• Photo: Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock

Grand Cayman

Though Grand Cayman is most celebrated for its aquatic activities, there's no shortage of diversions to please landlubbers, history buffs, the ecocentric, and families, from turtle and butterfly farms to ruined fortifications. It's just as alluring on land as underwater, gleaming with a ravishing dryness. Though not lush, the surrounding scenery can spiral from arid semidesert to tropical hardwood forests that pierce the sky like cathedral spires. Many attractions admirably attempt to foster greater understanding of the environment and the importance of responsible stewardship of our resources.

Window-shopping in the captivating capital, George Town, ranks as many visitors' favorite form of recreation and sightseeing. Not only will you find no additional sales tax, but there's duty-free merchandise aplenty. And though most people's image of Grand Cayman is bustling Seven Mile Beach, there are downright rural, pastoral pockets where if time doesn't stand still, it slows to a turtle's steady crawl. This is where travelers can experience the "real" Cayman, including craft traditions such as thatch weaving that have nearly vanished.

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