness, a sanctuary if you will, of all that is natural and indigenous to Grand Cayman. Visitors can even spot the elusive Blue Dragon, an extremely endangered species with only 20 or so left in the wild. To support the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, The Reef Resort has designed a program entitled; Adopt a Dragon, where guests can experience a Blue Dragon vacation, and The Reef Resort will donate $25 to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. Call reservations today and ask about the Blue Dragon Vacation package and for additional information on the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme visit: www.blueiguana.ky or book Adopt a Dragon vacation contact reservations@thereef.com

Keep that tan

Keep that tan going right into the holidays as the resort is “Right smack on the beach” said Caribbean Travel & Life magazine in a recent editorial that featured the resort. No surprise as the property offers 1,600 sq.- ft. of creamy, sandy beaches; the largest on the island. Forget towel touching, just relax and enjoy this off-the-beaten-path hideaway on the East End of Grand Cayman. Call for rates and keep Indian Summer Alive.

The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman adopts Dragons Save the Blue Iguanas

(Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – 2008) The Blue Iguana is an incredible, dragon-like creature endemic to Grand Cayman, and today, man and nature have diminished 90 percent of the Blue Iguana population. “The Reef Resort’s employees and management team are passionate about the environment where we live and prosper so it’s only fitting we assist the National Trust and National Art Gallery to raise funds and awareness for the Blue Iguana Recovery Program,” stated Tom McCallum, director at The Reef Resort Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. The Trust’s original captive breeding facility is located close to the resort in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (QE2) and now houses 100 hatchlings, 100 second-year juveniles, and about 40 adults at an annual cost of US$950.00 per Blue Iguana. This facility offers ticketed guided tours and total submersion in the life of these magnificent creatures.

The Reef Resort, located on the secluded East End of Grand Cayman, announced a new fundraising package entitled Adopt a Dragon to support the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. Each time the package is booked, the resort will donate US$25 and the family will receive a certificate of appreciation. Winter package rates (1.5.08 – 3.28.08) start as low as US $1990 for a family of four including taxes while summer (3.29.08 – 12.20.08) package rates start at U.S. $1650. This five-day package includes a car rental pick up at the airport, a Safari tour of the Botanic Park and the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, plus a self-guided tour around Grand Cayman discovering the Blue Dragon Trail – a quazi “where’s Waldo” type of adventure.. “Conservation on Grand Cayman is a way of life and it’s our hope that families and children who book this package will learn the importance of preservation and have fun while they do it,” added McCallum.

It’s a natural connection, with The Reef Resort being so close to our centre of operations,” states Blue Iguana Recovery Programme director, Fred Burton. “We’ve worked hard to make our Blue Iguana breading facility interesting and accessible to visitors, and it’s very exciting to see how growing public interest is starting to help pay for the conversation work that is so desperately needed for these magnificent creatures.”

Families who book Adopt a Dragon will be emailed a handy link that directs guests to The Reef’s website, www.thereef.com, with links to the programme’s newsletter, The Blue Iguana Tales, and other informative websites. Upon check in, families will receive a brochure on the plight of the Blue Iguana, plus a Blue Dragon island trail map. The Blue Dragon Trail is a self-guided tour, mapped by the National Trust and Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Families will find this trail to be a wonderful opportunity to get creative and invent a fun car game to spot the fifteen
colorful Blue Iguana sculptures that traverse the island from the 7-mile beach to the shores of Rum Point, plus several other family-friendly parks. The highlight of the trip, however, will undoubtedly be visiting the captive breeding facility where guests can see Blue Iguanas of all ages, from hatchlings to over 5-foot-long adults that can weigh over 25 pounds, all within reach. A guide tells the story of each dragon, their history stage of life and what they are doing to fight extinction.

To extend this animal vacation adventure, families also can visit the Butterfly Farm, swim with the stingrays at Stingray City, visit the Cayman Island Turtle Farm, or snorkel, and feed the fish off the private dock at The Reef Resort, all of which can be coordinated through The Reef’s onsite concierge, concierge@thereef.com. For additional information on this package or other packages offered at The Reef Resort, visit online at www.thereef.com or call/email reservations at 888.232.0541 reservations@thereef.com.

