West Bay Weekend

Living on an island has a remarkable effect on one’s perception of distance. How else is it possible to explain that many people who live in George Town view driving to West Bay as quite a drive?

Be that as it may, the district offers much to discover, whether your interests turn to wildlife interaction, culinary experiences, classic cars or any number of other attractions.

Conveniently grouped together at Northwest Point are three of the biggest tourist attractions in West Bay, each well worth a visit.

The Cayman Turtle Farm: Wildlife Encounter presents visitors with a unique glimpse into a very important part of Cayman’s history, the sea turtle. Just how important a part of the country’s history is the turtle? Well, Columbus originally dubbed these islands ‘Las Tortugas’, Spanish for ‘the turtles’ due to the masses of turtles that teemed in the waters surrounding the islands.

At the Turtle Farm, visitors have an opportunity to see and interact with the turtles, as well as with many other creatures, all while learning more about Caymanian culture and history as well.

Just across the road, Dolphin Discovery offers a selection of swim with the dolphins packages, which vary from more basic experiences to the full royal treatment, including interacting with two dolphins. On Sundays, the facility offers a free dolphin show for families, so children can see these magnificent creatures in action.

The district is also home to Cayman’s other dolphin facility, Dolphin Cove, which is located in Morgan’s Harbour. Here dolphins are housed in an enclosed lagoon that is connected to the North Sound.

One of the stops on any culinary visit of West Bay, the Cracked Conch Restaurant and Macabuca bar is practically right next door as well – and is well worth a visit. A bonus is that anyone can snorkel right off the deck at Macabuca, and then sit back with something cold – rather than being frowned upon, swimsuits are welcomed here.

Just a little bit further up the road is the Cayman Motor Museum. The amazing collection of classic and exotic cars is a testament to one man’s love affair with the motor car, as this is the private collection of Andreas Ugland. From numerous Ferraris through the ages to the original Batmobile from the TV series, the collection is truly mind-blowing. Even better, on Saturdays local residents can visit the museum for a reduced rate – $10 per adult and $5 per child. Anyone who does not feel their pulse quicken when viewing more than a dozen Ferraris probably had no pulse to begin with.

The district also packs a wide range of culinary delights, from long established favourites like Ristorante Papagallo with its Caribbean setting and thatched roof not quite preparing one for the exquisite Northern Italian cuisine, to more recent arrivals like Osetra Bay in Morgan’s Harbour, which serves up world cuisine with a Caribbean twist.

There are also some hidden gems in the district, including Tim Buc Tuu. The building is hard to miss – there are not too many neon green restaurants around. The colour gives a hint as to what you will find inside – funky, fresh and affordable food that makes this a don’t miss experience. Another unassuming restaurant is Alfresco, which boasts not only great food but one of the most perfect locations for its outdoor dining area. Right on the beach, looking out over the water, and with tiki torches all around, this is yet another spot well worth the (short) drive.

For those with an eye for nature, a location well worth a visit is Barkers National Park. A slow drive along the dyke roads through the park should allow plenty of opportunity to see some of the local bird life, while schools of juvenile fish shelter between the roots of the mangroves. The beach in Barker’s is also a very popular spot for kitesurfers, and whenever these daredevils are out their antics are well worth a couple of minutes of your time.
Barkers is also the perfect location for taking a horseback ride along the beach.

Of course, although the district may contain some heavenly sights and tastes, it is also the home of Hell. One look at the jagged rock formations at the site and one can well imagine why it got its name, although the smell of brimstone is thankfully absent. You can even send a postcard from the Hell post office – definitely a way to surprise all the friends and family who always go on about you living in Paradise. WH



Stephen Clarke