CAYMAN BRAC (Cayman Islands)
First spotted on his fourth and final trans-Atlantic crossing in 1503 and originally named Las Tortugas by Christopher Columbus because of the many turtles he spotted on the island, Cayman Brac rears up out of the water as if surrounded by a fort. Think craggy limestone shores (although archetypal sandy beaches and blue lapping seas are assured on the north of the island), which have kept this Cayman relatively free from mass tourism. Because of her geographical location (145km from Grand Cayman) and her challenging coastal approach, life has remained very laid back here, with local enterprises being stonemasonry and fishing, although some mass tourism is being developed thanks mostly due to its pristine underwater eco-system ensuring divers and snorkellers some very special sights. The Brac, or “Bluff” has however been a magnetic pull to climbers in recent years, with over 100 sport climbs mapped out on the easterly cliff face.
Despite its rich historical past the island is assuredly modern. The middle child of the Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac is just 19kms long (although its little sister, Little Cayman is 16km, while Grand Cayman, although still small, is by far the largest at 35 km). Nevertheless, the plethora of hidden caves, nature trails and abundant wildlife both above and below the water make this little gem a paradise for nature lovers.