To learn more about the plight of the Blue Iguana, visit www.iguanafoundation.org/index.php; www.blugiguana.ky www.caymanislands.ky/bluedragon/index.htm; or www.nationaltrust.org.ky/info/blueiguana-con.html

The Reef Resort Weddings – Casual Celebrations by the Sea

(Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Island – April 2008) Destination wedding seekers desiring an intimate yet casual affair, a one-wedding-a-day guarantee, and the largest beachfront with 1,600 feet of pure heaven need look no further than The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman. This all-suite, beachfront property offers this and much more. Upon check-in, the bride and groom will receive a chilled bottle of champagne, a box Cuban-cigars, handmade gourmet chocolates and island bath treats. This casual celebration by the sea includes; a wedding arch of bamboo and conch shells lined with rose petals, a Caymanian marriage officer, beach ceremony and license, plus a sumptuous wedding cake, with Dom Perignon Champagne toast a professional wedding photographer a soloist, and a bridal bouquet and groom boutonniere. Caymanite precious gemstones (choice of blessing stones or pendants), and a morning-after breakfast in bed for two is also included. New this year is a private beach butler for the couple, waiting on the newlyweds as they dine by candlelight sea-side. The bride and groom will relish their spacious deluxe beachfront studio suite with patio or balcony, and truly enjoy the in-room Jacuzzi, priced at U.S. $4,995, Winter (1/5/08-3/28/08) Summer/Fall $4,500 (3/29/08 –12/20/08) including a five night stay. Additional wedding packages are available at www.thereef.com or contact the on-site concierge at concierge@thereef.com to accommodate special guest’s requests pre-arrival to ensure a truly magical and memorable wedding day.

Couples wanting to disengage from everyday life and reacquaint themselves with one another can do so easily at The Reef Resort as the quiet East End provides endless opportunities for hand-holding walks on smooth, white, sandy beaches and hours of daydreaming in a hammock under a coconut palm with a tasty Piña Colada in hand. Adventurous couples can scuba dive or snorkel – both of which the East End is known for and/or enjoy a couples massage in the brand new spa, Le Soleil Spa. Other island adventures include an awe-inspiring bio-luminescent or sunset kayaking tour, a Jolly Roger cocktail cruise, horseback riding, a bubble-sub tour, or couples may choose to just sit back, relax, and breathe in the cool island breezes from their private beachfront balcony or patio while engaging in a fun board game which are available at the front desk.

Expanded wedding options: island wedding specialists, photographers, and one-of-a-kind menu options in conjunction with the Reef’s on-site wedding coordinator; weddings@thereef.com. can be emailed for additional information, and to request rates, inquire about other wedding packages, resort amenities, and island entertainment call/email reservations at 888.232.0541 or reservations@thereef.com.

Meetings Made for Beach Lovers at The Reef Resort Grand Cayman

(Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Island –2008) According to the 2006 Maritz Travel Insight Survey, “31 percent of incentive travelers ranked beach, sun, and water locations as the most motivational”. The Reef Resort’s distinct East End location on Grand Cayman Island immerses meeting attendees in the Grand Cayman of old, as this location has a distinct unhurried vibe unlike the sprawling, tourism-developed 7-Mile Beach. “We provide a full-blown water destination as the resort boasts the largest beach (1,600 sq. ft.) on the island, and each guest will enjoy a beachfront suite,” stated Tom McCallum, Director of The Reef Resort. “Other distinguishing attributes are a private dock, an on-staff complimentary concierge service, a world-class, on-site scuba dive company, a beachfront casual restaurant and a formal dining experience, plus each guestroom offers a private balcony and/or patio with jaw- dropping 180 degree views of the color-changing waters of the Caribbean Ocean. This unique location inspired an exclusive resort guarantee – “only one meeting a day” to ensure the feeling of spaciousness, which parallels the same feeling as the resort and East End,” added McCallum. The new meeting space can host up to 90 attendees, is over 900 sq. ft., and is easily divided by two.

The goal of the resort is to be an intimate meeting destination and offer a Grade-A experience. To achieve these goals The Reef Resort has partnered with Bound for Success, an experiential training program designed to develop employees by taking them out of the traditional meeting room, and challenging them intellectually, emotionally, soulfully and physically while utilizing a series of psychologist-developed scenarios within a safe and controlled outdoor environment. The company provides a one-day master course specifically designed to assist participants who are faced with complex and challenging situations to develop self esteem and confidence while improving a variety of character traits such as goal setting, decision making and problem solving skills. The program starts at U.S. $450 per person per day and uses an attractive, tracking-mechanism referred to as the “bounder’s log,” which oversees the development of each participant during the course of a day and then collates these benchmarks into measurable results and ROI.

