• Photo: Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock

George Town

Begin exploring the capital by strolling along the waterfront, Harbour Drive, to Elmslie Memorial United Church, named after the first Presbyterian missionary to serve in the Caymans. Its vaulted timber ceiling (built from salvaged wreck material in the shape of an upside-down hull), wooden arches, mahogany pews, and tranquil nave reflect the island's deeply religious nature.

Just north near Fort Street, the Seamen's Memorial Monument lists 153 names on an old navigational beacon; a bronze piece by Canadian sculptor Simon Morris, titled Tradition, honors the almost 500 Caymanians who have lost their lives at sea. Dive-industry pioneer Bob Soto, wife Suzy, and daughter-in-law Leslie Bergstrom spearheaded the project, which Prince Edward unveiled during the 2003 quincentennial celebrations.

A few steps away lie the scant remains of Fort George, constructed in 1790 to repel plundering pirates; it also functioned as a watch post during World War II to scan for German subs.

In front of the court building, in the center of town, names of influential Caymanians are inscribed on the Wall of History, which also commemorates the islands' quincentennial. Across the street is the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly Building, next door to the 1919 Peace Memorial Building. A block south is the horseshoe-shape General Post Office, built in 1939 at the tail end of the art deco period. Let the kids pet the big blue iguana statues.

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