Rolling, rather than strolling, is the latest way to see scenic George Town thanks to the launch of Cayman Segway Tours.
Offering an exhilarating and adventurous chance to experience the sugar-fine sands of one of the world’s best beaches and the wide landscaped spaces of Camana Bay on two wheels, the firm specializes in arranging guided tours on Segway Personal Transporters (PTs).
To take a 2.5-mile tour Mondays through Fridays, novice and experienced riders can pre-book online to join any one of the three Camana Bay/Seven Mile Beach day tours that run daily, or the sunset Seven Mile Beach excursion at 4:30 p.m.
I plumped for the 1 p.m. tour, arriving 15 minutes early to fill in the waiver form and do the orientation. All 90-minute tours start from the Cayman Segway Tour’s offices in Seven Mile Shops, where riders are kitted out with safety gear, watch the short orientation video and get trained on how to ride a transport.
The Segways are easy to operate, though a little counter-intuitive at times, and the friendly guides are always close at hand to give advice and encouragement, if needed. It was also reassuring to know that they had been trained by a Segway distributor, who had been obliging enough to test the route and highlight safety measures. So, despite being a little nervous, I soon got the hang of it as we followed owner/head guide Sadé Wood up to Camana Bay.
Rolling, not strolling, is an exhilarating sensation that brings instant smiles. The Segway PT X2’s large and wide wheels are designed for off-road travel and made light work of the uneven beach terrain.
As well as minding the riders during the tours, the guides take time to make a couple of scheduled pit-stops during the tour to allow riders to take a small rest and water break. They are well versed in local culture and explained several snippets of Cayman history, which added to the overall interest of the tour.
Unlike most tours I’ve been on, groups are wisely kept to no more than six people, including two guides to allow riders a signature experience. And yes, the company does offer a 5 percent discount for groups of four and more, and for local residents who show ID. There is no upper age limit per se, as long as a rider is able to step on and off the transport without assistance, and climb or go down a flight of stairs without the support of a handrail or other walking aid. On the other hand, the lower age limit for riding is 16 years old and a guardian must ride with them and sign the waiver on their behalf.
Riding through the Camana Bay Town Centre with its smooth, wide paving slabs was a delight. Free from the distraction of traffic noise, I thoroughly enjoyed zipping along and people-watching with head guide Sadé leading the way.
Our second stop was near the Observation Tower. While downing our water, Steve, Wayne and Sadé told us more about the island’s premiere shopping and leisure hub. While there, we took the lift up to the impressive lookout point and got a stunning 360 degree view of George Town. Here too, the guides related some interesting Observation Tower tidbits and they even helped deconstruct the fabulous marine mural of Cayman’s tallest attraction.
Gliding along Camana Bay’s picturesque harbor front, with the breeze in our faces and the sun on our backs, was a glorious and strangely liberating experience. This is exactly the kind of activity everyone should try at least once – just for the sheer fun of it. While in the area, we zipped along, taking in the architecture and stunning landscaping. Since Camana Bay is picturesque, we were given several photo opportunities, but of course only once we had stopped and parked up.
With our next stop scheduled to be Seven Mile Beach, we headed for Royal Palms Beach Club. Usually the tour stops here for a leisurely break and a swim, if anyone’s up for that, but with heavy rain threatening, we rode straight for the sand. Adjusting the speed needed for beach riding, the guides also showed us how to steer on this new surface. The Segways are specifically designed to ride on the beach and our group had great fun trundling along. Still very much a novelty in Cayman, the Segways drew many interested looks from beachgoers who tracked our progress as we went along.
When asked if the transports had limiters, Sadé said, “When riding the Segway PTs in Camana Bay, we set them to turtle mode, which restricts the speed to 6 mph, and when riding on the beach the PTs have to be set to standard mode to be able to have enough power to ride them on the uneven beach terrain.”
Again, riding the transports in an open space felt good and very relaxing for me. Ideal for both cruise clients and locals or residents, the tours allow you to experience the best of Grand Cayman while topping up your tan as you zip along and take in the sights from a totally new perspective.
As we made our way up the beach, racing toward the gigantic silhouettes of three cruise ships blotting the foreground (though a good 2 miles away), I felt that Segwaying along the beach at sunset, as shadows lengthen and boats melt into the sky, would be a brilliant way to spend the downtime before heading off for a cocktail and some food.
First Segway rider Brandy Westmoor’s post on TripAdvisor is typical of the reaction the guides get after each tour. She commented: “Our group had the honor of being the first customers to experience this new adventure. I look forward to doing this tour again soon, but I would like to try the sunset tour. My favorite part was riding the Segways on the beach.”
Tour details, including what to wear, can be found online when pre-booking a tour via caymansegwaytours.com. With four daily options, cruise passengers can even arrange for a courtesy shuttle to the Cayman Segway Tour offices. Though tours will go ahead if light rain is anticipated and ponchos are available, tours will stop/be postponed if a heavy downpour is expected.