Meeting planners yearning for a once-in-a-lifetime experience can visit the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park to view the critically endangered Blue Iguana up close and personal. Locally known as the “Blue Dragon”, these iguanas are native to, and found only on Grand Cayman Island at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, and it is estimated that approximately only 20 of these magnificent creatures exist in the wild. Visitors to the botanical park will be treated to a unique opportunity, upon which they will see hatchings and up-to-5-foot-long adults. “To witness these creatures in their natural habitat is emotionally grounding and brings conservation to the forefront,” stated Fred Burton, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program Director.

Beyond exceptional eco-adventure opportunities, The Reef Resort also offers a full service food and beverage team eager to please their guests, preparing delicious Caribbean-style cuisine and continuously working with planners to provide a gastronomic delight at every meal. Additionally, the dedicated sales team and on-site event coordinators will cater to the needs of meeting planners to ensure a memorable and results-oriented event as the resort prides itself on its Nordstrom’s approach to customer service.

Grand Cayman Island and The Reef Resort presents meeting planners with a variety of eco-adventures options from bio- luminescent or mangrove kayak tours, snorkeling opportunities, and a plethora of island excursions visit www.caymanislands.ky. Spa goers will also delight as the resort has recently opened a brand new spa Le Soleil Spa, and a new suite of guestrooms has now opened
as well.

Meeting package prices start at U.S. $150 per night per person plus a 10% island tax. To build a remarkable meeting experience or send a meeting request, email corporate@thereef.com, visit online at www.thereef.com or call 001.345.947.0100. To learn more about Bound for Success, please visit www.boundforsuccess.ky or email Cathy Williams, the Cayman Island Coordinator at cathy@alfresco.ky.

The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman is now “Simply All Inclusive™”

Grand Cayman, 2008 – The Reef Resort, located on the secluded East End of Grand Cayman, has always offered “Simple Relaxation ™” and convenient ways to make a vacation easy to manage. “This summer The Reef Resort is making history by being the first beachfront resort in a generation to offer guests a premium all inclusive family-friendly option,” stated Tom McCallum, Director at The Reef Resort. “This offer is also being put into place to evolve the resort’s philosophy of a no-hassle, simply relaxing, no-strings- attached vacation experience. Additionally, this new, all inclusive offer makes it convenient and easy for families to budget and plan.”

The Simply All Inclusive™ package rate start at U.S. $429 for a Beachfront Studio, per night, double occupancy, to include all taxes and services charges. Unlimited drinks (including top shelf premium cocktails) in the resort’s bars – Hideaway Beach Bar & Grill and restaurants- Castaways, three meals daily (guests can choose anything from the a la carte menu), snorkel equipment, tennis, gym, and bicycle rentals are all included, as well as a complimentary on-site “discover scuba diving” lesson. Guests staying seven or more nights can also add a catamaran excursion to the renowned Stingray City or a relaxed Sunset Sail.

While there are many exciting off-site excursions, tours, and activities available, many guests choose to stay on property to simply relax. Three swimming pools, water aerobics (a great exercise for children and adults of all ages), a daily noon fish feeding from the resort’s dock, children’s activities, water volleyball, exploring, shell
collecting, sandcastle building, and endless beach adventures are all at a guest’s fingertips. For those who relish captivating sunsets and evening nightlife, the resort offers a variety of entertainment, including Cayman Island music legend Barefoot Man (www.barefoot.com).

Guests will also continue to enjoy simple and convenient ways to make vacation planning a snap with the resort’s on-site complimentary concierge who can arrange adventures pre-arrival and, of course, on-site. Hurricanes are never an issue at The Reef Resort as their guarantee gives guests an option to cancel with a full refund before they even leave the house. In addition, The East End is the best kept secret among snorkel and dive enthusiasts, being the most pristine and un-crowded area on the island, which allows water adventurists an up close and personal encounter with the reef and all of its inhabitants. New this summer a Yoga/Spinning Studio — gym and intimate spa will open presenting guests with more opportunities to stay in shape.

The Reef Resort was recently recognized as one of the 25 resorts throughout the Caribbean with guest rooms “Right Smack on the Beach,” published by Caribbean Travel & Life magazine. Read all about it at www.caribbeantravelmag.com. To learn more, visit The Reef Resort online at www.thereef.com or call toll-free (888) 232.0541.

Simply All Inclusive – a new option, only from theReef

In one of our biggest news items ever, we are proud to announce “Simply All Inclusive”, an innovative new vacation option from theReef.This is the first time ever that any resort in Cayman has offered a premium all inclusive plan… that’s a la carte dining, ‘top shelf’ drinks…. no strings attached!Rates start this summer from $429 double occupancy… and that includes all taxes. Click here for more info!

Le Soleil Spa – Now Open!

