Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the location of the territory's capital, George Town. In relation to the other two Cayman Islands, it is approximately 75 miles (121 km) southwest of Little Cayman and 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Cayman Brac.
|Area||196 km2 (76 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||18 m (59 ft)|
|Largest settlement||George Town (pop. 34,399)|
|Pop. density||224.6/km2 (581.7/sq mi)|
Grand Cayman encompasses 76% of the territory's entire land mass. The island is approximately 22 miles (35 km) long with its widest point being 8 miles (13 km) wide. The elevation ranges from sea level at the beaches to 60 feet (18 m) above sea level on the North Side's Mastic Trail. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, Grand Cayman is for the most part, flat. This allows for more space to build as the island’s population grows.
Of the flora, a good representation of the variety of plant life on Grand Cayman can be found at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park located in the North Side District. Wild banana orchids, ghost orchids, thatch palm trees, red birch trees, mahogany trees and various fruit trees such as avocado, mango, guinep, naseberry, breadfruit, and tamarind. Yellow mastics (Sideroxylon foetidissimum) and black mastics (Terminalia eriostachya) are also seen in the park, as well as on the 2 miles (3.2 km)-long Mastic Trail. Elsewhere outside the park, all of these species can be seen around Grand Cayman, including coconut palm, Casuarina pine, mangrove, and poinciana trees.
Fauna seen in various locations around the island include blue iguanas (Cyclura lewisi), Grand Cayman amazon parrots (Amazona leucocephala caymanensis), Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), and Gecarcinus ruricola, a species of land crab. The Cayman Islands Turtle Farm located in the West Bay district raises green sea turtles for their meat and to release into the wild.
Through breeding, the farm produces upwards of 1800 turtles a year. Between 1980 and 2006, the farm released approximately 30,600 turtles to the wild; because of a mark placed on each animal, the released turtles have been seen throughout the Caribbean.
There are four endemic snake species on Grand Cayman and two invasive species. They are all relatively harmless and the largest is the rarely seen invasive corn snake, which may grow to about 5 feet (1.5 m). The smallest averages 2–4 inches (5–10 cm) and is the invasive brahminy blind snake which is also rarely seen. The most common is the endemic Cayman racer snake. It can grow to approximately 5 feet (1.5 m), but 3-foot (91-cm) specimens are much more common. These snakes tend to race away if encountered and in rare cases will rear up in a threatening manner if cornered. The Cayman racer snake carries a mild venom which it uses to immobilise prey, but in large enough doses it can cause significant swelling and bruising if it latches on for an extended period. A simple bite and release does not usually cause any reaction in humans. The other three endemic snake species are the Cayman ground boa, Cayman blind snake and Cayman water snake.
Hibiscus and palm tree on Grand Cayman Island
Green sea turtle in lagoon at Cayman Turtle Farm
East End blow hole
Of the three islands, Grand Cayman contains approximately 95% of the territory's entire population.
There are just under 600 banks and trust companies in the Grand Cayman, including 43 of the 50 largest banks in the world. Because of this large financial presence on the island, banking, investments, and insurance drive the economy in Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman Island has a number of natural attractions: the blow holes in the East End district, the Mastic Trail that runs north to south through the center of the island, Hell in the West Bay, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Because of its clubs, resorts, and hotels, Seven Mile Beach has the largest concentration of visitors and tourists on the island.
Electrical service for Grand Cayman is provided by Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd., with its corporate headquarters located on North Sound Road. Electricity on Grand Cayman runs on a 120/240 volt electricity system with electrical outlets designed to accommodate a three-pin American plug.
The Cayman Islands Education Department operates government schools.
Aerial view of the island
The Governor's Residence
Sailboats on Seven Mile Beach
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