Nature Cayman offers up the best of the Brac

The Brac heritage house is a popular tour stop.

Rustic and charming Cayman Brac, first settled in 1833, offers up an array of activities for visitors to experience.

Visitors and locals alike looking to delve into the Brac’s rich natural and cultural heritage need look no further than Nature Cayman, which delivers an insider’s experience of much of what the island has to offer.

The Bight Road boardwalk offers an access point up the bluff.
The Bight Road boardwalk offers an access point up the bluff.

Launched in 1999 by the then District Commissioner Kenny Ryan, District Administration marketing and promotions manager Chevala Burke says the Nature Cayman initiative was intended to enhance activities on the Sister Islands for guests who did not dive, or who wanted to experience the natural beauty of the islands.

“The first Nature Cayman guide was Thomas ‘TJ’ Sevik,” said Ms. Burke.

“Since then, throughout the years we have had a few different people doing tours, and our current staff are Keino Daley, our nature tourism guide, and Phillip Smith, our nature tourism guide assistant.”

Mr. Daley worked along with Mr. Sevik, and both men have trained with Patricia Bradley, an expert naturalist with a vast knowledge of Cayman’s nature.

“Keino has certainly made a name for himself and oftentimes people coming to the island will contact us in advance to ensure they can book a tour with him,” said Ms. Burke.

“He is a true ambassador for the island, and Phillip is also building a name for himself. We are very proud of both gentlemen.”

She noted that when the guides are not conducting tours, they are taking care of various maintenance projects associated with the program.

Ms. Burke says the tours are available to anyone who wants to book one.

“All tours are designed to cater to the interests of the guests and are booked individually unless arranged as a group through travel agents, schools, and youth groups for example,” said Ms. Burke.

“The tours are free, however, transportation is not provided, so guests are encouraged to rent a car.”

Ms. Burke says tour options include caving, hiking and birding, for starters.

The picturesque Bat Cave can be easily accessed.
The picturesque Bat Cave can be easily accessed.

“The eastern end of the bluff offers exciting rock climbing, and the bluff’s extensive cave systems and caverns, which include Peter’s Cave, Bat Cave, Great Cave and Rebecca’s Cave are very interesting to explore,” said Ms. Burke.

“As for people interested in hiking, the Brac has close to eight miles of public trails including the 600-foot Bight Road Boardwalk.”

She added that with nearly 200 part- and full-time resident species, the Brac is a popular birdwatching spot and a great place for those with little birding knowledge to boost their skills, and many trails have interpretive signage to help novices out.

Hikers will also be able to spot all sorts of native wildlife like frogs, local iguanas, smaller lizards, nonpoisonous snakes, butterflies, moths and bugs.

The Brac is also a home to a vast array of plants, some of which are found nowhere else, which make up dry tropical forest, dry shrubland, coastal vegetation, as well as wetlands, in addition to numerous cultivated fruit and flower species.

“The tours also bring visitors to local farms, sites like the Cayman Brac Museum and Cayman Brac Heritage House,” said Ms. Burke.

“Depending on what you want to see, the guides will also bring visitors to the Brac’s ponds and wetlands, highlight culture and heritage and historic sites, have you meet local residents, and check out local cuisine,” she continued.

“The guides are also very helpful in providing information to help people enjoy their stay and more than happy to indicate points of interest that were not explored on the tour or that guests may not have known about otherwise.”