Experience the soothing, natural benefits of “YonKa Therapy” at La Soleil Spa, the full-service, onsite spa at The Reef Resort. Aromatherapy, phytotherapy, fruit therapy and mariane therapy – our specialized treatments incorporate all the plant world has to offer.
Click here for more info!

Agriculture Show 2008

Last Wednesday marked the 41st agriculture show here in the Cayman Islands. This event always falls on Ash Wednesday and is treated as a day out for the family and to have a good time. From foodies to farmers this event is a treat for all. In fact, this year had biggest crowd on record with over 10,000 people attending.

The event features prizes in a variety of categories from produce to native crafts. As I walked in I was greeted with the smell of a multitude of food items which made my selection that more difficult (I opted for the Turtle Stew). After I got something in my stomach, I ventured over to see the farm animals on display. Cows, goats, pigs and chickens were on display for the competition – certainly a treat for the young children.

The next area I ventured to was where venders were selling various plants and trees such as mangos, hot peppers, and guavas. As a big lover of Ackee and codfish, I was forced to buy an Ackee tree for my own yard. For those who don’t know, Ackee is a fruit that turns red when ripe and looks like scrambled eggs when served. This is why Ackee and Codfish is generally eaten at breakfast time.

There was also a children’s area with bouncing castles and slides which is perfect when you need a break.

Every year the Agriculture Show brings something new and exciting for people of all ages and this year’s show was no different.

Behind the Shell: The true story of Conch

Conch season is in full effect right now in Cayman and I feel its time the world becomes acquainted with this mysterious creature of the sea.

Conch pronounced ‘Konk’, is a marine snail found in the waters of Atlantic and holds a special place to all Caymanians as a food source. Conchs live in shells averaging 8-14 inches in length and can be found generally inside the reef areas of Cayman.

Conch season started on November 1st and continues until April 30th, 2008. Some quick info on rules and regulations for taking conch:

Conch may not be taken from any of the marine protected areas around the three islands, including the recently introduced Wildlife Interaction Zones.

The legal catch limit for conch taken from the open zones is five per person or 10 per boat, per day, whichever is less. Removing more than the prescribed limit is an offence.

It is also against the law for anyone to receive or purchase more than five conchs taken from Cayman waters in any one day.

Stew Conch, Conch fritters, Marinated conch, and conch salad are just some of the different ways one can consume this animal. My personal favorite is the Stew Conch.

Cayman is a Birdwatcher’s Paradise

The Cayman Islands offer some unique opportunities for the popular hobby of bird watching, as they are host to a surprisingly wide range of resident birds. They also act as a staging post for many migratory birds and other occasional visitors. Cayman is particularly fascinating for the study of wildlife, as species long resident on one island can evolve slightly differently from their mainland counterparts, and develop characteristics not seen anywhere else.

The first studies of birds found in Cayman were published by C.B.C. Cory in 1886, but were restricted to descriptions of birds found in Grand Cayman at that time. Numerous brief visits by ornithologists then followed. Then in 1982, Patricia Bradley came to live in Grand Cayman and began to put together comparative monthly records of bird sightings on all three islands. Her highly regarded field guide Birds of the Cayman Islands (now in its second edition) describes the biogeography of the area, and gives details of the history of bird settlement and migration. Full bird descriptions are provided, with colour pictures by Yves-Jacques Rey-Millet and the author.
International experts also visit Cayman to study its bird life, some under the auspices of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands’ Visiting Scientists Programme. In 1994, for example, Nedra Klein from the American Museum of Natural History arrived to conduct a study of local Tanagers, Warblers and Bananaquits. In 1997, Betty Ann Schreiber also helped conduct the survey on the Red-footed Booby Pond on Little Cayman.

The National Trust organizes regular bird watching activities conducted by local ornithologists and avid bird enthusiasts. Weekends often see members gathering at a selected location, usually in the Botanic Park, for a field trip. Check our Calendar of Events for the latest activities.
The Cayman Islands Bird Club has very supportive of the work of the Trust, and has made some substantial contributions to the greater understanding of local avifauna (birds). Members have also assisted with the census conducted on the range and population of Cayman Islands Parrots, and have constructed a comprehensive list of birds sighted at The Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary.

Some of the most important locations for bird watching in Cayman are held in trust for the people of the islands. These include the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, the Mastic Reserve, the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve, and the Little Cayman Booby Pond Nature Reserve. Rare and endangered birds also find sanctuary in the Salina Reserve and the Central Mangrove Wetland. Other interesting and protected sites include Meagre Bay Pond in Pease Bay, Colliers Pond in East End, Vulgunners Pond and Palmetto Pond at Barkers in West Bay, and islanders’ own gardens. An astonishing variety of birds can be seen right outside the window of island residences. Several native species have become quite happy to live in built up areas, and can been seen feeding on garden plants and insects. To date, a total of 219 different species (both resident and migrant) have been recorded.

