Giant Ferris wheel planned for waterfront


A giant Ferris wheel known as the Cayman Eye, offering panoramic views of the island, has been proposed as a possible new tourist attraction for George Town waterfront. The concept – a mini version of the famous London Eye – is being floated to potential investors locally.  

Artists’ drawings and a website for the 40 meter (131 foot) observation wheel have been produced. The locally based entrepreneurs pushing the proposal say they have met with the Department of Tourism and are confident they can raise the US$2-3 million they believe would be required to make the project a reality. 

The local partners, who wish to remain anonymous until funding is fully secured, say they have secured land in downtown George Town for the project. 

Nadeem Samaha, their U.K. based partner, said the idea also included a surrounding park with gardens sculpted in the shape of Grand Cayman. He said the Cayman Eye could be a low-cost attraction that would allow tourists coming off cruise ships to see the whole island in 15 minutes. 

Unmanned drone aircraft have been used to get an idea of the view tourists will get from the slow-moving observation wheel. 

Mr. Samaha said, “It’s the perfect fit for Cayman. You have got clear blue skies, clear blue water and you can see all across Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound. It gives tourists a view of the island they wouldn’t otherwise get. You can come off the cruise ship and see the whole island in 15 minutes.” 

The observation wheel would be built in Italy and transported to Grand Cayman. Similar attractions have been built in the U.S., including one in Alabama. The developers say it would be able to withstand a hurricane. 

They believe the attraction could aid the revitalization of George Town by providing a fun, family activity for cruise passengers right in the capital. And they say it wouldn’t detract from existing tours like the Turtle Farm or Stingray City because tourists will be able to do both and buy discounted tickets. 

“We are extremely excited about this venture, as it provides Grand Cayman with a novel tourist attraction that is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean,” added Mr. Samaha. The wheel would be located on an acre of land close to the cruise terminal and will feature stalls for local vendors. 

“The site for the Eye is a few minutes’ walk from George Town Harbour and will rejuvenate the local area, as well as boosting surrounding businesses. It is envisaged that this project will be a key part of the regeneration of George Town,” he said. 

“The park will have a strong emphasis on being ‘eco-friendly’ as much of the vegetation from the existing site will be reused, retail stands will be made out of recycled shipping containers and furniture will be made from recycled plastic.” 

The developers say the park surrounding the Eye will provide a safe, scenic and shaded area in which visitors and residents can relax. They also hope to include a Caribbean market place and make the space available for public events. 

Rides are expected to cost between US$20 and US$25 and last around 15 minutes. With the volume of cruise passengers expected to rise to around 2 million over the next few years and possibly increase further once the new piers are built, developers are confident there will be enough demand to make it a success. 

A website has been set up at 


The park would include landscaped gardens in the shape of Grand Cayman.


  1. This idea is a non-starter. The developers aver that the Cayman Eye will withstand a hurricane. This is not possible with a catastrophic hurricane like Ivan in 2004 and Paloma in 2008! That great big ferris wheel will go careening about George Town and cause major damage and shrieks wherever it rolls during a Cat 5 hurricane. Who are the developers? Why aren’t they attaching their names to this hilarious project? A fun family attraction!, A rejuvenation of George Town? A 40 metre observation wheel would be almost the height of The Bluff on Cayman Brac. A great big eyesore till the first hurricane. Not to be too negative about thispipe-dream tourist treasure to come (and fill the pockets of the developers) but a hae me doots…

  2. Sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be anything islandy about this. What will attract people to Cayman is a Tropical Paradise experience. Why not just focus on making downtown look more tropical than more like the Jersey Shore or Coney Island. The most noticeable think they will see is Mount Trashmore anyway..I’m not feeling this at all..

  3. After coming to this country for 12 years, once a year, sometimes twice a year and even three times a year, sadly, it may be time to say goodbye.

  4. It’s good to see investment in our tourism industry. George Town is woefully lacking in activities for tourists, almost as much as it is lacking park areas. I welcome a project that addresses both issues. Nice to see some revitalization of our capital, hopefully this will kick start the Government into further regeneration.

  5. If I wasn’t certain that today’s date is 6 July, I would assume this was an April Fools Day article. Is Cayman a Caribbean Island destination, or a half-arsed imitation of DisneyWorld. What a view the tourists would have. Mount Trashmore, multi-storey office buildings, condos, and hotels, and a totally disinteresting pancake flat topography as far as the eye can see. As for claims that it would be hurricane proof – once you get into the realms of a Category 4 or 5 storm, only a fool would try and predict what structures would survive. That is why the US storm experts can only suggest that the damage would be catastrophic.

  6. Who has initiated this endeavor, this humongous EYE ferris wheel almost the height of The Bluff on Cayman Brac (140′ high)? Why have the creators of this oddity not proudly disclosed their names? This will surely not be a big goose laying golden eggs on the waterfront of George Town. One good strong Cat 3 or 4 hurricane and the wheel will go careening off its pins and pedestal, out of its uberlandscaped garden in the shape of Grand Cayman, and rolling through George Town and the surrounding burbs and deliver as much havoc as Ivan (and Paloma) did. There is no doubt that the Cayman EYE would see a lot more if it was erected on the East End of Cayman Brac’s Bluff next to The Lighthouse. It could be a halloo for tourists to visit Cayman Brac which is far more in the doldrums and horse latitudes financially than Grand Cayman. What’s next on the tourist menu?

  7. Are you serious! Here in the states we have a ton of large ferris wheels so why do you think that people will come to ride another ferris wheel no matter how tall it is.What happened to the new pier for Georgetown idea lets fight crime and better education ? People come to GRAND CAYMAN for the island experience. When people come to your island they want to see your island up close and in person not at 130 ft up in the air.

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