The Pirates Caves attraction in Bodden Town is getting a makeover, with the owner saying he is focusing on making it a more educational and cultural experience.
Gone are the plastic skeletons, fake coins, foam chests, colored lighting and “Pirates of the Caribbean” Johnny Depp feel that was previously marketed to visitors and locals.
“In its place will be beautiful and fascinating things about our island; native crafts and carvings, indigenous plants, a real Caymanian “ground,” fruit trees, guided tours, animals, local foods and a more in-depth cultural history of the pirates caves,” said manager George Bodden.
“I am trying to “de-pirate” the whole concept of the Johnny Depp stigma that has been attached to the caves and display a real, true history of the caves,” said Mr. Bodden, noting his future goal is to make it a place where families can get together in a fun-filled environment to appreciation Cayman culture and history.
His father, Spencer Bodden, first highlighted the caves in the 1980s when he opened a little gift shop called Bodden Fortunes, selling native crafts and carvings. In later years, Spencer Bodden leased the property, which was transformed into a mini-zoo and guided tour establishment.
“Bodden Town is a town rich in the history of the Cayman Islands,” said George Bodden. “We are bringing some of the culture back to the district, which has been overlooked for too long,” said George Bodden, who recently took over the establishment.
“A lot of things sold in the shop were made in China, but the idea today is to have locally made thatch works, homemade jellies, cakes and fresh fruit juices and Cayman blended teas and coffee for visitors to enjoy. Come with a book, buy a piece of homemade cake and a glass of ‘swanky’ and just enjoy nature,” Mr. Bodden said.
He said he is also working with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands to research the facts and history behind the caves, as well as which pirates actually used the caves. The Trust, he said, has also shown a keen interest in using the site to host future Gimistory events.
“When I was a kid, I thought the whole folklore of pirates was just that – a lore. But after talking to the National Trust in the past couple of months, I have learned that there are truths and facts that are in the history books,” he said.
Mr. Bodden said the plants on the property will have labels explaining what they are and what they were used for. Tour guides will highlight the history of the caves and will give visitors some idea of the foods used by local forefathers.