For “would be” birdwatchers, very little skill or equipment is necessary to begin this intriguing pastime. A good pair of binoculars is recommended and a field guide to assist in identifying the birds spotted is helpful. The best time for bird watching is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Just remember that birds depend on their habitat for everything, so on field trips (especially to Reserves and Sanctuaries) take nothing out and leave nothing behind. If you should see a bird you believe has not been previously recorded, make careful notes about when and where you view and at what time. Take a photograph if possible, then contact the Bird Club. Every birdwatcher is a potential discoverer!

A Unique, “No Problem” Caribbean Hurricane Vacation Guarantee

Guests can breathe a sigh of relief when booking at The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman, Cayman Island

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – August 22, 2007 – The Reef Resort announced today an upgrade to their already impressive and industry leading “No Problem” Hurricane Guarantee. As of today, should a hurricane threat result in guests having to curtail their vacation, they will be immediately refunded for any days missed, plus The Reef will provide a complimentary five-night room voucher.

This new upgrade is in addition to The Reef’s original hurricane policy that allows travelers to cancel a reservation up to 48 hours of their planned arrival on the island. The policy and the cancellation payments are simple – rebook without penalty or only pay a fee for one night’s stay – a rare offer as traditionally, hurricane policies do not go into effect until after the guest has arrived. The newly updated hurricane guarantee and cancellation policy is in effect from June 1 – November 30, 2007.

“We understand that guests want to book a vacation at The Reef and know they can plan ahead and look forward to experiencing a relaxing and tranquil escape from their hectic lives. To reduce hurricane season booking anxiety we offer a proactive and guest-centric hurricane policy that is hassle free and void of steep penalties,” stated Tom McCallum, Director of The Reef Resort.”

The Reef Resort is an intimate resort, boasting the largest beachfront; 1,600 feet of white sandy beaches, on the quiet East End of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Additionally, every guest suite provides beachfront views with balcony overlooks. Rates* start at $205 for a studio suite, $235 for a deluxe studio suite, $270 for a one-bedroom suite and $360 for a two-bedroom suite; rates vary and do not include a 10% government tax. For additional information on water sports, vacation packages and The Reef’s Best Beach Rate guarantee, visit www.thereef.com rated the number one resort in the Caribbean, and 14th worldwide among 70,000 hotels and resorts in the recently released Expedia® Insiders’ Select™.

Move over Scuba Enthusiasts, Snorkelers Have Arrived at The Reef Resort

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, August 1, 2007 – Grand Cayman has been attracting scuba dive enthusiasts for years and is known as a hot spot for seeing tropical fish and sea animals. But did you know that The Reef Resort also happens to have snorkeling sites that are just as exhilarating? The Reef Resort also happens to have a white, sandy, 1,600-square-feet beach perfect for snorkeling, not to mention its secluded East End location known around the world as an undisturbed marine wonderland. Snorkelers will relish in the wide variety of undersea delights as they swim beside untouched reefs teeming with tropical fish. Be prepared to swim with Parrotfish, Angelfish, Trumpetfish, Sea Cucumber, and Sea Fans in the crystal-clear blue waters with zero water currents. That’s why The Reef Resort is offering a five- night Reef Snorkel Adventure package built for two, which provides daily breakfast, snorkel gear, a special trip to the nationally renowned Stingray City and a beachfront suite in a deluxe studio with an in- room Jacuzzi and a patio/balcony, priced at U.S. $1,300 per couple (also includes breakfast gratuity and room taxes). The package is valid through December 20, 2007, excluding the Thanksgiving holiday season. Visit online for reservations and additional details, www.thereef.com.

“This is a great package for both experienced and novice skin divers and our East End location offers some of the best snorkeling directly off our beachfront,” stated Tom McCallum, director at The Reef Resort. “Guests should also be aware of our complimentary concierge service where they can request an itinerary based on their likes and dislikes, and we can map out an entire trip as soon as the package is booked, providing them with a variety of snorkeling options upon check-in.”

The Reef Resort was rated the number one resort in the Caribbean, and 14th worldwide among 70,000 hotels and resorts from the recently released Expedia® Insiders’ Select™, a list of the top 200 hotels/resorts worldwide. To see what all the talk is about, learn more about the snorkel adventure or other resort packages, call 888.232.0541 or email reservations at reservations@thereef.com.