West Bay Grand Cayman

West Bay Grand Cayman is a town that can be found on the northern edge of the island's western peninsula. After the capital of Georgetown, West Bay is the largest electoral district in the Cayman Islands, and it's also one of the most developed settlements in the island chain. In addition to visiting the always interesting Grand Cayman Hell, visitors to West Bay will have plenty of options for things to do. Just south of the town's southern border, Seven Mile Beach extends down towards the capital. This beach is one of the best beaches in the Cayman Islands, and many tourists base themselves along its powdery sands.

Whereas the tourist haven of Seven Mile Beach offers beautiful white sand, inviting resorts, and alluring vacation rentals, West Bay Grand Cayman is a better place to experience the "real" Cayman Islands. In West Bay, vacation rental projects are in the works, and there are a few hotels to choose from, though the town is still dominated by residential homes. The Spanish Bay Reef Resort used to be one of the more renowned resorts in West Bay, partly because of its terrific all inclusive packages. Since the Spanish Bay Reef Resort recently closed, those who wish to stay in West Bay might consider the Cobalt Coast Dive Resort. Regardless of where West Bay Grand Cayman visitors choose to stay, there will be lots of fun things to do when they're not enjoying some time at nearby Seven Mile Beach.

Grand Cayman Hell is an interesting place, and a great attraction to visit when in the West Bay area. This small inland town is essentially part of West Bay, and while the origin of its name is unknown, it may have something to do with the hellish-looking limestone formations that can be found here. These limestone formations are short and black in color. The field that they form is a craggy maze where sensible humans dare not tread. A visit to the limestone formations figures on the itinerary for the Grand Cayman Hell tours. While there isn't much to see in town, many tourists drop by the post office for the chance to send something that carries Hell's unique postmark. It's worth noting that the town of Hell on Grand Cayman Island can sometimes be crowded with tourists, as it is a popular shore excursion destination for cruise ship passengers.

Visiting the town of Hell is one of the most popular things to do in West Bay, as is visiting Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm. Easily one of the top rated tourist attractions in the Cayman Islands, Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm was recently expanded, and today, it is essentially a theme park that carries a marine theme. The turtles take center stage at Boatswains Beach, as has always been the case, and visitors can view them in the park's collection of ponds. The turtles are in different stages of growth, and visitors can even handle some of them. Petting and picking up the turtles is especially fun for kids, and it's just one of the many activities that a Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm visit can include.

A number of excellent dive sites can be found off the northwest coast of Grand Cayman, and as such, diving is one of the top things to do in West Bay. Trinity Caves is arguably the best dive site off the West Bay coast. Best suited to intermediate and advanced divers, Trinity Caves boasts a series of dazzling canyons that can be found at a depth of 60 to 130 feet. When West Bay visitors aren't diving close to town, they can always venture east to nearby Morgan's Harbour. This harbor is a popular starting point for Stingray City tours and fishing excursions. At Stingray City, divers and snorkelers alike can swim with stingrays in relatively shallow waters. Snorkeling or diving at Stingray City is also something that cruise ship passengers can hope to enjoy when it comes to Cayman Islands shore excursions.

These are just some of the options for things to do in West Bay, and it's worth noting that the area is also good for birding. As such, West Bay Grand Cayman visitors might want to equip themselves with a pair of binoculars for checking out the town's avian residents. Various sites along Palmetto Point Road are especially ideal for birding, and they include the ponds that can be found along this route.

Image: Don McDougall

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